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Thread: service plumbers, question please

  1. #1
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Default service plumbers, question please

    Seems like a lot of frustration, sweat ,and tears trying to save a shower valve or faucet ! Do you really make the same money per Hr. as instilling a W. H. I know there is the good will factor ect. Sometimes there's 2 hrs. and
    a scratched finish. Are You eating some of your labor? Just curious.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default wages

    How do you price the WH? If it is a flat price then you do good on the easy ones and lose on the difficult one. If you do it by the hour, then you make the same as when you do a faucet. "Eat some labor"? Never! If the trim gets scratched it is because the faucet was badly corroded and that was the only way to take it apart. But, whatever time it takes to fix it, that is what is charged. You do not make "good" customers by losing money on them. All that gets you is a customer who expects a cheap job everytime and will dump you the first time you charge them the actual bill.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking its all good....

    generally it all averages out....
    and of course once you get used to doing this kind of work
    it gets easier with experience........

    I myself would never attempt to work on a car
    I would rather have the crap beat out of me than fool with a car.

    but PLUMBING is a piece of cake....

    some jobs you clean up on and others its more
    like only nominal.....

    it all depensd on the degree of difficulty and the
    desire of the customer to want something done NOW!!
    ASAP!! TODAY!!

    Like Sat morning I went out and cleaned out a 3 year old
    Sears water heater
    2 new SS steel elements + 2 new t stats....

    clenaed out a ton of lime.... total bill $275.00
    all in about 1 hour

    some go good, some go bad.....

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryii/
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 12-03-2006 at 07:47 AM.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic
    Seems like a lot of frustration, sweat ,and tears trying to save a shower valve or faucet ! Do you really make the same money per Hr. as instilling a W. H. I know there is the good will factor ect. Sometimes there's 2 hrs. and
    a scratched finish. Are You eating some of your labor? Just curious.

    Here is a prime example of do it yourself gone horribly wrong.


    Customer 3 years ago goes to rebuild his Delta single handle faucet. One wrench spells disaster and he breaks the body in two.

    Swayed by large yellow page ads he hires a company that only sells Wolverine Brass products which in my opinion is an insult to this trade since no supply houses will sell it and you have to play their bullshit games to get their product. I for one will not participate. Well, the service guy tells them the faucet needs to be removed and replaced, doesn't have another Delta faucet and tells them he can install this Wolverine Brass that will last forever and ever and they are best product on the market. WRONG

    $600 and 4 trips back to the home after it was installed, it was leaking so bad that I get a call 2 years after the customer has been fighting it and dealing with the threat that the plumbing company now states they are going to charge the customer to keep caulking the trim plate to the valve.

    I get there yesterday, the faucet has been roughed in too close to the thin wall of the shower enclosure. No way caulk would work because the screws are buried out. He had the diverter permanently pulled up and a valve on the shower head to slow the ominous leak that if you diverted to tub, it ran like budweiser horses being chased by drunks.

    I told him there is only one supply house that might have the cartridge to fix the leak but they don't sell the handles or other parts.....they may have that cartridge though. To have this many leaks was questionable of their product line. Static pressure was 75psi but the EXP tank was blown, the high pressure PRV sitting in the meter pit was the reason for the pressure setting.

    He opted to go with a Delta. The new valve I installed is full bodied brass, not the one with 3 copper tubes. I took pictures from beginning to end of how I did it, brought him in to show him how I use grease on the bonnet nut, the rubber 0-rings and the sides of the cartridge and even the allen screw holding the lever handle on. Told him that it was the last time he'll spend money on dealing with that faucet AND he'll easily be able to make repairs to the faucet because I showed him. Even went as far as setting the temp limit on the valve which the last guy never did. Newborn baby in the home; no room for error.

    Between the faucet, EXP tank/pipe/fittings and my labor, he walked away $550.00 poorer. But the install I made is a solid move, nothing half-assed like the big company with 42 trucks and more money than water to advertise.

    This customer also stated (with my blessing and Angie's List discount if he joins) that he is definitely going to join Angie's List and wished he would of hired my company before.

    The company that did the work is struggling bad on AL, have many dissatisifed customers. If he would of seen the reports on AL, he most likely would of went a different direction completely.

    He could of spent $125 with me to replace that leaking cartridge, I wouldn't of broke the valve off in the wall, he would of kept $1150.00 and not had such a bad experience.

    The point of my rambling?


    It all pays the same, doesn't matter if you are herding turds or tightening a loose nut on a trap. Residential service is the most simplistic aspect of the profession of plumbing. It is what surrounds the plumbing (people/availability of parts/incompetent plumbers) is what makes the only difficulty.


    It really sucks to have one of my own in the profession giving it a bad name just because they follow the motto of "Get in, get out, make as much as you can because you are never coming back".

    No one wins with that kind of logic.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  5. #5
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    I think it's best to discuss with the customer if whatever your about to work on is in such condition that replacement might be the way to go. Let them know what the draw backs are. Level with the customer and let them make the decision.

  6. #6
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking RUGGED and the power of advertiseing..

    Rugged ...you mentioned how this other place
    was getting a bad reputatioin with Angies list....

    I know who you are talking about ..Old Ben.

    they have a subsidiary that all their faucets have to be
    bought through.....wolverine brass...


    as long as they keep shelling out big bucks
    advertiseing they will always
    have some business......

    I am pretty sure they advertise heavy with old Angie
    to keep on that list too....
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 12-03-2006 at 01:10 PM.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    They are down on the list, they used to be up there with me and also advertised but they keep getting bad reports. The guy I worked for did have an absolute right to complain about the install. The faucet and not being able to get parts is a shady area but I really think you are screwing the customer when they can't even go to a supply house to get repair parts.


    Their heating and air division I think keeps their head above water.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    MPM there is another company over here that advertises Wolverine Brass products.

    I did not know that about Ben Franklin though.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking scams and other oddities

    Cass....its only what I heard from an B.F employee

    they sell the B>F franchise to someone and then demand

    that they only sell certain parts from one of their

    other franchises to the customer....

    I thought it was Wolverine....

    but I do like wolverines ball valves..

    I dont care for the company.....


    In this town I suspect that they advertise
    to the tune of about 25,000+ a month

    so they got to go out there and charge all they
    can to just to pay that yellow page bill...


    of coursethey are fairley successful....

    I mean ..a sucker is born every second.....

    you just got to lay in wait for them

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Same here, no problem with ball valves/stops or even tubular chrome traps. It is just bull**** that they corner the consumer with parts on the faucets.

    The guy I put that faucet in for yesterday.....




    called me an hour ago, said there was a leak where the water line goes into the water heater. Of course, I tightened up all the leaks in the home and the weakest link, just broke.

    Water pouring out of the top of the tank. Not good and he needs a water heater.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  11. #11

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    That's about my luck... try to do something nice to help someone and end up getting blamed for something breaking. Hopefully they don't think it's your fault.

  12. #12
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randyj
    That's about my luck... try to do something nice to help someone and end up getting blamed for something breaking. Hopefully they don't think it's your fault.

    I believe initially they did but now they are presented with close to $700 purchase right before christmas.

    It was leaking on the opposite side where I replaced the expansion tank.

    I didn't charge him for the visit; 4.6 miles from the shop and this guy is doing nothing but spending money at this point for plumbing repairs.

    I'm so not crazy about installing water heaters these days even though his involves no steps, back the truck within 15 of where the water heater is.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default faucet

    If it had been I on the original call, I would have reassembled the Delta faucet, (I also occassionally do it for plumbers around here who wind up with a two piece faucet), and they would have saved a whole lot of money.

  14. #14
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj
    If it had been I on the original call, I would have reassembled the Delta faucet, (I also occassionally do it for plumbers around here who wind up with a two piece faucet), and they would have saved a whole lot of money.

    Explain to me how you are doing that. I've tried heating those tubes up to release the solder they used at the factory and it will not budge.

    I've also tried that on Delta and Moen kitchen sink faucets whereby they have those 1/2" IPS brass thread connectors on the ends of 3/8" copper tubes.....


    and the solder will not release. I'm using a turbo torch with full flame and nothing will let the solder release the fittings.

    I tried it with an old Delta I recently removed and replaced with a new one with no luck whatsoever. And this was on a workbench in a vise where I could actually see the 6 solder connections that would be needed to make it work.

    Tell me how to do it, I got pencil and paper ready.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  15. #15
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Delta

    The tube are installed with regular solder. I have a small screwdriver with a bent tip that I slide into the tube and hook the end. A little heat and a pull and the stub comes out. Three pieces of 3/8" copper 1 3/8" long replace the tubes. I sweat them into the control section first, just run solder over the entire back of it. Then dry fit it to the piece in the wall until I have the tubes aligned so they will fit into the openings. Then heat it up, push the control into it with a piece of 2x4 and a hammer, then solder them up. A new ball, repair kit, and cap assembly, (because you will burn the old one up removing it), and you are done. About an hour's time or a little bit longer, but you have a happy customer. One caveat, however. There is one version, maybe for Home Depot that has a dinky little piece in the wall with a bent lower tube. That one becomes a little trickier if you do not have an old one to take the tube out of. For those I use my flaring tool block to hold the end while I bend it and then do the other end. The bend does not have to be perfect because you can flex it to mate with the hole in the body.
    Last edited by hj; 12-04-2006 at 04:47 AM.

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