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Old 01-03-2011, 08:09 AM   #1
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Why Call a Plumber?


OK... As my New Years Resolution I said I was going to try not to complain about stupid people to my wife.... So You get the Pleasure of hearing about my 3:45 AM Call
ME- Hello And thank you for calling XYZ Plumbing... How can I help you?
Customer- My Hot Water Heater is Broken
Me- Is it currently leaking?
Customer- No but I do not have any hot water
Me- Ok well I understand this can be troubling and there could be many causes would you like me to send someone out in the Morning?
Customer- No your ad said 24 Hours a day. I want you to come out now.
Me- Well we usually only handle emergencies at this time of night.
Customer- You are false advertising. I will file a complaint with the BBB and tell them about it
ME (Thinking DAMNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN)- Well Sir I would be glad to come out but you need to understand that it will be $325 for me to come there now and there is no guarantee i can fix the problem if I need parts... but in the morning we provide a free estimate and will be able to get any material.
Customer- I dont care you need to come now- My address is_________
Me- OK but, before I come have you checked the circuit breaker or Pilot light?
Customer- No that is your job.

So I get to the house and he proceeded to tell me they have not had Hot water since FRIDAY! I go down stairs look and the gas was turned off to the water heater.... Hmmmm I look and there is a BIG RED TAG FROM THE GAS COMPANY- DO NOT LIGHT! LEAKING CARBON MONOXIDE!

I point it out and he said- They said that is not important and we will be ok.

$325 cash paid- I wish I could have charged a stupidity tax.

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Old 01-03-2011, 08:58 AM   #2
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Why Call a Plumber?


I specifically cite emergency service calls available 24/7/365 after I had a couple 10PM or later calls from people who had free time at night and thought I would come out then like a normal call.

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Old 01-03-2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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Why Call a Plumber?


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=

So I get to the house and he proceeded to tell me they have not had Hot water since FRIDAY! I go down stairs look and the gas was turned off to the water heater.... Hmmmm I look and there is a BIG RED TAG FROM THE GAS COMPANY- DO NOT LIGHT! LEAKING CARBON MONOXIDE!

I point it out and he said- They said that is not important and we will be ok.

$325 cash paid- I wish I could have charged a stupidity tax.
So did you turn the hot water heater back on for him with the tag?
You are lucky to get that kind of money, in orlando i went out to do a service call for some drywall repairs, i told the man 200 bucks for 4 holes and a bunch of scrapes, plus texture and painting them that day. he said it was way to much and could get someone cheaper. I hate this state right now.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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I agree with you... In a lot of ways we are Lucky but, we are an average price. If I had done work the 325 covers about 2 hours Labor and we just charge for material. I had one guy tell me we were cheap when he heard our prices. He said he Trucks in his line of business cost him an average of $90 per hour to have on the road when you consider insurance, Workers comp, maintenance and all that other good crap. When I figured it up I was at $108.

The answer to did I light the Water Heater--- HELL NO! I just wanted to yell at the guy personally... There have been atleast 8 Deaths and 20 people Hospitilized because of this Gas In my State since Christmas Day! I am so scared of hearing someone died from a Water Heater or Boiler we install that I give a Carbon Monoxide detector with every installation... $25 helps me sleep at night!
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Docwhitley View Post
$325 cash paid- I wish I could have charged a stupidity tax.
The $325. for the service call was painful enough.

I would have been nice enough (and I think it would have been okay) to go through the motions of (first and always verifying that the tank was full by having an upstairs faucet running) turning the heater on and observing proper operation for about a minute, then turning it off again, advised the residents of any other problems found, and telling the residents to heed the warning on the red tag.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Docwhitley View Post
ME- Hello And thank you for calling XYZ Plumbing... How can I help you?
Customer- My Hot Water Heater is Broken
Me- Is it currently leaking?
Customer- No but I do not have any hot water
Me- Ok well I understand this can be troubling and there could be many causes would you like me to send someone out in the Morning?
Customer- No your ad said 24 Hours a day. I want you to come out now.
Me- Well we usually only handle emergencies at this time of night.
Customer- You are false advertising. I will file a complaint with the BBB and tell them about it

ME (Thinking DAMNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN)- Well Sir I would be glad to come out but you need to understand that it will be $325 for me to come there now and there is no guarantee i can fix the problem if I need parts... but in the morning we provide a free estimate and will be able to get any material.
Customer- I dont care you need to come now- My address is_________
Me- OK but, before I come have you checked the circuit breaker or Pilot light?
Customer- No that is your job.
Psst! I think the part in red should have been omitted from the original conversation, just skip to the part that follows.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-03-2011 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:57 AM   #6
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Why Call a Plumber?


Did you at least give your client an estimate for repair for the $325?
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:04 PM   #7
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Why Call a Plumber?


I point it out and he said- They said that is not important and we will be ok.

$325 cash paid- I wish I could have charged a stupidity tax.[/quote]

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Did you at least give your client an estimate for repair for the $325?
Yeah did the customer ask for a new hot water heater at all? He should have known that it was shut off, that client sounded like dick basically. You were pretty diplomatic about it!
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:07 PM   #8
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The problem could have been either a Water Heater or a Chimney. When I leave a Customer they have an invoice stating what I did and what I recommend. In this case I recommend having us out during normal working hours to investigate why the water Heater was placed out of commission. In this area if an appliance has been tagged out from the Gas Company and you do start the appliance and even turn it off...YOU INHERIT THE PROBLEM. Here were the Problems with the client
1- He knew he was Tagged out Friday
2- He waited till Sunday EARLY MORNING
3- He already knew the problem was Carbon Monoxide and did not care

We had a Plumber out there about an Hour ago and here is what he found.

"Found Water Heater tagged out by Utility Company for Carbon Monoxide issue. Home Owner stated he installed the Water heater about 6 months ago. upon further investigations the following things should be cirrected
1- run Appropriate size exhaust tubing out through Chimney- Current vent has 3 holes that combined travel the length of the vent
2- Adjust angle of vent- The Vent appears to be set up for a smaller water heater and the water heater exhaust vent is approximately 18" higher than the exhaust on the wall
3- Repair the gas line- Currently has no Drip leg and is not long enough to be safe

After making the needed repairs I will test and make any other repairs as needed and you will be notified of the cost before any of the repairs are made"

Customers Response was "Just Light the Damn thing I know it is installed correct. You act like I dont know what I an doing"

I had the Plumber write on the tickets that Homeowner was aware of the risk of Death by igniting the water heater and that the Homeowner acknowledges that we did not attempt to light the water heater in anyway" and had him initial it.

Sad thing is my guess he will light it and may be ok for a month or even a year but, one day I will be hearing his address on the news
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:15 PM   #9
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Psst! I think the part in red should have been omitted from the original conversation, just skip to the part that follows.
I find it is better to let the customer know that I understand the Problem... Most of the time I repeat the problem back to them so they can here it out loud. I have had people call for clogged toilets at 10 at night and then when I say it back they say "You know I have 2 other toilets can I set this up for tomorrow?" It lets them know that you are human and you understand... Just my style
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:57 PM   #10
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As long as they don't come back on you when you hear his name on the news saying you didnt check properly. I would hit that guy with a baseball bat labeled "im a moron". How do you get a red tag anyway for that stuff? someone comes and does a routine inspction? he sounds like a grumpy old me and is probably really young i bet.
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:09 PM   #11
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As long as they don't come back on you when you hear his name on the news saying you didnt check properly. I would hit that guy with a baseball bat labeled "im a moron". How do you get a red tag anyway for that stuff? someone comes and does a routine inspction? he sounds like a grumpy old me and is probably really young i bet.

Here any Plumber or Gas Fitter can Red tag you. An Example of this would be if he called and said his water heater was not lighting and we go and see the holes in the exhaust vent. If we tell him about them and he elects not to do the work... We are required to shut it down and Red Tag it. When my guy left there today he also red tagged him. How his happened I am not sure. Could have smelled gas and he called it is... Hell I know one retired Plumber that now reads the Meters and when he is in a house he looks at stuff like that as he is walking by and will shut it down
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Docwhitley View Post
Here any Plumber or Gas Fitter can Red tag you. An Example of this would be if he called and said his water heater was not lighting and we go and see the holes in the exhaust vent. If we tell him about them and he elects not to do the work... We are required to shut it down and Red Tag it. When my guy left there today he also red tagged him. How his happened I am not sure. Could have smelled gas and he called it is... Hell I know one retired Plumber that now reads the Meters and when he is in a house he looks at stuff like that as he is walking by and will shut it down
This whole thing sounds fishy. Not YOUR part in it, but there's something just jacked up about this.

I'd be curious to know who tagged it, and how he knew to tag it.


Even so, you're right, this homeowner got hit with the Idiot Stick - and hard. I'm a relentless DIYer partly to save money. So if he's a DIYer, why is he so willing to pay you $325 just to come look at his water heater in the middle of the night - especially after it had been off for several days?

I suppose it's impossible to understand why people do what they do...
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:02 PM   #13
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OK, I agree your customer was not too bright. Did their house blow up yet? Wow.

But this whole thread has me depressed. As a potential "dick" client, (apparently that's what you call us), I find $325 + materials for a 2 hour service call a bit high. I would file it under "taking advantage of someone in need because you can". I have a 4 year advanced computer degree and cannot charge rates like that.

I saw another thread in here where a plumber was bragging about charging $400,000 last year for simple repair work.

Come on guys. It's greed like this that has the whole planet on the verge of financial collapse. We "dicks" need a break in light of the current financial situation.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:27 PM   #14
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OK, I agree your customer was not too bright. Did their house blow up yet? Wow.

But this whole thread has me depressed. As a potential "dick" client, (apparently that's what you call us), I find $325 + materials for a 2 hour service call a bit high. I would file it under "taking advantage of someone in need because you can". I have a 4 year advanced computer degree and cannot charge rates like that.

I saw another thread in here where a plumber was bragging about charging $400,000 last year for simple repair work.

Come on guys. It's greed like this that has the whole planet on the verge of financial collapse. We "dicks" need a break in light of the current financial situation.
You, my friend do not understand the cost of running a plumbing shop. But I think by the time this thread dies, you will
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:45 PM   #15
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Yes i expect some flaming. I'm not picking on plumbers specifically so dont get me wrong. Costs and labour rates have gone insane. A recent software support contract cost my company $2000. For this we receive almost nothing other than some phone support which we rarely use. If you skip a year then next year they charge $4000 for services we never even recieived!

See my point?

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