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Old 12-08-2010, 06:55 AM   #16
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Did they know?


unfortunenatluck

Would you please keep us readers informed of the job till finished properly I really would like to hear the conclusion.

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Old 12-08-2010, 10:12 AM   #17
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Coldiron,
Yes, I will definitely keep everyone informed of our progress and conclusion. Everyone who replied to us on here has been such a HUGE help, and I cannot thank you all enough. We have really gotten some great information and have a lot to think about. Where we stand right now is that we have so far had two plumbers out. The first was the guy selling the liner for $5000, and the second was a guy we had come out and clean the line and look at the video our first guy had given us. The second plumber said he didn't see any major defect with the line but then he did say he could see the spot the first plumber referenced, where the line has possibly separated at the joint. Anyway, with the line clean for now, we have at least bought ourselves a window of time to make an informed decision. We also learned our city has a lateral line program, where they will pay to repair the line if the problem falls under a certain list of criteria. The only thing is that it does not cover root invasion. So we have to prove that the pvc joint separated FIRST, and allowed roots to grow in...not that the roots invaded the line and broke it. Not really sure how you prove that, but we are at least going to apply to the program to get an answer. Basically the city will come out and do their own camera inspection and then make their decision. If they agree to repair, then we have to seek 3 bids....which we will definitely be doing anyway. In fact, we wish we could afford to have every plumber in town out to look at it just so we know we're making the right/best repair and we're getting the best man for the job. But that is not feasible and we have at least gathered some excellent advice from here that we can speak with our plumber(s) about. On another note, we asked the plumber yesterday to look at the line before he cabled it to tell us if it had ever been cabled before. He indicated that it had in fact been cabled before, which means that our experience is not the first time this has happened. More proof that the previous homeowners knew. So we contacted our agent to tell them that we know they knew, and if they'd like to settle out of court, we will split the total cost of repair with them. If they continue to deny they knew anything, then we will be taking them to small claims court. That way we can represent ourselves and not have to pay thousands in lawyer fees. There is a dollar limitation, so we won't be able to recover all our expense, but if we can at least recover some, that will put our mind at ease. And if we recover nothing, then we will only be out time. This whole thing has been a total nightmare, and not something we ever expected to happen. We left our last house in tip top shape for our buyers, and we were foolish to think everyone does the same. Anyway, if and when we buy another house, we will be paying for every possible extra inspection we can get, ESPECIALLY a sewer inspection. We did a regular inspection here but did not obviously do the separate sewer inspection. Anyway, thanks again everyone for the great advice, and please, keep it coming!
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:48 PM   #18
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I like the way you think as far as bids go I would get as many as possible also and keep a running record of them. I know people who never get bids on very expensive projects and take the first person who prices it and then they get burnt and cry to me. But they never listened to me to start with. don't forget the Contractor's license #, Insurance certificate, references, and actual jobs he can show you and check the BBB. Ask around to everybody. OH! Get everything in writing and I mean it, no money till the jobs done and you are satisfied.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by COLDIRON View Post
I like the way you think as far as bids go I would get as many as possible also and keep a running record of them. I know people who never get bids on very expensive projects and take the first person who prices it and then they get burnt and cry to me. But they never listened to me to start with. don't forget the Contractor's license #, Insurance certificate, references, and actual jobs he can show you and check the BBB. Ask around to everybody. OH! Get everything in writing and I mean it, no money till the jobs done and you are satisfied.

No Offense Cold Iron but, I would walk away from your demands.
I agree with the following... But lets be honest here
Contractor #- Each state has a different name for it but my state has an actual Plumbing License and you can pull up that persons License number... I would ask for the Number for the guy that will be doing the work- This is an easy job any 3rd year apprentice or higher could do
Insurance Certificate- Not a Problem
References- I would be willing to give but is someone you talk to on the phone worth it?
Actual Jobs- Not a Problem as long as you agree that the next 5 people that want to see a job that I did I can bring to your house
BBB- People need to understand the BBB... First you must pay to be a member... Second a Company that does 2500 Jobs a year which is not unrealistic with only 3 complaints is a lot different then the Company that does 12 Remodels a year and has 3 complaints.

I agree get everything in writing and I mean Everything! Key points to look for
Condition the yard will be left in- Most will do Rough grade... Hate to give trade secrets but, insist they use Plywood to protect the lawn They can place the dirt they Dig up on it and helps to prevent some ruts.
Type of Pipe- Drain is usually PVC but, Water can Vary
WHO Will be doing the Digging! Is it an employee of the company or a Subcontractor? Is he covered by insurance.
How Deep will they Dig with out a Shoring box?

Now if you said you were not paying anything till the Job is done I would need to say thank you for giving me your time but, I will need to turn down the offer. Dig Jobs are a 1 Day Job but, I demand 30% up front and the other Portion will wait till Job is complete unless you are leaving for ANY reason at all Then I want it then. I have had so many Jobs where I am Done and ready to leave but the Home owner is nowhere around. Then I either need to make another trip to them or they want to mail it and this is how the mail usually goes
ME- Hello Hey we are finished the joob
HO- Oh Sorry I had to Run back can you wait for me I will only be 2 hours
ME- No I really can not wait Can you give me a credit card over the phone
HO-No I dont feel Confortable with that I will mail you a check..
ME- OK I will leave your Invoice in your mail box
HO- Ok I will mail that tomorrow
ME- Thanks
Me- (5 Days Later) Hey this is Doc... I have not seen that check did you mail it
HO- Ummm No I was waiting for an invoice
ME- I Left it in your MAil box
HO- OH NO I want want printed by a Computer that looks professional
ME- Oh I am sorry we do not have printers in our Work trucks I will have one sent now.. Look for it in the next 2-3 days
HO- OK
ME- 10 Days Later- Hello I was just calling to see if you got the invoice
HO- ummm no
ME- Really Well how about if I bring it out to you...
HO- Ummm I wont be home till around 2
ME- OK How about tomorrow?
HO- No just mail it...
ME- How about if I e-mail it to you and you can print it out from your printer in your car
HO- I dont have a printer in my car
ME- oh really the way you made it sound everyone did
HO- Just mail it and I will send you a check
ME- Day 15- Hi Just calling to make sure you got the invoice
HO- Yeah but I could not read it because it got wet

I could go on and on but I think you get the point... I average 8-10 dig jobs a month if 1 does that a month.... that is 12 a year at 3000 average that is $36000 that I need to fight to get. In the end it is not worth it
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:10 PM   #20
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No offense DOC but start walking the next guy is here to do the work as specified.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:12 PM   #21
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To be honest Cold Iron ... I would

And all of the People in this area that I know would also walk. It is to much of a risk to take. I do not expect it all up front but 30% will typically cover the material and atleast the pay for that day for all of the staff that needs to be involved. I have had experiences (and I am not the only one) where the first Plumber went in and said it is a two day Job... I go in and instead of working 8-5 I work 7-9 and get it done in 1 day then have the customer say... Well I want you to lower your price because it did not take you 2 days.

I know I sound Hard and believe me if the Law allowed me to Rip out the water heater after it was installed or... Dig up the Drain Line.... or clog the toilet back up I would do that if someone did not pay... But they dont so instead what I have found out after having 123000in collections for a year is that if a Person allows you to do the work after agreeing on the price and fails to pay you... I press criminal charges of theft of service... Misdemeanor unless it is over 1000. Then it is a felony. Easier to go for restitution then it is Collections.

Forgot to mention earlier... If you want a feeling for a company I believe Google is a Better example. Look them up under the Local Companies and read the reviews there. People write both good and bad not just Bad.

Example of a Bad one we had.
Customer called in at 2am and had a clogged drain. I told her it would be 325 for the first 11/2 and 125 per hour after that. We did not give free estimates at 2 am. She said Come on out. I got there and it was hher bathroom sink. I removed the op up assembly and took out the hair. Put it back together and tested it everything worked. She gave me $50 and said "Here take this and keep it this can be between us, I wont say anything to your boss" I first thought $50 tip Great! Then wrote up the bill for $325. She gave me another $275 and called me an ******* as I left.
Next Day
Google Review
I had *&(&)(&*))*&*& out last night after speaking to a person on the phone. I told him I wanted a free estimate and he said OK. When the Plumber got here he was rude and said that he wanted to write $275 on the ticket and keep $50 for himself. DONT TRUST THEM THEY SHOULD BE IN JAIL!"

So again ... I took the Call... I did the Call.. I told her a Price.... and she tried to pay me under the table but, I am the one with the bad review.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:21 PM   #22
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Why go out at 2 in the morning? I'd send the newbie
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:35 PM   #23
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I answer every call that comes in at night because I want to make sure they are not saying $600 to come out (Had it happen) and answering service has been proven to turn customers off. So 2 in the morning a lot of the time you will get me is a Clean uniform teeth brushed hair brushed sometimes even a shower. To me Every Customer gets treated fairly no matter what time they call.I also do not let them know my position or title so we get a lot of calls where they say... I called at 2 or 3 and Your guy came out and took great care of me. I ask his name and then say... Thank you it is always glad to hear from a satisfied customer. I also know these are the people wanting side work... Again I never tell them who I am Not until they are an angry customer do I use my title
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:46 PM   #24
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doc what do you mean " USE MY TITLE "
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:00 PM   #25
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doc what do you mean " USE MY TITLE "
I have had people say the owner came out or The owners brother ot owners son... I like that everyone knowd me as the plumber that helped them when they needed help.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:55 PM   #26
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Doc I respect your position as a small business owner.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:03 AM   #27
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Thanks Warner I come here to give help but, I get passionate because it is easier to follow advice that is in favor of you then it is to follow advice that does not go 100% your way. I just get a little frustrated. I will tell you if I think you are getting over charged as I did with this OP and to be honest if this is the first time she had a back up I would not have even pushed for the Camera... I would have said... We give a free drain cleaning if you have a back up over the next 6 months... If you do at that time I will be glad to do a camera and Locate and show you on our digital screen what the problem is and Dont worry we are open 24 hours a day 364 days a year... Sorry we do not work Christmas.

I have done some drain cleans open for one day others open for 2 years you never know
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:44 PM   #28
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We also learned our city has a lateral line program, where they will pay to repair the line if the problem falls under a certain list of criteria. The only thing is that it does not cover root invasion. So we have to prove that the pvc joint separated FIRST, and allowed roots to grow in...not that the roots invaded the line and broke it. Not really sure how you prove that
Unfortunateluck -

That being said, perhaps a certified arborist can give you some type of written statement? I'm certainly no arborist, but I don't believe roots can grow through structurally sound PVC. They go after the water and added nutrients. Which would require a break, loose joint, etc. Once they're in, obviously they grow and expand inevitably causing more damage.

Anything new transpire in the last couple of days? Were you able to contact the guy I referred you to?
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:59 PM   #29
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My suggestion have another Plumber come out and actually do a real Quote. Actually Do 2 if Possible.

Good Luck
I am going to expand on Docwhitley' comments.

Write down your problems and questions. then call 2 or 3 plumbers. Don't schedule them at the same time. Ask how much time they need. The more information they have the better thay can address you situation. And you want those you talk to to estimate the same job. Also ask for proof of liablitiy insurance, bond, worker's compensation and whatever lisences are required in St Louis.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:22 PM   #30
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That first contrator in my opinion is not trustworthy. You should be very
wary when a contractor tries high pressure tactics like offering you $$$$ off
but you have act yesterday. That would immediately get my suspicion hairs
all up in row. I hate "high pressure tactics" What is pvc pipe on sale for
only the next week at the local plumbers supply. It sounds to me that this
lining thing is at best a band aid solution and not a long term fix. I would ask
for references and check them out. Check out the contractor ( any you hire) with the local business bureau in your area to see if there are any complaints.
Check on their years of serving "your community" if you live in a smaller
town hiring from the community might be a good idea.

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