Rota Rooter independent contractors??

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by brother, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. brother

    brother New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Washington
    I was chatting with a rota rooter plumber, and He told me that they work mostly off of commission and that after they have been with the company for a while, You have to 'finance' your own van. when there is no 'calls' then they get paid something like $7 an hour, but the rest of the calls you get the money when you go out.

    Ive never heard of a company making you buy a 'van' to work for them. What do you think of this?? Is this common practice??
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,021
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Rr

    You don't think franchises exist to help the worker do you? I am surprised they even pay them when they are not on a job. Usually it is by "ticket time" and a percentage of anything they can convince the customer they need, or at least what the plumber needs to sell to make his next truck payment.
  3. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Corporate ran Roto Rooter here in the Chicago area, makes the sewer and drain contractors buy their own vans and hand tools. They supply them with the drain cleaning machines but the tech has to buy the cable. The sewer and drain cleaners get paid a percentage of each job.

    Now if you are a licensed plumber they give you a company van with tools, and they pay you an hourly wage.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,021
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    rr

    quote; Now if you are a licensed plumber they give you a company van with tools, and they pay you an hourly wage.

    Does that mean if you not a licensed plumber they send you out on plumbing jobs and it is up to you to get out of it if caught?
  5. brother

    brother New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Washington
    Im curious about that too, this guy was just clearing a drain for me. I suppose hes NOT required to be a licensed plumber?? Is this true?? I thought any type of plumbing work you had to have a journeyman.
  6. Almost always, you have to supply a truck that's presentable to them, and in good condition above 1995 I believe.

    They stock your truck, but when you turn it in, the value of the stock has to match what was put on it to begin with.


    Tools are your own.



    I'm glad they are around because indirectly people call me for a better price, which is always easy to accomplish with them throwing out "blow your brains out" rates or your "personal loan plumber" because you're gonna need one when they are done!

    Everybody start singing the the song to get the feel for the money leaving your bank account. DO IT!
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio

    In all the areas I am aware of you need no type of Licensing to do drain clearing...Replacing drains, installing plumbing....yes, but just opening a clean out and sliding a snake in it to clear a clogg or cut out roots...no...
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,021
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    rr

    That worked when they were just drain cleaners, but now they advertise full plumbing services. Maybe someplaces only the contractor license holder has to be a qualified plumber, but here ANYONE doing plumbing has to have a license of some kind. Either journeyman or contractor.
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Depends on what state you are in. In some states, an apprenctice must be under the direct supervision of a journeyman. In Calif, only the business owner has to be a licensed contractor. For most work, he can pretty much hire anyone he wants, and send them out alone on the truck. It is up to his jugdement to decide or ensure that they are qualified to do the job. Large construction and commercial work may have union contractor involvement, then that is diffferent.
  10. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Here in Illinois only a licensed plumber can do plumbing. But drain cleaners are nor required to have a license unless you are doing work in Cook county then you need a sewer and drain layers license. If one of Rooter Rooter drain cleaning Tech is asked to do plumbing , he explains to the customer that they need to call the office and schedule a plumber to come out. Roto Rooter tried skirting around the plumbing law by having the one licensed plumber on staff and supervise the other guys but the state said no all people doing any type of plumbing must have their own license.

    The sewer and drain cleaners are required to supply a truck that is no more than 3 years old. Pay to have it lettered, only tools they supply is the drain cleaning machines but not the cables. Only parts that would be needed is new clean out plugs, and p-traps. (The code does allow the removal of a p trap to gain access for drain cleaning)
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,021
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    plumber

    Here, a handyman can do jobs up to $700.00 without a contractor's license, UNLESS the work would have required a permit and inspection, i.e., water heaters and repipes. The total value of all work being done must be less than $700.00, it cannot be broken down into small segments to get under the dollar limitation. BUt they typically ignore both restrictions and advertise in the paper for those tasks and state, "Not a licensed contractor". The registrar could go after them and stop the practice but it is easier for them to hassle the licensed contractors.
  12. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Here you if you do any form of advertising about plumbing you must post your Pluming contractor license, our your plumbing license. The contractor license here involves 10 pages of paper work, bond, certificate of insurance and a plumbers license, and if it is a cooperation the licensed plumber must be an officer. The contractor license is for the purpose of getting permits. When the pluming inspector pops on the job he checks to see if all doing plumbing are licensed plumbers. Now if a handyman or someone unlicensed is advertising that they do plumbing, they get fined by the state.

    Last continued education class I went to they informed us they collected $400k in fines last year out of a total of $680k fines issued. They even jailed a couple guys that where repeat offenders along with the fines.
  13. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    So, an apprentice can't work alongside a master plumber to learn the trade? Or, is there an apprentice license they need to have?
  14. brother

    brother New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Washington
    Jailed!!?? OUCH!! sounds like your area doesnt play around Dont know if i agree with that, except just giving them heavy fines.
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,021
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fines

    Here, it is a felony, and they not only fine you, but issue an injunction so you cannot continue working AND they also "blackball" you for two years so you cannot even apply to become legal.
  16. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    There is apprentice license here, the first 3 years is direct supervision meaning the sponsor must be on site as well. Then the apprentice license on the forth and fifth year becomes supervision, meaning the sponsor has to come and inspect the work done, before any final inspections.

    They only jail you in extreme cases.Think of someone practicing medicine with out a license, big fines, lawsuits, and jail time. Reason for all these codes and license requirements is to protect the health and safety of everyone in the community. We go through the apprenticeship learning the plumbing code and go to school as well, then take a test to get our license.

    About some of the heated discussions on this forum IE (tankless water heaters, (AAV)air admittance valves) Their are always new things that some plumbing codes allow and in time they will see the error of using that item. Like S-traps where once allowed by the plumbing codes but now is banned except in water closets. Also the code once allowed bituminized fiber pipe (Orangeburg pipe) but 10 years later they seen the error of this as well. As for the AAV they will be banned in time. Tankless water heaters will have to meet new codes for proper installations. These are the reasons a whole lot of the Pros on this forum get passionate about the advice they give, they have been trained and licensed, and been in the industry long enough to see things come and go.
  17. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    Well, Illinois, or at least Cook Co., seems extreme. I can give myself or others a number of over the counter medicines. I see deciding when to take Ibuprofen as at least equal in skill/judgment to taking apart a leaking p-trap to replace it or the compression washers. NY (outside NYC) seems kinda lax about who can plumb, and I can't recall the last story I read of illness or injury due to bad plumbing. There were a couple of deaths ten years ago at a fair where the food vendors were running off hoses, but the source of contamination was traced back to the well supplying, not the plumbing (as initially suspected).

    I realize the very real risk of cross connections. That's something so serious and so cheaply remedied that I think municipal water depts. should just go around and install vacuum breakers on hose bibbs while taking meter readings. But even our Nanny state hasn't done that.

    Our nearby capital city requires metal DWV. They're no safer than we are, but the union is happy. I suspect that's a big part of how Cook County got where it is regarding plumbing.

    I've seen enough to be cynical about all politicians' actions, including the content of codes that get enacted. Some plumbers in our town think house traps are a good idea so that unused drains don't allow sewer gas into the houses (explanation from DPW). I guess that's to protect the home of snowbirds who go to Florida for 6 months and are too stupid to take measures. So, to be hooked up to the town sewers, you need to have a house trap. Prohibited, so I'm told, by some modern codes, but required by our sewer dept.
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I believe Cook Co. also requires all wiring in homes to be run in metal conduit...
  19. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    That is true, can only use the flexable stuff to hook up applances and no more than 3 foot, if I recall right.

    But the plumbing code strictness here in Illinios is all of Illinois. The guys in Southeren Illinois have a,(excuse the term please) hard on for busting unliscanced contrators. Cook county is only strict on the sewer and drain bit.

    Chicago itself requires you to call in for ten dollar a permit if you do any sewer rodding. One of the reasons for this is to keep the conartists at bay. You know the guys that claim they can rod any drain for 35 bucks. When they get their they put on a show and tell the homeowner it needs to be dug up for 2000 bucks.
  20. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Oh just give you an idea about these con-men. I happened onto a block where these guys where digging up a sewer and installing a clean out. I decided to watch them and what I seen them do made my jaw drop and hang around to see if they where getting it inspected or not. What I saw was they dug down 8 feet and layed a tee down in the hole the brought up a riser. The tee was just laying in the hole, no other sewer pipe was anywhere near it. When they started to back fill I called the inspector and informed him of what was going on. The inspector came out put a stop work order on the job for no permit. Then had the guys uncover the pipe they installed. Turned out they where no where near a sewer line. The sewer was 20 feet on the other side of the lot.
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