Roto Rooter Strikes Again

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Cass, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    I went on a Stopped up kitchen drain call last night. New customer.

    When I got there I spoke with the home owner a while long enough to find out she was widowed, 83 years old, and legally blind and long enough for her to tell me the Cincinnati Branch of Roto Rooter had been there in May to replace part of her kitchen drain line.
    When I opened the cabinet and looked...RR had replaced the trap, 4' of drain pipe, a 90, and connected it to 1.5" existing copper drain in the wall.

    They had used a flimsy 1/16" thick rubber coupling (not banded) to transition from the copper to PVC then it 90ed and the PVC ran 4' to and accordion type trap


    and was unsupported except by the friction washer on the tail piece. The PVC drain was level not pitched.The drain at the rubber coupling connection was twisting and hanging down...

    I will be calling RR on Monday on behalf of the lady to get them to come back out and do this job right...and maybe even see if they will pull a permit and have it inspected...:D
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  2. what did they charge the litle old lady??? forgot the punch line...

    how much did they feel they deserved to charge
    this blind little old lady????.
  3. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Mark, the bill was 369.00 and that reflected a 10% senior citizen discount. I guess they had to make up for the 10% discount with cheap, junky not to code parts.
  4. thats a little salty

    yes that is a little salty....

    I suppose they cleaned the drain out...
    and installed the 3 dollars worth of fittings...

    you got to remember that those poor saps work on a
    commission, so they get half and the owenr gets half....

    what comes around goes around....
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Might like one plumbing store that used to be in this town. They doubled the prices and then gave a 20% discount.
  6. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    S. Maine
    And away go troubles.... Down the drain....
    (along with a whole lot of your money)
  7. Cookie

    Cookie .

    In all fairness to people in general, not all RR are careless, inexperienced or money-grubbing; I had great experiences with them and they were reasonable. I have had Certified plumbers take advantage of me, do half-assed work and still, wanted to come back wanting more.
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Mark...they work on roughly 1/3 and 2/3 for guys starting out. You can make a little more if you are a master plumber.

    The plumber gets 1/3 and RR gets 2/3.

    So for the worker to make any $$$ they have to quote high prices.

    And BTW they did not snake the drain when they installed the parts...
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2008
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Pimped Plumbers!


    6 Week Wonders

    6 Weeks ago I couldn't spell plumber now I are one!:eek:
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    They have to quote high prices to make money, AND they have to create needless repairs in order to quote those high prices. Preferably "critical" repairs that have to be done "right now", and/or "we have a backhoe working around the corner and they can be over here within a half hour to get started." Just a variation on the Holland Furnace Company that would give a free inspection and then tell you that the furnace was defective and could not be safely put back together, but they had a new one on the truck, AND since the temperature was in the 20's they were ready to install it RIGHT NOW. Of course the price was three times what it should have been but when the house is getting cold they did not have time for second or third opinions.
  11. seaneys

    seaneys New Member

    Chicago Suburbs
    My neighbor has nasty drain line problems (tree roots). About 5 years ago he left while RR was cleaning out his drain. He asked me to keep an eye out and make sure they locked up as they left.

    A few hours later I went over as they were packing up. The RR guy was giving up and going home. He had broken off two cutters (not sure what they are called) and left them in the line. He gave me back the check for $450. The line was now completely clogged (as opposed to just being slow).

    I was a little amazed that they would give up. My neighbor is an attorney. He had to threaten to sue them to get them back to complete the job.

  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    They have disclaimers in the fine print when you sign that they are not responsible if they break a snake in your sewer line.
  13. burleymike

    burleymike New Member

    Their logo should be a victem bent over with the snake, well you know where.

    Long ago when we had our first house the main line plugged up. It was sunday so the only place that returned our call was a business with "rooter" in their name. The guy showed up two hours after he said he would be there. Because I did not know where the cleanout was and he did not feel like looking he decided to pull the toilet.

    I asked if I should put a tarp on our new carpet and he said he would not make a mess. Guess what, he did.

    After he left I noticed dirt in the bathtub. Then I saw daylight coming from the drain in the tub. There was a crawlspace vent right under the tub. I went into the crawlspace and the dummy disconnected the tub drain. I put it back together and ran some water in the tub.

    Of course now the tub was plugged so that would explain why he disconnected it. He probably was hoping we would not notice the water in teh crawlspace.

    Turns out our old terra cotta line has collapsed under the street when they replaced the water mains. The city replaced the sewer line for free since they caused the damage. I had to replace the line coming from the tub because rooter man somehow mangaged to get rocks and sand stuck in the tub line.

    My wife called the rooter guy to complain about what he did. She eventually got to the owner who told her to go F*** herself and hung up. She then called the state contractors board and they said that this business had their license suspended and should not have been working.

    Everytime I hear the rooter name I get angry!!
  14. These national chains right now are hurting, and more of this is coming.

    I ran one off on another site,

    all I had to do was speak the truth about what happened, and they "disappeared".
  15. sewer work is a rough job....

    We used to do that kind of work when I was a kid
    and I hated it....

    those days were hot and grind and grind in
    roots and get nothing accomplished except to get covered in crap.......

    I now give all of that work away,
    and refer those calls to two companies in town....
    and they refer plumbing calls to me.

    Their is a special breed of guy who likes to mess
    around in sewage all day long

    day in and day out....

    they are something a-kin to a cave-man..
    something like "the missing link"..
    and they are hard to keep around as employees......

    as far as I am concerned

    sewer work is just the perfect job for the Roto rooter guys

    I say......let them wallow in it.......

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2008
  16. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Chicago, IL
    Hey now, I love rodding sewers and drains. My father started his business as a sewer and drain contractor. Yes we are a special breed. I know many guys that started off doing plumbing and asked to do drain work, and they hated it and made bad service techs. But many that have started in the service end of it and then became plumbers are great plumbers. Trouble with places with Rooter in their name is that 98% of them have no idea what they are doing. They came from a different walk of life, like say a used car salesman that decided to become a Rooter guy. They train him for 6 weeks mostly how to fill out the paper work and price the jobs. They never get properly trained to run a drain cleaning machine. My father and his father before him been cleaning sewers all their lives. I got into the work with one difference I went and got sponsored for my plumbing license and became a journeyman plumber.

    I do not like the "Rooter" companies much either, they give the rest of use that is out there trying to earn an honest living a bad name. I do wish here in Illinois that they would require sewer and drain guys to be properly trained and licensed. It used to be that way many years ago, but a lot of plumbers felt that it was to dirty and messy to deal with so they let it get done by "Handymen".
  17. It takes a very Special breed....

    its just another form or area of plumbing..

    and their are much worse jobs ,,,,

    like pumping out septic tanks....

    we could never get our service plumbers very excited
    about going out and cleaning out main drains...

    usually their was a lot of complaining that went with doing them, dragging a large heavy cable down into someones basement, or digging in the front yard looking for a clenaout... or going up on the roof.....

    and all said and done the small profit was not worth the

    and the guys that liked doing sewer work
    seemed almost impossible to keep around as employees...

    never show up on time, ect...

    so I just gave it all up for cleaner forms of work.

    I dont miss it one bit....
    and we are very busy without it.....

    Roto Rooter can have it....,

  18. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    I for one don't mind the "cleaner" part of the business!

    When I was 12 years old on weekends I used to ride with one of my dads friends on a honey wagon. He would tell me where to dig the tank lid and I'd do that while he went and had a "pop" at the local gin mill. He'd return open the lid and pump the tank. He paid me $50 cash for the weekend and that was in 1968! Pay was a helluva lot better than getting up at 5AM everyday to do a paper route!

    Smells like money to me!

    When I show up at a drain cleaning call it's pretty much guaranteed work!
    Plumbing tends to have a lot more tire kicking and price shopping.
    On a day when I do mostly drain cleaning I make a lot more $ an hour than I do plumbing.

    I'll take it!
    When you have good equipment and know what you are doing it's easy work.
    Go in see what's going on select the right machine and cleanout point n do it!
    I manage to stay clean!:cool:
  19. staying clean

    I can go out and instal 4 water heaters tomorrow
    and basically come home about as clean as I left...

    I go out and try to clean out a just one kitchen drain,

    and it looks like an egg-beater went off all over me.,

    or I got to climb up on the roof in a rain storm
    , or go down in the crawl space and grind it out from down there.

    or its overhead in a clean finished basement with a white carpet...

    you name it......and its happened to me...

    and of course the customer does not feel you are
    entitled to anything more for all the extra effort..

    I have walked away from a number of them,
    and referred them to others,,,,,
    just becasue I could feel the doom and greif creeping up on me.....

    so unless their is absolutely nothing else to do
    that day....

    I try to avoid them
  20. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    This is a funny thread. You couldn't pay me enough to do a cleanout job ...
    Several times I have needed the pipe from the D box to the septic tank snaked. In each case the guy has shown up very neat and well groomed, wearing a fresh pair of nitrile grooves. Before they leave, they are totally dishevelled, covered in $hit from head to toe, and the gloves are no where to be found ... what a sight. I always am appreciative and pay the bill in cash and leave a generous tip ...
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