Shopping for a plumber

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by KathyER, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. KathyER

    KathyER New Member


    I'm so glad I found this board!! I'm sure you guys will be very helpful and eventually I can learn to fix a few things myself. Until then, any advice on shopping for a plumber besides recommendations?

  2. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber


    A service plumbers best friend is "word of mouth". So ask.........
    There are a lot of wonderful plumbers out there but do you want someone for construction or for servicing in house problems?
  3. call the BBB

    The Better Business Bureau is the best place to start

    just go there and start your serach

    Angies list is so so....

    they are sort of dubious ---because they let plumbers advertise .
    anyone willing to advertise can get put at the top of their " preferred list"

    to hell with them I say...


    many plumbers pay their employees on commission.........

    its also called FLAT RATE PRICEING

    if they sell you a water heater for 950, they get a % of that price

    if they can talk you into extras, they get a cut of that too....

    it can get ugly , and they prey on ladies and the elderly.


    its good to look for a family owned company in business for a while


    Almost everyone has to advertise in the yellow pages...or they will

    die on the vine.... your customer base will eventually grow older

    and start to move away or simply die off. Find someone that has

    not the largest adds or not the smallest either....

    but if they dont advertise at all,

    it is also a sign of something I call COMITTMENT to stay

    and work in the area....

    for many plumbers, they look at the yellow pages as just

    "good beer money going to waste" and you want to advoid that

    sort of small handyman type too.

    I go out and fix their messes every day,
    cause they are nowhere to be found
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2005
  4. you got shook down too??

    I think its called a SHAKE DOWN, dont you think???

    A .. list tried to shake me down a few years ago too.

    I did not like the taste of it all and told them to go to hell.

    Thier are some very skummey plumbers with very poor BBB track record in

    my town that advertise BIG TIME
    with A...List and give a A...List discount too!!!

    instead of 1100 for a waterr heater they put it in for only 975.00 LOL

    I dont care to play that game .

    I do have their logos on my trucks
    and I do have a grade on theri web site... B+

    but I wont
    advertise with those sleezewads., because I feel as

    though I am giveing them a bribe.
  5. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Vancouver, BC
    About 60% of my business comes from word-of-mouth... and man, does it get around quickly - my 'business card' size yellow pages ad brings in about 5% of business and costs $$$ monthly! People trust you more when you come recommended from their neighbours, friends, or people in the supermarket, and I think that's the best way to go - ask people you trust, because everyone has needed a plumber at some point and has an opinion on their plumber or company!
  6. building your business up without angie

    anyone wanting to know a few secrets on how to build
    your business up in your area, just e-mail me
    anytime and I will tell you what I have stumbled on
    over the past 15 years that has really worked great...

    the biggest secret is called WORK
  7. small is good

    tried to get big, but found that you cant get

    decent employees unless they get paid union scale

    and they still arent decent

    I fired them all and started over.

    staying small forever,
  8. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber


    Small is good.

    Word of mouth is good too.

    If you're good, you'll have all the work that you can handle............
  9. KathyER

    KathyER New Member

    Thanks for the advice -- especially for reminding me to check the BBB.
    I'll stick to word of mouth. Unfortuately, I've met only 2 neighbors. But, I do have 2 recommendations. Let me see .. enie mine moe. Seems I've moved onto a street where everyone goes inside and stays to themselves. :( The guys at work aren't much help, either. Oh, yeah, I do not want the big guys nor do I want the "I think I'm a handy-man, therefore I am". haha... just makes the laugh if it wasn't hitting my pocket-book!

    I know very well ... through dealing with car mechanics/shops around town... how these guys treat me if I do not stand there and watch them work. (Rebuilt engine that was perfectly normal before going into the shop, shortened out alternator, and a screwdriver left on my engine block to name a few).

    Ok, I just thought of a new question.. off to post a new thread.

    Thanks ya'll !
  10. too much past history

    God, you can really feel the love here between you all.

    Now lets all hold hands and sing --- kuum--byee-yaaa lord---

    I must respectfully disagree with Gary here....

    Angies list is a scam, as I mentionied hell with them.
    But if they will let me use their logo for free, I will. and I do.

    The BBB does enhance your image and does make people
    feel more comfortable calling you .....because they KNOW
    that you will most likely honor and back up your work.

    or face the wrath of the BBB.

    People call me all the time after they have checked me out,

    and simply say come out and install a water softerner or

    water heater....... When I ask them how they found me and they usually

    say the yellow pages, then they tell me they checked me out with the BBB

    and I had a very good pedigree. --woof -- woof

    Now, if only I could get my employees to bathe more often.

    The BBB is far more legit... and I do pay dues every year....

    approx $275 per year, and have 6 years of no complaints...and it

    makes my IMAGE to the PUBLIC look far more legit...

    Also, I have never been shook down by the BBB.

    But I have been shook down by assh--- customers that know

    the game and realize I want to keep a clean record on myself...

    Its happenned only twice over the years, but they make a complaint

    expecting a full refund for some minor problem ...or none at all, knowing full

    well I will probably give them back their money to avoid the whole hassell.

    They say give me my money back and I will take back that complaint.

    That usually gets me riled up , but generally its best to just give them
    back their money (up to a point) and

    realize that what comes around , truely goes around.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2005
  11. Bbb Dues

    I am grandfathered in at the BBB,

    probably been a member since 1990?

    and I could be off a little about my cost ,

    it might have gone up on me to 325 -- .whatever.

    I will check it out.

    as far as angies list, I had the same problems
    with pickey wealthy people wanting me to come out at their
    convienance to give them -- "free estimates"--

    getting pissed off at me for not wanting to come out
    at 8 at night to all parts of town...

    Mad because I am not willing to drive 35 miles away
    at 3.30 on a Sat afternoon after their tennis match, ect....

    I had someone recently quibble with me over a verbal estimate
    over the phone ---I quoted him a "not to exceed price of $195.00"
    the minimum it would be was $135.00.

    he still wanted me to drive out (25 miles one way) to haggle with
    him because he thought it might only be worth $150.

    How did I know what to charge him without seeing it??

    I told him I DO THIS FOR A LIVING....

    I told him I would not burn a half tank of gas and spend my day
    over only 15 bucks. Never heard back from him.

    I probably should bring along entertainment to keep them pacified
    while I am makeing up their free estimate...

    maybe free doghnuts and coffe.

    I am considering just killing all the Free Estimates

    whats the matter with me anyway??
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2005
  12. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Marin Co. Ca.
    better buss b.

    they have called me in the passed a few times to join. it has allways been with an intimadating phone call !" it,s is extremeling inportantyou return this call" i have read articles by good contractors telling of bad experiances.
    my work is referal, and repeat.

    been doing this 43 yrs. must be doing something right :)
  13. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Marin Co. Ca.
    mark ,i agree on the estimates for small jobs

    you can,t afford to estimate little jobs. one estimating scource recomends charging 3 times your rate for small jobs, i agree. i,m a gen. contr. we worked 3 yrs t+m on a remodel, $60 per hr per man $750,000. am i going out for 3 hrs at that rate?, i don,t think so. it,s $70 now anyway.
  14. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    paying the plumber

    Tool, I'v been around a while too.
    Strictly service work and this worked well for me: On small jobs that wanted an estament, I would just give a guestament. Most understood why. I explained I couldn't be held to that. But I told them what my service call is and my hourly rate, broken into 1/4 hr segments.
    That way it's fair to the costomer and fair for me.
    If I did a flat rate you would know it would be high enough so as not to get stuck with conditions unkown.
    It works for me and i always have more work than I can handle.
    A lot of my costomers I'v had for 30+ years
    If I hired someone it wouldn't be worth all the extra work, but that's what work's for me.
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    I tell them that it will be cheaper for me to do the job, than to come and give an estimate, because I will be there anyway, and it will take just as much time to do as it would to estimate it, assuming I would even go to give the estimate which I would not do for a small job. And if you give an estimate over the phone, the only thing they hear is the price, not any of the caveats about it being a "guesstimate" and it "could be higher" depending on the actual circumstances. And I go in 1/2 hour segments.
  16. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber


    It works for me....
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