Ethics Question

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Cass, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    You can look at this any way you like I am interested in all answers.

    Plumber works on commission for large nation wide company.

    Plumber is dispatched to a home on a clogged floor drain call.

    Upon arrival he checks the floor drain and quotes $169.00 and while in the basement he see the water heater leaking and brings it to the attention of the home owner. She says quote me on it.

    Plumber quotes $1200.00 for a 50 gallon NG, per the company's guidelines.

    She says no thats to much $$. The plumber is allowed to go down 20%, per the company guide lines, but not a dime more so he says with discounts I can go down to $960.00 would you like me to do it?

    The lady says no it is to much $$$.

    He says O.K. and cleans the floor drain and collects the $150.00. As he is leaving he says I can do your heater personally, separate from the company for $700.00.


    She says O.K.

    I want your opinions.

    Ask me any questions you may have.

    Cass
     
  2. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Location:
    Home
    Question. Did the plumber have an agreement with the company not to do work on the side?
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Nothing in writing
     
  5. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Location:
    Home
    Oh, that is a horse of different color. I would say, go for it.
    With employers it got to be in a contract, then, signed on the dotted line. Otherwise, I would think they weren't real serious and would not hold up in court. I wouldn't think nothing would be breeched with an ethics issue either. They would had made it be known.


    But, then, they might assume that person knows they are wearing there name and representing them.

    I don't know. Hard question maybe.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Is this hapless plumber an employee of said national company, or is he self employed working on referrals and flat commission for work sold?
     
  7. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Occupation:
    Plumber, self employed
    Location:
    Licensed Grump

    There's your answer.
    NEVER worked in a shop that didn't know we do side work. (maybe pretended not to)
    One shop the owner even passed the smaller jobs he didn't want on to us.
    1200 is fair for a PV, but IF the price could be quoted at 700 it has to be a draft vent...in which case, both YOU and the woman benefit.(though for a 50 that price is low enough to bite nails when something takes longer than expected or more stock is needed than usual, 1200 for a stndrd 50 gal wtr htr says to me it's paying for a large co's ad bills)
    Sorry if thats "unethical", but if she can't afford the higher price (say she's on a fixed income)...the ends justifies the means.
     
  8. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    employees are all that way

    it is not right,,,, and you are encourageing
    all your employees to steal you blind.


    that happens all the time...
    no matter what you pay the men
    they still steal.......

    at least that is what I call it.....
    cause they end up useing my truck, gas and materials too....


    and this fellow will probably
    use his bossess truck, gas, solder
    and probablysteal a water heater too....


    they all feel justified in doing it....
    the sob boss is not paying me enough, no benefits,
    this is how I willl get even with him.......

    of course is somethign goes wrong, you can bet
    the farm he will never come back.......


    my opinion, she is makeing a deal with the Devil.
    he wont come back if their is a problem ...

    she hsould call someone else
    and call his boss too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  9. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Employee Technically, His Own truck,tools, gas, time, everything but parts, and not paid a dime to drive out and do estimates that end in no work if their price is to high.

    He makes a flat 30% of all $$$ over parts costs but must price jobs according to their guidelines.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
  10. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Occupation:
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    Location:
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    If I were that customer, I would probably ask the plumber whether it would be okay with him if I call the company to be sure there is no objection. If he said that would be okay, I would call ... and if not, I would drop the matter and look for someone else to take care of the water heater.
     
  11. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    I can't believe there is even a question here.

    Of COURSE it it unethical.

    I can't wait till she calls the company for warranty work.

    I know some clown that did a similar thing during an electrical service job. He sold a GFCI receptical on the side, thenleft the check (made out to him) in the company truck for the boss to find. This guy was unethical AND stupid.



    Cookie. Just because it's not in writing doen't excuse it.
     
  12. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    I prefer the word "unconscionable" rather than "unethical."

    Anyone with a conscience would ask their boss if it was okay to do this. And the boss should rightly say no, for the following reason:

    In this scenario, the lady said the actual company's price was too high. But once he gets a taste of this easy money, he might make up some ridiculously high price and then say that he'll do it on his own for 1/2 that price. Or he just might tell customers how much cheaper it would be if he did the work on his own right off the bat--not even giving them an opportunity to accept the company's price.
     
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    employee

    Unethical is the right word, and if I found out about it, he would also be out of a job. Union employees are NOT permitted to do side jobs and will be taken before the "E" board if they are discovered doing it. Water heaters are a job that requires a permit, and ANY work that requires a permit can only be done by a licensed contractor. If she wanted to, after he installed the heater, she could tell him to get out of her house and she would not have to pay for it, and every court in the land would back her up.
     
  14. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Occupation:
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Location:
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    This sort of thing happens all the time and the homeowner usually jumps at the chance to have it done cheaper.

    The majority of homeowners just want hot water and no leaks, to hell with the politics most times. The ones that do are rare at best.

    I couldn't tell you how many water heaters I've replaced over my years in this profession.....not a single one became a issue where the customer demanded I pull a permit and have it inspected. Here soon though, KY is really going to enforce permits for replacement heaters though. I turned down two this week alone just because I didn't like either the attitude of the voice on the phone (It's a 40 gallon short electric, it went in really fast and didn't take long for the last guy to do it) or the repeat customer that hustled me before (I got one of your coupons off your site, my senior citizens discount and an angie's list discount. By the time your done, you'll be paying me.)

    Find someone else.
     
  15. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Occupation:
    Plumber, self employed
    Location:
    Licensed Grump
    Effectively he's self employed with a 70% overhead for advertizing...sounds to me like an HD "sub"
     
  16. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Even though he uses his own truck, tools, gas, everything but parts etc. he is an employee because the IRS rules say so. Mostly because they dispatch him and he goes where and when they say and he works under their licence and wears their uniform.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
  17. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Occupation:
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    Location:
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Is he getting a 1099 at the end of the year?

    There is where things become a bit gray, and I would say the company is to blame. It seems to me they are "using" this plumber and his equipment to avoid having to provide and take care of those things, including him, themselves ... then pretending they are the ones actually making everything happen ... kind of like the box store that contracts owner-operators for deliveries on trucks bearing their name and not to be used for anything else.

    Then, I occasionally see off-duty police officers working in uniform as security and with their cars nearby ...

    Who is paying that overhead?!
     
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    No he gets a W 2
     
  19. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    I agree to a point but no one is holding a gun to his head making him stay with the company.
     
  20. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Occupation:
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    Location:
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    In my mind, that confirms my suspicion the company is taking advantage of him by doing a little paperwork in exchange for his capital investment. Also, my guess would be that the company does not care about any side work he might do. They know, or they at least believe/assume he is going to complete most or all of the jobs assigned to him, and they will likely discharge him if too many of their jobs end up being nothing more than his personal leads.
     
  21. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Occupation:
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    Location:
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    With the matters of advertising, licensing, permits, liability insurance, warranties and the like all considered, that would be situational. If the plumber cannot also take care of those things on his own, he would eventually get "shot" anyway.
     
Similar Threads: Ethics Question
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Ethics and Customer Relations Question Jun 27, 2013
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Bathroom Venting question Sunday at 9:08 PM
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Question: Connecting vents below flood height of highest fixture? Aug 3, 2020
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Tankless Water Heater gas line question Jul 27, 2020
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Old Toilet Flange Question Jul 25, 2020

Share This Page