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Had lunch today with some plumbing contractor (15 Posts)
Had lunch today with some plumbing contractorfriends and I brought up Heating help .com. They started to really give me an earful about how we help out homeowners for free. They said, did you ever see a lawyer have free lawyer help. Or doctors that sit by their computers to diagnose your heath problems online or any other professional, I said I never really looked! I was listening to this, kinda dumbfounded as they went on to lecture me about how it took 25 years to get here, starting with cleaning crappy sewers and all those things we did as apprentices. They said your either really generous or really stupid. This is the first time I ever heard anyone talk down about this sight. Anyone else ever hear this?
Help everywhereYou can find sites all over the internet that help people. Including the ones he mentioned. Bottom line thats a guy who fears for his job. I'll bet he is the last one you would want teaching an apprentice.
Thats not uncommon GordyI know contractors here that if they even think one of their journeyman is going to take their masters test, they lay them off right away. I assume because they are afraid they will take their customers. Also they are always trying to come up with some reason why someone shouldnt be able to take the test.
This site is Google's #1 site for the word Heating.Used wisely, I think this is the best place for a professional to show thousands of homeowners what he can do for them. This is proven many times. Of course, it's better if you have a Find a Pro ad tied to your posts so that the homeowner can contact you to do the job. The investment in Find a Pro is just a dollar a day but most pros don't know how to market themselves, so they just don't get it.Site Administrator
Hug your kids.
I've had customer saythey hired me because they liked my responses to questions they had posted on the wall..I know what the plumber is saying, and on the surface it makes sense, but in the real world today, homeowners do research, and if they ask questions and get a respectfull intelligent answer from a local contractor, they do call them..i've been told many times by many customers that they have read my answers to questions..its almost like answering a question on the wall is a form of advertising in and of itself.Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.
what Gerry said andI've had the exact same experience. In the steam biz, a prospective client has usually had a parade of people fiddling with the steam system. I have to prove to them that I can solve the problem and why. I want them to ask me the hard questions. So here I am telling them things they've never heard before and I have to put myself in their often weary shoes. They come here, maybe look at my posts, study the site, maybe buy one or more of Dan's books. The customer's comfort level increases as they learn to ask the right questions of me or anyone else regarding their steam systems.
This site in particular has helped me by reading what others have shared over the years. There's always a new or different perspective to be found. It comes down to the fact that we share in some way a comradery shared not by those who demand respect but those who rather like the challenge of earning it with every job and client. Our most gracious host has invited us and the customer for the benefit of all. I doubt that the customer with questions about boiler piping is going to break out the 48" wrenches and thread pipe by hand because they want to make sure the job is done right!
There once was an advertising slogan saying that "An educated customer is our best client." I still like it. Wishing that a potential customer should remain in the dark and just do what we say, sounds a little more to me like "You're going to take what we give you and you're going to like it."
Thanks Dan for keeping us all out of that trap. I guess I'll have to buy a brick for the Wall now.
Ditto what Gerry and Terry said...EDUCATION is our FIRST job. An educated consumer is a smart consumer.
I suspect that your associates probably don't understand how this site works, so, they pooh pooh the actions of the people who frequent this site.
I don't think ANYONE can say they've lost business due to hanging at THIS site.
Tell them to actual drop by, and see if THEY learn something. I know I learn something every day. Why not pay it forward?
MEIt's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
oras was said to me a couple of days ago, "my husband is a business man, he says we don't have to pay a deposit"
I know, I'm just a plumber, not a "business man". LOL!
Love the ways you find to market this site Dan, Kudos!This post was edited by an admin on September 16, 2009 8:31 AM.
Reasonable and Customary.When I have hired contractors for things, it is usual to pay 1/3 down the day work starts, 1/3 when work is 1/2 done, and 1/3 when the job is over. Each job is a little different.
For my heating system, I paid $100 at contracting so that the contractor could apply for the necessary permit for removing the old oil tank. Then 1/3 when work started, 1/3 a day later when the work was half done, and 1/3 the next day when the work was essentially done. I made a final payment (around $500, IIRC) for all the permits after the inspections were completed. Technically, I could not make the final payment until inspections were complete.
At my Quaker Meeting we are doing heavy historical restoration contracting work, since the building is almost 200 years old. We have a contractor who specializes in this kind of thing. He trusts us and will not take any money on a job until it is half done, and we have to hassle him to get the final bill just to keep our accounting straight and to get the benefit of grants. We do one contract per year as finances permit. But that is not typical.
Another thought:This friend of yours denies himself the help and support of this community. Why would a businessman do that to himself?Site Administrator
Hug your kids.
GreedSome people are so greedy or afraid they won't get the last dime. They are so blinded by the dime the may not get that they can't see the $100.00 bills being waved in their faces. I worked for one now I have to live with extreme pain the rest of my life because of his greed. The best part is he has the gaul to call me and tell me my injury is an inconvenience to him. I feel for them because they will never be happy. All they know is take, take. They couldn't give if their lives depended on it.
Couple of thoughtsfrom a building super's point of view...
First, from reading and posting here for quite a while now, I have never gotten the feeling that the free advice on the Wall is hurting anyone -- except the people who don't or can't do the job right. To the contrary, I've often followed through on threads where a homeowner has asked questions, gotten intelligent answers, and then found a contractor to do his work for him who can do it right. I'm not a contractor, so I don't have first hand experience from that end -- but I can tell you for sure that there have been times I've asked a question, gotten wonderful help, and gone to my professional plumber and the end result has been that we both learn and do a better job.
Second, yes there are times when the advice on the wall helps a homeowner do something relatively simple to his or her system to really make a difference. Is this bad? I don't think so. Even if you don't believe in helping the other guy (or gal) out, it's just good sales sense. Where is this homeowner going to look for a contractor when they need one? Right here, that's where.
Third, to go back to the professional plumber I use: he's a fan of this site, with a vengeance (although I don't think he's ever posted here). Can't say enough good about it. Of course, this is also the guy who, when his son decided he'd had enough of the academic world suggested he try plumbing, took him in first as an apprentice, then journeyman, then backed him for his master's -- then helped him get more business (and gave him some of his own clients to boot!)Jamie
Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
Who taught you? Me? The next guy?Not many are determined, diligent or resourceful enough to start a job and succeed without the help of many along the way.
The journeyman Tony talks about in his post are like so many others who have been taught to fear that someone else may be better than themselves. Well, I got news for them, there is always someone better! These type of people do have something to fear, those of us that are putting in extra time to learn from others.
This site not only helps homeowners, it helps me as a contractor. I read the "free" advise by others and have learned a lot....for free. As a apprentice I learned from some of the best journeyman in the area. They were more than willing to teach me everything I could take in.....for free. I have taught apprentices for my local for five years now. I certainly don't do it for the paycheck!
Go out and learn, better yourself. There are so many willing to pass on to you what they have worked so hard for."If you don't like change, your going to like irrelevance even less"This post was edited by an admin on September 17, 2009 2:25 PM.
I Checked the WallI am a steam guy but in the commercial building business. I am now going to get a new boiler for my home. I surely checked the wall to look at who posted and picked a couple of contractors from here to do the work.
The reason I post is half for fun and the other half to try to drum up some business by proving my amazing knowledge and ability
HereI would rather have the homeowner come here than go to the box store for advice.This is the informatin age and any computer savy person can research just about anything on the web. Has any of those plumbers ever gone to "WebMD" ?
This is 2009 gentlemen and Dan's forum is ahead of the curve and has been for quite some time! The advice given here is a public service effort from all of us and very basic for the most part. Most of the professionals here know when they are getting beyond the homeowners comprehension.
There will also be plumbers and heating tradesmen living in the past (that would be their problem)