Termite inspectors and plumbing leaks

The termite inspector reports a pipe leak under a house. The owner of the house calls me to check it out. I crawl under the house for the better part of an hour getting dusty, dirty and tired. About 80% of the time I dont find a leak. Im guessing that termite inspectors lie about 80% of the time but what do you think? I tell the owner of the house that I couldnt find a leak. If my policy is that I dont charge for estimates, should I charge the owner for the termite inspectors wild goose chase? What would you do?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Time is money. You did your job. Either you can charge for the time you spent or your minimum charge rate per call regardless. I think that is fair.
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2012 10:00:45 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Well let me tell you what an Engineer I respect once told me. He said and I quote, " Doug, the last time I did anything for free was when I did my homework ". And he wasn't kidding.
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Yeah, he sounds like a real peach.
To the OP, an estimate and a leak-hunt are two different things. You may or may not have to eat this one -- the home-moaner should at least OFFER something -- but next time apprise the homemoaner of Plans A, B, and C, and charges thereof.
--
EA



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1. When the houseowner calls you (as a tradesman) he is obliged to pay your standard rate. 2. When a specific problem is reported, it saves time all round to locate it (e.g. 5 feet right of centre, 15 feet back from the front sill.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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On Dec 27, 1:00pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I think anyone who would go crawling around under a house looking for some indiscriminate "pipe leak" wouldn't find it unless it dripped on their head.

It sounds to me like the homeowner reported the leak to you, not the termite inspector, and you chose to look for wild geese of your own accord.

If I didn't ask which pipe was supposedly leaking, and from where, I'd eat it and remember to do so next time. -----
- gpsman
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2012 10:00:45 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Sounds like you've been burned more than once with this. Tell the homeowner to call the termite inspector and ask where the leak is, then you'll get involved. And tell him if you can't find a leak, they'll still be a "find the leak that isn't there charge." Paid up front, but applied to labor charges if you actually fix a leak. Around here HVAC and plumbers charge for coming out. The service "show up" fee is applied to work done. Seems fair to me. I paid a plumber 60 bucks to show up and look at my lift system and catch basin system and explain it to me. Didn't expect free advice or inspection. And he didn't make much since we BS'ed for a couple hours. But the first 15 minutes with him explaining what I had was worth the $60 to me.
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2012 16:08:18 -0600, Vic Smith

The HVAC guy I had work on the system here applied the cost of the first service call and his "patch" (freon charge) to the annual service contract, if we bought it. Seemed like a good deal to me. We had to have the evaporator replaced so that was a lot more but he got us going. We'll have to have the entire system replaced (cheap contractors special) eventually but hopefully we'll have the mortgage paid off by then.

I'll say.
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In a case like that, I think it's totally reasonable to charge some for travel, and time. I'd tell the caller on the phone that due to price of gas, and taking you away from other calls, you need "this much" money, regardless of what you find.
For refrigeration, I get $75 diagnostic work up, regardless.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
The termite inspector reports a pipe leak under a house. The owner of the house calls me to check it out. I crawl under the house for the better part of an hour getting dusty, dirty and tired. About 80% of the time I dont find a leak. Im guessing that termite inspectors lie about 80% of the time but what do you think? I tell the owner of the house that I couldnt find a leak. If my policy is that I dont charge for estimates, should I charge the owner for the termite inspectors wild goose chase? What would you do?
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2012 10:00:45 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Termites are attracted to water in a house, be it a plumbing leak, a roof leak or whatever. They will eat through walls and floors to follow it. It doesn't have to be much of a leak either. You might ask if termites were found and where. Someone talking about things that attract termites might even call a pipe that weaps condensationt a leak as that could attrackt termites too. Used to be they sprayed enough clordane that termites never came back. Now it's more about prevention and attrackting them to poison baits.
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On Thursday, December 27, 2012 5:12:44 PM UTC-8, Bobo wrote:

Leak: to enter or escape through an opening usually by a fault or mistake
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leak
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Next time someone calls with this situation, they them your story and ask for the inspector's phone number. If they won't give it to you, you have probably saved yourself a likely problem later on.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I would've told the HO, you didn't find anything but termites. I'm sure the inspector inspects for free, and wouldn't mind coming back out to check again.
In reality, the term used when you request a service, be it check for leaks or whatever, is called a _service call.
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On Dec 27, 1:00pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

home inspectors often try to find or create even non existent problems to justify their fee...... had one supposedly find a brand new gas water heater having a main control valve leak. The plumber who installed the new valve said it was fine but a common ruse by home inspectors
i would create a special inspection fee for this exact problem, say a 100 bucks with fee appied to any repairs needed.
even if you find nothing the new owner might you that refundable fee to get you to install say a new faucet.
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