I am an active licensed master plumber. I no longer work in the field and have moved on to middle management in a mechanical contractor's corporation. When I did work in the field, not too long ago, people always bitched about how much a plumber charges, blah, blah, blah....you all have heard it before.
When I worked for others, their rates didn't seem outrageous. In fact, most of them seemed to short changed their own businesses by not charging enough. This was the case when I went into business for my self, I never charged enough. I had a former employer and longtime friend tell me once "never short change yourself or you'll wind up working for nothing" How true.
Anyhow, what I'm observing is this. Recently, my eldest son broke his arm while skating, we took him to the hospital and they admitted him, x-rays, cast...the whole drill.... He was scheduled for a follow up visit at the Ortho's office 3 days later. This is where it gets interesting. We took him in 10 minutes before his scheduled appointment at 2PM, 20 minutes later he was seated in an exam room......for the next 1-1/2 hours without even being seen!!!
We're not talking about a major metro area doctor office, I live in the pucker brush..........
The observation I'm making is how rude and unprofessional would it be if I did that to someone that had an appointment with me. Doctors make good money, have unreal insurance bills and very real risks in their trade.....so do plumbers. But damn, to make someone wait like that, offer no apology and not even consider taking something off the bill for insulting us like that! C'mon, if I was late or cancelled they'd charge me for the timeslot. I suppose my time isn't as valuable as theirs..........get real, if I was to pull that on my customers, I wouldn't have customers. But for some reason, some professions think they're better than others
My point is these same doctors are most likely the same people that continually bitch about how expansive plumbers are, the ones that demand us to come out to their home on Christmas day to unclog their toilet or disposal, yet complain the most when we charge them a reasonable fee for this service. Some even go so far as to not pay the bill and get away with it. Try doing that the next time you're in for a set of stitches or the flu!
To top it off, we take our son in for another follow up appointment, pay another $20 co-pay only to have nothing done, no services rendered at all. How would your customer base like it if you scheduled an appointment with them, took time out of their day, only to do absolutely nothing at all and bill them for a couple of hours..........You think you have them as customers for long?
Trouble is that doctors, lawyers and other professions seem to think that plumbing isn't a profession, but rather an on demand peasant service at their beck and call, how dare we ask a fee for this!
I'm all for competitive pricing, bidding and services rendered.............the American way............but dammit all, when was the last time you could go out for bid for braces on your kids teeth or have at least 3 low responsible bids from 3 competing pathologists to review your biopsy......
How things got so twisted? Why is it that it's okay to bad mouth plumbers and accuse them of price gouging, yet some other professions get away with it.................well, you can figure it out.........
Go into your local supermarket or grocery store, pick up a loaf of bread, go to the check out line and ask the cashier to discount it because the market across town is selling the exact same loaf for .10 less!
It's high time plumbers and others in trade professions started taking a stand together! Quit low balling bids, undercutting each other with low flat rates or T&M rates $10 an hour less than brand X across town.
Enough is enough........if doctors have a set fee for something they do, we plumbers do too.............don't ask for a discount unless you're willing to extend the same discount to me when at your office. When was the last time you had the lawyer or doctor actually performing the work or service anyway? Usually they send it the paralegal or nurse practitioner (otherwise known as an apprentice or journey person) and charge you the full rate as if they did the procedure or wrote the document!
For what its worth, the next time a doctor calls you to their home on a holiday to unclog a drain when its 5 below zero outside and the wind is howling, snow ass deep and the roads haven't been plowed because the town won't get around to it until after the storm, tell them to put on the coveralls, pull out the drop light and take their sewer machine out of the shed and get busy.........I bet that sight would make for a good post card seeing someone of that "prestige" crawling under their house thru raw sewage trying to get to that cleanout for a rodding session..........tell them you'll be there sometime between the hours of 10AM and 6PM tomorrow, please be sure to have someone at home to sign for the bill!
I hope our society comes around,stops the bitching about how much the plumber charged, quit with the not so funny commercials and radio spots that make fun of plumbers crack and how much us slobs charged them and start looking seriously at the health care, pharmaceuticals, legal and insurance industries and professions who are calling all the shots and making life miserable for all of us!..........and congress who needs a serious enema!