New water heater efficiency requirements are coming

Water heaters are changing.  Again.  That is to say that efficiency requirements for storage water heaters are increasing.  For the most part, standard storage heaters from 40 - 50 gallons will remain the same, as they already meet the minimum efficiency.  However, anything above 50 gallons will require increased effiency.  As usual, that will result in a price increase.  Even more, water heater manufacturers will use the new requirement to increase the price of all water heaters.  Even those that already meet the efficiency standard.  I've been told to expect a 15% increase by April 16th, 2015.  For a standard install that will be an increase of $150 approximately.  So, if you're water heater is near the end of it's life, consider a replacement before April 16th, 2015.  Of note, all tankless water heaters already meet the efficiency standards.  And, provide endless hot water. 

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Safe trenching

Have you heard to term "call before you dig" ?  If you're a plumbing service provider this term should be familiar.  Very familiar!  If you're a property owner ask your plumber if he/she is familiar with the term.  If not, it's time to find another plumber.  USA is an organization that provides services to locate and mark underground utilities.  These underground utilities can include natural gas lines, electrical lines, telecommunication lines, etc. Marking underground utilities lets the plumber know where the lines are located.  Knowing a location helps the plumber avoid and not damage these lines during a repair.  So, ask you plumber if he/she "calls before they dig".  The picture included shows a natural gas line that was marked via a USA mark and locate.  Our plumber knew the location, and left it untouched and safe. 

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

sewer video inspection experts

Sewer video inspection equipment can determine the exact location of a sewer line break, or problem area.  The video monitor shows the situation on the screen, and receives a transmitted signal that locates the area from the surface.  With that, a trained plumber can interpret both and determine 

the appropriate repair or replacement.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Legal Contracting 101

In contracting temptations to break the law are frequent. Here’s a short list of what’s required to contract legally:

  • Contractor’s license
  • Contractor’s license bond
  • Worker’s compensation insurance for all employees. 
  • Liability insurance

The greatest temptation for lawlessness, however, is unreported wages. These are wages that are paid directly to workers in cash. Thus, they are undisclosed to agencies that require them to be reported. Those agencies include:

  • IRS
  • CA state franchise tax board
  • Worker’s compensation companies

Buyers should beware. For example, if a worker is injured on a job-site, and no worker’s compensation insurance exists, the property owner may be liable. Further, levies for unpaid taxes may be placed against an owner’s property.

Make sure your plumbing contractor is licensed, bonded, insured and executes their payroll in a law-abiding fashion. Anything less is a detriment to the area economy and is illegal. 

Submitted By Dale Maples, owner

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

How does a service provider measure customer satisfaction? It can be tough. Here’s my rule of thumb. If a person uses your services again, it’s likely they were satisfied. It they go elsewhere, they were not. That’s it. 

We’ve tried everything from fill in the blank mailers to calls to customers for feedback. Some who’ve given us 5 star feedback went elsewhere at times. It’s my claim that if a customer reports satisfaction, yet goes elsewhere next time they were not satisfied enough. 

Here’s what to look for. If you can report that 70 – 80 percent of your business is repeat, then you are delivering satisfaction. That leaves around 25% new business to earn, and get them to the 70–80 percent repeat. 

Do what you say you’ll do. Consistently. Go for it.

Submitted By Dale Maples, owner

What’s in a Yelp Rating?

What is a Yelp rating?  It’s the average of all reviews posted by customers.  Customers who regularly write reviews on Yelp are referred to as “yelpers”.  I regularly check our Yelp rating.  At the same time I also check others.

Indeed, the Yelp page for plumbers is crowded.  On my most recent visit to the local Yelp page for plumbers I clicked on one establishment with a 5 star rating. Good reviews, mostly about good pricing.  After that I checked the status of their contractor’s license on the California State Contractor’s License Board web-site.  It stated the requirement for worker’s compensation was waived due to no employees, meaning all work was performed by the owner.  Odd, but sadly, not rare.  This establishment is often seen with help at various sites.  

Translation.  The help is working for cash.  The establishment is not reporting those wages for workers compensation insurance, state and federal payroll taxes and Obamacare mandated health insurance.  Result.  This plumbing service can drastically under report income and taxability.  Even more, the service company’s costs are significantly less than those companies that transact legally.

Additionally, those establishments who operate “under the table”, are unable to pull the appropriate permits, due to the requirement by municipalities of proper worker’s compensation insurance.  So, they perform the work without proper permitting.  Another reduction in cost.

So, back to the Yelp reviews.  Our, “under the table” contractor receives a 5-star rating for reasonalble pricing.  It’s no wonder.  No 1-star reviews for operating completely illegally.  

Currently we have only 2 reviews. One is 4 and the other 5.  The 5 is written as a result of some great advice from one of our plumbers, stating that the senior adult’s issue was simple and no charge was issued.  That’s good relations for sure, but unsustainable in the long run.

Here’s the bottom line.  Under the table contractors receive 5 stars that are only possible to achieve while transacting illegally.  Legal contractors receive 5 stars as a result of working for free.  


Submitted By Dale Maples, owner


Subscribe to RSS - blogs