Plumbers vs. Gutter Guys


So, fascinating expereince the last two weeks.

As I mentioned, I’ve been working on a plumbing problem at my house; the main line broke near the water meter and I needed the whole reun replaced.  It was just too expensive to continue to dig and patch.

So, I obtained estimates from 4 plumbers and chose 1 of ’em.

Now, with the plumbing project complete, I am working on repairing/replacing the gutters on my house.

Same song, different verse.  Obtain 3 estimates and pick 1.

Lemme’ tell you that there is an incredible difference between the customer service in gutter guys and plumbers.

While the plumbers were late, ill prepared and in 2 of 3 cases failed to deliver a quote on time, the gutter folks were not only on time, they called to confirm.  They were polite and engaging.  Further, the quotes, when not delivered on the spot, were on time professionally done with photes and diagrams.  All neatly done on a PDF.

I got to wondering why this was.  My conclusion?

Plumbers are licensed.  Gutter guys aren’t.

Licensing is just another method to keep new competition from entering the market.

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7 comments
  1. Corey said:

    What was stopping you from using an unlicensed plumber? I believe most “like for like” repairs can be done by an unlicensed

  2. pino said:

    What was stopping you from using an unlicensed plumber?

    Not sure you can call yourself a plumber unless your licensed.

    See: Plumber, Joe the

  3. Corey said:

    Joe did call himself a plumber, and if i remember right had no apprentice or plumbers license… Yet he still practiced. Odd ain’t it.

    You ever fix a garbage disposal or a clogged toilet?

    Are you a plumber? You could have hired killer up the street, he doesn’t fly a shingle either.

    Certain jobs require licensed plumbers, others do not. I don’t know if your job did or not, but if so, the license comes with the knowledge of local codes, insurance and any required certifications to complete the job he’s accepted. I believe in NC at least, those guys can’t even sit for the test until they have a butt-ton of apprentice hours.

    Would you fly an airplane with an unlicensed pilot? Would you put your child into an unlicensed child care facility? Would you have an unlicensed plumber install a natural gas line in your home?

    In all cases, licensing ensures accountability and at least some standard of credentials.

    Hey, I’m no gutter expert, but not too many life threatening “bad gutter install” scenarios come to mind.

    • pino said:

      Yet he still practiced. Odd ain’t it.

      Many “plumbers” practice plumbing. But they do it under a licensed plumber.

      I believe in NC at least, those guys can’t even sit for the test until they have a butt-ton of apprentice hours.

      I think they have to work 4000 hours, 2 years?, to sit for the test.

      In all cases, licensing ensures accountability and at least some standard of credentials.

      I think that licensing goes to far. I don’t need an MD to check my kids ears for infection. Nor do I need a dentist to oversee a dental hygienist to clean my teeth. I also don’t think that we need licenses to work on massive voice and data networks.

      By the way:

      § 150.039 PERMITS REQUIRED.

      (B) No person shall install, replace or relocate any electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilating or cooling utility, material, appliances or equipment without first having obtained a permit from the Division for the specific work to be performed.

      § 150.042 AUTHORIZED APPLICANTS FOR PERMIT.

      (A) Only persons duly licensed under the state statutes or their authorized representative or persons otherwise exempted under the statutes may apply for a permit, and the applicants may apply for and be issued permits to perform only the work as they are entitled to under their respective license or exemptions.

      My work required a permit submitted by a licensed plumber. I’ll bet no permit was pulled.

  4. Corey said:

    So… Licensing = Bad. Then what is the proper way to do it?

    Specifically in the cases below:

    -Pilot
    -Plumber installing a gas line
    -Child care facility

    Should there be a differentiation between installing a gas line and repairing your home’s h2o supply line? If so, who makes the call?

  5. pino said:

    Specifically in the cases below:

    I think you let the industries regulate themselves. And allow for punishment commensurate to failure. This will force firms to obtain insurance and the insurance industry will punish poor performers and reward good ones.

    For example, the oil spill. If the government did NOT regulate oil rig safety AND put a cap on damages, then BP would be forced to obtain insurance. And if insurance companies don’t feel BP is safe, they wouldn’t insure them and BP couldn’t drill.

    If an insurer thinks that airline ABC doesn’t have qualified pilots, they won’t insure ’em.

    FeEd, for example, self restricts drivers with DWIs because their insurance goes up as the number of convictions goes up.

    I’m not necessarily advocating NO oversight. I’m advocating no GOVERNMENT oversight. Let the sector manage itself.

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