DIY Doctor

The beginning of the end for plumbers ?

Postby htg engineer » Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:04 pm

I'm not talking about now or even the next 5 years.


Could Hep20, pushfit fittings, flexible pipes - be the beginning of the end for plumbers ?

Why do we need tradesmen to install this ?
We don't - it's a quick fix DIY installation.

If everyone opts for this method of plumbing - will plumbers be needed ?Can this be classed as a trade or profession. I think not.

What happened to people taking pride in their work, bending pipes, capillary fittings etc ?

I'm glad i'm a CORGI registered heating engineer. Will always be needed.
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Simply Build It

Postby chris_on_tour2002 » Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:10 pm

can't speak as a pro but a keen diy-er i can see your point. and there are many things to blame:

tv programmes, too many to count these days, that lead people to believe that they can tackle many jobs around the home that prevoiusly a pro would have been employed to do i think are largely to blame.

they also encourage would-be property developers to jump on the bandwagon and milk that once big fat cash cow and carry out the work themselves to maximise the profits and whilst it may look lovely on the surface for the new occupants when they move in its not long before the work begins to unravel. ive seen it.

the manufacturers of these products can also be held accountable to a degree. walk around any national diy chain, mentioning no names, and take a look the number of inferior products and materials out there being aimed directly at the diy market based soley on their ease of use. i hear it from friends all the time "have you tried this, looks great.." i always say no, looks c**p and you are a mug! if the pros won't touch it neither do i.

there is so much more to plumbing than just running a few pipes and many people are ill-informed when they start messing around. our new house is a diy disaster zone, the previous occupants bodged the electrics and plumbing and god knows what else i've yet to discover - and i've not just seen it in my home.

also a lot of people start out enthusiastically enough only to drop out when they realise the scale of the task that they have undertaken and the limit of their knowledge. only the stupid crack on regardless. as a diy-er myself i'm all for having a go but a significant part of being good/competent diy-er is knowing your limitations, its not just about what you know its being aware of how much you don't know and, of course knowing what is and is not legal.

so whilst there might be a lull in the trade, i suspect its only a matter of time before the proverbial hits the fan, the diy timebomb goes off and the pros will be needed again like never before!
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Postby Paulo83 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:11 pm

Where i live (aberdeen) its almost impossible to get hold of a plumber. The company i work(blue van-big flame on the side) for are really short and cant find suitably qualifed engineers up here. so im considering starting up on my own but im a bit nervous about it. Any advice at all would be appreciated
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Postby bobplum » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:31 pm

as much as im all in favour of "plastic" i do agree that it as allowed the average guy/doll to tackle a lot of work that was out of there league i see this in the bathrooms that i come across but you still need to have a degree of knowledge which can only been gained thru training and experienece
i also think plumbers and in my case bathroom installing/refurbishment will have to adapt to the changes by retraining and offering more services,such has as part p and tiling etc

adapt and change!
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Postby htg engineer » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:53 pm

Same boat here mate, I'm from Newcastle there isn't a shortage of heating engineers here. But there's a gap in the market for servicing and repairs. Most companies are only interested in installations.

I'm seriously thinking about starting up in partnership with someone I work with.

It's just a big jump leaving a steady job with steady decent monthly pay, to take a huge risk.

I have been looking into it, type of business Limited company, partnership, LLP not sure what to do yet.

If you have any tips, advice etc i'd be glad to hear from you.
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Postby frogger » Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:47 pm

My advice would to be stay as you are, employees normally have a good deal in general. The stress that comes with running your own business is truly under estimated, with it the over heads, cashflow, customers ! and more. You cant have a holiday and the phone will ring constantly, normally not allowing you any time to actually get any work done. When you get home the phone will still be ringing and you will be out all hours, it never ends.
Some people might read this and think easy i could do with that, "its about organisation" or "I'll just employ more staff"

Well good luck
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Postby chris_on_tour2002 » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:36 pm

i agree with frogger, if you are not actually physically working then you are going to look at jobs after your days work in the eveningsand/or weekends, invoicing, estimating etc all in your own time. i looks attractive to be your own boss but you also have to think about your salary.

sure you can earn more in a day working for yourself but take into account your annual tax return (and VAT if you qualify which is a royal pain in the proverbial, ive not reached that level of income though), holiday pay, sick pay, and the biggie these days, pension.

then there's the stress. you can go through patches of no work, you cant just clock off and forget about work at the end of the day, it often starts all over again as soon as you get home and the phone rings/paperwork needs doing, dealing with difficult customers, you can't just shrug your shoulders, walk away and moan at the boss. then theres the customers who dont/wont/cant pay their bills, and it wont necessarily be because they think youve done a bad job!

on balance i think working for yourself is much harder work for less return and without the financial security.

i always feel that working for yourself is not so much a job, rather a way of life.

of course its not all bad, the pros - get up and go to work when you like, take as much time off as you like when you like - good for holidays but you are not earning if you are not working. no boss to answer to - but then you are ultimately responsible for everything.

i have friends who do what i do or similar, for firms and they have it much cushier as they would admit themselves. so would i go and work for a firm? hummmm on balance probably not its hard to go back to working for someone else when you are used to being your own boss!
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Postby frogger » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:43 pm

Your right some customers wont pay and like you said it is'nt because you have done a bad job.
One client had us supply and fit a bathroom including wiring and tiling then claimed he was suffering from stress and could not pay, he the moved out the house and it turned out he nver owned it and was in fact the boyfreind of the owner, who of course did'nt want a new bathroom.

Some have work done then just go away on holiday

Some simply ignore the fact they owe money and really dont care.

Some go bankrpt of course.

Employed you still get paid whatever.
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Postby thedoctor » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:08 pm

Dont really want to turn this section into a chat room please lads.

Any newcomer to the trades should get a contract together for every single job they do and give the customer a copy of their terms and conditions before work commences. One of those terms should always be a statement signifyiong the person who signs is either the owner of the house or is the person who willbe paying the Bill. A small works contract takes no time to draft. They are avalablle on the net and are legally binding documents. They also give your client some security and it looks even more professional. Going to work for someone you do not know and trusting that they will pay you is a no no these days, there are more cowboy customers than cowboy builders. Do it professionally, the extra time and effort protects you and your customer.
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