Anybody have an interesting experience with Roto Rooter plumbers in your area? The facts that I am writing about are for the branches owned by corporate (not the independently owned franchises or contractors)
When you as a homeowner call a national plumbing company like Roto Rooter you expect that the service you will receive is of the best quality, and at the prices they charge you expect extreme professionalism. Top notch licensed plumbers with the best in materials and equipment, correct? .. sorry in most cases that’s not what you’ll be getting, this is not to say that there are no good well experienced plumbers staffed, but they are few and far between, a little back ground on the company and had how it operates and how this effects your wallet when you call them for service. Roto Rooter plumbers is owned by chemid holding a publically traded company, which has to show quarterly profits to its share holders, that’s the first problem. Each office has an expected weekly sale quota which varies on location and size of the branch, this reflex on a quota passed down to the technicians, Oh and they do not call them plumbers because for the most part they are not plumbers. Let go over on how you get a job at a Roto rooter branch. Local ads in job listings, reads, looking for licensed plumbers and (helpers no experience necessary will train) you apply go through a background check and you are hired, before all this takes place they give you a one day ride along, this is set up with the top sale revenue producer, the purpose of this ride along is to falsely entice the prospected employee. What is presented to him is the ability to bring home pay checks in excess of 1000+ dollars a week, which can be done if you are a well seasoned plumber, most new guys are finished before they even start. The technician employee turn over rate at roto rooter is astronomical. After seeing this great money making opportunity, they are informed that they must buy their own truck and hand tools, and miscellaneous supply equipment for the truck, hey not a problem I am going to be making all this money, paying for a new truck and all this stuff will be no problem, , yeah right…they are also required to pay for insurance gas and maintenance on that truck, the truck cannot be older than 3 years, how many people looking for work have the cash to buy a truck? The truck usually ends up being financed, a new monthly payment, on a already probably financially strained individual, the now new employee goes through a twelve week training program in which he is placed with a technician that is willing to train them. That’s right the person that they send to your home to fix your plumbing was probably delivering pizza 3 months ago, kind of scary, or at the drive thru at your local burger shop. Ok training is over the guy is set up with his truck and is ready to start making money, starting commission rate for new guys is 30% of the revenue labor sales he makes. And 30% on parts sold to the customer, , Oh Yeah The parts that they buy for a job in your home are marked up one and a half times minimum, that’s right a 200.00 dollar toilet from Home Depot will be marked up to 300 dollars purchased at retail and resold retail. A starting weekly quota is set at usually 3000.00 dollars a week in sales for new guys and can be as high as 10, 000.00 per week for the senior technicians. That means that they have to sell 600 dollars a day. Extremely difficult to sell when you average 1 call a day. the inexperience factor kicks in never done this type of work before so a job that a seasoned plumber would knock out in an hour, will usually takes the new technician at roto rooter 4 to 5 hours, That means that if he’s gone two days without a call, he’s going to have to make it up some way somehow, guess who’ll end up paying the price, the poor unsuspecting customer.. Payroll deductions the most feared word next to call backs for a roto rooter employee. Uniforms, truck insurance, gas, cables for the roto rooter machines yes the technicians have to pay for the drain cables new guy go through them like water at about $150.00 and change. Call backs is another problem for the technician. Roto rooter gives the home owner a six month warranty on a drain cleaning, home owner pays 349.00 or more for the service the technician collects 30% of that 104.70 in his pay check. Ok 2 months down the road the technician gets a call back on that call, he has to go and do the work again for free he does not get paid for that call even though the company is giving the warranty, which it’s not. the technician has to cover the warranty, and if he is not on the schedule that day and they send someone else the company pulls the $104.70 from his current pay check and pays the second technician that was sent out on warranty call. I have seen guys with no pay checks and starting the new week in the negative from call back pull’s, new guys will work all week for free, with all the deductions in place, who will eventually take the hit, again the customer. Weekly meeting stressing sales figures and discussing strategies on adding revenue to each call. If you are not a crook when you start working at Roto Rooter chances are that by the time you are terminated or can’t handle the stresses placed on you and quit or your van is repossessed which happens often, you’ll be one.
Roto Rooter has a system in place that is a win win situation for the company, and a always a losing situation for the employee. And of course the customer. don’t take my word for it look around the web you’ll find current and past law suites tons of complaints on the behalf of outraged customers that have been Rip off by Roto Rooter and current and past employees. It is not uncommon of customers being told that they need new sewer lines and charged three times the going rate for the same work by other companies, and on top of all that they did not need the line replaced. Below standard work performed by inexperienced personnel that wouldn’t know the plumbing code book from the phone book… It’s outrageous that this company is still allowed to operate. Stay away from Roto Rooter if you want to keep your money, this company is no better than a crack head robbing a 7-11 at gun point for a pack of cigarettes. There is a lot more that I could tell you but this article would be a book. Use a local plumbing company there are lots of small family owned and operated companies in your area, get referrals ask your neighbors or programs like Angie, s list get estimates and second opinions before doing major plumbing work in your home. If you have had work done by roto rooter and feel that you have been over charged or taken advantage of contact your local building and find out if a permit was obtained for the work. Also contact your local consumer protection agency. Or your local new consumer reporter.