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SUCCESS! ROOTER RANGER - Got my plumbing fixed for $47 last night.

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biophase

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I felt compelled to write this because you just don't have good experiences in general with the service industry. Last night, while I was watching the NBA finals I noticed a smell in the house. At first I thought something died in the attic but when I walked into my bathroom, there was water in the shower drain and it stunk. In my second bathroom, there was also water in the bathtub. So I knew that the problem was house wide and that I wouldn't be able to fix this one.

I'm sure we all have that dread of calling a plumber or HVAC guy after 7pm. We know it's going to cost an arm and a leg just to get someone out. So I googled "clogged sewer pipe scottsdale" or something like that and a few plumbers came up. I clicked on Rooter Ranger (361 5 star reviews on Google) and made the call. It rang forever and yes, an answering service picked up. I thought that it would be a lead capture service and that I'd be getting calls from a dozen plumbers after. I asked them what the service charge was and the person on the phone said that there was no charge for the service call and that they had a $47 drain unclogging special, so I told them to send someone over, still being very skeptical on the price. Honestly, I was prepared to pay $150 especially since I couldn't use the shower or any of my toilets.

The plumber on call was at another home and would arrive in about 2 hours. At 9pm he showed up and long story short, he unclogged the drain and charged me $47.

I asked him all sorts of questions because, $47 service calls cannot be profitable. He said that Rooter Ranger in AZ has about 100 plumbers as employees. They do not use contractors. They lose money on $47 calls, but many calls require additional work like removing toilets or replacing pipes. They have a number of guys on call all night. They don't charge extra for weekends or 3am calls.

I've told a few people already about them today and everyone was shocked at $47 price. That's why I wanted to write this post and also purposely put their name in the title in case people google them (They are available in CA, AZ and NV). This is what happens when you get way more value than you paid for. You feel compelled to tell people and even write a post about it.

I wish more service companies would do it this way. It's the easiest form of marketing.
 

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BizyDad

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Raoul Duke

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MetalGear

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Wow that costs about $250-500 in the NY, NJ, PA area
 

sparechange

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Wasn't this Bezo's approach with Amazon? IIRC he lost money for about 5 years before becoming an ''overnight success''
 

door123

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exactly, I do the same thing. I have a breakeven leader to reel in leads & then crossell/upsell them on the back end. For example, to wall mount a tv I charge base price of $99 (competitors charge min $150) then I have various upsells/cross-sells ranging from $50 to $200 often with 90% profit margins.
 

G Man

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A loss leader is definitely not a bad idea, especially if you have a number of salaried employees who are doing nothing otherwise. If better paying work picks up, kill the loss leader.
 

Parks

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Thanks for the share biophase,

I am one who cannot get over the idea that there is so much potential in innovating service industries like this.

So many not thought of possible business model reworks but none paving the way quite yet.

I will say I find this one pretty interesting though, so far I'm in a almost neighboring industry and getting enough work never seemed the problem. Then again your Rooter you hired might just want to focus on maxing out his whole area (potential customers) vs franchising.

Interesting
 

biophase

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So less than 24 days after this post, my drains were clogged again. This time I knew that a simple snaking of the pipes wouldn't be a long term fix. So I called Rooter Ranger again. I needed the $47 drain unclogging but I also requested the camera scoping. They said the camera scoping was $200 and that the drain clogging would be complimentary. That was fine.

The camera identified 2 areas that were clogged. One looked like a solid mess of rocks and gunk, cemented together that blocked half of the pipe. The second area we couldn't tell because it was under water.

The guy recommended a pressure wash or jet spray and he quoted $1900 for it. He said if I pay the $1900, the $200 camera would be waived and that includes coming back the day after to re-camera the spot to make sure the clogs were knocked out. Also, if the jet spray couldn't unclog it, the cost of digging and replacing the pipes would be around $4000 (and the cost of the jet spray $1900 would be waived).

Now I totally get their business system. The $47 is a loss leader, so upsells or solutions are the only way that they make money. I was fine with the $200 camera scope. But I thought the $1900 was way too high. I initially agreed and then jumped online to research and the prices were from $400 to $1000. I didn't see anything near $2000.

So I texted them to cancel and to pay the $200 for the camera work. They called me to take my CC number. I told them that I'm going to get quotes because $1900 sounds really high. They came down to $1500 which I thought was fair. If I had gone with someone else, it would have been $800-$1000 plus I would have had to pay for the $200 camera scope today, and most likely those $800-$1000 quotes wouldn't have included a camera rescope afterwards.

The guys came out and jet sprayed for a while. I was there watching them the whole time because I just didn't want someone to half a$$ it and tell my the blockage is too tough and I needed to do the $4000 repair. The first blockage was removed really fast. The second one took a long long time. I was beginning to think it wouldn't come out but the guy tried for a while and it finally started moving and then suddenly broke through.

I'm pretty happy with the result, an unclogged drain, that hopefully the camera will confirm tomorrow. I think the guys did a good job of trying to get the clogs out and not giving up. I think $1500 is a little high, but that includes the camera work before and after. I don't mind paying an extra $100-$200 to get the job done right. If the price was cheaper, I probably would have tipped the two guys today.

One last thing, if the camera work tomorrow shows that the clog is gone. Rooter Ranger warranties it for 5 years. Don't know how much that is really worth, but it's one of those add ons where the perceived value to the consumer is really high so they can justify their price, but the added cost to them is almost nothing.

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biophase

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@biophase
Your full name is visible on the image on the first line of the first post, just wanted you to know in case it was unintentional.
Thanks for the thread anyway!

Thanks. I don't mind it, but I deleted it anyway because it wasn't really relevant to the post.
 

vinylawesome

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biophase

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So just to complete this thread... Final bill is around $12,600!!

The clog kept getting worse. I couldn't even do a load of laundry, so I finally ponied up $2500 to have them dig the sewer pipe out from the outside. Once they got to the pipe, they found it was 50% clogged with pool plaster for a distance of about 8 feet.

So what we think happened was that the guys replastering my pool in 2013 poured or cleaned their tools into my cleanout. That hardened and had been sitting there for 7 years with my pipe at 1/2 capacity. Then I think some animal fell down the air vents (they aren't covered here in AZ) from the roof and made its way down to the obstruction and died.

So I had to bite the bullet and pay $7500 to have them dig up my office. They came in broke up the tile, jack hammered the concrete and then dug out the pipe. It was completely clogged with plaster. I put a call into the pool company today and sent them photos. I don't know if they would be willing to do anything 7 years later.

So hopefully this is the end of my plumbing adventure with Rooter Ranger. Even though I paid them $12,600 I am actually happy with their work. They had really good communication throughout. They certainly bid high, but you can get their prices down to something reasonable.

This is what the pipe looked like.
FF90D81E-DDEF-4A80-90E6-D5F85FF11E3F.jpeg

The stuff chipped out of the pipe.
B987B8E2-8AE4-4EC6-AA40-B54CDD2D5097.jpeg

You can see it went down the full length of the pipe.
29CE510E-B1A6-40AA-9CA8-52C0C02345E4.jpeg

This is what was left over of the material after I poured acid on it. It's a sand and gravel from a Pebbletec pool.
5817D601-22D2-47D3-B3D9-93AE26013A9B.jpeg

This is them tearing up my new tile floor!
72E023A7-6114-4433-A339-146B01A3A112.jpeg

The big a$$ hole they dug and clogged pipe
A1EFF7A3-41EE-4B19-AB38-A0D73F7F7A68.jpeg

The finished project backfilled with concrete. I still need to pay for a tile guy to finish the tile, probably another $500-$1000.
9B5A8D44-F284-4DDE-8820-A8571E6273C3.jpeg
 
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Raja

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So just to complete this thread... Final bill is around $12,600!!

The clog kept getting worse. I couldn't even do a load of laundry, so I finally ponied up $2500 to have them dig the sewer pipe out from the outside. Once they got to the pipe, they found it was 50% clogged with pool plaster for a distance of about 8 feet.

So what we think happened was that the guys replastering my pool in 2013 poured or cleaned their tools into my cleanout. That hardened and had been sitting there for 7 years with my pipe at 1/2 capacity. Then I think some animal fell down the air vents (they aren't covered here in AZ) from the roof and made its way down to the obstruction and died.

So I had to bite the bullet and pay $7500 to have them dig up my office. They came in broke up the tile, jack hammered the concrete and then dug out the pipe. It was completely clogged with plaster. I put a call into the pool company today and sent them photos. I don't know if they would be willing to do anything 7 years later.

So hopefully this is the end of my plumbing adventure with Rooter Ranger. Even though I paid them $12,600 I am actually happy with their work. They had really good communication throughout. They certainly bid high, but you can get their prices down to something reasonable.

This is what the pipe looked like.
View attachment 35833

The stuff chipped out of the pipe.
View attachment 35834

You can see it went down the full length of the pipe.
View attachment 35835

This is what was left over of the material after I poured acid on it. It's a sand and gravel from a Pebbletec pool.
View attachment 35836
bio,
was it convenient enough or hands-off than the traditional plumber you would hire?
 

biophase

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bio,
was it convenient enough or hands-off than the traditional plumber you would hire?

Yes, it was super convenient. Because when the pipe is dug up I can't use the bathroom or shower. So they did it over Thanksgiving weekend. Started Friday and finished today. I went out of town and gave them access to the house. All the photos shown were photos they took to give me updates at the end of each day.

They haven't even charged me yet, while many places require payment upfront for something this expensive. To me, it feels like they assign a plumber a project and it is his job to complete (I wonder if they make commission on it). It's his project and he handles it all. There also seems to be a project manager that calls and does high level touching. For example, the original guy that came out to do the snaking ($47 job) called today to see if everything was complete and asked me to run the water to make sure the issue was resolved.
 

MetalGear

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So just to complete this thread... Final bill is around $12,600!!

The clog kept getting worse. I couldn't even do a load of laundry, so I finally ponied up $2500 to have them dig the sewer pipe out from the outside. Once they got to the pipe, they found it was 50% clogged with pool plaster for a distance of about 8 feet.

So what we think happened was that the guys replastering my pool in 2013 poured or cleaned their tools into my cleanout. That hardened and had been sitting there for 7 years with my pipe at 1/2 capacity. Then I think some animal fell down the air vents (they aren't covered here in AZ) from the roof and made its way down to the obstruction and died.

So I had to bite the bullet and pay $7500 to have them dig up my office. They came in broke up the tile, jack hammered the concrete and then dug out the pipe. It was completely clogged with plaster. I put a call into the pool company today and sent them photos. I don't know if they would be willing to do anything 7 years later.

So hopefully this is the end of my plumbing adventure with Rooter Ranger. Even though I paid them $12,600 I am actually happy with their work. They had really good communication throughout. They certainly bid high, but you can get their prices down to something reasonable.

This is what the pipe looked like.
View attachment 35833

The stuff chipped out of the pipe.
View attachment 35834

You can see it went down the full length of the pipe.
View attachment 35835

This is what was left over of the material after I poured acid on it. It's a sand and gravel from a Pebbletec pool.
View attachment 35836

This is them tearing up my new tile floor!
View attachment 35837

The big a$$ hole they dug and clogged pipe
View attachment 35838

The finished project backfilled with concrete. I still need to pay for a tile guy to finish the tile, probably another $500-$1000.
View attachment 35839

Wow what a find!

Glad it was only from the cleanout forward.
 

ProcessPro

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A real life loss-leader in a service business that actually works. How cool is that?
What's a loss-leader? Someone that gives more than they get upfront?

EDIT: Nvm, I got the idea after reading biophase's post.
 
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