Homeowner or Plumber: Who Should Be Responsible for What?

Home / Homeowner or Plumber: Who Should Be Responsible for What?


As is true with any business in the service industry, there certain things we don’t take responsibility for when doing plumbing repair work.

But there is a very good reason for that, actually several very good reasons. And none of those reasons are because we don’t want to.

It’s actually not just in our best interest but it’s also in yours, the homeowner’s, best interest as well.

Foundation Repair

Let me start with an example, a foundation company. If a leak is found after any foundation repair work, the company is not responsible for any plumbing repairs — even if the damage was done during the foundation repair work.

Now I can understand from a customer’s perspective why you might think the foundation company should be responsible for the plumbing. But let me explain why it’s not good for the business or the homeowner.

First of all, the foundation repair company cannot be held responsible for something that is out of their control. Possibly the builder cut corners and installed the pipes wrong in the first place. The type of soil has an affect on what the pipes can withstand during lifting and leveling. Maybe you have 50-year-old cast iron under the slab that was already bad before they started their work. Not to mention there could already be existing damage before they start the work.

But let’s say you still think the foundation repair company should be responsible for any and all damage incurred during their repair job. In that case, the company has to be ready for every worst case scenario possible. Because they have no idea what’s going on under the house and what problems could arise, they have to account for ALL potential problems.

So if the foundation company is responsible and now has to take on that risk, they will raise the price by the amount that it might cost them to repair any and all leaks and damage. Now a $10,000 estimate becomes $50,000.

But on the flip side, if the homeowner is responsible for any plumbing repair work, they pay for only what needs repairing — if it’s even necessary at all.

Why Do I Still Get Charged If There Aren’t Any Damages?

So if a foundation company gives a worst case scenario estimate and it turns out there are no repairs needed, you might be wondering, “Then shouldn’t I be charged on the back end only for what was done?”

No, and here’s why.

Whoever takes the risk is the one who reaps the rewards. If the company is taking all the risk on every job, there will be jobs where it is as much or more than the original estimate and others where it’s less. A business owner has to consider all the possibilities from a long-term perspective everything, every job, every home.

But if you, the homeowner, take on the responsibility and risk, you pay only for what — if anything — needs to be done. So you reap the rewards.

In-House Plumbing Company Proposal Terms

Now let’s switch back to In-House. In all of our proposals, we clearly state that we aren’t responsible for:

Of course, this isn’t to say we go in, rip everything apart and leave you with a big mess. That’s not good for you or for us. Neighbors in the area would see the mess and our trucks guaranteeing we aren’t the company to call when they need work on their own homes. Our company would also be riddled with bad reviews and terrible testimonials.

So with our customer-first philosophy and desire to stay in business, we do everything we can to leave you in the best shape as possible. That’s why we have a cleanliness guarantee.

But let’s talk about what would happen if we did take responsibility for any and all possible damages incurred while doing plumbing repairs.

For example, post tension cables. Say we’re punching four slabs in the home and there are eight post tension cables. We have to plan on hitting all eight of those cables. Now it’s highly unlikely we’ll hit any. In the history of this company, we’ve only ever hit about 10 total. But since we don’t know, we have to account for that in our estimate.

Same thing with sprinkler wires. We have no idea where they are buried. Every system is different so we can’t plan on one thing for every situation. Again, it’s highly unlikely our work would require getting your entire sprinkler system replaced but we can’t know that and will have to bake that into our estimate.

Flooring, whether that be carpet or hardwood or a finished concrete or tile, also has to be accounted for in cases where we punch an interior access hole. It’s a lot harder for us as plumbers to match a finish or find the right tile or carpet because that’s not what we do.

And there are pavers and landscaping and the foundation and concrete and… you get the point.

General Contractor

So then that brings me back to the topic of taking all the risk and responsibility.

Let’s say we’ve taken responsibility for all the worst case scenarios for EVERYTHING. As I said with the flooring, we are plumbers so we can’t do what someone who specializes in flooring can do. (And you don’t want us to.)

So then should we find someone to do those jobs for you? If we do, we become a general contractor, so to speak. Finding the right companies, overseeing their work, these things take time and labor on our end as well. And what if they mess up? We are responsible for that as well.

And find me a general contractor who doesn’t charge a fee for his work.

So yes, all of this would also be part of the estimate.

Still Want Us to Take Responsibility?

In the grand scheme of things, it’s always going to cost the homeowner more to have a company do something for them like these things.

If you do want us to, we will. Just be aware that we will have to account for every worst case scenario for all of these things. And in this case, it’s going to be much more than if we went in to do what it is we do, plumbing.

It costs a business, any business, a whole lot more money to take responsibility for something that they don’t do — something that is not a part of their actual work.

And I’ve mentioned this in previous posts. It’s easy for someone to say they’ll do something but when it comes down to it, will they? Sadly in many cases, they won’t. Not to mention the companies who don’t say anything at all and when something happens then tell you they aren’t responsible. Or worse, say they will take care of it and then take off when it’s time to do it.

I get it. We all want someone else to do it, to take responsibility for everything. It’s easier. But every time someone does, you’re looking at a lot costs. “Easier” costs money, and A LOT more than if you took responsibility for it yourself.

If you have any questions about this or anything else, feel free to reach out by phone at 972-494-1750. And we’re also available by email service@inhouseplumbingcompany.com.

In-House Plumbing Company

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