John: And you are listening to the Ask the Experts radio show on talk radio 1190. I’m John Wolf and I have with me one of our regular great guests Roger Wakefield. How are you this morning Roger?
Roger: I’m doing great John, how are you sir?
John: Good, very good.
John: And Roger is the owner operator of Texas Green Plumbing and makes a monthly trip here to try to help us out with all our plumbing questions and just plumbing field questions in general but let’s roll the tape way back to the beginning; how did you get into plumbing, what drove you to it?
Roger: A real good friend of mine actually one of my best friends growing up; I was managing a hamburger place in Garland where I grew up. And he was working with me one night we were in there talking and I was 16 years old I may have been 17 at the time. I had been enjoying the job and got promoted to manager and he asked me one day he said are you going to do this forever?
I said you know what I’m a manager in a restaurant 16 – 17 years old I’ve got it made. I make decent money why not. He says what are you going to do when you lose this job, what if they fire you, who’s going to hire you as a restaurant manager at your age?
And his father became the chief plumbing inspector of Dallas at one point, his 3 older brothers were all plumbers and he talked about everything they did and it was really interesting. It was exciting to me, they made good money at it and talking to him I thought that could be fun. The really interesting thing about it is he became a plumber too. They’re all Master plumbers now, all the brothers are, father has passed away but the one thing that he said that night…now remember this is early 80s but one thing he said that stuck with me above anything else; he said robots will never be able to do our job. Remember in the early 80s robots are going to take over the world they still are.
John: It’s insane with it with all you hear now about AI artificial intelligence there’s no job that I wouldn’t think robots could do that they could come down and solder that whatever but go ahead with what you were saying I didn’t mean to drive you there.
Roger: There are a lot of things that we’ve got robotics to do welding, we’ve got robotics that can do cutting. I worked on some of the largest commercial jobs in Dallas over my career so I have seen a lot of changes but a robot is not going to be able to come in your house analyze the problem at least not right now, analyze the problem, determine what needs to be done, test different areas and say OK here’s the problem. Don’t get wrong robots in the future might be able to come and do it better and faster than we do now. But in the early 80s that was a reality that was on the way robots were going to take over the world and it made perfect sense that they would never be able to do that.
John: Right. The original Blade runner was 1980 and amazingly Harris Ford was around long enough for the second to get in that movie we were going to have flying cars now so we don’t know how quickly things will take over. Let me pause here to say the phone number here if you have a question about plumbing or the plumbing field in general 214-787-1190. Roger Wakefield is our guest from Texas Green Plumbing their number is 972-442-4101 and the website not hard to remember Texasgreenplumbing.com.
Now when do you know if you need a plumber or you think maybe I could save a couple of bucks and my friend Earl has a friend who does a lot of handy work and said he’s done some good work for a minute I’ll see if he can come and fix this leak inside the wall.
Roger: It’s kind of up to you. It really depends on your trust, it depends on the quality that you expect. I’ve got handy men that do a lot of things. I don’t expect them to do any plumbing. The reason being a plumber has to go through so many hours of training as an apprentice before he can ever become a either a tradesmen or a journeyman or different things like that. So it’s very easy to understand how a handyman could mess something up because they don’t get that training. Now you’ll talk to handyman all over the place as they are like I’ve done plumbing forever I know all about it.
I’ve done a lot of things forever but I’ve never been professionally trained and received an education in a field other than plumbing and I say that that’s not true, I was also a license cosmetologist on the Watsons massage therapist. But I went and got my license to do that. I didn’t just go out one day and say look I can cut hair, I’m going to become a cosmetologist. I didn’t go out and just throw up the sign and say look I’m a massage therapist. I actually took the test and had a license for it.
Plumbing is one thing that…plumbing electrical work is the work you were supposed to have a license to do. The Texas state law and plumbing license board rules state it very clearly you are supposed to be licensed in the state to offer to do plumbing. Somebody recommended me for a job yesterday on Facebook and I went in and looked and see who else was recommended there was another plumber on there that had been recommended four times which is great, there’s enough plumbing in Dallas to keep every one of us busy forever.
The way I work, the way my mind thinks I went to the Texas State Board of plumbing examiners checked his license, he does not have insurance, he does have an RMP, he does not have a company that is registered under his license. So truth be told if he comes even and guys he’s a legit plumber, he’s a master plumber he comes out and works on your house and damages something there is no insurance to cover you as a homeowner.
Homeowners, the way I see it should do their due diligence. Get online go to the Texas State Board of plumbing examiners, go do the license search, look up the plumbing company or when you call a plumber ask them who’s your master plumber? Go online and check is he registered, does he have insurance, is he a responsible master plumber which is a certification you have to have in Texas. There’s a lot of things to cover and a handyman just gets out and says look I can do that but there’s a big difference.
John: Even with as you say a licensed plumber in the gentleman is a master plumber and maybe’s one of the best. But without the insurance in fact the most major job we had at my house done at my house which cost several thousand dollars I thought I’m going to stay on top of this, I asked about insurance he said oh yes we have insurance and so I said can you send me a copy of it he said I’ll take a picture send you a copy of it so you know it’s you can call you’ll know it’s up to date.
Three years later I still haven’t gotten that copy. Fortunately there hasn’t been a problem but you know it just leaves you wondering was it legit because anybody can sign up and make a first payment for insurance whether it’s a car or a house or a business that doesn’t mean you still have it years later that you drop it after the first month for that matter.
Roger: The good thing is with the form that you have to fill Texas State Board of plumbing examiners I think is fantastic. Lisa Hill does a great job down there I communicate with them often. When I hear of plumbing companies here in town doing improper work, hiring the wrong people I communicate with them. I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago a guy asking us to change out a water heater and I gave him a pricing he says you know that’s crazy. He said the last one was installed for half that. He even told me the guy’s name who did it so I look up that guy’s name. He told me the name of a plumbing company I looked it up. I go back and check the owner, the owner is an apprentice or was. He doesn’t even have a current apprentice license now.
So anybody can advertise to do plumbing, do your homework check every plumber in all the ads are supposed to have their master license number. I’ve got mine on my jeep, it’s on all my vehicles, every plumbing company are supposed to have an M- number on the front of their vehicles, letters at least two inches tall. It’s there for your good that way you can go online and check is this legit. It’s worth checking out.
John: So in plumbing business is anyone you call should have a master plumber as part of the enterprise is that you’re saying?
Roger: Are of the Texas State Board of plumbing examiners in the plumbing Lawson’s law absolutely it is required
John: Ok I’ll bet that most people if they have the kind of emergency where they don’t have the time it’s on a Saturday morning, water’s coming out, you can’t call the state and you pretty much have to hope that that you’re getting someone legit and maybe someone you know recommended that person. And what I found some of the names of plumbing companies are so similar. Might be a let’s say Flower Mound Plumbing specialists and you don’t know if you call the person that your friend reckoned that oh yeah I called Flower Mound Plumbing. You know and could be a similarly named company but you know what you’ve got water running and you just take your chance. And what does that mean as far as getting to be a master plumber, what kind of hours?
Roger: You’ve got to have…back when I did it you had to have I think we had to have 6,000 hours of the time now it’s 8,000 thousand to become a journeyman. You had to have your journeyman license for so long before you could become a master plumber. And it’s tests that you take. So you know most companies do things right. But there are companies there are individuals that get out there they advertise they don’t do it right. They don’t do everything they’re supposed to do maybe they don’t have insurance. Maybe they don’t pull permits and it makes it harder on those of us that do because we have to cover all that in our pricing.
John: Right plus I don’t know about you I’m not perfect doing my job and people might be totally legit have all their insurance and just have a bad day so to say and that could be a really bad day for a homeowner.
We’re going to take a quick break here we’re speaking with Roger Wakefield Texas Green Plumbing his website is Texasgreenplumbing.com and you are listening to the Ask the Expert radio show on talk radio 1190.
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