Archive for the 'General Plumbing' Category

Keep Plumbing Costs Down By Working With a Company that Arrives Prepared

By Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

How prepared is your plumber when he arrives on the job? This question can have a big impact on how much you pay and how much inconvenience you experience. Recently, two different Resident Managers—one from a condo in Chelsea and one from a co-op on the Upper East Side—shared with me stories about plumbing jobs that should have been simple, but became long, drawn-out fiascos that ended up wasting valuable time and costing much more than they should have. Why? Because, in the case of the first call, the plumbers showed up without the proper materials, even after an estimator had visited the property, looked over the project, and priced out the job. In the case of the second call, the plumber who showed up to address a standard apartment leak didn’t even have a service vehicle stocked with parts, and was forced to wait two and a half hours until the required repair materials were delivered to him by his office, at the co-op’s expense.

Don’t let this happen to you. There are many companies out there that offer low prices, but don’t deliver. In some cases they don’t even have service trucks with standard inventory driven to the job site for the serviceman to immediately draw the materials required for the repair. Also, many companies don’t have the warehouse space necessary to store the parts they need, if and when their estimator’s stock falls short. Both scenarios can add time and cost to any job, turning a low estimate into an overpriced and time-consuming endeavor.

At Varsity Plumbing and Heating, our headquarters in Flushing features a 28,000-square-foot office as well as an 8,000-square-foot parts warehouse with over a million dollars worth of inventory. This, along with our fleet of fully stocked trucks, allows us to service our clients at any time of day, without having to depend on suppliers.

Varsity Plumbing’s fleet of trucks stand at the ready outside their 32,000-square-feet of office and warehouse space at their Flushing, Queens headquarters.

Varsity Plumbing’s fleet of trucks stand at the ready outside their 32,000-square-feet of office and warehouse space at their Flushing, Queens headquarters.

Whenever we receive a call for proposal, we send out a trained estimator as quickly as possible. Our estimators take continuing education classes every year, and have years of on-the-job experience. After visiting the site, analyzing and diagnosing the problem, our estimator returns to the Varsity office with a full report, and writes up a detailed proposal. This proposal is reviewed by the estimator’s supervisor, to make sure nothing has been left out. Then the proposal is sent over to the property’s Super or Resident Manager, and if required, to the Managing Agent as well. If the proposal is accepted by the building, it is sent to our service manager and warehouse manager for scheduling and preparations, ensuring that all the parts needed for this particular job are in the warehouse prior to the job being scheduled. If materials are required, they are immediately brought in to ensure that we can complete the job as quickly and efficiently as possible. Once all the materials are in-house, the job is loaded onto the plumber’s truck BEFORE he heads out to do the job. That is how it should be done, and it really is that simple.

In the case of the aforementioned properties, both plumbers arrived on the job without all of the required materials. In both cases, the Resident Managers, who had scheduled their staff and daily tasks around these plumbing repairs, had to juggle schedules and waste time waiting, along with the plumbers, for the proper materials to be delivered to the buildings so the jobs could be completed.

When the bills came in, both of these Resident Managers called the plumbing companies to complain, explaining that they should not be charged for the time the plumber was waiting around for parts, due to their own poor planning. They both had to waste more valuable time on the phone arguing their point.

Next time you have a plumbing problem, call someone who can provide a solution, in a prompt, efficient, cost-effective manner. Plumbing skills are only part of the equation when it comes to good service. Staff, storage, transportation and supplies are equally important. Be sure that your plumber arrives prepared so that your property can get the job done at the right price in the shortest amount of time.

Family owned and operated since 1962, Varsity provides a wide range of services to all kinds of properties, from co-ops and condos to rentals and commercial properties. Varsity’s expertise includes plumbing, heating, sewer and drain cleaning, water quality, backflow prevention, pumping systems, and fire sprinkler/standpipe systems. With offices in Flushing, Queens, and Bohemia, Long Island, Varsity serves New York City, Long Island, and northern New Jersey, and requires mandatory drug testing and criminal background checks for all field employees. Company President Robert J. Bellini serves as Past President of the Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York and is a member of the NYC Plumbing Licensing Board.


Be Sure to Hire the Right Plumber for the Job

It may be the most overused tag line in all of advertising history: “No Job Too Big Or Small.” You see it in ads for painters, roofers, carpenters, and of course, plumbers. And I’m writing today to tell you to watch out whenever you see those words.

Often, they are used by smaller companies looking for small jobs. In the case of plumbers, the firms using that line are often trying to pick up work like leaking faucets, dishwasher replacements, or snaking out clogged toilets. You may think that by hiring them you’ll be saving money—but beware!

We were recently called in to an apartment building where a number of units on the fourth floor had tubs and sinks that were not draining properly. Luckily, the manager was experienced enough to realize this might need a more complicated fix than just snaking out the waste line, and called Varsity. Turns out he was right.

Our technician visited all of the affected apartments and discovered something very strange: half of the fourth floor—yes the floor itself—had been built incorrectly! Instead of being level, the floor was slightly pitched, making it virtually impossible for the tubs and sinks to drain properly. The building was relatively new, and the waste lines and fittings worked for a while, but when they got blocked up just the slightest bit, the waste water would no longer drain.

We diagnosed the situation, and came up with a remedy—we raised the floor in all of the affected bathrooms four inches, then pitched and connected the waste lines and fittings properly, so that gravity could do its job.

In another situation we were called in to replace a toilet and unclog a waste line. When we got there we saw that the actual toilet bowl had exploded! When we asked the homeowner what happened, she told us that she had a clogged toilet which she could not clear with a plunger. She looked online and called (you guessed it) a “No Job Too Big Or Small” outfit, who sent a serviceman over with a heavy-duty electric snake.

Instead of asking the right questions, and walking through the house to determine how the problem occurred and how best to move forward, he forced the snake down the toilet bowl and started spinning it. Well, that snake went right out the waste line, took a right turn and went into the second bathroom. It came up through the waste line and broke right through the toilet bowl!

Luckily, this homeowner got our name from a friend who had just used Varsity to replace an old toilet and was happy with the work we did. After replacing the broken toilet, we went down to the basement, traced the waste line, and found a clean-out trap up above the dropped ceiling. We drained the waste line, cleared the blockage and repaired the problem.

All of our technicians are trained to analyze every situation and to make sure they have a full plan of attack—from start to finish—before they begin a job. We take the time to train our plumbers on an ongoing basis, whether it is for new local governmental rules and regulations or continuing education.

So the next time you need plumbing work, don’t fall prey to an advertising catch line.  Choose a firm that has been around for many years, has a solid reputation for doing good work, and makes sure their customers are satisfied. Check to see if they are licensed to do the work you need, and have technicians who are drug tested, bonded, and trained to leave your place just as clean as when they arrived.

Or just call Varsity at 877-VARSITY, and feel confident that we will solve your problem quickly, do a good job, and charge a fair price.

Varsity will always leave your home looking as good as when we arrived, and will be sure the problem is completely repaired.

Varsity will always leave your home looking as good as when we arrived, and will be sure the problem is completely repaired.






Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

50th anniversary