What To Do With A Bad Review

What is the first thing a potential client does when looking for a new service provider? If you answered "look for reviews" you're correct. So what do you do if you have bad reviews?

  1. Avoid being defensive. It's natural to have hurt feelings or want to retaliate when someone speaks poorly of your business. Avoid this reaction. Instead, do a little research.
  2. Google your business to see if there are any additional negative reviews about your company. If you find a pattern, for example, multiple clients saying your staff is rude and unhelpful, you know where to start. If you only have one bad review, that's great news!
  3. Talk to anyone on your staff who may have interacted with the unhappy client. It's possible a misunderstanding occurred or you have an unreasonable customer on your hands. Either way, it's best to know what you're up against before you respond.
  4. Now that you understand the problem, you're ready to respond. Make sure you respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a positive manner. When responding to bad reviews start by thanking the reviewer for their time and valuable input. Apologize for their poor experience without making excuses (yes, even if their complaint is unreasonable. This shows future customers you are dedicated to keeping your customers happy). Let them know how you plan to address the problem. The response below not only addresses client concerns, but also encourages the client to take the conversation off of a public platform, and shows potential customers your dedication to customer care.

Example: "Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback. We are very sorry you had a bad experience with our company. We are working with our staff to ensure we are able to provide top-quality customer service in the future. We would appreciate the opportunity to make things right with you, please call our office between 8am-5pm to discuss possible solutions."

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DIY Plumbing Disasters

Many homeowners fancy themselves DIY professionals and tackle all kinds of projects around the house. While DIY mentalities can save homeowners money the opposite is often true when it comes to plumbing.

One of the most common mistakes made by DIY plumbers is digging when they see water coming from a buried pipe. Most homeowners crack the pipe almost instantaneously if they're lucky they hit an inflow pipe and are covered in clean water. If they're not so lucky they hit a sewage pipe and cover their basement and body in waste.

One DIYer decided to scrub the "rust" off the floor after an old toilet had been removed. After scrubbing proved insufficient she went at the spot with a hammer and chisel. When the job was completed a handyman came to install a new toilet and found she had removed the flange from the floor. This cleaning project brought her toilet installation cost from $200 to $600.

The most dangerous plumbing DIY stories involve hot water systems, electricity, or gas water heaters. Each of these can prove fatal to the novice homeowner or if you're lucky, a large repair bill from a plumber.

Do you want to become a licensed plumber?

Study for the Michigan Journeyman exam with our online HD video prep program!


The History of Water in Boston

Water played a crucial role in shaping the early regions of Massachusetts when the settlers first immigrated. The Puritans first landed and settled in America around the Charlestown area, but had issues accessing fresh water in 1620. They later acquired land on the Shawmut Peninsula from English settler William Blaxton, in the area known today as Boston. A great spring was located there and quality water bubbled out of the ground.

Although the water supply was plentiful for a small community, the colony had to accommodate for expansion and growth. This led to the first waterworks system in 1652. According to Boston.com This system consisted of “wooden pipes and a reservoir for drinking, as well as putting out the fires that often occurred from houses built mainly of wood.” In the 1700’s, the city of Boston began selling fresh water from the system to residents. The size of the system grew large enough that it required pressurization and iron pipes were substituted (invented in Philadelphia).

The Tremont House, a hotel in Boston from 1829 and 1895, was the first American hotel to feature indoor plumbing, indoor toilets and baths, and free soap for guests.

At one point in time, Boston passed an ordinance that banned bathing in the winter except under doctor’s orders. This was during the time cities were trying to get a better handle on outbreaks of diseases.

The developments of the flush toilet and the sanitary sewer system meant that residents didn’t throw their waste outside into the streets. Boston was often at the forefront of plumbing innovation because they were a port city, serving as a distribution point for inventions from England. In turn, the success of Boston’s water projects led other cities in the US to incorporate water and sanitation facilities into city plans.

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Changing Society’s View of Plumbers

The public may view you as a plumber’s crack beneath a sink or hovering over a toilet, but what the public sees and the truth are two completely different things. How did this happen? How can we change public perspective so that you can be taken more seriously and instill the expectation that the expense of a real plumber is worth every penny to a homeowner?

A good place to start is to change the professional image. Nearly every profession has a recognizable and respectable uniform. Doctors wear lab coats, members of the military have their uniforms, and nurses wear scrubs. Since each profession has a similar standard and expectation for work appropriate dress, they obtain a certain level of respect within society.  If you needed an attorney and he showed up wearing a dirty old shirt and smelled like he hadn’t showered in a week, would you want him to represent you in court? No way!

Your trucks or vans should be just as clean as your personal image, from the lettering on the outside to the organization inside. You don’t necessarily need to apply expensive-looking decals or spend a ton of money on the latest organization system. Nothing sends a stronger message to a homeowner than your tool and van upkeep. People can tell how serious you take yourself and your job by how well you take care of your things. Think of it from the homeowner’s viewpoint. If you open the back door of your service vehicle and there is a mountain of junk, the homeowner’s first impression is that you are a slob. When you bring your pipe wrench to a job and it is covered with mud from yesterday’s water service, all they see is that you don’t care about your tools. If you track muddy footprints on their carpet, then you obviously don't care about your customer. Take the time to present yourself as neat and orderly, you'll be surprised at the level of respect you'll encounter by upping your professionalism!

These few changes can make all the difference to your business. A professional image at every level will command respect and will lead to higher wages, higher sales and less complaining about price because what customers are really complaining about is perceived value.

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Flo Technologies to Reimburse Homeowners for Water Damage

Flo Technologies recently announced a program, HomeProtect, that will reimburse homeowners for their insurance deductibles if they suffer water damage while using Flo products.

The CEO and co-founder of Flo Technologies, Gabriel Halimi,  says, "Water damage is the leading cause of preventable homeowners insurance claims every year, costing over $9 billion annually. We've analyzed the results from our diverse customer base and proved our initial hypothesis: The Flo System's proactive technology helps dramatically reduce the likelihood of water damage. With this data, we can now stand behind our customers in an unprecedented way."

HomeProtect will cost $5 per month and cover any damage that the Flo system should have prevented. Homeowners who purchase the plan will be eligible for the following benefits:

  • A water damage prevention guarantee: Flo will pay up to $2,500 for out-of-pocket homeowner’s insurance deductible;
  • Proactive Monitoring by Flo’s experienced support team, as well as Live Chat Support;
  • Access to Flo’s Water Concierge to answer questions about your home’s water system and help resolve water and plumbing issues (whether or not the issues involve the Flo System);
  • An extended 3-year product warranty;
  • Access to enhanced analysis and information about water usage, including usage per water fixture (currently in beta);
  • A Flo Certified Letter for Insurance that may help reduce monthly homeowners insurance costs (depending on your insurance provider); and
  • Access to the Flo Standard Plan, which comes with every Flo device purchase.
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Top 5 Plumbing Blogs

Want to stay in the know about issues that affect Plumbing professionals?
Check out this list of the top 5 Blogs for Plumbers.

(Blogs are ranked in no particular order)

  1. Mr. Rooter Blog
    As one of the most recognized names in the plumbing industry, it’s not surprising that they offer a blog packed with high-quality content created by seasoned professionals. Their blog has been active since 2011.
  2. LEN the Plumber
    Len the Plumber has established itself as a premier plumbing service in multiple markets and has accumulated an incredible blog of plumbing topics. Although it’s geared toward homeowners and potential customers, it’s a veritable treasure chest of plumbing topics and will give you insight as to how this particular company engages its customer base with friendly, fun topics.
  3. Plumbing Tips and Tricks
    Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

    Plumbing Tips and Tricks is the official blog of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. This company has partnered with Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe” to produce high-quality plumbing content. You’ll gain exceptional insight on all the new trends facing the plumbing industry in this blog.

  4. The Plumber.com
    This blog has been around for decades and is a reliable source of plumbing industry information for both tradespeople and homeowners. You’ll find it’s content to be relevant to today’s professional plumber.
  5. Plumbing & Mechanical
    Although Plumbing & Mechanical is a print publication, they also have a website packed with relevant content for professional contractors as well as plumbers. They run several blog series, including Al Levi’s “7-Power Contractor” geared towards increasing revenue.

These are just a few of the many top quality blogs available to plumbing professionals. Subscribe to a few today, you’ll likely learn an abundance of tips and tricks in your spare time.



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Diving Deeper into Plumbing: Pathogens, PPE and Prevention

Plumbers are exposed to a variety of pathogens and substances every day. Preventing contact with these hazards is vital to their health and the health of the communities they serve. With the many strange and gross things that end up down the toilet or drain, plumbing isn’t a job for the faint of heart. It’s also not a job for the careless. June is National Safety Month so here is a reminder of the dangers lurking in raw sewage and how you should protect yourself.

Raw sewage is, as you can imagine, a germ jubilee! It can carry dozens of life-threatening microorganisms including tetanus, E. Coli, hepatitis A and B, and typhoid fever. Plumbers can also be exposed to infections like histoplasmosis or hantavirus, from bird or rodent feces found on roofs, basements and in crawl spaces. Such diseases can cause hemorrhagic fever or kidney failure. Plumbers are also commonly exposed to hazardous substances like lead, asbestos, mold and sulfur dioxide. Long-term exposure to mold can cause serious issues like upper respiratory tract illnesses or the development of asthma.

Wearing PPE’s prevent pathogens from contacting the skin. They should be waterproof or liquid-repellant to prevent sewage from reaching your skin or any cuts and abrasions. But wearing the right equipment is only half of the battle when protecting yourself from biohazards and toxic substances.

The final piece in preventing job-related disease is keeping contaminated items away from clean spaces. If you wear your dirty work boots home, you risk exposing yourself and your family to everything on them. Work gear should be left at work and cleaned separately. If you drive your work truck home, change out of contaminated clothing and shoes before getting in the driver’s seat.

In the end, preventing disease comes down to one simple idea: clean it no matter what. Your clothes, your equipment, and your truck; it’s better to be safe than sick. Following this simple rule protects you from most cross-contamination: Wash your hands; wash your hands; wash your hands. Wash with soap and water before eating, drinking, smoking, using the bathroom, touching your skin or after any contact with contaminants.

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6 Things People Do That Destroy Plumbing

This is why plumbers will always have great job security.

  1. Leaving garden hoses connected throughout the winter.
    This is caused mostly by pure ignorance. Leaving hoses attached to the house can lead to leaking faucets and split supply pipes.
  2. Using more drain cleaner than necessary.
    When used correctly, drain cleaners will work as they are intended. However, some homeowners go overboard on the cleaner causing the pipes to corrode. Now they have made the clog worse, this will not be pleasant for the plumber who arrives to remove the clog.
  3. Cutting, screwing or nailing into a wall with plumbing pipes.
    You will definitely get an emergency phone call if a homeowner finds themselves doing this.  
  4. Joining pipes of different metals.
    You know better than to join copper and steel without the proper connectors, you’re a pro. Count on getting a few calls from homeowners insistent upon doing their own DIY plumbing work!
  5. Putting everything else down the kitchen drain.
    You will have jobs that are caused by a garbage disposal backup. This is because some homeowners feel as if the disposal will shred anything they put in it. Until that day it doesn’t. The most popular time for this type of situation to happen is on Thanksgiving Day. Items such as onion skins and celery strings are usually the main culprits. Plenty a plumber has been called away from his own Thanksgiving dinner to attend to a customer's clogged disposal. 
  6. Mistaking the toilet for a trash can.
    Here we are, my personal favorite. The mistake that can cause a great day to go bad in a hurry.  It's as if people think that when you press the lever all of the contents of the bowl fly off into a black hole. Nope, not the case! That 3-inch pipe can back up every hole in the house. 
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Michigan’s Skilled Trades Crisis

Plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, roofers, carpenters, ironworkers, glaziers and other skilled tradespeople are in high demand and short supply in Michigan. Shortages of unskilled workers are also on the rise.


Michigan isn’t the only state affected by a lack of skilled trades workers. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill vacant skilled labor positions throughout the entire United States.


A large part of the workforce problem stems from negative perceptions. Young people tend to view these professions as arduous and lacking opportunity for advancement.  High school students are encouraged to forego shop class in exchange for computer science and information technology. The elimination of vocational training in high school has played a major part in the reduction of skilled trades workers everywhere.


Help is on the horizon as Governor Rick Snyders “Marshall Plan for Talent” was announced in February 2018.  His plan is to spend more than $100 million over five years to reconstruct the way Michigan prepares its young people for the workforce.  Funding assistance programs are available through various agencies as Michigan Works, Veterans Administration, and American Indian Tribes. The Builders License Training Institute (a division of Certified Training Institute) is currently offering a nationwide scholarship program for Students and Veterans interested in becoming licensed in the building trades.


There are thousands of job openings across various industries just waiting to be filled. Such trades can prove to be quite lucrative with a median wage of more than $20 per hour.  The demand for workers continues to rise, older tradesmen are reaching retirement. If you’re looking for a long-term career, you might want to consider becoming skilled in one or two of the aforementioned trades.  If you are already established as a tradesperson, encourage the young men and women you know to become licensed. Certified Training Institute offers online Exam Prep for a variety of trades, including Michigan Plumbers and Builders. Whether you want to become licensed or maintain your license, you’ll find it on their website.


CTI Seeks Master Plumbing Instructor

Certified Training Institute is looking for a Master Plumber to join our successful online plumbing exam prep training & continuing education department. Online training is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, with more individuals and businesses choosing courses that will fit their busy schedules. This is a significant opportunity for a talented plumbing instructor.

The qualified candidate will have an extensive knowledge of plumbing codes and their practical applications. Only licensed Master Plumbers or Plumbing Inspectors need apply. Strong communication skills are a must. Having prior teaching/ presentational experience is recommended. All of our instructors are responsible for creating their own course content. This is not a full-time position. It is a project-based program that can be completed in parallel with your current career.

Training Topics to be covered are:

  • Backflow Prevention
  • Pipe Sizing
  • Sanitary Drainage
  • Venting
  • Isometrics and Understanding Isometric Drawings
  • International Fuel Gas Code
  • Hands-On Practical Application

Instructors are expected to:

  • Have course materials created or materials they are legally allowed to use
  • Be able to speak on the subject with ease
  • Be comfortable with audio/video production environment
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Task-oriented mentality

Certified Training Institute is a proven leader in online license and certification training. Our school has been providing trades-based training since 1999 and currently offers nationwide HD video courses for contractors, architects, real estate salespeople and brokers, plumbers, engineers and agricultural workers. All of our courses are created by industry leaders and tailored to the specific needs of the licensees. From pre-license and exam prep training to help folks start their careers to interesting, modern continuing education or business development programs for established trade professionals.

As an instructor for our school, you will gain national recognition as an expert in your field, as well as a new consistent revenue stream that can last for years or even decades. Many of our instructors began teaching at community colleges, conference centers, hotels or VFW halls and now their courses are available nationwide at the click of a button. This is the highest time to value project you may ever take on. Don’t let this once in a lifetime opportunity pass you by!

CLICK HERE to learn more or email James@onlinecti.com today