Plumbing jobs best left to professionals
By Mark Sherry
Master plumber Todd Schmidlkofer has seen his business grow steadily since he started in July 2010.

Everyone likes to save money, but there is that old saying about being penny wise and pound foolish.

That saying has often applied in the past to people who try to do their own plumbing work.

There is a reason people such as Todd Schmidlkofer spend eight years of schooling and on-the-job training to obtain their master plumber license. It is not uncommon for a licensed plumber to get called in to clean up the mess of a doit-yourselfer—literally and figuratively.

But the hidden reason for having Todd’s Plumbing LLC do the job is the fact that plumbing codes are changing all the time. Master plumbers such as Schmidlkofer are informed of those changes and have to take 24 hours of continuing education every four years, plus renew their license. What a home owner knew to be the right way to install something 10 or 15 years ago might not be the right—or legal—way to install it now.

“Pretty much everything changes in 15 years,” Schmidlkofer said. “Everything I go out on seems like it’s not in code. And if you touch it, you have to change it.”

Problems possible later

Even if the do-it-yourselfer can complete the job without water dripping somewhere when they are done, taking the chance of doing something inconsistent with code can come back to bite them later. With more and more home buyers employing the services of a home inspector these days, plumbing work found to be out of code can be a deal changer, a deal delayer, or even a deal breaker.

Todd’s Plumbing will get the job done right the first time. Although he has only owned his own business since July 2010, it has more than doubled in these two years thanks in large part to positive word-of-mouth advertising about the job he does.

“I like to believe I have pretty good attention to detail,” Schmidlkofer said. “I stick to what the customer asks for. I try to give a fair price across the board.”

Schmidlkofer worked for five years as a plumbing apprentice with another company, then another three years as a journeyman. A layoff was the impetus for forming his own business, which

Mark Sherry photo

started as a sewer and drain cleaning operation until he could get licensed.

Todd’s can do it all

Now Todd’s Plumbing will perform any plumbing operation, including installations in new construction, remodeling projects, service/repair and drain unclogging.

Service work and remodeling projects are keeping Schmidlkofer the most busy these days. Replacing fixtures and installing replacement water heaters, softeners, disposals, etc. are common jobs for Todd’s Plumbing. He said he sees more bathroom remodels these days than kitchen remodels because kitchens tend to be more costly, given the cost of new cabinets and countertops.

If called upon, Schmidlkofer said he will assist with the planning and design of a remodeling project, offering his years of experience and expertise up front to possibly avoid a problem down the road. Todd’s Plumbing also has access to all the major suppliers of plumbing fixtures, including Kohler, Delta, Mansfield and others.

A topic which often seems to come up these days when discussing plumbing is toilets which do not seem to do the job with one flush. Schmidlkofer has a couple options for home owners, including pressure-assist toilets.

Rapid job completion

Despite his increased work load as his business grows, Schmidlkofer said he still aims for rapid turn-around time on jobs. “If someone has an emergency, I like to get to them right away,” he said. Sometimes he will help the person find where their water shutoff valve is located until he can get there, or he will use other options to get the person help as soon as possible.

Todd could not do all he does without the help of wife Jen, who handles the billing and the books for Todd’s Plumbing in addition to having another full-time job.

Todd said he enjoys being his own boss and the freedom of his time that allows but, like most small business owners, the hours are long. And like most plumbers, emergencies are known to happen sometimes at night, on weekends and on holidays.

To find out more about Todd’s Plumbing or inquire about having some work done, call (920) 418-1004 or check out the Web site www.toddsplumbingllc.com.