With the plumbing scene in the Cape Town CBD, you normally go to some small hardware shop around the corner and negotiate with the plumber/employee. Otherwise use the first plumber number you come across, usually written on some cardboard and stuck on some tree or outside some supermarket, and chances are, the owner of that number works in one of those shops.
The thing about these small hardware shops is that the employees, who actually do the plumbing job when it comes along, usually happen to stay in one of the many Cape Town flats near the shop. Sure they do not spend on transport to work, which is great, but the real deal here is the side jobs that come with being based in that immediate area.
Usually, a client walks in and enquires about a certain plumbing problem from the employee, who doubles up as the shop plumber. It could be a blocked drainage system, a leaking tap or something. Within seconds and before the supervisor or employer can pick up on the conversation, numbers have been exchanged and the job will be done after hours. Employee scores a client.
This tendency, if not monitored effectively, can lead to the employee diverting most plumbing services away from the business and hence affecting the profits. This is a reality in most hardware and plumbing establishments in the Cape Town CBD.
Some hardware owners have made peace with this reality and turn a blind eye, having settled to making the most from product sales. This is a smart way of dealing with the plumbers’ situation in Cape Town. The money that the employees/plumbers make from these side jobs, actually supplements their little income and hence some sense of loyalty to the establishment is built. Added to this, there could be more sales for the shop if all is transparent and they buy the plumbing products they need, from the shop, maybe at a discounted price.
Being greedy, wanting it all and using an iron fist will only make your plumbers/employees, your competitors. Working with them, and not against them, therefore seems like a very logical way of dealing with your plumbers if you have a hardware shop in the Cape Town CBD.