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  • Flat rate pricing

    I just purchased flat rate software , and will be setting it up soon. Does anyone have any suggestions on column pricing. Such as regular, overtime, add on, preffered. DO you find that more columns are better for techs, or are they to confusing for customers. Is it better to have one book with both residential and commercial. Or should I keep them seperate , so the residential customer does not see the commercial discounted rates. Has anyone experienced any problems with too many columns or to few.
    THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

  • #2
    Re: Flat rate pricing

    crappy, you're not going to get much support from me or the rest of the gang from what i remember.

    flat rate= flat rape

    why are you experimenting with this?

    sorry, but i am a ''t & m'' plumber and all of my work is repeat and referrals. no advertising. and no small claim cases

    try that with your system

    i'll watch this one too.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Flat rate pricing

      Crappy,

      Boy another So Cal Plumber, what's happening to this place. I never flat-rated and personally do not care for it. If it works for you that's great I just never wanted my guys over-selling just to get a few dollars extra at the end of the week.

      Mark
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Flat rate pricing

        No offense rick , but you did not answer the Question. I asked if anyone has suggestions on pricing columns or number of books. Not how to stay small self employed and give techs an avenue to rip off customers. Flat rate in my opinion is fair to both the customer and tech. Just because I or my techs are fast does not mean we should lose out. On the other hand just because i or my tech is sick or working slow the customer should not suffer. Besides that I am a service and repair plumber, you seriously cant tell me you or other plumbers don't already flat rate some jobs. Such as a tub wast and overflow, faucet installations, drain cleaning ect.
        THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Flat rate pricing

          Originally posted by Crappy days View Post
          No offense rick , but you did not answer the Question. I asked if anyone has suggestions on pricing columns or number of books. Not how to stay small self employed and give techs an avenue to rip off customers. Flat rate in my opinion is fair to both the customer and tech. Just because I or my techs are fast does not mean we should lose out. On the other hand just because i or my tech is sick or working slow the customer should not suffer. Besides that I am a service and repair plumber, you seriously cant tell me you or other plumbers don't already flat rate some jobs. Such as a tub wast and overflow, faucet installations, drain cleaning ect.
          I agree with you crappy days. Just because I can finish a water heater in 1.5 hrs, fully code approved, I shouldn't be short changed, I remember when I started plumbing, I was slow, with years experience, I became faster, cleaner, I can deliver quality work, I should not make less because I have more experience. I understand plumber ricks case, but I think that flat "fair" rate pricing is better for everyone. Crappy, check the "Plumbers Pricing Manual" by Trade Service, www.tradeservice.com, it comes out quaterly, flat rate in the back of the book, 3 columns, both flat rate jobs and material cost. Hope this helps
          sigpic

          Robert

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Flat rate pricing

            Originally posted by Crappy days View Post
            No offense rick , but you did not answer the Question. I asked if anyone has suggestions on pricing columns or number of books. Not how to stay small self employed and give techs an avenue to rip off customers. Flat rate in my opinion is fair to both the customer and tech. Just because I or my techs are fast does not mean we should lose out. On the other hand just because i or my tech is sick or working slow the customer should not suffer. Besides that I am a service and repair plumber, you seriously cant tell me you or other plumbers don't already flat rate some jobs. Such as a tub wast and overflow, faucet installations, drain cleaning ect.
            I agree with you crappy days. Just because I can finish a water heater in 1.5 hrs, fully code approved, I shouldn't be short changed, I remember when I started plumbing, I was slow, with years experience, I became faster, cleaner, I can deliver quality work, I should not make less because I have more experience. I understand plumber ricks case, but I think that flat "fair" rate pricing is better for everyone. Crappy, check the "Plumbers Pricing Manual" by Trade Service, www.tradeservice.com, it comes out quaterly, flat rate in the back of the book, 3 columns, both flat rate jobs and material cost. Hope this helps
            sigpic

            Robert

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Flat rate pricing

              Originally posted by Crappy days View Post
              No offense rick , but you did not answer the Question. I asked if anyone has suggestions on pricing columns or number of books. Not how to stay small self employed and give techs an avenue to rip off customers. Flat rate in my opinion is fair to both the customer and tech. Just because I or my techs are fast does not mean we should lose out. On the other hand just because i or my tech is sick or working slow the customer should not suffer. Besides that I am a service and repair plumber, you seriously cant tell me you or other plumbers don't already flat rate some jobs. Such as a tub wast and overflow, faucet installations, drain cleaning ect.
              all of my quotes, if the customer wants 1 is based on my hourly wage. this is not hidden in some book and 3 times higher than the hourly rate.

              why are you switching to flat rate? what is the hourly rate that you bill at?

              believe me, i doubt that the customer would choose flat rate over time and material if they know the facts. if your plumber is qualified the client will not worry about the clock. if the plumber is not a plumber, but a "tech" and has little training then flat rate will protect the client. the problem is the client is paying for the lack of skill of the tech.

              do you inform the client of your hourly charge? or is everything just a menu price?

              when i did new construction, 1981-1995, everything was a competitive bid. we had to price the job not only to get it, but make money at it.

              there is not 1 job that you can price flat rate, that i can't beat by at least 50%. i will not only get it finished faster, make my wages, and never have to explain my bill. i have yet to find a flat rate co. here in los angeles that can compete. all i ever hear is the horror stories from my new found referrals.

              why the switch to flat rate?

              rick.

              there are a handfull of prior threads on flat rate. read it or not. i suggest you read it
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Flat rate pricing

                I really have no problem with flat-rate pricing if the hours are based on a real plumber doing the job. When I give an estimate it basically is the same as flat-rate pricing because I am letting the homeowner know up front what the price is. Where I have a problem is when the flat-rate book uses a man hour rate based on someone who should not be doing plumbing in the first place. I would fire a plumber if he ever took as long to do a job as is allowed in flat-rate pricing.

                I'm curious for you flat rate guys, do you ever tell the customer what your hourly rate is based on and how many hours are allotted to a job? If you do I see nothing wrong with your system.

                Mark
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Flat rate pricing

                  Originally posted by westcoastplumber View Post
                  I agree with you crappy days. Just because I can finish a water heater in 1.5 hrs, fully code approved, I shouldn't be short changed, I remember when I started plumbing, I was slow, with years experience, I became faster, cleaner, I can deliver quality work, I should not make less because I have more experience. I understand plumber ricks case, but I think that flat "fair" rate pricing is better for everyone. Crappy, check the "Plumbers Pricing Manual" by Trade Service, www.tradeservice.com, it comes out quaterly, flat rate in the back of the book, 3 columns, both flat rate jobs and material cost. Hope this helps
                  By the way I have been using Trade Service's pricing manuals and desk top pricing guides for over 20-years and I agree they are great. I am fairly familiar with the flat-rate hours they have but I just use them for pricing.

                  Mark
                  "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                  I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Flat rate pricing

                    This post refers to service work only.

                    I've used flat rate in the past and don't have much problem with it, if it is done fairly. it's based on t&m. One of the companies I worked for used $120/hr as a base for their flat rate then marked up materials 20-30%, they also had a fraction of their annual advertising and insurance costs added to each task.

                    Whether the service plumber gets paid hourly or on commission you have the same basic problems.

                    The problem you have with T&M is some plumbers want to make more money so they take more time, and the customer,and company gets screwed. The company because that plumber is not available on other projects.

                    The problem with Flat Rate is that companies and the plumbers want to make more money. So, they inflate their hourly rate to as much as $300/hr and encourage upselling of un-needed products or services. The customer gets screwed. The company makes a lot of money and gets law suits and Better Buisiness Bereau problems.

                    I think if properly done, with the need of repeat buisiness in mind, flat rate could be a valuable tool. It prevents customers from paying for extra time and gets the plumber to the next job so the company can make more.

                    With all that in mind there will be times when extra work will need to be done. In that case these additional jobs have typically been discounted about 30% on labor and removing the ins. and adv. costs. the material should stay the same.

                    Each buisiness owner should decide for themselves which way they want to go. But, should also have the customer in mind and if they want the repeat buisiness, I think repeats are good . Just don't price yourselves too low in the market and undervalue the trade .

                    If you want to show customers pricing at differant levels I would go with 3 columns, 1st level, discounted level, and savings. You can use the discounted level as commercial pricing if you want.

                    Brent
                    Brent

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Flat rate pricing

                      Utah,

                      I visit Utah often and if I lived there I might think differently about a price book. Unless I was doing work for a member of my ward than I definately would give them a flat rate plus ten percent (just kidding)! It is a different market in Southern Cal most of the professional plumbing shops with five or more plumbers flat rate to some extent. I do still and will always do some time and material. Management, pay, invenotry is just easier with the flat rate software. I am not planning on pricing my book like Roto Rescue or other large chains. Bestides, name other craftsmen such as fence builders, roofers, painters, masonry, stucco or other professions such as dentist, doctors, auto, etc that do not flat rate. For me is is easier to know my techs are following set guidelines rather then pulling numbers out of the air or charging customers for trips to the supply store because they were to lazy to check their bin for restock parts. Also, the turn over in repair is high. Not just with me, but all the shops in the area. The bottom line is if a guy wants to rip someone off they will be able to do it either way if I'm not constantly reviewing invoices or following up with customers. Last month, I polled five hundred of my customers and a staggering 74% said they would like a flat fee before work started. My hourly rate is $135 for the first hour and $85-95 for every hour after that. That is what it will continue to be with the flat rate books. The flat rate software just takes into account alot of other miscellaneous items (screws, dropcloths, disposable booties, etc) that techs just don't figure in. When I use the word techs, I do mean well trained plumbers with five or more years experience. My customers demand high quality craftmanship and I and my techs should be compensated for our standards and ethics.
                      THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Flat rate pricing

                        I, will answer any Question the customer has regarding pricing, cost and mark up of material, & work performed. IF the customer doesnt like the truth thats not my problem. Also I'm not looking to be the cheapest in town Rick. I want my pricing to be in the middle. Any buisness course will tell you on services people choose based on a business reputation , notoriety, referal, price and for service not the lowest somewhere in the middle.
                        THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Flat rate pricing

                          Flat rate sucks , period . Nothing wrong with bidding a job though but that is based on the particular circumstances of that job . The cust. usually looses on those jobs..............but now that I think about it , I may have to go to flat rate since trap repair and house stroppages etc. are being done by Joe Blow home owner thanks to many forums that explain in detail sewer techniques that took years to fine tune............gotta make it up some where , Hey Dog

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Flat rate pricing

                            IMO if your not doing flat rate your prostituting yourself and the plumbing industry. Bringing it down to being a handyman profession. crappyday is moving to the next level by chargeing how all profesinal company charge. As for columes I use 3. 1 for service customers price 1 reg price 1 overtime night service, If your customer knows the price up front no crying when you give them the bill. Before book pricing customer would complain well my plumber back home in Cal, only charged 65.00 and hour... Now I don't even get in the truck to go look at the job for that. May do less jobs but make more money more free time for golfing fishing time with family. Freddy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Flat rate pricing

                              Oh great this old topic all over again We had 5 pages of arguments about this before and it turned out half go flat and half go hourly and whoever believes the oposite of you is stupid. There I summed up the rest of the thread for you guys.

                              Josh

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