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  • #16
    Re: Increasing my prices.

    $250.00 to change a water heater? For that price you might as well just give her the damn thing and the shirt off your back as well. Hell I don't know about you but we pay 200 for the heater in the first place and If there's anyone nuts enough to think that I'd install it for 50 bucks they can go $#t in their hat.
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    • #17
      Re: Increasing my prices.

      Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
      $250.00 to change a water heater? For that price you might as well just give her the damn thing and the shirt off your back as well. Hell I don't know about you but we pay 200 for the heater in the first place and If there's anyone nuts enough to think that I'd install it for 50 bucks they can go $#t in their hat.


      Where can you buy a 80 gal elec, 12 year warranty for $200?

      You find me a source and I'll start installing heaters again.

      Labor only, including a $35 permit, extra for haul away and anything
      above and beyond a easy switchout.

      That's the "catch" I embed into my statements because when I give a

      flat rate quote of $300-$400 for a changeout, they freak out completely and run to the next plumber.

      Sooooo......I throw the hourly rate at them, tell them to expect 2-3 hours figuring the pickup of the heater, installing it and bringing the old one home for a disposal fee,,,,definitely 3 hours. Throwing caution to the wind leaves a fixed number OUT of the equation hoping they grab the idea instead of just working off a number and trying to go down. BTW, they never called back.

      Back in 87 I could buy a water heater for $125, put it in for $75 plus $20 for parts.

      Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 02-21-2008, 05:03 PM.
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      • #18
        Re: Increasing my prices.

        Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
        $250.00 to change a water heater? For that price you might as well just give her the damn thing and the shirt off your back as well. Hell I don't know about you but we pay 200 for the heater in the first place and If there's anyone nuts enough to think that I'd install it for 50 bucks they can go $#t in their hat.
        I think the HO had already bought a water heater. Thats how I understood it anyway. I am around $300 to install a customer-supplied electric WH.
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        • #19
          Re: Increasing my prices.

          Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post

          "Well, how much do you charge for an estimate?"

          "$70 which is refunded to you when the work is done."
          Dunbar thats not a bad idea, but I would lose EVERY new customer to competition if I did that. People around here will not pay $70 just to found out the cost. I wish. If I were already established maybe, but I NEED new customers since I have only been at it less than a year.

          Even my $20 'trip fee' idea will be enough to turn away the 'bottom-dwellers' who only want cheap handymen to do the work. I am afraid to go too high and scare off EVERYONE!

          Its a damn double-edged sword!
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          • #20
            Re: Increasing my prices.

            Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
            Dunbar thats not a bad idea, but I would lose EVERY new customer to competition if I did that. People around here will not pay $70 just to found out the cost. I wish. If I were already established maybe, but I NEED new customers since I have only been at it less than a year.

            Even my $20 'trip fee' idea will be enough to turn away the 'bottom-dwellers' who only want cheap handymen to do the work. I am afraid to go too high and scare off EVERYONE!

            Its a damn double-edged sword!

            But remember this,


            The phone rings during your estimate......do you answer it?

            OR

            Does the person back at the shop know to talk the talk to keep the customer inclined to buy until you're done? People love talking to the one who knows....

            that's a fact. The secretary is going to be shuffling most times unless he or she plays a very active role in the profession. They're return questions to the customer will definitely tell you if they know the score.


            Remember that there are people whizzing down that list of plumbers until they hear something that sounds right to them.....willing to commit.


            You can't work for $20 an hour as a plumber, especially when they point out a screwed up fill valve in the toilet when they lift the lid...

            You take a brief second and bend the float arm to drop the float ball so the water level is an 1" below the top of the overflow tube.

            Now, you're the man with the plan because you fixed that nagging leak in the toilet for $20 UNTIL

            they call 3 days later, the toilet is leaking more than before and now you own the repair to put a new fill valve in.

            Of course, you're not "supposed" to bend that float arm rod but you find me a plumber who hasn't done that at some point in their career and I'll bet they're following the railroad rule; lie, lie, then deny.


            Read ToUtahNow's signature line at the bottom of his posts. You'd be better off cold-calling customers in the white pages than driving around town for peanuts.

            Puts the truck in the neighborhood but what happens is people talk! You get sent home with your tail between your legs you can forget that immediate area for future business!

            I held on to my first year invoices as a reminder of what happens when you underbid to get your hands moving.......horrible transactions where I did hours of work and didn't make nearly anything. The pain sent me to Dr. Phil one year.
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            • #21
              Re: Increasing my prices.

              I charge a $38 "diagnostic fee," if I don't have to disassemble anything. Some other flat rate companies charge as much as $79 in this area for the same thing. I tell them that on the phone - never quote prices on a sight-unseen job. Usually, they just say, "Oh, that's all right. You can't go out for nothing."

              So far, I haven't had to collect the diagnostic fee, since it's waived if I do the job. Maybe my flat rate prices are too low . . ?

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              • #22
                Re: Increasing my prices.

                Monday through Friday 8 am to 5pm free estimates at my convenience. If the customer cannot wait oh well. Minimum for a water heater install is 450.00 plus parts ,includes hauling the old heater away. Any thing lower you might as well install for home depot as they charge 300.00 plus part for basic install.

                THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

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                • #23
                  Re: Increasing my prices.

                  Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
                  But remember this,


                  The phone rings during your estimate......do you answer it?

                  OR

                  Does the person back at the shop know to talk the talk to keep the customer inclined to buy until you're done? People love talking to the one who knows....

                  that's a fact. The secretary is going to be shuffling most times unless he or she plays a very active role in the profession. They're return questions to the customer will definitely tell you if they know the score.


                  Remember that there are people whizzing down that list of plumbers until they hear something that sounds right to them.....willing to commit.


                  You can't work for $20 an hour as a plumber, especially when they point out a screwed up fill valve in the toilet when they lift the lid...

                  You take a brief second and bend the float arm to drop the float ball so the water level is an 1" below the top of the overflow tube.

                  Now, you're the man with the plan because you fixed that nagging leak in the toilet for $20 UNTIL

                  they call 3 days later, the toilet is leaking more than before and now you own the repair to put a new fill valve in.

                  Of course, you're not "supposed" to bend that float arm rod but you find me a plumber who hasn't done that at some point in their career and I'll bet they're following the railroad rule; lie, lie, then deny.


                  Read ToUtahNow's signature line at the bottom of his posts. You'd be better off cold-calling customers in the white pages than driving around town for peanuts.

                  Puts the truck in the neighborhood but what happens is people talk! You get sent home with your tail between your legs you can forget that immediate area for future business!

                  I held on to my first year invoices as a reminder of what happens when you underbid to get your hands moving.......horrible transactions where I did hours of work and didn't make nearly anything. The pain sent me to Dr. Phil one year.
                  Alright Dunbar, you've got me thinking and you're absolutely right. No free estimates, a service call is $80 minimum, PERIOD. No ifs, ands or buts. If they don't like it, they're not worth it. I am tired of driving around doing 'estimates', I don't do estimates, I am a service plumber, I DO SERVICE.
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                  • #24
                    Re: Increasing my prices.

                    That will be my signature to help burn it in my brain!
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                    • #25
                      Re: Increasing my prices.

                      You go GUY........
                      I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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                      • #26
                        Re: Increasing my prices.

                        sorry, not 80 gallon, 40 gallon electric. We buy them 40 at a time for a shade under 200 ea.
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                        • #27
                          Re: Increasing my prices.

                          Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                          sorry, not 80 gallon, 40 gallon electric. We buy them 40 at a time for a shade under 200 ea.
                          we use very little electrics here.

                          out of curiosity, what does a 40 or 50 gas run you guys.

                          with our new lo nox scaqmd (southern calif. air quality management dist.) requirement, they are costing us $430- 460 plus tax. in fact most 30's are more expensive than a 40.

                          rick.

                          5 years ago i was paying $110-150.
                          phoebe it is

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                          • #28
                            Re: Increasing my prices.

                            Standard vent 40 gallon natural gas...around $360+tax.
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                            • #29
                              Re: Increasing my prices.

                              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                              Alright Dunbar, you've got me thinking and you're absolutely right. No free estimates, a service call is $80 minimum, PERIOD. No ifs, ands or buts. If they don't like it, they're not worth it. I am tired of driving around doing 'estimates', I don't do estimates, I am a service plumber, I DO SERVICE.

                              I understand that the beginning is tough, I know that it is real easy to "cave-in" to temptation but here is where I screwed up:


                              I priced my work to get it, that's what could of sunk me instantly. Every job I took with large numbers, I truly did end up working for $20/hour.


                              There's no way to get around the learning curve when you've just entered the scene for the first time. You'll find out real quick from the business side that everyone wants to tell you how to spend your money (advertising moguls) and you get the luxury of basically employing people just like yourself in business.

                              You'll make some good relationships and you'll make enemies without even trying; just say no to a buddy or relation, friend that's trying to sell you something and watch how they've crawled from the woodwork, only to disappear because you said no.

                              If you're building inventory, sell the stuff you don't need, dead product, sell it on ebay and buy the common stuff so you can live off the good deals in inventory you buy in bulk, mark it up to strengthen that hourly rate.

                              Capital/borrowed money can be dangerous in the beginning; lump sums can show you how quickly you can make mistakes. Mistakes like thinking certain avenues of advertising work, when they don't. Not committing to a decent cell phone plan. Worrying about keeping every single city happy when it comes to occupational licenses. Letting your tax paperwork get way behind even though you know that your humble beginnings are going to be losses.

                              The IRS does understand this, but you start moving money into personal accounts, you will get branded in a horrible way and that's what instills fear thanks to the gubbament.

                              Remember that cash flow is important, cash itself is a devil's worship; manage it wisely but understand you can't show unmarked income to a degree into a business unless it's borrowed or lent to you. Meaning, You cannot run cash jobs not yielding receipts of where it's coming from, paying your bills with cash and watching a business checking account go nearly dormant. They'll know you're making money and living off it, they want proof.

                              Just walk the line, know when to step over it and don't go hog wild with side jobs. People want to pay me cash all the time and it's nice to a degree, but most times I'll say no because it bangs up my records, puts my liability of the work I did into question, disturbs the full equation of whether I'm a legit business or not.

                              When you're in a customer's home, you better be doing 2 things;

                              Completing the task at hand that brought you there

                              and

                              Having damn near everything on that truck when you see something broken, missing, fouling, leaking in that house. People don't mind spending another $15, $25, $50-$100 if you can convince them "while I'm here" that you've got the plumbing supply house right out in your driveway, I can fix it for a very reasonable price.

                              Use the slant that a separate call for that one task is quite a bit more expensive, kill all birds with one stone.

                              People will spend more money comfortably at their home if they see the instant results of your repair. When you replace that aerator that is either missing or screwing up badly, spritzing water all directions but down, whip out that plumber's grease and coat those fine threads, let them know you care enough that the application gives them the ability to safely remove that aerator down the road because calcium kept them from replacing it in the first place!

                              Same as a floor drain cover; keep all sizes on the truck, common ones are you're friend in the business for tacking an easy $15 onto the bill before you leave. Just buy that Rubberize-it product and coat the new ones; the old ones you know are rusted badly, plastic ones suck *** and yours can't be bought because you made it that way, made to not rust with the rubber coating.

                              Make the best of your time in the house; people ignore a lot in their homes when it comes to plumbing. Not all, but the majority.

                              You have to be a salesman in your profession and you're ability to sell anything from a stainless steel mesh guard for drains to an index cap on a faucet handle, a lint trap on a washing machine can add up quickly when you do your YTD balance sheets and notice how much of that inventory packed a punch when it came to adding to the bill.
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                              • #30
                                Re: Increasing my prices.

                                Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
                                You have to be a salesman in your profession and you're ability to sell anything from a stainless steel mesh guard for drains to an index cap on a faucet handle, a lint trap on a washing machine can add up quickly when you do your YTD balance sheets and notice how much of that inventory packed a punch when it came to adding to the bill.

                                Probably the most useful thing noted in this thread. You can be the most awesome plumber/drain cleaner/whatever in the world but if you can't sell your work/charge properly for it/get paid for it then you're gonna fail.

                                I almost wonder whether most guys/shops would be more successful if they had a full-time sales person taking care of all the estimating/phone/billing/etc. and just left the plumbing to the plumber(s).

                                That way when someone's gonna *****, you can blame the other guy and vice versa........
                                I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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