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  • The $49 Drain Clean

    Ok, Jack - I would like to learn all about loss-leader drain cleaning specials. How do you work them so they make money without providing the service under false pretenses?
    spodelee

    Until lions have their own storytellers, stories of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter

  • #2
    Re: The $49 Drain Clean

    Originally posted by spodelee View Post
    Ok, Jack - I would like to learn all about loss-leader drain cleaning specials. How do you work them so they make money without providing the service under false pretenses?
    lee, after actually meeting with leonard a couple of weeks ago. he's actually a very nice and knowledgeable person

    from how i understood it. he goes there as a 2 man crew. i will do the work, while the other one will check the job. both from inside and underneath. he'll take a very nice digital camera and document the problems he finds.

    the rest is letting the customer see the problem.

    if you look at his pricing sch. you'll see that slab jobs are more expensive. the reason i feel is that there is not going to be any chance that there is an add on job under the house. typically slabs have better clean out access. so in a plumbing standpoint, you would think that it's less involved than not having a c/o. but the fact is, he's there to land a bigger job.

    leonard will tell you that he loses money on every drain cleaning job, but it's his foot in the door for a possible larger pay day. either now or in the future.

    leonard, correct me if that's wrong

    rick.
    Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 07-29-2008, 01:56 AM.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: The $49 Drain Clean

      Interesting...chaulk up the loss on simple drain jobs as advertising.

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      • #4
        Re: The $49 Drain Clean

        If I took my car to get the tires rotated and I see the mechanic pop the hood and come back and tell me something in my engine is broke, I personally would not be happy. I wanted my tires rotated and that's it, don't look under the hood, just rotate the tires. I look at a 49 drain cleaning the same way.
        Buy cheap, buy twice.

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        • #5
          Re: The $49 Drain Clean

          Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
          If I took my car to get the tires rotated and I see the mechanic pop the hood and come back and tell me something in my engine is broke, I personally would not be happy. I wanted my tires rotated and that's it, don't look under the hood, just rotate the tires. I look at a 49 drain cleaning the same way.
          At some places they automatically check tires, brakes, fluids etc. They don't charge you anything for it, but hope to make a sale. Since you aren't obligated to go with him; I don't see anything wrong with it. If it is something serious and expensive, you can get his estimate and then two others.

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          • #6
            Re: The $49 Drain Clean

            (First I did not look at your pictures).

            I think the reason is there are so many scam artist in this world trying to "up grade" or even sell "bogus" services that a customer does not need or want even, (and many times made to think it is a emergency to fix right now).

            Just one Example: years ago I pulled into a filling station, (this was not to far from the days of "full service"), but any way the owner was setting out in front in a rocking chair and as I was filling up hollered at me and said come on over, so when I went into pay I did stop and talk to the man, and he informed me on my 69 Ford Galaxy he could tell by the way the car came up the drive way, I needed new shocks and should get done there at the station before I left and had an accident, now since the shocks were less than 6 months old, and even then I was fair mechanic on my own, I declined, to have him work on my car.

            So for some one to try to sell me a upgrade or more service than I requested usaly comes with a great deal of suspicion on if it is even a real problem. or jsut some way to get in my pocket book.

            And to continue the mechanical analogy, if some says I need new "muffler bearings" or some other thing, I am going to go to some place I "trust" at least in some form, for some information and at a min a conformation of possibly work that needs to be done, and to find out what a 'muffler bearing" is at lest before I say yes to a repair or replacement.

            an other example of this in action,
            Just a few days ago I got a call from a person and he had some repair people there working on his home Air Conditioner, and they suggested a course of action to fix the problem, and the person called me just for the conformation of the procedure, and if there was any other way to proceed on the fix. He jsut want to have some information on the actions that were suggested, if they were the way to go. (in this instance I said it sounds like it is the only course of action to take and they have good people and I trust there service),
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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            • #7
              Re: The $49 Drain Clean

              I get my turn signal oil and my gas pedal fluid checked regularly.
              Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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              • #8
                Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                If I took my car to get the tires rotated and I see the mechanic pop the hood and come back and tell me something in my engine is broke, I personally would not be happy. I wanted my tires rotated and that's it, don't look under the hood, just rotate the tires. I look at a 49 drain cleaning the same way.
                Consider you are on a job to clear a kitchen sink stoppage and you look in the crawl space to see which way the pipe is running. If you see a water line flooding the crawl space do you "up sell" fixing the problem?

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

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

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                • #9
                  Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                  Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                  Consider you are on a job to clear a kitchen sink stoppage and you look in the crawl space to see which way the pipe is running. If you see a water line flooding the crawl space do you "up sell" fixing the problem?

                  Mark
                  No up sell, actually a down sale. I would charge full price for the waterline fix and then the stoppage would be an add on-about 50 less than full price since I'm already there. JL(this is what I'll call you since I don't know your real name) I think the 2 issues I have with your technique is that you charge extremely low prices to get your foot in the door, then when you find a problem, you have to give a higher price to justify your 49 drain cleaning.

                  2nd issue and this is my biggest point that brings a huge doubt in my head; a company in business for 30+years that needs 1/3 of it's business to come from advertising is doing something wrong. The company I used to work for had a business model almost the same as yours but they were a commision based company and they also did hvac. 50k a month in advertising, net 4+ mil a year, 10 techs and they did this by ripping off the customer. They had the sweetest talk that could sell ice to a eskimo, the supervisor was actually a used car salesman. I know it sounds like my beef is with them and not you but when I see big similarities, red flags start getting raised.

                  You mention the blown wax ring seal and it's a valid point, I'll grant you that. Since it's such a serious issue, do you do a final air inspection for homes on slabs or do you just replace every wax ring just to be safe?

                  Good points on the store analogy but most stores don't rely on the panic sales. I'm not saying you do this but many shop in my local area do, they show a customer a potential problem and the customer freaks out and is willing to pay whatever it costs to get fixed. You're also the only plumber in the house right now and very few people would ask you to leave and come back after they shopped for a better price.
                  Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                    Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                    No up sell, actually a down sale. I would charge full price for the waterline fix and then the stoppage would be an add on-about 50 less than full price since I'm already there. JL(this is what I'll call you since I don't know your real name) I think the 2 issues I have with your technique is that you charge extremely low prices to get your foot in the door, then when you find a problem, you have to give a higher price to justify your 49 drain cleaning.

                    2nd issue and this is my biggest point that brings a huge doubt in my head; a company in business for 30+years that needs 1/3 of it's business to come from advertising is doing something wrong. The company I used to work for had a business model almost the same as yours but they were a commision based company and they also did hvac. 50k a month in advertising, net 4+ mil a year, 10 techs and they did this by ripping off the customer. They had the sweetest talk that could sell ice to a eskimo, the supervisor was actually a used car salesman. I know it sounds like my beef is with them and not you but when I see big similarities, red flags start getting raised.

                    You mention the blown wax ring seal and it's a valid point, I'll grant you that. Since it's such a serious issue, do you do a final air inspection for homes on slabs or do you just replace every wax ring just to be safe?

                    Good points on the store analogy but most stores don't rely on the panic sales. I'm not saying you do this but many shop in my local area do, they show a customer a potential problem and the customer freaks out and is willing to pay whatever it costs to get fixed. You're also the only plumber in the house right now and very few people would ask you to leave and come back after they shopped for a better price.

                    LOL-No please I insist you use my God given name of Mark as I feel I know you so well.

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

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                      Ben,

                      The concept is great whether you like his prices or not. What does it take to get you to the customers house the first time? Once you are there are you going to just do the job and leave or are you going to bring to the attention of the owner additional work which needs to be done. Remember you set the price based on your needs not someone else's. Your are not taking advantage of the owner simply by helping them make an informed decision.

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

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                        I am not saying that all "up sales" are scams, but there are enough of them out of the blue that are to make a person sceptical.

                        I do think there is a difference from water pooling in the craw space to pointing out a discolored pipe tho,

                        And if your referring to me by this statement,
                        And please stop insulting me.
                        I did not insult you, I told you why I do not like, or am leery of people who use a loss leader, or try to sell upgrades of product or service. I gave a true personal example,

                        and I did not say you are dishonest. the only time I did give some credence to that was when you attempted to miss lead people by saying the pictures were a year off, and trying to create some thing that was not accurate, and even then I did not say you were dishonest, I pointed out some discrepancy in your own statements and the evidence you presented. and that may have jsut been a laps in judgment with out intent to deceive.

                        You may be as true and as honest as the day is long, and if that is the case more power to you, I hope that is the case, and if you have a clear conscious of how and what you do that is great, at times I am sure you are doing some home owner a favor on discovering some faulty item that needs attention.
                        but for some reason I think I would rather have Rick, Utah, gear junkie, all clear, or many of the others on this board, come and look at my stoppage and clear it and if one of them sees some thing that needs attention I think I would have a little more faith in them, than some one I found from a flyer on my doorstep and offering a $49 special,

                        If your willing to do some thing for 1/4 or a less of the going rates there got to Be a catch some where.

                        It is jsut the way I see things,
                        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                        attributed to Samuel Johnson
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                          I wouldn't do the same marketing technique ($49 drain to get foot in the door) as Leonard. However, I respect his decision. The bottom-line is as service plumbers one of our biggest dilemmas is getting the phone to ring and get our foot in the door of our customers house, its a competitive market like most markets.

                          If advertising cut-rate drain-cleaning gets his foot in the door, then good for him that is his way of marketing. My way is somewhat different, but that doesn't means either way is "better".

                          Personally, I see it as somewhat deceptive to advertise prices at a loss, but its totally legal and if customers don't want to do any extra work, that is up to them. In a way, he is extremely generous to do drain-cleaning so cheap for people.

                          Thank You Leonard for presenting your technique, I find it very interesting. Marketing is quite complex and this is a unique method I hadn't really thought of before.
                          Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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                          • #14
                            Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                            I think what you need to look at is what are you spending to get a customer to call you? Some pay $12 a call for a referral service and some pay $1,000 per month for a Yellow Page Ad some may even do both. When you pay $1,000 per month to get 20 jobs a month you are paying $50 per job to the Yellow Pages. If you get 40 jobs a month you are paying $25 per job. Now that you finally get in the home the hard work is done. You now have an opportunity to advise the owner if there are any additional issues which need to be addressed. I am not saying invent work or overcharge for real work I am saying take advantage of a face to face with the customer and let them know what they need.

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

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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The $49 Drain Clean

                              I see no "guru" business tactics here any different from Bestline Plumbings first posts. I'm no genius, but this is what I figured out from the beginning looking over their pricelist.

                              Bestline Plumbing has a target demographic of older people in older houses. They advertise the cheapest draincleaning to get in those houses because:

                              1)Draincleaning is most common in older homes thus giving them the highest possible contact ratio.

                              2)On older homes there is more likely to be multiple things wrong. We've all seen this. Then they can point out and promote the "value" of repairing for $$$$.

                              I've thought of this model myself before I ever heard of his company and chose not to do it because it felt that it can easily cross an ethical line at times. That's fine if they choose to live that way. I choose to live my way. It all comes down to who you want to be in this world.

                              J.C.

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