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  • Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

    Wow, I can't blame it all on the current economy, but for some reason this week it seems I am getting nothing but bogus tire-kickers and price-shoppers calling. I am definitely getting more than usual. Probably 70%+ of the calls that have come in this week just immediately want a price on the phone and they won't make an appointment. I have never had so many as I have had in the last couple of weeks. Especially the last two days has been very slow. I have NOTHING scheduled today and so far I have had only one call and it was just some guy who wanted a price to repair his outside hose faucets and then said he'd call back...:sigh: I had a record month in September, it was great, but so far October has started off VERY POORLY.

    Oh well, hopefully it will pick up soon. The last quarter is usually the busiest, but this year with the economic crisis we are facing, I am not so sure what will happen.
    __________________
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  • #2
    Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

    In my experience, anybody calling and immediately wanting a price over the phone is not doing anything. Remember, you gotta get paid for your time, whether it's at the job site or on the phone. Tire kickers and price shoppers just rob your time for free.

    You are a professional, with a lot of time and money tied up in your business. Deal with the spenders, give them your time, and ignore the price shoppers.

    Might be time to do some direct mail/newspaper advertising for a fall check-up? Check in with some old customers for referrals? Or maybe it's just a bad week.......
    I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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    • #3
      Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

      Well, part of the reason I am getting so many bargain-hunter calls is my own fault. I did a direct mailing of 5000 postcard coupons for $20/off. It has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand it helped a lot and I have landed several thousand $$$ in sales in only a couple weeks because of those postcards. On the other hand, the "$20 off" coupons have attracted the stingiest, cheapest, bargain-hunting customers in town!

      The downside is I am getting almost no calls from anywhere else. I talked to the other service plumbers in town, they have even bigger, established companies and do more advertising than I do, but even they said they ARE EXTREMELY SLOW, and are starting to worry.
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      • #4
        Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

        don't want to get you down, but wait till property taxes come out. this will also slow the selective plumbing calls.

        1 thing for sure, drain cleaning is not a selective repair.

        the more you offer, the more people and other contractors will call you.

        the name of the game is referrals. typically with a referral, you already have the job.

        when i'm referred, i rarely have to tell them anything more than my hourly rate and my availability.

        another good source of work is from hoa associations.

        if you can get into an association or homeowner, you will typically start to get the entire building.

        let your customers spread the word for you.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

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        • #5
          Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

          I usually get lots of referrals, but not lately. I think I am just in a slow spot. I just came off of two great months, August set a record for me in sales, and then September blew that record out of the water!!! I was starting to feel invincible.....and of course, inevitably it slows down. I always get worried when I am sitting at home. But hopefully, this worrying is just silliness. Maybe by next week I'll be rolling in calls again.
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          • #6
            Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

            Don't worry, people are nervous right now, keep your head screwed on tight. I remember every year we would go through "mini" slow times that would last a week but rarely two. There was always the first of the year when all of the holiday bills came in, then there were tax times, graduation week and at the end of summer when the kids would go back to school it would slow down for a week. Guess what? They really can't wait..... They will have to call someone and if your good and fair, your just a week away from the phone ringing off the hook. Our shop never did any billing on the spot unless the customer had a track record of being a slow payer, so giving extra time to pay their bills was always a plus. Being creative will separate you from the competition.

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            • #7
              Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
              I always get worried when I am sitting at home.
              But you are spending quality time with your daughter
              I love my plumber

              "My Hero"

              Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!

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              • #8
                Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                Carl,

                I know things seem tough at times but you need to remember to look at the long term and not the next week. Adjust your business model to fit current times and remember when you're not working you should be networking.

                Mark
                Last edited by ToUtahNow; 10-03-2008, 03:44 PM.
                "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: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                  What a fine support base of caring people! Yes, spend time with your new daughter and rest assured things are turning around for the better. The passing of this Bill will encourage small business and everyday people to have work done and you are ready to fill that need. I wish all of you prosperous times and happy and healthy moments with your families.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                    don't want to get you down, but wait till property taxes come out. this will also slow the selective plumbing calls.

                    1 thing for sure, drain cleaning is not a selective repair.

                    the more you offer, the more people and other contractors will call you.

                    the name of the game is referrals. typically with a referral, you already have the job.

                    when i'm referred, i rarely have to tell them anything more than my hourly rate and my availability.

                    another good source of work is from hoa associations.

                    if you can get into an association or homeowner, you will typically start to get the entire building.

                    let your customers spread the word for you.

                    rick.
                    Referal today...Toilet repair and faucet install in the other bath.I told her to go ahead and sell a couple of T-Bills and I'll be there in the morning.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                      Hang In there Carl.You know what's going on in your heart.Just chill for a few days.Daughter first.While she's sleeping you can sharpen your drain cleaning heads and file the teeth on the channel locks.Kidding...
                      Take a few days off.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                        Carl, from the impression I get from you, consider it a forced vacation... you seem to be a real go-getter and i cent think of the word but someone who is very concisncuis(sp) of your work, you want to be the best plumber out there!! as soon as other people realize this and you will and cyou just continue doing what you are doing everything will work out!! You are a straight shooter and as far as i can tell a great plumber! The word will get out my friend and your phone will ring. Take advantage of this time and spend it with your family as so many other have said because once that phone starts ringing again you never know when it is going to slow down enough for you to do this again!! GOOD LUCK- Rich

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                          I wouldn't sweat it too much Carl. The phone has been a little slow here lately also. It's getting harder to sell a new faucet when all it needs is a couple of washers. Emergency stuff is still coming in strong like stoppages, leaking pipes and garbage disposals.

                          Cold weather is coming soon so we are stocking up on water heaters. October and November are big heater months for us.

                          Heat work is picking up some slack from plumbing service.

                          Everyone is on eggshells right now.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                            Thanks everyone, I'll hang in there. The service business always comes in waves, I just need to learn how to surf!
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                            • #15
                              Re: Tough times...economy is starting to affect the service plumbing here.

                              Originally posted by wrench spinner View Post
                              Carl, from the impression I get from you, consider it a forced vacation... you seem to be a real go-getter and i cent think of the word but someone who is very concisncuis(sp) of your work, you want to be the best plumber out there!! as soon as other people realize this and you will and cyou just continue doing what you are doing everything will work out!! You are a straight shooter and as far as i can tell a great plumber! The word will get out my friend and your phone will ring. Take advantage of this time and spend it with your family as so many other have said because once that phone starts ringing again you never know when it is going to slow down enough for you to do this again!! GOOD LUCK- Rich
                              Rich, thanks! You are right on in your analysis and that is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Mark (duck) said the same thing in different words on a different forum...I need to just keep doing what I am doing and not sweat it just because I have a couple of slow days once in awhile.

                              Its a bane to be a perfectionist sometimes.
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