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One Hour minimum?

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  • #16
    Re: One Hour minimum?

    Originally posted by Clipper City Plumber View Post
    typically my least billing is a 1/2 hour or free and i'll catch you next time
    you do free calls Rick?
    i can't picture a 2 minute toilet stoppage, or 15 minute shower stoppage, someone being happy with a full 1 hour charge. This is what worries me and I am Thinking about only charging for exact time on job plus travel. I don't know about this free thing though rick maybe I don't understand you? I will be trying to beat out flat rate plumbers selling the idea you get what you pay for and I will tell you what I am charging you for. This minimum kinda bugs me I know I need to turn a dollar and don't plan to be rich over night. However I want to crush the "upfront we charge by the job" company s with a real honest system that customers can see what they pay for and not hide the cost in a flat rate.
    i certainly do. you'll find that a little charity work goes a long way. if i charged for every call i do, i might make another 5% a year. if that's all what's keeping me in business is 5% a year, it's time to look elsewhere.

    customers that you treat like friends, will always call you big or small. the little jobs that are too little to charge for are free.

    would i rather go give free estimates for complete strangers

    or rather give a few minutes to an established customer that i know will be calling me for the rest of my career

    it's your call, i know what works for me with $0.00 in advertising.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #17
      Re: One Hour minimum?

      Good points Rick that reminds me of a plumber out here I think it was only a two may company. the owner is dead now but I talked to his son who works for dpw and he told me how his father did some free work and or told people to just mail in what they could every month and that every one talk good about the company. Sounds like you I think this also is some thing to consider. Maybe only for the people that keep coming back.

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      • #18
        Re: One Hour minimum?

        One hour minimum and the time starts when leaving the previous job. If it is a 10-minute job I offer to go around doing other misc. repairs. I figure it's their hour so if they want it I'm there.

        As for free estimates, 90% of those are over the phone before we get there. The 10% that are not are remodels and new construction.

        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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        • #19
          Re: One Hour minimum?

          commercial is 1hr minimum, residential is 1/2hr minimum. after the minimum it's every 1/4 hour until wrapped and loaded.

          steve
          In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

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          • #20
            Re: One Hour minimum?

            I'm with Rick. Anytime a job is within a few mile radius, takes less than a few minutes, and I don't need any tools, it is always free. Especially if they are an older customer. Examples of this might be tightening a slip joint nut, adjusting the temperature on the water heater, etc. When you're new its tough to understand this, but you cannot pay for this type of advertisement and the benefits far exceed anything you could charge. Either that, or you charge the customer a $100, they feel ripped off and will probably tell a minimum of 5-10 people. I guess its your choice, and if you are looking for the here and now, or 5 years into the future.
            Last edited by Devine Plumbing; 03-01-2010, 09:19 PM.
            Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

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            • #21
              Re: One Hour minimum?

              I have figured travel and down time into my hourly rate already. I charge for only the time I am on the job, but of course, there is leeway in that. If it takes 20 minutes, I charge for 20 minutes. The customer pays for work performed. I like to get in and out and onto my next call.
              I always hated it when I worked at a 1 hr minimum shop and so the customer would hunt for things for me to do until they got their last minute in.

              I also do lots of free work. I treat people like I would want to be treated. I'll never forget the time I called an electrician out and he reset a circuit breaker and charged me $100.00 for 5 minutes. No, he didn't have to drive across town.
              Not to mention, it makes ME feel good to say, "no charge, thanks for being my customer."
              Unless your a DOCTOR. Then you get the full ream job. I'm still p.o'd from the last time I waited two f'ing hours to be seen for 10 minutes and had to pay $350 on the spot.

              Zero advertising for me as well. Concerning quoting hourly rates, I have a don't ask, don't tell policy. Don't ask me because I won't tell you. I don't quote hourly rates because most people don't understand the cost of running a business. If you say $100/hr labor they think you pocket that much. If they want to know what it will cost to repair their problem I can tell them that.

              Since I work by referral only, very few people ask for rate quotes.
              "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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              • #22
                Re: One Hour minimum?

                Some of the small minor repairs it is a no brainer to say thanks for calling me and walk away. I will not call this charity work. I am sure if a client called numerous times for these small free repairs not many would continue doing the FREE work. I do quite a few courtesy calls for existing clients however these clients are loyal long time clients that have used me for paying service work. Tightening a slip nut ,water closet seat, loose handle, aerator, ants in a pressure switch are just a few of the type courtesy calls we allow out techs to decide on their own.

                The other day I made a special deal with a single mom who works at a doctor’s office and dropped our price by 50% so that she could get the work completed. I discovered numerous other companies informed her to cal when she received enough money to pay for the services. A little common sense goes a long long way

                Rick is correct a reputation can never be great enough and to be known for empathy is fantastic. We are known to be expensive and very good at what we do. Our competition recommends us when they cannot satisfy the client or the issue.
                We have a service charge however I waive that 90% of the time unless I know a consumer is after quotes and has talked to many other plumbing companies. Today I waived the service charge on a water heater quote on a third floor condo. Somebody gave a price over the phone and lost to me. No idea on breaker size or proper element size, no known size restrictions due to closet, the bidder did not know the condo association requires the main gate valves to be changed to a ball valve and that mean a 48 hour warning to other condo owners, the plastic pan was cracked and would need replaced by an aluminum pan. He gave a price of 650 dollars for a 30 gallon heater and did not ask the client any questions. I discovered that they run out of hot water and increased the client to a 40 gallon heater. I discovered the condo wants the heater to be exchanged out after ten years; I put them into a ten year warranty heater. I am doing it Monday afternoon. I am two times the price. The difference I care about my client.
                The jist of my message it does not matter if you charge a minimum it is how you treat the client . It is how you say what it is you want said.

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                • #23
                  Re: One Hour minimum?

                  I guess it depends on how much free time you have and how far away a client is.

                  If you have to pay an employee, they carry the MONEY TRAIN behind them; labor, workers comp & liability& unemployment insurance, payroll taxes and truck expense. This can become costly.

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                  • #24
                    Re: One Hour minimum?

                    Originally posted by BobKbta View Post
                    I guess it depends on how much free time you have and how far away a client is.

                    If you have to pay an employee, they carry the MONEY TRAIN behind them; labor, workers comp & liability& unemployment insurance, payroll taxes and truck expense. This can become costly.
                    I have to agree. If you are sending an employee you almost have to charge for everything to cover the overhead associated with having that employee.
                    Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

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                    • #25
                      Re: One Hour minimum?

                      I have been hanging around here for several weeks and just started posting tonight. I take it that most in here have a small business, maybe only one or two trucks. When its my brother and I and we come up on a loose packing nut or such in a longtime customers home sometimes we give the service for free but when the others are out working I can't justify giving away time and service. Kind of a catch 22, I have to make some money. Since we do a lot of fed/gov work we have to carry and assure that we have continuously / randomly drug screened techs, etc.... That assurance gets expensive. We do offer a whole house walk through to check other appliances. That's a good way to justify the hour charge on a loose packing nut.

                      BTW, on service calls we charge $70 the first hour one man (1 hour min) then by the 1/2 hour after. Charge starts after the tech contacts the job via phone. We also charge $30 for a helper but if two trucks are needed its $70 X 2 = $140 an hour. This is the same in our HVAC division.

                      Rob
                      sigpic
                      Charleston, WV
                      www.BaberPlumbing.com
                      www.BaberServices.com

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