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  • dealing with the elderly

    had a meeting with an elderly couple over the weekend. he's 94 and she's 89. they already had 2 estimates for some sewer repairs. 1 was for 3000. and the other was 8000

    of course they never made a video, just showed the elderly couple the monitor and wrote them an estimate. so they get me through a nephew of theirs i did a similar job for several years back.

    i can't give them a realistic estimate without a video and i don't camera for free. but i did offer them the opportunity to have their gardner dig up the line at the cast to clay connection and i'll install the new cleanout for 400. without knowing the exact location or depth, i can't give a price on digging. and they didn't want to pay for my camera inspection. even though i know the money they will save by going with me.

    spent 1.5 hours with them saturday morning and was getting to the point of leaving as the 94 year old husband is a retired cpa and knows what he wants to pay and what he doesn't want to pay.

    but they originally said they pay 65. 2 x a year to snake the line. at 65 / 130 a year how long would it take to break even on the repairs? suggested they continue on that route.

    i guess they must of liked what i told them because the wife calls me today (2 days later) and wants me to camera the job and jet if i find roots that need to be cut. between camera inspection, jetting and re camera inspection i'm still 1/4 of the cheaper bid. but i'm not the 65.00 snake guy either.

    lets hope they don't change their mind come next week when i'm scheduled to do the job.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

  • #2
    Re: dealing with the elderly

    I come across this with a lot of my older clients either they haven`t got the money or don`t want to spend it as they think they won`t get benifit out of renewing the sewer because of thier age and having it cleared every year or so is more economical but there are a lot of conmen around who camera a drain and tell the client it needs to be renewed when all it needs is to be properly cleaned

    Tony

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    • #3
      Re: dealing with the elderly

      This is true for me as well . I get a jump in calls in the fall and spring with people wanting quotes to replace their sewer because they just had the line cleaned and were told they need the line replaced because of roots ! I think they don't even try either when it comes to cleaning the line so they can come back and really try to put them in a squeeze to replace it.

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      • #4
        Re: dealing with the elderly

        You guys have probably heard of Sun City Center. There is one down the road from me and one in Arizona. It's strictly an old fart community. Most of these folks aren't hurting for money. But for some reason, most of them don't like the fact that you are going to make a profit off them and try their darndest to be sure they complain enough that your return trips (which are usually for nothing) do away with your profit. Once this is accomplished, they are happy with the work.

        We just refuse to go there anymore. It actually pays off in the long run.
        Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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        • #5
          Re: dealing with the elderly

          I'll go out of my way for elderly people cause imo they paid their dues in life.

          However, I will not let them or anyone else dictate what they are going to pay me. I'll let them know what I want for the job, and they can either hire me or someone else.

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          • #6
            Re: dealing with the elderly

            Originally posted by Flux View Post
            I'll go out of my way for elderly people cause imo they paid their dues in life.
            All of my boys, my friends and my co-workers know (some found out the hard way) that disrespecting the elderly while within my reach can be a painful ordeal.

            But yeah, doing business with seniors can often be a real strain on the ol' patience. I just explain clearly and simply what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and what they can and cannot expect after it's done.

            Sometimes the biggest challenge is trying to show why a $1000 repair on a ten year old generator that can be replaced for $1200 is a bad choice. They just don't see ten years old as old, and $1000 is still less than $1200. I had one ol' feller (the exact one with the ten year old genny) tell me that he'd save $200 and he'd probably be dead long before it broke again. Hard to argue once that point's been made.
            "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"

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            • #7
              Re: dealing with the elderly

              Maybe I can help explain the thinking of the elderly. (I will be 80 in a couple of months--the Good Lord willing) There is a video floating around someplace that is called "You are what you were when". It says that you set your value system when you are about 10 years old. If you think about what year it was when many seniors were 10, it probably says they grew up in the Depression. For those of you who don't know about the depression, penny candy was a luxury, and an ice cream on a stick was a nickel. ( If only You could get a nickel!!) Many seniors worked many years without ever making 10K a year, so it gets a little hard to envision 10K to replace a sewer line or whatever. It isn't that we can't afford it now, but that "value system" that was imbedded in us at age 10 is hard to shake. Of course, there are some that are just plain cheap and no matter how hard you try to show that you are reasonable in your price, to them you are still a crook. :-) Some of us worked in the trades and I will bet it is very few that will give you grief about a bill if you gave an honest days work for an honest days pay.

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              • #8
                Re: dealing with the elderly

                Originally posted by Pipestone Kid View Post
                Maybe I can help explain the thinking of the elderly... you set your value system when you are about 10 years old... that "value system" that was imbedded in us at age 10 is hard to shake.
                Both of my parents grew up dirt poor during the depression in rural South Carolina. They grew up with the "waste not" mindset so neither of them considered much of anything to be disposable. I remember my dad cutting apart old worn out shoes (they only became worn out after they had been re-soled so many times that there was nothing to stitch the new soles to) and saving the strips of leather for later use. TV broke? Washer? Dryer? Car? They were repaired until they became so old that repair parts were obsolete.

                I think that's another area where the "You are what you were when" manifests itself. Neither one of my parents ever adapted to today's disposable lifestyle.
                "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"

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                • #9
                  Re: dealing with the elderly

                  My dad who is 65 constantly tells me about the depression era folks, and why they are so frugal with their money. Those folks normally didn't have to call anyone in to fix anything, as they were skilled enough to fix it themselves.

                  My point is...my retirees pay a lower price than those who are not retired. It's bad enough high taxes are forcing these seniors out of their homes, they don't need the Plumber giving them the final push out the door.

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                  • #10
                    Re: dealing with the elderly

                    The Elderly are my best Customers
                    You just have to treat them well, be Fair with them
                    And show up when you tell them

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                    • #11
                      Re: dealing with the elderly

                      A large percentage of my customers are elderly. I can't count the number of times I have heard people tell me that they will not let me replace the polybuteline water lines in their home because they will be dead before they have another leak.

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                      • #12
                        Re: dealing with the elderly

                        Just rermember all one day we will all be old and will want to be treated with repect the only problem with the old now is that they got there first.

                        Tony

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                        • #13
                          Re: dealing with the elderly

                          Lots of older customers, really enjoy them. You can really learn some interesting things if you spend a little time talking with them. Surprising how many are realistic about their life expectancy vs repairs on the house, had an old timer tell me he doesn't even buy green bannanas anymore! Feel for the guys that all their life they took care of the house now physicaly can't do it anymore..... they really appreciate good work.

                          wookie

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                          • #14
                            Re: dealing with the elderly

                            Originally posted by DELCASE View Post
                            The Elderly are my best Customers
                            You just have to treat them well, be Fair with them
                            And show up when you tell them

                            Same here. I get along with them great, well trusted. They've got money to spend, they just don't want to be taken advantage of.
                            Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                            • #15
                              Re: dealing with the elderly

                              Dittos to all of the above. Especially the depression era mindset. Both of my parents were 87 when they passed away last May. I am still cleaning out their house. They would never throw anything away that might be repurposed for something else. And the freezers.... It was just the two of them and they had two freezers chocked full.
                              "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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