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  • #16
    Originally posted by ECS
    I'm new to the forum and I'm very curious what you think of these prices:

    1/2 hp ISE 240.00 what model # badger 5 $60.00 or pro 333 $120.
    single handle ks faucet w/spray (bg chrome) 400.00 delta 300 $85.
    minor tank rebuild 100.00 fluidmaster and flapper $10.00
    2 piece bg water closet 375.00 ?
    cable 1 1/2 to 3" line w/3/8" to 1/2" cable 150.00 machine charge $25.00
    rebuild 3 handle tub/shwr vlv- stems,seats,trim 370.00 price phister $45.00
    2 piece toto drake- tank bowl seat 525.00 toilet is approx. $200.
    40 gal. gas water heater 950.00 heater cost approx. $280.
    expansion tank 200.00 cost approx. $45.00
    sewage pump 800.00 zoller m257 cost aprox. $220.

    when you respond, would you be willing to indicate whether you are an owner or employee, thanks.
    plumbing contractor


    these prices are high compared to my prices. my hourly is $75.00 with 25 years of plumbing experience. not to mention being licensed, insured and bonded. and more specialty equipment than most any company.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #17
      I'm asking what you install these items for, parts & labor. I already know what the parts cost. Do you charge a service call fee? what area of the country are you in?

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by ECS
        I'm asking what you install these items for, parts & labor. I already know what the parts cost. Do you charge a service call fee? what area of the country are you in?
        ecs, since i charge time and material, i don't have a flat rate price. but to be realistic, i charge a minimum of a 1/2 hour. a disposal or toilet typically runs 1 hour. a water heater 2-4 hours. i don't advertise and i don't wait for the phone to ring. all of my work is from repeat customers, referrals, and other contractors.

        by the way i'm in los angeles, calif.

        since you're new to this forum, i would suggest that you look up and read some of the earlier post by myself and others. it seems that most of us agree that flat rate is a big rip off. the customers typically don't call you back for repeat business. i've never lost a job to a flat rate company.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #19
          I hope you don't mind me asking these questions, but I really want to know.
          If you don't want to answer then don't.

          Are you a one man shop?

          How do you calculate time? Actual repair time or from the time you get there until the time you put your truck in drive?

          Do you charge for drive time to come out?

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by ECS
            I hope you don't mind me asking these questions, but I really want to know.
            If you don't want to answer then don't.

            Are you a one man shop? yes,with a real 2500sq.' shop

            How do you calculate time? Actual repair time or from the time you get there until the time you put your truck in drive? from the time i get there till i put the tools away. computer billing is on my time.

            Do you charge for drive time to come out?
            there is a first hour $20.00 service charge 3 years ago to cover my travel, lost time, and insurance. i started this service charge as my insurance rates went up over 400% with no claims. i guess they figure plumbers are the cause of mold.

            hope this helps.

            now my questions

            where are you located?
            do you work for a shop, or yourself?
            why do you charge a flat rate?
            what percentage of calls are estimates?
            what percentage do you actually get?

            rick.
            Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 01-27-2006, 10:17 AM. Reason: typo, where is spell check?
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #21
              ECS,

              Some more questions for you.

              Who and what are you? Do you write for a trade magazine or have a financial interest in protecting the flat rate scam? Do you profit from selling flat rate based franchises or books?

              Are you a flat rate contractror and if so:

              When changing a water heater do you add 200 dollars to your 950 dollar charge to add that expansion tank?

              If they ask you to rebuild a toilet while you are in the bathroom rebuilding a faucet for 370 dollars do you add another 100 dollars to the bill even though you are standing right there with your tool box and your truck is 50 seconds away?

              How well do you pay your repairmen? Do you offer good benefits and retirement? Or do you get by with the cheapest help you can scrape up from the probation office?

              I hope you don't mind me asking these questions but they really deserve an answer.
              Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

              Comment


              • #22
                rick
                you may have to download a spell check program . did you click on the abc on the top right . i had to add this to my reply


                rick and plumber
                i hope you did not scare off RCS with all the questions ha ha .
                Charlie

                My seek the peek fundraiser page
                http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


                http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                new work pictures 12/09
                http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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                • #23
                  You know, I have shared ideas with my manager many times before about what I see out in the field, what I hear other companies doing and charging,what customers tell me right before they give me my trip charge and tell me to get out of their house, and what can make the company better and he just doesn't want to hear it. He says in the proverbial salesman talk that everything we offer and do with our prices is what sets us apart from other companies. I agree that a company should be different from other companies and you should always go an extra step so the customer will remember your service, but really the biggest thing that sets us apart from other companies is typically we are twice to three times higher than anyone else, and we're not offering enough to justify the price. Like I said before, $150 to change out a flapper......should be a complete tank rebuild. I don't care that it's a WB flapper called Big Orange and it's bright orange that has a special antioxident that resist the harsh chemicals and by-products of the city water supply. It's just a flapper!! But I keep coming to work everyday hoping that they see the calls are down, morale in low, money isn't being brought in but he still has to pay his crew, and maybe they might realize it's time to either lower the prices or get things back the way they used to be when it worked. I'm done. Done worrying,done wondering,done hoping. Just done.As for that ESC or ECS or whoever it was, those prices you had for that stuff was just barely shaking a stick at our prices. 40 gall. gas water heater for over 1600 bucks, complete tank rebuild with fluidmaster just over 380 bucks, sinkmaster garbage disposal just over 515 bucks. Can you see why my face flinches just as much as the customers about the prices?I used to live in L.A. county in the mojave dessert and I thought the prices were high. Nope. I think where I'm at now takes the cake, and I get to hear about it on every job I go on.But I'm looking.Does anyone know if you see the initials PHCC,if that pretty much means they are doing flat rate pricing? I'm about 40 miles north of Denver and that tends to be what I'm seeing at alot of the places I want to talk to. Anyways, thanks Plumber Rick for kind of putting me out there where you are. If I was still in Cali. I would definitely want an interview.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    I have mixed emotions regarding flat-rate charges. The automotive repair shops have used flat-rate pricing forever but no one seems to complain about them. While I still had my shop we never used flat rate pricing or paid our repair plumbers’ commission because I felt it led to greed and theft. Still there is a reason to consider flat-rate pricing in today’s market.

                    An example of the above would be when a customer calls and wants a new kitchen sink with all of the trimmings installed. For argument sake I will assume she has all of the materials and only needs labor. If I quote $85.00 per hour I know my plumber can easily be out of there in 2-hours and do a nice professional job. The homeowner will end up paying $170.00 for the job.

                    Now take a shop where they give their “plumbers” 6-weeks of “training” and have a labor rate of $65.00 per hour. As the second company uses poorly qualified plumbers’ it takes the plumber 4-hours to do the same job. The customer ends up paying $280.00 for the same job and it is just an Okay job. If I had quoted a flat-rate of $280.00 the customer would have gotten a better job and I would have made more money.

                    The problem of course is the flat-rate companies are going to charge the $85.00 rate and call the job a 6-hour job hence costing the customer $510.00 for the same job. I guess what I am trying to say is it is not the concept of flat-rate pricing which is wrong; it is the labor multipliers used by the flat-rate companies I have a problem with.

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

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

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Utah,

                      The comparison between mechanics flat rate and the rate any type of repair trades work is apples and oranges

                      A flat rate service contractor figures at least a one hour drive time into every single job. even if the custmer is five minutes from the shop and if the repairman is already in the house he still has to charge the flat rate if the owner needs another job performed. Using a 250 dollar fee to change out a pump for example may not be outragous but then, while in the home, the seviceman must charge 110 dollars to change a flapper and ballcock even while he was walking by the bathroom is pure thievery. and when these guys are flat rating 1000 dollars to change out a water tank they should be sent to jail and if ECS is adding 200 dollars to his $950 water heater replacement for an expansion tank he should be run out of his town on a rail. His plumber is already standing beside the tank and his torch and wrenchs are already out, if it takes him more than an additional 20 or 30 minutes even allowing for a diffucult placement situation then he needs to retrain or replace his plumber.

                      The auto mechanics book simply figures the time and material for a competent person to do the repair without drive time and travel expenses figured in on each reapair. The car is already on the lot or even on the lift and there is no time figured in each item for gasoline, vehicle expenses and the like.

                      You are also correct that these guys on commision are often in the home of elderly or infirm people who may not know any better. More than once perfectly good cast iron systems have been yanked out of homes belonging to elderly folks only to be replaced by poorly installed plastic pipe. same for water systems. The service "tech" made himself and his company a tidy profit for the scam. And often the original problem they were called out for still exists. You would think these crooks wouldn't be so stupid as to just leave the perfectly good pipe in their victims yards or alley ways but they almost always do.
                      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I see the main difference between the flat-rate plumber and the flat-rate auto mechanic is you are not watching the auto mechanic. Before my brother-in-law opened his plumbing shop he was a Ford transmission mechanic. On a good day he could rebuild three transmissions per day. He was paid 8-hours per transmission which meant the customer was charged 8-hours for the transmission labor. I believe flat-rate pricing makes it too easy to be dishonest.

                        On another note HVAC work can be just as bad. I am looking on a project up North where an HVAC company is convincing owners living in a retirement community that all of their duct work needs to be replaced at a cost of $5,000 per home. These are newer 1,300 to 1,800 sq ft homes and all I can find is they may need some addition dampers and a good balancing job on their existing system.

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

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

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          people who use their tradesmen or contractor status to rip off unsuspecting homeowners or building owners is all too common. I think harsher penalties for unscrupulous people and stricter trade and licensing laws should be implemented nation wide. Too many places let anyone with a tool box open a business. Too many other places slightly test someone once or twice then never look at them or their work and ethics again.


                          Every contractor or tradesperson will have an occasional bad day where they are thinking of a bad argument with their spouse or their sick child all day and simply make a bone headed mistake, maybe a bad flu bug ect.. If they don't they are not human. but when a contractor or tradesman is constantly doing things wrong or taking their customers to the cleaners then perhaps we need a better course of action available than just calling our states attourney general. Too often they are overworked with more serious criminal activities to adequately monitor the contracting industries.
                          Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Who do you think you are?

                            Originally posted by plumber
                            Utah,

                            The comparison between mechanics flat rate and the rate any type of repair trades work is apples and oranges

                            A flat rate service contractor figures at least a one hour drive time into every single job. even if the custmer is five minutes from the shop and if the repairman is already in the house he still has to charge the flat rate if the owner needs another job performed. Using a 250 dollar fee to change out a pump for example may not be outragous but then, while in the home, the seviceman must charge 110 dollars to change a flapper and ballcock even while he was walking by the bathroom is pure thievery. and when these guys are flat rating 1000 dollars to change out a water tank they should be sent to jail and if ECS is adding 200 dollars to his $950 water heater replacement for an expansion tank he should be run out of his town on a rail. His plumber is already standing beside the tank and his torch and wrenchs are already out, if it takes him more than an additional 20 or 30 minutes even allowing for a diffucult placement situation then he needs to retrain or replace his plumber.

                            The auto mechanics book simply figures the time and material for a competent person to do the repair without drive time and travel expenses figured in on each reapair. The car is already on the lot or even on the lift and there is no time figured in each item for gasoline, vehicle expenses and the like.

                            You are also correct that these guys on commision are often in the home of elderly or infirm people who may not know any better. More than once perfectly good cast iron systems have been yanked out of homes belonging to elderly folks only to be replaced by poorly installed plastic pipe. same for water systems. The service "tech" made himself and his company a tidy profit for the scam. And often the original problem they were called out for still exists. You would think these crooks wouldn't be so stupid as to just leave the perfectly good pipe in their victims yards or alley ways but they almost always do.

                            Webster's dictionary defines libel, among other things as "a: a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys and unjustly unfavorable impression. b: a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt."

                            What this means is, Plumber, you are the only criminal here, and if I had a lawyer and knew who you were, you can be certain that you would be hearing from him on Monday morning. How dare you accuse me of robbing little old ladies! You don't know me. You don't know anything about me, except that I use a pricing system that you don't like. How is it that you have so much time to go around "investigating" everybody else's business anyway, or did you even bother to investigate? Are their crooks who use flat rate? Absolutely! Are there crooks that charge $65.00 an hour? Absolutely! I've never told someone they needed something that they didn't, and when it's marginal I tell them so, and when it's perfectly fine I tell them so. If I tell someone beforehand that my price to install their water heater is $950.00 and they say go ahead and when I get done I hand them a bill for $950.00, tell me how I've stolen from them. You can't because I haven't but you are perfectly willing to condemn me simply because I charge more than you THINK I should. As for the expansion tank, yes it's $200.00 more and it absolutely should be and here's why: 1. I paid $50 for that tank and the associated copper fittings necessary to install it. It rode around on my truck, taking up space and burning gas for some period of time not making any return on my investment until someone requested I install it. It rode on my truck so that I would have it when they needed it and not have to charge them 30min or an hour drive time to go get it, but they absolutely do and should pay "rent" for my truck space. 2. It's not part of the water heater! Maybe you think I should do it for free "since I'm already there". It's a seperate charge! 3. You value your time at $65.00 an hour and I value mine at $150.00 (just for your education, every flat rate system is based ultimately on t&m, how could you possibly know what your flat rate should be unless you first know what your costs and labor will be). I can't help it that you think so little of your skills, or perhaps you don't have many, I don't know, but as for me, I am a state certified master plumber and I got that way from ojt not somebody's 60 day school! The knowledge and skill I possess came to me through considerable blood, sweat, and years. My family made sacrifices while I learned my trade. I AM NOT GIVING IT AWAY TO ANYBODY, unless I choose to. If they knew how to do it themselves they would have, unless they just didn't feel like it. In either case if they call me, the professional, THEY HAVE TO PAY and I don't need any more reason than that to charge them $200.00 or $2000.00 if I think I should. If you need a heart surgeon (or a brain surgeon) you pay the man or your insurance does, either way he gets paid or he doesn't operate and you die. The surgeon doesn't owe you anything except that if you ask him to operate and promise to pay him then he owes you the very finest operation his knowledge and skill will allow. Now I'm no surgeon but no one is entitled to my plumbing services! If they want it, I can provide it. Now as a matter of personal practice, when I'm doing repair work, if there are multiple repairs I will usually, depending on what it is, give discounts on all but the most expensive repair (I am not a slave to the flat rate price guide) but I don't do this for replacement or new installations and I'm not obligated to do it at all. Plumber, the next time you go into your favorite fast food place, after you eat your $2 cheese burger, I want you to go back to the counter and ask for another for $1 and when they tell you no I want you to stand there and fume and foam and tell them what theives they are!

                            The next time you want to paint an entire group of people with the same wicked brush, you ought to think about it twice. I am not a thief and I don't use a lot of high pressure sales tactics and I don't give my clients half truths or misleading advice and you, Mr. Plumber owe me a very contrite and very public apology!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              ecs, i think that you're way too harsh to plumber and the rest of us on this forum. as you can see, we all have our personal opinions on the flat rate system. i for one feel it's a big scam and a rip off. from reading this thread on flat rate, it seems that you're the only one that uses it with any success.

                              plumber and i have had our differences on this forum over the year+ that we have been contributing. you on the other hand are brand new here with no personal info. i have personally given you my rates and info you asked for. we asked you a simple couple of questions and you've not even attempted to answer them.

                              such as: what part of the country are you from?
                              what type of business do you run? self employed? #of men?

                              by the way, if you really want to compare what you have invested to what i have invested, you lose. no doubt about that. sight unseen you lose.

                              if you want to contribute, fine. if you want to start pointing fingers, you don't have enough time on this forum to hold a "plunger" to plumber or myself or some of the regulars.

                              i know that plumber is more than capable of holding his own ground.
                              you on the other hand are very questionable


                              i suggest that if you want to play on an even field, you should share some of your personal info. we have uncovered many phonies this past year.

                              read back a month or a year. our info is all there.

                              looking forward to your bio.

                              looking forward to plumber's responce. time to nuke some popcorn, this is going to be better than a night at the movies.


                              rick.

                              plumber, i know you can hold your own, but this is the reason why i don't join the phcc. they all have the same script. chances are we know who this is and he doesn't want to divulge his co.
                              phoebe it is

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                The way I see it is that the customer, in most cases, can choose to accept the price or decline. I don't charge a flat rate. I have my hourly rate and I use that as a basis when bidding on a job. Most of my customers want to know up front how much a job will cost. So, I give them a bid price based on an estimated T&M. I've done enough jobs now that I have at least an idea of how long it will take. If there are other "change orders", I bill accordingly again based on T&M. The customer can accept my bid or decline it. After all, I know how I would tackle a particular job and about how long it would take me. Another plumber may know how to do the same job faster and for less cost. I figure if I don't get awarded the bid, no problem, because I don't want to work for free. What I hate is when I run into problems and it takes me longer to repair.

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