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  • flat rate pricing is for the birds

    I'm shocked and appalled at my current company for the insane pricing they are trying to pull off with this flat rate pricing mumbo-jumbo!I seriously have trouble sleeping at night sometimes thinking about the look on customers faces when I tell them the price of some of the simplest things.Unfortunately, some of these people pay this "price" because my company has been around for 20 plus years and they trust(or used to trust) us. The whole flat rate pricing is new to my company (within the last year or so) and I just can't understand why my boss, who is a great man, went to flat rate pricing. He went from a one man show in the early 80s to 15 guys in '05, all without flat rate pricing. Now it seems like we are loosing customers right and left because of our prices. C'mon, over $325 to pull a commode and change the wax ring? I'm flabergasted. Over $150 to change a flapper? Get real! It's all how you present it is what they tell me. It's not a flapper, it's a water control diaphragm and if it leaks for a year straight, it's enough water to fill a swimming pool. Yeah,thanx,it's also 5 bucks and takes less than five minutes to change out. I just don't know what to do besides leave and I'm afraid where I'm at, all the other bigger and well-known plumbing and drain cleaning companies are going to flat rate pricing also. Well I don't buy it and that's when it's even harder to sell it. Any suggestions? Plumber Rick, any word of advice? Am I wrong to feel this way? Thanks.

  • #2
    I agree with you whole heartedly. My company does flat rate priceing also. The lady looked at us like we were crazy when we charged her $300 for snakeing her secondary drain. We were only there 15 minutes or so and gone. Sort of feels like your ripping people off.

    Comment


    • #3
      did you bring this up to the boss . i have bin with my company for 16 yrs and from day one they have open door with us and i have talked open minded with them and gave them my thoughts about things i did not agree with and they sometimes change there mind's .did they explain why they are doing this?
      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/

      Comment


      • #4
        draintech1, i like you already from your first post.

        when i was in the union, 1981-1995, we did new construction and had to be very competitive to get the contract. in those days the projects were priced anywhere from $50,000- 4.5 million. we had to compete against the union and non union shops.

        now i'm self employed and i don't have to compete against anyone. in fact i don't advertise. case in point is that if you are honest and good to your clients, the work will come to you.

        what your shop did was try to get rich fast, at others expenses. this is one of the main reasons why i'm not interested in joining the p.h.c.c.
        what they preach is the flat rate system of ripping off the customer.

        one of the issues with service and repair is that most calls are for emergencies. clients typically call for service and don't tend to question pricing. most of the flat rate service shops employ salesmen and not real, licensed journeyman plumbers. they are typically on comission. the more they sell the more they make. they have to spend lots on advertising and don't tend to get repeat customers.

        my buddy employs 18 plumbers and helpers. they are not on comission and are not flat rate. in fact the guys in the field don't even leave an invoice. the customers get an invoice approx. 1 week later. he gets plumbers from other shops that come to him looking for work because they are tired of having to convince the client why it's $300. for a ballcock and flapper.

        my suggestion is to talk to the owner of your company and tell them why you're not happy. chances are you will be looking for a new job. this will be a good thing for you. time to move on and get back to being a trusted and honest plumber.

        good for you on questioning the latest racket in ripping off the public.

        if you're in the los angeles area, i can get you an interview with a well respected shop.

        if not, then you need to find a shop that lives up to your morals. a few phone calls is all that it should take to find a respectable shop.

        good luck.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Where are y'all getting your flat rate pricing from? Those prices are ridiculous. I work for one of those big drain cleaning and plumbing outfits who typically employ salesmen and not licensed plumbers that earn commission. Commission = Motivation (that can be good or bad). I'm motivated to do more work, work harder, and do high quality work to keep call backs down. Some are motivated by money - charge more, do it cheaper, hope it doesn't break. I do their callbacks all week long and hang my head in shame and disgust at what some of our "future unemployees" charge for just how little they can get by with. I have a flat rate pricing book, I keep it at home on the bookshelf and not in my truck. The prices are reasonable, but i usually charge a little less anyways - especially for little old ladies. I usually base my price on our hourly rate, and how long i think it will take me to do it. Our hourly rate is $120, but our area averages around $100, so we're not too far off. With our company though, you can pretty much charge whatever you want within reason. I can do a minor toilet rebuild down in the projects for $75 one day and $125 the next in the towne center area. I usually get a lot of personal repeat business because my prices are reasonable and my work is good. I couldn't live with charging people $300 for a toilet rebuild. Around here, people just wouldn't pay it- it would be a slow day of just driving around passing out estimates.

          So to get to my point - not all flat rate companies or employees of those companies are pricing-"rapers"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Theron
            Where are y'all getting your flat rate pricing from? Those prices are ridiculous. I work for one of those big drain cleaning and plumbing outfits who typically employ salesmen and not licensed plumbers that earn commission. Commission = Motivation (that can be good or bad). I'm motivated to do more work, work harder, and do high quality work to keep call backs down. Some are motivated by money - charge more, do it cheaper, hope it doesn't break. I do their callbacks all week long and hang my head in shame and disgust at what some of our "future unemployees" charge for just how little they can get by with. I have a flat rate pricing book, I keep it at home on the bookshelf and not in my truck. The prices are reasonable, but i usually charge a little less anyways - especially for little old ladies. I usually base my price on our hourly rate, and how long i think it will take me to do it. Our hourly rate is $120, but our area averages around $100, so we're not too far off. With our company though, you can pretty much charge whatever you want within reason. I can do a minor toilet rebuild down in the projects for $75 one day and $125 the next in the towne center area. I usually get a lot of personal repeat business because my prices are reasonable and my work is good. I couldn't live with charging people $300 for a toilet rebuild. Around here, people just wouldn't pay it- it would be a slow day of just driving around passing out estimates.

            So to get to my point - not all flat rate companies or employees of those companies are pricing-"rapers"
            theron, i like your ethics, but i have a question

            how can you charge 1 price and another person from the the same co. charge another price on the same flat rate job?

            sort of like going to mcdonalds and ordering a big mac from one cashier and getting a different price from another cashier.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              [QUOTE=draintech1]I'm shocked and appalled at my current company for the insane pricing they are trying to pull off with this flat rate pricing mumbo-jumbo!I seriously have trouble sleeping at night sometimes thinking about the look on customers faces when I tell them the price of some of the simplest things.Unfortunately, some of these people pay this "price" because my company has been around for 20 plus years and they trust(or used to trust) us. The whole flat rate pricing is new to my company (within the last year or so) and I just can't understand why my boss, who is a great man, went to flat rate pricing. He went from a one man show in the early 80s to 15 guys in '05, all without flat rate pricing. Now it seems like we are loosing customers right and left because of our prices. C'mon, over $325 to pull a commode and change the wax ring? I'm flabergasted. Over $150 to change a flapper? Get real! It's all how you present it is what they tell me. It's not a flapper, it's a water control diaphragm and if it leaks for a year straight, it's enough water to fill a swimming pool. Yeah,thanx,it's also 5 bucks and takes less than five minutes to change out. I just don't know what to do besides leave and I'm afraid where I'm at, all the other bigger and well-known plumbing and drain cleaning companies are going to flat rate pricing also. Well I don't buy it and that's when it's even harder to sell it. Any suggestions? Plumber Rick, any word of advice? Am I wrong to feel this way? Thanks.[/Q $150 to change a flapper?? you must be kidding...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
                theron, i like your ethics, but i have a question

                how can you charge 1 price and another person from the the same co. charge another price on the same flat rate job?

                sort of like going to mcdonalds and ordering a big mac from one cashier and getting a different price from another cashier.

                rick.
                I understand what you're saying rick. I don't just automatically jack the price up when i drive over to the mansions. Re-reading my post it did sound like i do that. I quote the same prices to everyone for their particular problem; accessing the problem, cleanliness of their property, and other factors can obviously make the price different. For example, I charge more to rebuild an old one peice toilet than i do a regular toilet, because the parts are usually not on my truck, and travel time to get the parts and the parts are more expensive than usual parts. I don't start at $75 for the projects. I start at $125 - when people tell me they can't afford it, I lower the price until they can (within reason). Some people want you to auger their main for $30. When i lower the prices to be competitive with other plumbers in their particular area, it makes us affordable, and it beats a blank. All our estimates are free, if i couldn't work with the prices, I'd be broke.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree flat rate pricing is a rip off. It seems all many people care about is how much money they can have. Well when that money comes from gouging people, particularly the elderly, infirm or under-educated then its immoral. I don't care if its legal or not.

                  years ago I worked with an outfit that went to flat rate pricing and I quit one week later. I am proud of that decision made so many years ago and never regretted it for a second.

                  drain tech1,
                  If its keeping you up at night and you feel its wrong then thats because it is, and you will enjoy your life a lot more if you move on. Don't just quit, make sure you obtain different employment first. They will try and compare it to a mechanics shop but thats apples and oranges.
                  Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    drain tech 1 if you can tell i like where i work and the people i work for .when i moved from NY to pa 16yrs ago i was hired at the first place i went to but not enough $ the 2nd place i said to them that when i am done on a job i put my name on it to say I'm proud of this job.and they did not want to start me with the $ i wanted so i said that you can fire me if you do not like my work but it is hard to get more $ from you later. he looked at me and then he said OK i will give you a try . he started me at the $ i wanted . to this day I'm still here and i do not think he regrets taking a gamble . he tells me that he likes my positive attitude and my pride in my work . i believe to give a customer a good job for what they pay. i now put on equipment i just put in boiler or ac unit the company sticker and my sticker installed with pride by charlie
                    we do not advertise , just on 25 vans , thats Wye we take them home and has my name on it . we need to wash them every week, and thats Wye we get repeat business . so go to a job that you and the company have the same pride in the work you do
                    Last edited by HVAC HAWK; 01-25-2006, 09:25 PM.
                    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/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all of your replies. It's due time to make a change. What was once my passion has become my dread and I don't think that is what a profession should be like. I truly believe that flat rate pricing is a get rich quick scheme and I am ashamed of myself for continuing in it for 6 months, but there are better days ahead. If there is anyone reading this in the plumbing profession and you aren't flat rate pricing, stay that way. It's better to walk out with less money and a happy customer than to walk out with more money and a customer that will never call back and then tell 10 of their friends. I wish I had never heard of flat "rape" pricing!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Don't be ashamed of yourself. Your employer made the decision to rip off his customers not you. You are a responsible employee who is doing his best as instructed. That you have finally decided that you have had enough is a sign that you have nothing to be ashamed of, unless of course you keep on doing it after passing up other opportunities.

                        I was lucky and had another place to go, but you still have to pay your bills so look before leaping.
                        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          if you do not mind where do you live maybe some one can help find a new happy place to work
                          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/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HVAC HAWK
                            if you do not mind where do you live maybe some one can help find a new happy place to work
                            i forwarded this to my buddie in los angeles. before he even read the whole thread, he was interested in you. send me an email if this sounds good and i'll pass it along to him.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm new to the forum and I'm very curious what you think of these prices:

                              1/2 hp ISE 240.00
                              single handle ks faucet w/spray (bg chrome) 400.00
                              minor tank rebuild 100.00
                              2 piece bg water closet 375.00
                              cable 1 1/2 to 3" line w/3/8" to 1/2" cable 150.00
                              rebuild 3 handle tub/shwr vlv- stems,seats,trim 370.00
                              2 piece toto drake- tank bowl seat 525.00
                              40 gal. gas water heater 950.00
                              expansion tank 200.00
                              sewage pump 800.00

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

                              Comment

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