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Service Call Charges

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  • Service Call Charges

    I am a Handyman in Arizona and I have charged a service call of $65.00 for two years now and have had good results, except for once. I used to charge the service call and then include the first hour labor...NOW! I charge in addition to the labor and materials.

    My thoughts are with this downward turn in the economy and prices inflated for fuel, Insurance, labor... etc. How can anyone survive by not charging a service call when customers are now getting many estimates and shopping to compare in the service related fields?

    I charge the Service call above and beyond the the time I work or materials I provide on each job...My gosh look at the expense of the truck, advertising...etc. I only charge $30.00 per hour labor.

    I simply cannot afford to spend my time and fuel...etc., to give coustomers free estimates and I am wondering how others in similar fields are coping with the economy? Plumbers, Electricians, etc.

  • #2
    Re: Service Call Charges

    The only estimate that I give are over the phone and not binding. I'm not interested in driviing around. I'm focusing on drain cleaning and minor repairs. Too old to dig, and I would rather get to the next job as quick as I can...
    Phone estimates are based on my hourly rate, I've done enough lines to have an averages to work from. On occasion may have to eat an hour or two but for the most part it works well, and the averages run true. A quick job is charged the hour minimum, on a harder job I may eat the loss or charge the client depending on how the situation feels.

    But again I am not going to drive out for an estimate, In addition for jobs more than 10 miles away I add a milage sercharge. More important than the cost of gas is the time lost to driving, keeping me from getting to the next job.


    • #3
      Re: Service Call Charges

      If the trades, each one of them individually would all get together and agree to not give free estimates, problem solved.

      But, there's always someone thinking about their back pocket first, and will do anything to get an edge on the competition.

      If they are not a repeat customer, I basically tell the customer we're charging as if it's a service call. I get about 5 of these a day where I get the "I'll talk to my wife and call you back" statements and as long as it keeps me from wasting fuel and time, I'll gladly give of myself a few minutes on the phone... but nothing else.

      The phone always rings with paying customers so it's best to do rank and file for the rest. If a consumer doesn't choose to use our services because they want free? I can afford to lose that customer.
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      • #4
        Re: Service Call Charges

        As a customer, I would look at that as "being charged twice". $65 just for calling you and then whatever your hourly rate might be for you actually doing the work.

        That said however, a "service call" is a service call and by no means a request for quote or estimate. If you receive a call for service, then that is what you need to charge for and deliver. As a customer, I certainly would need to make it very clear as to exactly what I'm calling you for. For example: I call you to come and fix a leaking pipe joint or fix my toilet, I sure as hell wouldn't be asking you to give me a price after you got there and then turning you away. If that is what has happened to you in the past, then I think you need to "frame" your service in a manner that lets your customer know the difference between a service call and a request for an "estimate". Otherwise, you are being treated very unfairly, IMO.

        But charging $65 plus your first hour's service would seem like over-charging, in my book. But then again, I'm not in your business, just on the customer side of the bill. But I would certainly agree that there's no way I could tolerate showing up at the door and then being told the customer was going to check with somebody else.



        • #5
          Re: Service Call Charges

          At $30.00 an hour your net is probably around $15.00 an hour. I would go get a job as a carpenter for about $25.00 an hour with bennies. You will put more money in your pocket & have a lot less headaches. That said @ $30.00 hourly rate the $65.00 service charge is peanuts. If I send someone to a job there is $250.00 min. charge no matter what the reason is I send there. I have no problem with giving free estimates as long as none of my estimators have to leave the shop. Every customer needs an idea what you are going to charge, so they know if they can pay for it.