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  • #16
    Re: The numbers

    Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
    Some of you might remember Leonard (Bestline, Arts Cabinet, City Girl, Baton Rouge plus many others names he used) use to sell $39 drain cleanings on raised foundations only. He we betting while his guys were cleaning the drains he could inspect the crawl space and find legitimate problems with the plumbing. I happen to think he took advantage of them after that but it was a great way to get in the house.

    Mark
    If you are hungry and there's a lake beside your house all you need is a hook and bait.
    Your customers are the lake, your camera is the hook and the offer is the bait.
    Your $5000.00 camera is not making money sitting in the truck. And I'm not talking about advertising for free or reduced price camera inspections.
    These are already your customers. You are already at their home, and you (hopefully) are not going to cheat them.
    But, in this economy, and with the competition as it is. What's the harm?(not in cheating, just doing the inspection).
    (Thinking to self while of job..."let's see, i could go home and watch oprah, or camera this sewer. At the very least I will know every nook and cranny of my customers sewer that I clean annually. At best, I will be able to do a sewer replacement while my customers are on their semi-annual overseas vacation.")
    "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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    • #17
      Re: The numbers

      Maybe you get work cool if not you got to play with the camera your customer got the status of the line you know more about their plumbing system ? I guess its like buying a pressure gauge and checking everyones pressure and like a doctor checking blood pressure . You know Slim I guess it is all about your attitude and how you carry your self. You know I don't have a camera yet ! that is what I have been telling my drain cleaning customers and the ones I feel a little uneasy about I tell them that when I do if I have nothing else going on I will come out and we will look at their line together with the camera to see what was up with it. And why because I am grateful to have them call me. As small and fragile as the company is it really needs their repeat business and I will feel better knowing what was going on back when I did the cleaning will I keep doing this maybe or maybe not it is just like you are saying it is all "what if " for now and you may get sick of dragging out the camera or maybe you price it so they come back to you like " Hey did you get that camera on your truck if so lets check my drain out" It is attitude are your customers like friends well they know that camera cost big bucks all my customers do , I bet you as the good people as most are they are not going to let me walk back out their door having looked at their drain with out paying me something most would probably what ever I told them my normal charge was. One of my first big jobs was a water heater in Highland town water heater repair 18 year old heater figured the best thing was to swap out the heater and in doing so found out his 100 yr old plus house had no chimney liner so we set for me to get a new liner . And I came back and spent like 6 hours doing that he paid with a smile . And I beat everybody in town on price and still made money . I sent him out an email told him I wanted to stop out and check every thing out before heating season really kicks in and make sure he is good to go . He come back and tells me he wants to line up some more work so I am not just coming out for that . Cool !! But you care about your customer maybe you make more cash maybe not you treat them like friends and have a good attitude about it I think you are doing the right thing go for it see what happens !

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      • #18
        Re: The numbers

        It's EXTREMELY RARE for me to go into "salesman" mode with any of my customers .

        My customers want a Plumber to fix their problem...not a salesman going around their house trying to spend their money.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: The numbers

          Not salesman just being helpful . Just like the plastic pop-up . " Mrs. Smith I will install you cheap HD fct . But I will only waste a little time with the plastic pop-up and then you will have to buy mine. " Well if you had problems with Mrs. Smith's drain last year and now you got a new camera on the truck well see what the deal was . I don't see the difference because now with the camera now I can see the problem . And I am sure every one here knows their customers and knows which ones they would be wasting their time with and which ones really give a shi! . This also gets back to do you really need a camera ? Well if I bring back dirt , mud , rocks maybe there is a break in the line? If I pushed out a soft stoppage toilet paper etc. maybe their is a dip in the line since now I am back in two days ? And how do you handle if after you see some thing with the line . Do you turn in to some push sales man . I would not and I don't think Slim would either . But you are dealing with people and people that are non-plumbers so maybe if they see some thing on video and connect the dots in their on head maybe they want to dig the line and do a spot repair or want to start putting cash aside for a repair . I see my job is to inform not push . It their money I like cleaning drains it is quick money and I can come back on here and talk about some crazy stuff I ran into . But the sales man thing depends on the person . When Mr tire gives me a list of repairs to do it is up to me do spend the money most of the time I don't I use their quote as a to do list . But that guy was just doing his job and I can respect that.
          I have work around people like the pushy "sales man" types and the types that sold things that did not need to be done or sold things that could be covered with a warranty like a moen cartridge . But the man that signed my check taught me early on to inform inform inform let that person sell them self it is there house and their money. And that is the way I have always worked .
          Last edited by Clipper City Plumber; 08-21-2010, 03:02 AM.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: The numbers

            Rick, when you "press and run" do you include a ProPress charge on your invoice?

            I don't do any of this work so I know none of you gives a rats @ss what I say on the subject but to my way of thinking if I were elect on my own to use a camera as a diagnostic tool in performing my work then that is no different than making the choice of grabbing an 18 or a 24 out of my tool box to turn a 1-1/2" fitting. Both will do the job right? If I choose to use an aluminum 24 should I charge more because that tool cost me more?

            What about pulling a vacuum on an A/C system. If I use a micron gauge vice the compound gauge on my manifold gauge set should I charge more to evac the system? Granted the compound gauge is not accurate in the vacuum range but its still reads inches of Hg vacuum doesn't it?

            If I elect, based on my experience to use ProPress in place of draining the line and soldering should the customer pay more? If yes do you give them a choice up front (solder vice ProPress) and explain the difference in price, job duration, and comparative quality of each type of repair, etc ? Or do you find yourself defending your charges after the fact when you hear; "What's this $xxx charge for ProPress? What's a ProPress?" And then have to justify why they are buying and maintaining your tools for you, even if its only 1470th of it.

            When you go to the dentist, does he list that new dentist chair which he paid $40K for on your bill? No, it's covered in the price of the filling. X-rays on the other hand have a consumable associated with them (film + the processing soup), at least they used to but digital imaging is taking over, so there is a charge there.

            When you break a cutter or snap a cable while running a line do you charge the customer for the loss? Why? Is it fair that just because the cutter bit the dust while being used on their sewer that they should pay to replace it when you used it on 147+ prior jobs?

            If your battery powered drill craps out on the job do you add the replacement cost to the bill? Why not, it happened on their job.

            What about HVAC work? There is specialized equipment used there too.
            The list of specialized tools for the various facets of the trade is almost endless. But in the end they are all just things you use to accomplish your job.

            However, if a customer were to hire me to video a line either to document its condition or in an investigatory capacity to determine what might be wrong; whether there was the promise or agreement of me making the repair or not; this would certainly be charged at the applicable rate.

            If there was a significant expense for a consumable associated with some specialized equipment or for mandated (by State of Federal regulations) disposal costs I would itemize that cost on the bill. An example might be contaminated soil encountered during excavation work (but you should have done soil samples going in if its not emergent work).

            I guess there are many ways to bill yourself out and appear competitive. And none of them wrong as long as the rates are reasonable and you're not billing for services not performed; and I am in no way implying that anyone here does that. I think you are all a bunch of honorable, hard-working people with more respect for the reputation of yourself and the trade as a whole than to do anything like that. But you have all relayed to us stories of those you have encountered who are less than honorable, which is why I mention it.
            ---------------
            Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
            ---------------
            “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
            ---------
            "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
            ---------
            sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: The numbers

              there is a difference between tools and equipment. the tools are not billed for. my truck, shop carries just about every tool from the ridgid book these tools were paid for by my salary, which in turn was earned from the customers over the years.

              but equipment, such as drain cleaning, jetters, threaders, propress, cameras and locators, pipe freezers, concrete cutting and coring, jack hammers, all have an equipment charge. whether it's incorporated into the hourly rate for the jetter or a separate charge for the equipment, it all gets billed for.

              as far as the popress goes, the charge is anywhere from $10-25 for it's use depending on the size and the quantity. now remember i'm not billing for solder, gas or flux. so in theory it's less expensive than a soldering job. plus i get done much faster than if i had to solder.

              if the job is a contract job, then it's all figured in based on the the above figures.

              of course i could always raise the price of the fittings to cover the propress charge, but i don't.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: The numbers

                We used to be a flat rate shop back when my father first started the company as a drain cleaning service. Then in the early 1980's he was subcontracted by a union plumbing shop that introduced him to T&M. My father fell in love with this idea. So he sat down to figure out how to break down the labor, service call, and equipment charges to match what he was flat rating the jobs for. All rods have a rod charge to cover the wear and tear of the cable and cutters. Only time we ever charged a customer for cable or cutters if their line was clearly the cause (broken or collapsed sewer) also we would charge them (informed upfront) if they used a super strong caustic acid in the line which will ruin the cable.

                As for the ProPress yes I will charge a ProPress charge, no I will not inform them since it is no different than me charging them in the material break down for gas/flux/solder. I look at my ProPress like a B tank that needs refilling, since the ProPress does need to go get recalibrating after so many presses.

                As I mentioned before if a customer hires me to clean there sewer and I "feel" nothing in there sewer to be concerned about, I will opt not to run the camera down the drain. If the customer insists, I will charge them a camera charge. Now if I "feel" something while cabling the line I will run the camera down the line at no charge. Also if I get a recall on the line I rodded within our 2 year guarantee I will rerod the line then televise it at no extra charge to see what I missed when I first cabled the line. If I get a call from someone that had other plumbers clean the line but they want the line televised, they get a TV charge plus labor and a service call.

                I feel we are always fair to our customers, we only charge equipment charges if there is wear and tear on the equipment. Granted i do not charge a small drill charge, but there is a hammer drill charge. If we use a Sawzall we do charge for the blades used on the job. The old time plumber that apprenticed me told me one thing I will never forget. "Ron charge for everything you use on the job be it Pipe dope, solder washers nuts bolts and so on. We had to pay for that stuff so why give it away." Which is true, if you give away enough stuff you will be hurting your own bottom line.
                Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: The numbers

                  I'm not saying to give anything away. I agree that somewhere they are gonna pay for items consumed, etc. on the job, be it in an itemized list or rolled up in the labor rate or whatever.

                  In the end I guess its all the same, and as others have pointed out it can be regional.
                  ---------------
                  Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                  ---------------
                  “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                  ---------
                  "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                  ---------
                  sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: The numbers

                    If I may get back to my premise....
                    IF my Seesnake were paid for, whether by including a few dollars in my regular overhead charge or by an equipment charge every time I've used it,
                    AND I had even put aside enough for repairs and/or upgrades for said Seesnake...,
                    AND business was so slow that now I've resorted to watching Dr. Phil...,
                    AND I was at ms. smith's home repairing a faucet one day ...,
                    AND it was a Delta faucet so I was through in 5 minutes...,
                    AND my SeeSnake has mostly been sitting on my truck 'cause all of my competitors advertise video inspections...,
                    AND ms smith just happens to be a brand spankin' new customer who was referred to me by 3 out of 4 ladies in her ma jong club...
                    AND she has a cleanout, right there, in her front yard
                    AND the cleanout plug is so lubed up you could twist it out with your sweaty hand...,
                    May I please,please, please, please offer to inspect her sewer, FREE, in (my) hopes of scoring on some repair work since she is a rich old woman who has already told me she likes to be proactive and preventative when it comes to her home and repairs (but not to the point of springing for a video inspection)
                    (Have I covered all of my hypothetical bases?)
                    Oh,
                    AND ms. smith just recently moved into this 40 year old home...,
                    AND she is the president of the county Business Roundtable, Publisher of the city Business Journal, and she has the largest Linkd'n presence on the web...,
                    AND she represents a cabal of investors who are looking to "sink" some money into the first plumber that offers FREE video inspections...,
                    AND you'll get your OWN show on Food Network!!!!!!! (chocolate milkshakes anyone?)
                    Last edited by SlimTim; 08-21-2010, 11:00 PM.
                    "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: The numbers

                      Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
                      AND you'll get your OWN show on Food Network!!!!!!! (chocolate milkshakes anyone?)
                      then you might have me giving in for a freebe

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: The numbers

                        Originally posted by plumber rick View Post
                        then you might have me giving in for a freebe

                        Rick.
                        woooooooooooooooot!!!!!!!!
                        "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: The numbers

                          Free? Everyone likes free.Every once in a while I'll do something for a customer on the fly and not charge em' .Don't know about camering a sewer for free though. But every customer is different and if it drums up business for you great
                          ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin

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                          • #28
                            Re: The numbers

                            I will use a free hour with our see snake as a ice breaker with new leads.This would be large meat plants, large food processors, fast food. Were not looking to sell a dig. I do like large jetting pms. Sometimes this is a waste when the lines look good and they haven't done anything but pound on them. Everything looks good and your van smells like meat plant drain, smile and say call if you have an issue. See snake cost money its not a pipe wrench. I video stuff to solve issues 99% of the time and 1% as a sales tool. 99% of the time bill them for the video work. If someone came to fix my tub and tried to sell me a dig on my main line I'd call Scam buster from my local news.

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