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  • The numbers

    Let's say you spent $5000.00 on a SeeSnake system.
    And let's say you probably average 1470 billable hours in a year.
    Then let's say you decide to up your rates by $3.40/hr to pay for said SeeSnake system in one year.

    Would it not be prudent to offer to inspect a regular customer's sewer or other drain at no extra charge since the odds are good, depending on the age of the house, that you will find a problem which translates to more work (if you need it).

    Cold customer calls excluded, of course, if all they want is an inspection. You could always offer the inspection free if they give you the job.

    I understand the wear and tear on your equipment and that the free inspection would preferably fall within an hour you are already at the home doing billable work. But regardless, the warm fuzzy feeling the customer gets from you doing something "free" for them usually translates to $$$ down the road.
    "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

  • #2
    Re: The numbers

    We have had our camera system for 17+ years. We did not raise our rates to cover the cost, but we did add a camera charge to cover the equipment wear and tear.

    Now when we rod a main line we and feel a problem in the sewer, we will wave the camera charge. We feel the customer hired us to solve the problem of them backing up, so if there is something irregular feeling while rodding its in the best interest of our customer to televise the line and see the problem thats been causing their back ups.

    In many cases the back up is due to a simple blockage like tree roots, a rag, or other items flushed down the line. In these cases we do not feel a problem in the sewer itself and do not televise the sewer. Key to this is as long as I can get a 4" cutter through the line I know 99% of the times there is no break or other major problem. If the 4" cutter will not pass a spot then in goes the camera. Now if we feel the line is OK and the customer wants the line televised then we will charge the camera charge. Also if its just a cold call to televise the line there will be a camera charge.

    Before you complain about us not televising a line we feel that is in good shape let me give you a little more information about us. We been cleaning drains since 1959, no one in our company has less than 20 years experience cleaning drains. Before cameras where around we had to determine if the line was in good shape or not by doing a proper rodding job and "feeling" the cable as we rod the sewer. We also provide a written 2 year guarantee on our rodding jobs. If and when we get a recall within the 2 years, then we run the camera down the drain after we do the rerod to see why it did not last the 2 years.
    Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
    Ron's Facebook
    A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
    Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
    Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The numbers

      Originally posted by SewerRatz View Post
      We have had our camera system for 17+ years. We did not raise our rates to cover the cost, but we did add a camera charge to cover the equipment wear and tear.

      Now when we rod a main line we and feel a problem in the sewer, we will wave the camera charge. We feel the customer hired us to solve the problem of them backing up, so if there is something irregular feeling while rodding its in the best interest of our customer to televise the line and see the problem thats been causing their back ups.

      In many cases the back up is due to a simple blockage like tree roots, a rag, or other items flushed down the line. In these cases we do not feel a problem in the sewer itself and do not televise the sewer. Key to this is as long as I can get a 4" cutter through the line I know 99% of the times there is no break or other major problem. If the 4" cutter will not pass a spot then in goes the camera. Now if we feel the line is OK and the customer wants the line televised then we will charge the camera charge. Also if its just a cold call to televise the line there will be a camera charge.

      Before you complain about us not televising a line we feel that is in good shape let me give you a little more information about us. We been cleaning drains since 1959, no one in our company has less than 20 years experience cleaning drains. Before cameras where around we had to determine if the line was in good shape or not by doing a proper rodding job and "feeling" the cable as we rod the sewer. We also provide a written 2 year guarantee on our rodding jobs. If and when we get a recall within the 2 years, then we run the camera down the drain after we do the rerod to see why it did not last the 2 years.
      I like the way you presented that.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The numbers

        Originally posted by Flux View Post
        I like the way you presented that.
        thanks I was worried I might of been confusing.
        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
        Ron's Facebook
        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The numbers

          now my take on it

          i feel that i have invested upward of $100,000 on camera and locating equipment i also feel i have just as much specialty education as any doctor out there. i might not have the fancy college degree, but i've spent the money, invested the time in going from a 12 year old weekend helper to a 47 year old plumbing contractor. i own every piece of equipment and property outright. and i didn't get where i am today by giving away free camera inspections

          when was the last time you've been to a doctor or hospital and got a free x-ray or mri all a doctor has on me is a little more specialty training and a "dr" in front of their name.

          plus i work for more doctors that are more impressed with my inspection equipment than their own medical inspection equipment. especially when i can pin point the exact location of their problem.

          so therefore i feel i don't have to give away camera inspections to generate work.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #6
            Re: The numbers

            Ricks right for once you you should charge for useing your camera etc but not rip off your client and thank God Ricks not my doctor.

            Tony

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The numbers

              Don't forget Tim is talking about bumping up his rates to cover the cost of the camera. I will only speak for myself because I know how good I am at sales. This system would not work well for me because I'm not a great salesman when it come to getting extra work. (I use all my sales skills on bidets) Plus I don't do any excatating. I think in the right situation this would be a great money maker. ie. people with a bunch of money that want there old sewer systems perfect no roots, no orangeburg, no offset clay tile. That is not my clientel though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The numbers

                I did say "if you need" the work. If I were repairing mrs smith's faucet and mrs. smith has a nice accessible cleanout in the front yard and work has been a little slow and the camera hasn't been pulled out in a month and there is a possibility of getting a sewer job and a little more experience with the camera, then that would be a worthy endeavor I think. (now that's a long sentence).

                It's all hypothetical for me anyway. I don't own a SeeSnake (yet) or a sewer machine (never). Just thinking out loud (in type). It never hurts to think of ways to drum up business---just in case.....
                "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The numbers

                  I'm a little different in the way I work in that I charge for my equipment by the day. I charge $250 a day for a camera and $250 a day for a locator. Sometimes I only use it for one drain a Month sometime I will do 10 a day for months depending on the project I am on.

                  As regular plumbers I would charge an equipment charge for using a camera. Keep in mind though, the chances of selling a repair or replacement increase a bunch when you add a camera.

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

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The numbers

                    I think the key to this is to have a reasonable price . If you had a drain cleaning machine you would charge for it every time and after paid off some would go to up keep and the rest back into the company. So why would this be any different with the see snake ? just an idea?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The numbers

                      Originally posted by Clipper City Plumber View Post
                      I think the key to this is to have a reasonable price . If you had a drain cleaning machine you would charge for it every time and after paid off some would go to up keep and the rest back into the company. So why would this be any different with the see snake ? just an idea?
                      The drain machine is to solve a problem. The camera would be to diagnose and locate a problem. If you need a problem to solve then a free camera inspection might provide one.
                      If you have plenty of work already and people are calling for video inspections regularly, then it's a moot discussion.
                      But, if you are repairing mrs smith's faucet and then going home because there is no more work then find some work-with your camera. That's all I 'm saying.
                      I hear hvac companies on the radio all the time "we will inspect your home heating and air free". Of course, 10 out of 10 times they will find a problem to repair.
                      "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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                      • #12
                        Re: The numbers

                        Everybody makes some sense to me so far. More than one way to do things. And what works well in one area of the U.S. can completely fail in another area.

                        J.C.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The numbers

                          Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
                          The drain machine is to solve a problem. The camera would be to diagnose and locate a problem. If you need a problem to solve then a free camera inspection might provide one.
                          If you have plenty of work already and people are calling for video inspections regularly, then it's a moot discussion.
                          But, if you are repairing mrs smith's faucet and then going home because there is no more work then find some work-with your camera. That's all I 'm saying.
                          I hear hvac companies on the radio all the time "we will inspect your home heating and air free". Of course, 10 out of 10 times they will find a problem to repair.
                          I have to disagree with you on this one. Your free sewer inspection sounds like a Roto-Rooter scam and will be perceived as one. Lets say you do find a ligitimate problem and surprise the customer with a $5,000+ repair estimate for a problem they didn't know existed. You will not be seen as the hero around that dinner table that night. The key lies in being able to accurately determine the cause of an existing problem that the customer is aware of, and offer a permanent solution. If Mrs. Smith calls me to fix her kitchen faucet then that is what I am there to do. I am not running to the upstairs bathrooms looking under cabinets, flushing toilets, etc. If I do notice something that needs attention during the course of my work I will let the homeowner know it. However, it will be a cold day in hell before I take a $10,000 piece of equipment off of my truck and jam it down her sewer pipe for free in the hopes of securing future work.
                          Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The numbers

                            Here's my problem, I would like to charge an "equipment" charge to use my camera but unfortunately my 2 biggest competitors don't. They give a free inspection when a drain is cabled or jetted. The reason they do this however is to see if there are problems in the line because they both specialize in pipe bursting and relining, I don't. Most people now expect a free video inspection.
                            Ray

                            “Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.”— Francisco d'Anconia
                            Atlas Shrugged (Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 411)

                            www.mauiplumbinginc.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The numbers

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

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

                              Comment

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