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  • #16
    Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

    Originally posted by AFM View Post
    It has always interested me reading different threads on this forum and U.S members talking about thier qualifcations and you have brought them up again after your apprenticeship you said you became a journeyman which is what I would have called myself in Aus but the you became a master and then a contractor what is the meaning and extra qualifications of a master and contractor.

    Tony
    Everyone's confused about it. I bet out of the 50 different states, there are 50 different ways of qualifying. In my state, anyone can be a contractor, but you have to hire at least one journeyman to supervise the work.

    Some counties and cities have their own qualifications, but rarely less than the state's regs---usually more.

    Clear now?

    Originally posted by Cuda View Post
    Yes times have changed plumbing and business in general.
    Rick does word of mouth and pays no advertising but he has been doing this for many years and has a good client base built up. But he probably was working and building up in the beginning. As to changes you used to have to be in the phonebook then it was the phonebooks plural. Now it's good to be in the book but most people google everything these days so being a google advertiser is the (new) good thing in big cities.

    My web site used to come up in the first page if seattle drain cleaning was punched in now I am pages back, why because the big plumbing companies round me used to do the big jobs and didn't really want to do snaking unless it was for a good client, but now with the economy like it is they are back to advertising cleaning services to pay the bills since construction is down.

    I don't really care much about the big companies because I know I do better work for a better price but they are starting to effect my business. Just my 2 cents.
    Word-of-mouth has always made me laugh. As if the plumber was such an important part of peoples lives that they will go out of their way to recommend you. What if nobody likes you for months at a time? What if they can't remember your name? What about reverse recommendation? That's when your a-hole son-in-law raves about that contractor and you swear by all the Gods never to use him?

    Advertising is as much part of any business as the skill to do it. It is a monthly cost much like alimony: you hate to pay the biatch, but are afraid not to.
    Last edited by Drip Trip; 07-06-2009, 08:09 PM.
    (The Low Spark of Steel-Toed Boys)

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

      In Colorado, where I started out, to contract out work that required a permit you had to own a Masters License. The qualification was you had to have two years expierence as a journeyman and pass a written test similar to the journeyman test but with business law and accounting type questions.
      Hawaii is much looser, you dont even have to be a plumber, just pass the test and hire a Journeyman.

      Scott

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

        Originally posted by Drip Trip View Post


        Word-of-mouth has always made me laugh. As if the plumber was such an important part of peoples lives that they will go out of their way to recommend you. What if nobody likes you for months at a time? What if they can't remember your name? What about reverse recommendation? That's when your a-hole son-in-law raves about that contractor and you swear by all the Gods never to use him?

        Advertising is as much part of any business as the skill to do it. It is a monthly cost much like alimony: you hate to pay the biatch, but are afraid not to.
        word of mouth is all of my business. not a dime is spent on any form of advertising and the only thing i ever spent money on was for a business card because joey was at a trade show with me and decided to have one designed.

        there are 50 pages of plumbers advertising in our local yellow pages. most are crooks and they advertise to keep the phones ringing with new desperate customers.

        if a company is good, their reputation alone sells them. i don't see the good established companies spending money advertising.

        i don't work for total strangers. they have to be referred to me.

        so thinking that word of mouth is b.s, 1500+ customer base with no money marketing is no b.s. no web site, ads, fliers, nothing. in fact i turn down offers all the time from companies like angies list and others.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

          Rick didn't mean to bring you into this, was using you as an example to what worked before is not what works today and the real new guys that read this have to find their own way in todays climate.
          Seattle Drain Service

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
            word of mouth is all of my business. not a dime is spent on any form of advertising and the only thing i ever spent money on was for a business card because joey was at a trade show with me and decided to have one designed.

            there are 50 pages of plumbers advertising in our local yellow pages. most are crooks and they advertise to keep the phones ringing with new desperate customers.

            if a company is good, their reputation alone sells them. i don't see the good established companies spending money advertising.

            i don't work for total strangers. they have to be referred to me.

            so thinking that word of mouth is b.s, 1500+ customer base with no money marketing is no b.s. no web site, ads, fliers, nothing. in fact i turn down offers all the time from companies like angies list and others.

            rick.
            If I was in a town with 50 pages of plumbers, I wouldn't start a business there. It would be like opening a fast food joint between McDs and BK---I'd never get enough customers to justify owning my own business.

            1500 customers is nothing, when you consider that a) they may not need a plumber for 5 years, b) not everyone will call me back regardless, c) not everyone will remember who the heck the plumber is, d) you live in the 2nd largest city in America.

            Microsoft still advertises and they have billions of customers. Why?
            (The Low Spark of Steel-Toed Boys)

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

              Originally posted by Cuda View Post
              Rick didn't mean to bring you into this, was using you as an example to what worked before is not what works today and the real new guys that read this have to find their own way in todays climate.
              here is my take on why things have changed.

              i've been going to supply houses since the age 12, 1975. what's changed is that the knowledge of the so called plumbers stopping in for supplies is pretty much non existence with the younger crowd.

              my feeling is that the trade, primarily the service and repair, drain cleaning sector has gone out the window. there seems to be very few that have a real 4-5year apprenticeship including the required schooling. unfortunately there seems to be very little enforcement of this.

              therefore the trade has changed from the die-hard plumbers to the a literally a bunch of guys off the street looking for a quick buck.

              is it legal, not really. but if there's no one enforcing it, it will continue and only get worse as more and more people get into the trade and don't get the training or education required of a journeyman level plumber.

              next time you're at a plumbing supply house, just listen and observe what the people are ordering. half of them have no idea of what they need or what the proper name of the items they need are called.

              so what use to work years ago, has changed as more less qualified people have gotten into the plumbing field. if there was licensing enforcement, the trade would still be a highly respected sought after career. right now i see it as a get rich quick scam with the majority of guys who have not gone through a real apprenticeship and licensing.

              we are required to, so it's not asking for anything out of the ordinary.

              please note, this is not a cheap shot at the guys on the forum. it's aimed at the guys who go out without required training and required licensing and basically rob the customer. last time i checked an apprentice is required to work under the direct supervision of a journeyman level plumber.

              if a medical person, dr. / nurse tried to pull this stunt, they would be in jail.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                Originally posted by Drip Trip View Post
                If I was in a town with 50 pages of plumbers, I wouldn't start a business there. It would be like opening a fast food joint between McDs and BK---I'd never get enough customers to justify owning my own business.

                yet every issue there are more new names with new license numbers.

                1500 customers is nothing, when you consider that a) they may not need a plumber for 5 years, b) not everyone will call me back regardless, c) not everyone will remember who the heck the plumber is, d) you live in the 2nd largest city in America.

                1500 is large considering i'm 1 person and considering that these are active numbers. plus when you add up all the commercial, hoa associations and referrals from management and other contractors, the phone doesn't stop ringing.

                they better know who their plumber is, it's not like they looked me up in the phone book. in fact if they don't know who referred me, they don't get my services.

                Microsoft still advertises and they have billions of customers. Why?
                remember that a good cost of a computer is the licensing that microsoft charges for it's software.

                given a choice of saving $100-200 per computer, i think we would all chose the savings over microsoft.

                advertising for more customers would require me to either work 8 days a week or hire people. neither of which is happening.

                driving 5000 miles a year for work is nice too. 4000 is nicer

                rick.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                  Originally posted by Drip Trip View Post
                  If I was in a town with 50 pages of plumbers, I wouldn't start a business there. It would be like opening a fast food joint between McDs and BK---I'd never get enough customers to justify owning my own business.


                  Hey That's why I moved to this area lack of competition.
                  I dominate the phone book. But Most calls lately have been referrals and word of mouth.
                  But I'm staying in the book new people come and go. Got to keep the advertising fresh. The Phone Book is one of the basic needs to staying in business. If they can't find you they can't hire you.
                  Rod
                  MT. Washington Sewer & Drain Cleaning
                  Serving Berlin, NH and North Conway, NH areas
                  http://unclognh.com
                  http://mtwashingtonseweranddrainclea...m/default.aspx

                  Charging less does not mean more call volume it just means you have to work harder to reach your goals.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                    remember that a good cost of a computer is the licensing that microsoft charges for it's software.

                    given a choice of saving $100-200 per computer, i think we would all chose the savings over microsoft.

                    advertising for more customers would require me to either work 8 days a week or hire people. neither of which is happening.

                    driving 5000 miles a year for work is nice too. 4000 is nicer

                    rick.
                    I swore you'd say your wife makes more than you or the trust fund pays the mortgage...

                    Originally posted by UnClogNH View Post
                    Hey That's why I moved to this area lack of competition.
                    I dominate the phone book. But Most calls lately have been referrals and word of mouth.
                    But I'm staying in the book new people come and go. Got to keep the advertising fresh. The Phone Book is one of the basic needs to staying in business. If they can't find you they can't hire you.
                    Exactly. Today, I deposited (from my y.p. ads) enough to pay off my yellow pages, if I wanted to, which I don't.
                    (The Low Spark of Steel-Toed Boys)

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                      Rick, I couldnt agree more about the enforcement of the Licence issue. If my inspectors would do their job and check to make sure the plumbers hold a journeyman's card it would elevate the whole trade. "Back in the day" the inspectors asked for cards and because of that getting your card gave you some status and a jump in pay. The way it is now there is no motivation for guys to put in the effort to obtain a card. I'm certainly not saying that you cant be a good plumber if you dont have a journeyman's licence, but the licence is like our diploma and it should be valued more than it is.
                      Scott

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                        Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                        here is my take on why things have changed.

                        i've been going to supply houses since the age 12, 1975. what's changed is that the knowledge of the so called plumbers stopping in for supplies is pretty much non existence with the younger crowd.

                        my feeling is that the trade, primarily the service and repair, drain cleaning sector has gone out the window. there seems to be very few that have a real 4-5year apprenticeship including the required schooling. unfortunately there seems to be very little enforcement of this.

                        therefore the trade has changed from the die-hard plumbers to the a literally a bunch of guys off the street looking for a quick buck.

                        is it legal, not really. but if there's no one enforcing it, it will continue and only get worse as more and more people get into the trade and don't get the training or education required of a journeyman level plumber.

                        next time you're at a plumbing supply house, just listen and observe what the people are ordering. half of them have no idea of what they need or what the proper name of the items they need are called.

                        so what use to work years ago, has changed as more less qualified people have gotten into the plumbing field. if there was licensing enforcement, the trade would still be a highly respected sought after career. right now i see it as a get rich quick scam with the majority of guys who have not gone through a real apprenticeship and licensing.

                        we are required to, so it's not asking for anything out of the ordinary.

                        please note, this is not a cheap shot at the guys on the forum. it's aimed at the guys who go out without required training and required licensing and basically rob the customer. last time i checked an apprentice is required to work under the direct supervision of a journeyman level plumber.

                        if a medical person, dr. / nurse tried to pull this stunt, they would be in jail.

                        rick.
                        A wholehearted agree.

                        From our phone conversation I thought maybe you were going to say something else.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                          [QUOTE=Drip Trip;239591]I swore you'd say your wife makes more than you or the trust fund pays the mortgage...

                          QUOTE]

                          i would be thrilled the day joey makes real money. but remember she's in social work and it's dam near doing charity work.

                          trust fund try working since i was 12 making $3.00 an hour. nothing happens overnight and i work hard for evry cent i make. sure i enjoy spending it, but never the less, i've paid my dues for 34 years now.


                          rick.
                          phoebe it is

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                            [QUOTE=PLUMBER RICK;239617]
                            Originally posted by Drip Trip View Post
                            I swore you'd say your wife makes more than you or the trust fund pays the mortgage...

                            QUOTE]

                            i would be thrilled the day joey makes real money. but remember she's in social work and it's dam near doing charity work.

                            trust fund try working since i was 12 making $3.00 an hour. nothing happens overnight and i work hard for evry cent i make. sure i enjoy spending it, but never the less, i've paid my dues for 34 years now.


                            rick.
                            Y'all got trust fund babies down there, too, huh? Some of them have to work just enough to buy the little luxuries in life, but they still ain't right in the head.

                            So do you charge your exclusive client list by the hour or flat rate?

                            Do you know Mike Diamond, the Queen of Flat Rate?
                            (The Low Spark of Steel-Toed Boys)

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                              [QUOTE=Drip Trip;239659]
                              Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                              Y'all got trust fund babies down there, too, huh? Some of them have to work just enough to buy the little luxuries in life, but they still ain't right in the head.

                              So do you charge your exclusive client list by the hour or flat rate?

                              Do you know Mike Diamond, the Queen of Flat Rate?
                              the rich and famous pay the same as the middle class. the poor and elderly pay less.

                              95% of my work is time and material. 5% is a contract price. there is no flat rate book price. every contract price is based on my estimated material and labor cost. sure when i do a building full of valves, i average out the cost based on size. so a 1/2'' valve install is the same for all of them. but once again, the cost is based on my material cost and my labor cost. nothing from a book.

                              as far as mike diamond, yes he is the queen, as geroge brazil was the king yes i've met him, was at an advisory board meeting with him and even had lunch with him. i certainly don't run in the same direction as him

                              my shop and his shop are a couple miles away. he has more trucks sitting in his yard than he has on the road. the locals are getting the word of his practice. it's the uninformed that get

                              rick.
                              phoebe it is

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Flat Rate or Hourly?

                                [QUOTE=PLUMBER RICK;239671]
                                Originally posted by Drip Trip View Post

                                the rich and famous pay the same as the middle class. the poor and elderly pay less.

                                95% of my work is time and material. 5% is a contract price. there is no flat rate book price. every contract price is based on my estimated material and labor cost. sure when i do a building full of valves, i average out the cost based on size. so a 1/2'' valve install is the same for all of them. but once again, the cost is based on my material cost and my labor cost. nothing from a book.

                                as far as mike diamond, yes he is the queen, as geroge brazil was the king yes i've met him, was at an advisory board meeting with him and even had lunch with him. i certainly don't run in the same direction as him

                                my shop and his shop are a couple miles away. he has more trucks sitting in his yard than he has on the road. the locals are getting the word of his practice. it's the uninformed that get

                                rick.
                                Yeah but they smell good.....so i'm told

                                "I may not always smell fresh but my prices don't stink"
                                wookie

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