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Flat rate sewers

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  • Flat rate sewers

    Ok, so I am going flat rate on our sewer calls, and am trying to figure out the best way to do it. I would much rather the customer know up front what the cost are than them standing over me with a stop watch and complaining if I stop to blow my nose.

    So what system are some of yall currently using for flat rate.



  • #2
    Re: Flat rate sewers

    The best way to do it is figure out what the average time you spend on a rod job. For example most of my main lines only take an hour to do. But there is the few that take about 3 hours to do. So to average things out we figure what you would charge for an hour and a half and flat rate for that time. This way on the hour jobs you are making up for the few that take longer.

    Now our company is T&M but if someone wants an upfront price I quote them what it would cost them for the first hour, and explain to them most normal roddings only take an hour, but if it does go longer it will cost them so much per half hour there after.
    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


    • #3
      Re: Flat rate sewers

      The best way is don't do it. Go by the hour. The first hour is so much and then every hour after that. You can't lose. Take 3 hours to clear roots on a flat rate job and you are out of luck.


      • #4
        Re: Flat rate sewers

        True, 3 hours on a sewer will kill you if you are on flat rate, but I would rather have my customers know what the cost is up front so there are not any suprises when I bring them the bill.

        Also, I was recently told by a customer that I worked to "slow", but she was baseing this off the total time and in her eyes $$$ that was spent on the job and not the thoroughness for which I cleaned her pipes, she was having her sewer cleaned every six months like clock work, it has know been 8 months and we have not been back for the same problem.

        My thought is that by going flat rate the customer wont be worried about the time I spend there because they already know the price, and it will be up to me to make everything workout.

        We are also flat rate on everything else, so it is just inconvinent not to be on sewers as well.


        • #5
          Re: Flat rate sewers

          i'm T&M and when asked i tell them a typical clearing runs between the cost of 1 hour to 1 3/4 hours + incidentals. if it takes longer or we discover roots or other issues it could be more. if they insist on a set price for the job i quote the equivalent of the service call charge, 3 hours labor, plus a wax & bolts. i also remind them this is a set price even if it takes 15 minute with a plunger or all day with all the tools

          hope that helps

          so far no one has taken the "flat rate" price

          In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!


          • #6
            Re: Flat rate sewers

            We are flat rate on drains. Plumbing repairs are T&M. Basically we took an average (just like ratz said above) and made our prices. So we set our price for a main sewer (up to 100') and its $10 less for underfloor drains (stack base to main c/o), and $10 less than that for sinks, tubs, showers and toilet auger. If a toilet has to be R&R or a c/o plug cut off and replaced the customer is told beforehand the price (in addition to the drain cleaning). Roof drains are more expensive than main sewers b/c we send two men for safety reasons.

            In our area most drain cleaning is flat rate so we have to remain competitive. It's what our market dictates...if you try to explain to them T&M on a drain they'll just call the next guy. It works for us...most drains are done in approx 45 min. When they do take much longer and you stick to your price I have more often than not acquired a customer for life. They are tickled when they see you work your a$$ off and stick to your price, it leads to gaining contracts (apartments and condos) or referrals (residential).

            What upsets me is the guys who advertise drains for $50 or give free camera service with every drain. In this tough economy customers often don't care when I explain that it's a fly by night company of characters you most likely wouldn't even trust in your home, working without insurance and likely don't give or won't honor a guarantee if there is a recall issue, or that all the free camera gets you is a high pressure sales pitch. They(customers) just see that they are cheaper than us or offering a FREE service that we charge for (as needed).
            Last edited by youngsplumbing; 08-11-2009, 05:49 PM.


            • #7
              Re: Flat rate sewers

              I try to tell people what the typical job cost. Then I will discount it if was real easy or more like a service call. Flat rate seems like you are either too much for the easy stuff with no way to CYA on the nightmares. People around here are tight. If we are slow I will give free estimates. I never get the price checkers unless we meet with them and help get the right tools for thier budget on the job. People who want video prices dont need a video they need help with there sewer.


              • #8
                Re: Flat rate sewers

                We are T&M on everything except sewers and camera work. Flat rate of $xxx.xx for the first 2 hours. After that, it goes to our regular quarter hour rate. If you are there more that 2 hours there is a problem (roots, difficult access, no cleanout) and the additional charge reasonable to most customers.

                Camera work is the same.


                • #9
                  Re: Flat rate sewers

                  I charge a like a flat rate based on my t/m and average time to clean a drain I also explain that this is without complications. Such as...
                  Roots,not proper access,pulling bowl etc. All my competition is flat rate and customers want prices so I give them my price over the phone should I run into complications I explain what's going on and the price it will be. I'm honest and fair. That's what customer want.