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  • Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

    Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?
    I have had rash of price shoppers asking how much for x bla bla bla 10 minutes on the phone. Why so much


    I don't want to give prices over the phone anymore or ball park prices. Could be competition feeling me out, handymen looking to see what they should charge or people just price shopping

    I was thinking of charging a diagnostic fee to travel to job site
    and wave the fee if they do the work then and there rebate expires when they see my tail lights.
    Do you get any complaints on this diagnostic fee?
    In town estimates are free. But some places are an hour away. Flat rate will not work in my local town. But other towns it may work to go flat rate. I have been kicking this idea in my head for a few months.
    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.

  • #2
    Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

    People hate fees period lol, but what I found is to give a ballpark figure of couse I need to see it but I give a range based on the description. And many hire us because of this and tell us so. Lowball people I can smell and don't work for.
    Seattle Drain Service

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

      Just tell people its an hour min for a service call. If you get there and they want the work done you can just add that first hour into the bill or tell them to just pay you for the hour for showing up.

      You got to make money, so I would suggest telling everyone its an hour labor (service call fee) to show up.

      You can't drive around for free.

      If they "break your balls" about price, then add some articles on your website explaining what needs to be done, for certain services etc, so they can be educated and realize that its just not a "quick thing"

      Educate your customers, and then they will hire you.

      Hope this helps.
      Help With Your Pool Or Spa Pump?►WeT HeaD Pump Repair ► Watch Me On YouTube: Pool & Spa Pump Repair TV
      New: Pump Repair MagazineNew: Pool & Spa Pump Repair Forums

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

        I do ball park pricing now. I hate to give a firm price those turn out to be more than they were explaining.
        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


        • #5
          Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

          Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
          Just tell people its an hour min for a service call. If you get there and they want the work done you can just add that first hour into the bill or tell them to just pay you for the hour for showing up.

          You got to make money, so I would suggest telling everyone its an hour labor (service call fee) to show up.

          You can't drive around for free.

          If they "break your balls" about price, then add some articles on your website explaining what needs to be done, for certain services etc, so they can be educated and realize that its just not a "quick thing"

          Educate your customers, and then they will hire you.

          Hope this helps.
          seems the more I Educate on some
          They care more on how much not whats involved
          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


          • #6
            Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

            Originally posted by UnClogNH View Post
            seems the more I Educate on some
            They care more on how much not whats involved
            HI,

            I agree, In some cases people are just people and they suck,

            BUT - What you want to to is to "target" the more educated people that do like to read and in the long run your customer base will change to a better "breed" as you can say....

            Just my thoughts, it's worked for me, but then again, every company / shop is different,

            Just become "Remarkable" and don't worry about being perfect and you'll have some great results....

            Now When I say "remarkable" what do I mean....

            Well, Look at your local competition, look at there websites, their ads, their logos and take it all in.

            Next create your "purple cow" and then bring the milk home.

            I have no idea where you live etc, So I can't suggest an idea for a cow, but that's what I would do personally......
            Help With Your Pool Or Spa Pump?►WeT HeaD Pump Repair ► Watch Me On YouTube: Pool & Spa Pump Repair TV
            New: Pump Repair MagazineNew: Pool & Spa Pump Repair Forums

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

              I can tell some one over the phone how much things could cost if things go normal.
              they have to be a real good customer to get me to give a est and it is added to the job when i do it
              I spend all my time during the day charging people ,that want something done.
              And dont waste my time with people i dont know that want me to come give them a price for free

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
                HI,

                I agree, In some cases people are just people and they suck,

                BUT - What you want to to is to "target" the more educated people that do like to read and in the long run your customer base will change to a better "breed" as you can say....

                Just my thoughts, it's worked for me, but then again, every company / shop is different,

                Just become "Remarkable" and don't worry about being perfect and you'll have some great results....

                Now When I say "remarkable" what do I mean....

                Well, Look at your local competition, look at there websites, their ads, their logos and take it all in.

                Next create your "purple cow" and then bring the milk home.

                I have no idea where you live etc, So I can't suggest an idea for a cow, but that's what I would do personally......
                Maybe a purple moose up here in NH
                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


                • #9
                  Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                  90% of my work is within the same city so its usually no thing for me to stop in and give a free estimate or general phone estimate which includes the statement without complications. But an hour is a long way to travel for a free estimate. You have to do what works for your circumstances and your business. Just watch your words, explain what's involved, and be honest with the customers. That's what works for me.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                    Originally posted by NYSEWERMAN View Post
                    90% of my work is within the same city so its usually no thing for me to stop in and give a free estimate or general phone estimate which includes the statement without complications. But an hour is a long way to travel for a free estimate. You have to do what works for your circumstances and your business. Just watch your words, explain what's involved, and be honest with the customers. That's what works for me.
                    I do free in my town too. all short drives. Up here in the woods its an hour drive to other towns other side of the mountain lol. Plus I'm on the border line of 3 phone books. All for each area. wish there were only one book
                    Yellow pages AKA yellow book does two of the area's tried it out not one call From that book all year. Only calls from local Verizon books local to that area. This is a big time trial and error area.
                    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


                    • #11
                      Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                      I used to work for a company that charged "diagnostic" fee. IMO it's not a good idea for repeat business. The policy was it cost XX to have someone come to the door and give an estimate. If they wanted to proceed with the work then the diagnostic was waived.

                      Too often I saw the customer felt backed up in the corner and allowed the work but I could see their disagreement. I'd bet they never called the company again. Also it requires extra signature block on the invoice.

                      The company had 4 signature blocks:
                      -authorization to proceed with diagnostic
                      -authorization for work
                      -validation they were happy with the job
                      -service guy saying he was done with the job

                      Now that I left the company, I give free over the phone estimate but try to give a ball park price to give buffing room in case of snafu. If the customer doesn't like my price, I wasted 5 minutes talking to them and that's it. And, many times they call back because everyone else is charging those diagnostic fees.

                      For a company that's want a customer to make 5k on, diagnostic is a great way to go. If you want customers to call you back, scratch that and go with something else.
                      Buy cheap, buy twice.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                        Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                        I used to work for a company that charged "diagnostic" fee. IMO it's not a good idea for repeat business. The policy was it cost XX to have someone come to the door and give an estimate. If they wanted to proceed with the work then the diagnostic was waived.

                        Too often I saw the customer felt backed up in the corner and allowed the work but I could see their disagreement. I'd bet they never called the company again. Also it requires extra signature block on the invoice.

                        The company had 4 signature blocks:
                        -authorization to proceed with diagnostic
                        -authorization for work
                        -validation they were happy with the job
                        -service guy saying he was done with the job

                        Now that I left the company, I give free over the phone estimate but try to give a ball park price to give buffing room in case of snafu. If the customer doesn't like my price, I wasted 5 minutes talking to them and that's it. And, many times they call back because everyone else is charging those diagnostic fees.

                        For a company that's want a customer to make 5k on, diagnostic is a great way to go. If you want customers to call you back, scratch that and go with something else.


                        Thanks Gear Junkie
                        Diagnostic fee may not be a good idea for me then. Due to lack of call volume in this area. Repeat customers would never be charged that.
                        Looks like my best bet is to stay ball park. To me the diagnostic fee is new to me. Just wanted to see if it works.

                        Maybe I should answer the phone Hello how much you willing to spend?
                        would be so much easier.
                        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


                        • #13
                          Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                          I charge a diagnostic fee and we do free estimates, the diagnostic fee is for the first hour of work plus the charge for the work we are doing, the key is to let them know the second hour rate is greatly discounted. ive never had a complaint with the diagnostic fee. i let them also know repeat customers get a $20 discount on all future services
                          Mike
                          Clark County Plumbing And Drain
                          www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                            I think some things work for some pople, and others for others, and many feel their way is exactly if not the only right/fair/best way to do it because it works so well for them. I think a lot of the reson a particular model works for someone is situational; what works great in one area makes no sense in another.

                            You know your area and customer base. We don't. Our answers will be biased towards what works for us, which may not make any sense for you.

                            That said, I 'flat rate' after a fashion; basically I have a first hour/one hour minimum, trip charge, and equipment fee rolled up into one ball depending on type of fixture. I can usually narrow it to one of my categories with a few quick questions, and can then give them a pretty good quote "From what you've told me it's a straightforward kitchen sink. It's $xx for a kitchen sink. That buys you up to an hour. I get 99% of them within one hour. Extra hours are at $xx/hr. From what you've told me, it should be $xx unless I've misunderstood the symptoms you've described or you have some unusual piping. There may be a few $ extra if your stuff is real old and your p-trap or something crumbles as I take it apart."

                            This works for me. I just do drain cleaning. I don't know how you could flat rate plumbing jobs.

                            We have one company in the area that will make an appt, will refuse to quote a price saying they have no idea what they are getting into and will give you a price once they've seen the problem. They are getting notorious for showing up, quoting a rediculous price, and sticking the customer with a decision as to either bending over and taking it or starting all over again and waiting until they can get someone else out. Not a good model for a small community where word gets around.

                            I agree you can't be driving around for no $. Phone calls are free if I've got nothing better I'm doing, but I charge $75 to show up and do nothing. A customer calls 5 guys and whoever shows up first gets paid does not fly with me. You make me drive, you pay. Pull that and I will make it a personal crusade to make sure no-one in the area worth having will work for you again. You are out of my area, you pay extra, and you have to do a lot of talking on the phone to convince me I'll have what I need on the van to do it in one trip, or agree to pay me for the drive twice or pay for the stuff I buy on the way to be sure I've got what you need whether you need the stuff or not.

                            The flip side of that is that I flat bust my butt to make sure my people are taken care of. I say I'll be there today, and I will be there today. May be late tonight if the three ahead of you all go wrong, but I will make it happen. If I'm not there til' 10pm because you didn't call me until 8pm, that's on you, but if it is because my day exploded and you had the grace to understand and wait for me, that's on me. Most people are resonable and understand if I explain. Those who aren't are people I don't want to work for anyway.
                            This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Question for those who charge a diagnostic fee?

                              95% of my work requires no estimates. when new customers call, they are referrals from other satisfied established customers. so all i need to do is explain my hourly rate and pick their brain a little bit to establish their plumbing issue.

                              the only price shoppers are the real estate agents looking for a deal on a camera inspection for a million dollar plus transaction

                              yet they charge 4-6% for basically sitting around and having an open house.

                              i will charge a fee for looking at work that others have already looked at or failed. such as a home inspector with a punch list, owner , buyer wants a price to fix it. i'll charge for my time to look at the issues. they should have called me instead of a general home inspector who knows little about a lot

                              rick.
                              phoebe it is

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