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  • slow

    it seems like when school starts up again the phone quits ringing, ive only been in business a year and a half but it seems consistant with other companies ive worked with too. but now with new construction dead the new construction guys are moving in on the service work. so its even worse i'm laying off my only employee this week. my question is what do you guys do when its slow? charge less? charge more? hand out flyers? sit at the supply house? or sit in your office and powt? i had my wife call me today just to make sure my phone was working! i getting a little nervous i know it will pick back up just wanting ideas thats all
    Mike
    Clark County Plumbing And Drain
    www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

  • #2
    Re: slow

    Weird, I was slow April through June, then it went the other extreme.

    I have to throw you some advice regarding the slow times, I'm NOT a guru, but think about this...

    When it's slow, the phone isn't ringing.

    When it gets busy, it starts with the first call...they usually seem to come in patches.

    If you break down whenever it gets slow and decide to drop prices in fear of losing that first call, you work at a lower price.

    The next call comes, you're too busy, then the cycle starts again...you're swamped in cheaper work while your competition gets the gravy.

    A simple way to put it is: "I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!."
    Last edited by DuckButter; 09-11-2008, 06:02 PM. Reason: I actually misquoted the very point of my post...ugh!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: slow

      Originally posted by haycad View Post
      it seems like when school starts up again the phone quits ringing, ive only been in business a year and a half but it seems consistant with other companies ive worked with too. but now with new construction dead the new construction guys are moving in on the service work. so its even worse i'm laying off my only employee this week. my question is what do you guys do when its slow? charge less? charge more? hand out flyers? sit at the supply house? or sit in your office and powt? i had my wife call me today just to make sure my phone was working! i getting a little nervous i know it will pick back up just wanting ideas thats all
      It always slows down as people are busy getting their kids back to school. We are also in the normal cycle of construction slow-down which hits every 10-years or so. Sitting in your office is probably the worst thing to do. You need to be careful not to adjust your rates based on what may be a short-term condition. I've always found fliers to work much faster than any other form of advertising. If it were me I would call-forward your office line to your cell phone and go try and market yourself to people who may not otherwise cross your path. I use to hang out at a small plumbing supply house which allowed HO to shop there. If I sat there for a couple of hours I would get enough work for the following day.

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

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: slow

        Set in the office and play on the Ridgid forum Ok, and make song`s up about Plumber Rick
        He better hope I get busy tomorrow ....lol
        http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: slow

          we have a different situation here. new construction/renovations are still doing well and service work has slowed. i get a lot more tire kickers than this time last year. with the economy (among the middle to lower middle class weak more folks are trying to save a dollar where they can. all in all i've had a very decent August/September. better than some.

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

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          • #6
            Re: slow

            I have had to turn work away left and right and direct it to other people. Odd considering supposedly I am in one of the states with the greatest economic problems. People are doing a little more price shopping, but this year has been busier than the rest for me. Due to my decreased capability I have found ways to keep myself busy changing doors, tiling floors, fixing drywall, insulating. I have even had to get a subcontractor to take care of these type of things that I do not have the knowledge to do, or do not want to do.
            Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: slow

              My phone didn't ring at all today, nuthin' notta.

              I did scrounge a toilet replacement today; tomorrow is another toilet replacement, gas line rework I've put off twice this week because it SUCKS!



              This weekend I'm welding up/painting some park benches. The show must go on!
              Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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              • #8
                Re: slow

                have not been slow in 14 months---over 55hrs week

                sometimes i wish i was slow though

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                • #9
                  Re: slow

                  Not slow. Maybe mentally.

                  J.C.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: slow

                    I've been slow for about 7 years - ever since the first Homey opened 30 miles away. It's that kind of town. They joke that the people here do their own dentistry.

                    But suddenly, just like it shut off seven years ago, it turned on again. I hope it lasts. But I have been marketing - something I have had zero luck with in the past. Newspaper ads, nil. Larger space in the phone book, nada. Even radio advertising. Not one call.

                    So I thought about what might be cheap and effective. Knowing that people here will stampede over each other for a 5 cent ping-pong-ball drop, I thought that offering a coupon might work. If people think they can save money, they seem to forget about what it costs to do so. That's why sales work at furniture stores.

                    So, I decided on door hangers. I don't have to pay for any postage. I was worried about getting swamped, so I didn't want to put too many out at once. And it helps to see which areas of town work for me.

                    My philosophy: put them in a neighborhood that isn't new because there won't be as much work; put them in a neighborhood that isn't too run-down because they don't have any money.

                    First trip, I put out 42 of them. It took a month, but I did get one call so far from that batch. Second batch last Sunday: I got two calls from there already. Now that I'm swamped with work, I'm even more swamped because of the little bit of marketing.

                    So, for a while, I intend to hit an area of town about once a week, unless the work stays so busy that I start turning people down. A one-man shop is hard to control. It only takes like one job in a day to be more than you can handle.

                    And I figure that now is the time to get word around rather than waiting until it slows down again in February or around Xmas.

                    Since I'm cheap, here's what I do for door hangers:

                    I used Word Perfect, but you can use virtually any word-processing program that allows you to split the page in the middle the long way.

                    So, split the page, then make your door hanger on one side, leaving plenty of room at the top for the hanging part. Then, copy your hanger, paste it into side two.

                    I split the hanger into two parts, with a detachable coupon on the bottom. Make a dotted line where it tears.

                    Now, you need a paper cutter. I have had one since they were made of rocks. But I got a new one because I wanted to be able to make perforations. Cost - with extra blades about $42. Use the cutter to slice them down the center line. Make a mark on the board where the edge of the sheet will be so you hit center every time.

                    Then, for the hanging part, I use a 1" craft punch. They make them bigger, but then they cut too close to the edge of the page. It's very easy to center the punch on the sheets after they're split.

                    For the sheets, I use card stock. I originally had some that were precut and you printed them at tore them apart on the perfs. But those were about $18 for 100 hangers. Plain card stock is more likely to be about $8 per 250 sheets.

                    Before you cut them in two, use the perf wheel to cut the dotted line to make it easy to separate. Then cut the center. Then punch the holes. Then, take a pair of scissors and slit on an angle into the hole so you can pop them on a door.

                    Save the file and if you want to make an expiration date each month, you can open the file, change the date and save it again. I first started with a one-month expiration date, but did two months on the second set.

                    When you make a sale with one of these, get the coupon. Write on it the customer name. Good record keeping. Write the address on the coupon. After about a year, you can go back and see where the coupons worked best.

                    For a small operation, this works swell. For a larger operation, I'd do the same thing, but with mass-mailing. Leaving behind the original door hanger leaves behind your name. I also leave a fridge magnet with each new customer.

                    Also, it's a good idea to put, "Limited to one coupon per household" on there so they don't all wind up at somebody else's house and you wind up cashing in enough coupons to do the job for free.

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                    • #11
                      Re: slow

                      Great tips on business marketing Herk, thanks.
                      Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                      • #12
                        Re: slow

                        Great now my brother will have me going door to door to get more work.
                        Thanx alot Herk

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: slow

                          In the early 90's we were hurting pretty bad. Called a few property local property management companies to try and muscle up some work.

                          All we got was some low income housing in the ghetto where no one else would work. Seats and washers instead of faucet replacements. PITA stuff like waste & overflow leaks through ceiling. Lead bend replacements.

                          Anything more than $100 had to get approval from management.

                          Pick up key, drop off keys, lots of paperwork to fill out but at least we were busy when everyone else was going home early.

                          Looking back on it now seems that's where I learned how to make an effective repair instead of just saying "I can't fix that, it's too old, you should just replace it"

                          A few of those management companies made it big and brought us along for the ride.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: slow

                            A lot of my work is for a property manager and I'm glad to be picking up a lot of new customers because I don't like depending on him. He's got lots of slumlord specials and wants everything there cheap. However, if the faucet is a junker, I replace it. If I'm there fixing something and find other problems, I fix them, too. I just keep it all plain Jane.

                            He's been using another plumber for his drain cleaning since I didn't used to do it. The guy charges him $75 per main drain and doesn't do small ones. So I find out that the other guy is actually charging his other drain customers $120 per hour. He wants to lowball the price to get the work away from me. He's that kind of guy.

                            There have been times when I haven't gotten any work from this guy for two or three months, and other times when he calls me three or four times a week. Some of the jobs have been quite involved and others just a simple repair. He's always under the gun from the owners who beat him viciously around the head and shoulders if they see the expenses beginning to climb. Most of his properties are very run down.

                            What I worry about is that if I'm doing a lot of work for him and he suddenly decides to use another plumber, my job count will suffer badly. So, gotta market!

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                            • #15
                              Re: slow

                              Its funny.. late fall through early spring is when the forum gets real active. So your slowdown fits the pater somewhat.

                              Josh

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