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how come?

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  • how come?

    how come when it comes to drain cleaning no one respects it. but when you do service work most don't care what the price is?
    i was thinking of this the last couple of days as i get price shopped like crazy on drain cleaning but very little on service work.
    i spent over $30,000 on new drain equipment in the last 6 months. i have done less then $2,000 in drain calls since then. but on the service side i have done a lot more.

    i was thinking that most people just think it is throwing a cable dowm the line and that's it. your done in 15 min. and it is no big deal. unlike Rick who just drives buy and picks up money for fun. the rest of us are in the trenches.
    the only dumb question is the one that is not asked!

  • #2
    Re: how come?

    Because it is advertised as cheap. It downplays the job. Also, plumbers lost the majority of drain business. Anyone can do license needed. The price would go up if the states would require licensing and insurance for drain cleaning.

    Heck, in Illinois they do not enforce sump pumps, ejector pumps, rodding, and they even let handyman companies advertise "minor plumbing work."


    • #3
      Re: how come?

      That's the problem with all the yahoo's out there doing drains for dirt cheap. It becomes an under valued job. The only thing you can do is advertise, make alot of connections with other people and keep your prices up.

      I've heard of companys (in other trades) jack their price to 150% (or more) of the next lowest guy and rake in the bucks. It worked for them because the higher price was percieved as higher quality. I'd like to try it but I'm not sure If I've got the guts. So I become part of the problem, not the solution.

      Fuel is going up again so my prices will too soon. I'm commited to an ad until the end of the month, after that I'm charging more. I don't care what the other guys do.

      I have been following that theory with the portable toilets. There are guys renting and servicing toilets for litterally half of what I do. I don't care, I can't afford to play that game. I did raise my special event unit prices already.


      • #4
        Re: how come?

        until you establish yourself with your customers, people will keep price shopping because it's the nature of things. why do you think that costco and walmart are so successful

        you need to get customers that call you because they know you will do the best job for a fair price.

        when you advertise with others that advertise, then people are going price shopping. why do you think they have those lost leaders? to sucker the person in and get them on everything else.

        i doubt there is a city or community with as many plumbers and drain cleaners as there are right here where i work. heck there's a huge service and ripoff shop 4 doors down from me. they spend $100,000's advertising and i spend $0. my truck is out everyday and their trucks are hit or miss.

        believe me, nothing happens overnight. you need to get established and rely on repeats and good word of mouth.

        you could either rip off the customer and get no referrals or do the right thing and have more customers than yo can handle. it doesn't happen overnight.

        phoebe it is


        • #5
          Re: how come?

          my service biz side is

          87% repeat referal
          12% yp
          1 % online
          the only dumb question is the one that is not asked!


          • #6
            Re: how come?


            There are a number of reasons for a price shopper with drain cleaning with cheap labor being one of the reasons. Most of the stoppages we run are single stoppages, kitchen sink, laundry, lavatory, bathroom group. These stoppages are items that do not need to be completed at the moment. A whole house stoppage is a different animal in that it needs attention now. If you were to compare the different stoppages I am betting that the whole house stoppages are more of a when can you get here than how much is it. I am not suggesting that whole house stoppage clients do not ask a price or shop. I track how many callers are price shopping and in reality they are few compared to the calls that are booked. 75% of our calls are repeat or referrals.

            A one man shop needs 3 calls a day to keep busy and on the road all day a 6 man shop needs 18 or more calls a day to keep all six trucks on the road all day. Huge difference between 3 calls and 18 calls a day. I try to have 4 calls a day to our guys however that is difficult most of the time I have them with 4-6 calls a day. I eventually want to cut that down to 3 calls a day. Some calls are quick and easy while others are more difficult and require more skill.

            This takes time as Rick has suggested building the reputation and word of mouth is fantastic but takes a longer time to build a business. Sometimes we must take additional steps to increase the ability to grow and marketing is not a bad word. Every one of us builds our branding that separates from the rest of the pack. Again this takes time Best of luck with your branding.