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  • #61
    Re: Starting to have doubts about T&M

    I just got back from setting a skirted jacuzzi toilet with a pill box designed tank, and a pedestal cabinet type lavatory.

    Hourly, it was $290.00 for my time, 2.5 hours.

    No way in hell I could of predicted the bullshit I went through on that toilet, given the way it went. I should of nailed this job down in 1.75 hours, easily.

    But I had to set a new flange because the old one was no good to the floor, and had about 15 minutes of messing around with discussion about a new laundry tub faucet and then I replaced a flush valve seal on a Champion AS4 from 2 years ago.


    Everything I just mentioned above...do you really think I was going to whip a book out every time the initial work detail expanded? Of course not.

    It instantly cuts to the customer that you don't think for yourself, but through a book with agenda.

    This way I keep the customer comfortable through the buying decision process, I'm literally getting paid to sit there and talk it up the entire time. Wanna sit down and discuss? I'm on the clock, why not.


    I rarely get customers complaining about cost...it usually ends up in no work if I'm not getting the job because of the open range I give it.


    But, I flat rate drain cleaning and water heaters, garbage disposals and toilet replacements, lavatory faucet installs that start with a set number with the "which covers up to the first hour" and I imply that "most" jobs are done with the certain task alotted.

    If customers know who you are and trust you? All this talk of pricing gets shot out the window because they know what to expect.

    However,

    I've had customers that I've dealt with over the years, know my workmanship and reputation, and STILL hound me on pricing or try to exact my time.


    If you only knew how many of these types I've tossed out of the equation by either telling them I can't get to their job for weeks/days...or just up and tell them our services are not available to you anymore. <<< That statement infuriates them completely.

    It's because I'm terminating a relationship and you lose the benefit package you once had. Good luck with your next working relationship with another plumber.

    If I toss a customer, it's because they needed to be. It's because of the many good ones I've had over the years are there for future work and I can count on them to give me a good working experience, just like they expect of me in a good service providing experience.


    This is why it doesn't bother me that I work for some customers one time and that's it; I sometimes go to a gas station, only because it's the moment I chose. No other reason. People spend money in this same fashion. It's not always important that every single customer is loyal to you to the end.

    You'll get your feelings hurt real quick, and that's not how this profession ticks.

    Last night my customer on my last job bought me two hamburgers and a bowl of bean soup.

    Talk about the beauty of a profession that pays in spades when you've proved your existence by being a fair and reasonable plumber, not to make a king's ransom every time you step in the door trying to get the highest number.
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    Comment


    • #62
      Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

      I got a call from a lady last week that wanted to have a lavy faucet installed. I knew it was outside of my normal area but I took it anyway. Well I ended up driving almost 45 minutes, unheard of for me around here. When I got there it turned out to be a pedestal sink. The pedestal was bolted to the floor with two huge bolts. Whoever installed this pedestal actually bolted it to the floor with nuts in the crawl space!!
      So I decided to remove the sink instead and pulled the wood screws they used from the sink. Ended up replacing the faucet, pop up and trap too.
      The lady was 92 years old. Half way through the job she stopped me and said it was time for coffee and cake. She had it all laid out nice and neat on her table with linen and everything. I couldn't deny her so I sat there having coffee and cake for about 20 minutes half way through the job.
      It made me feel good, it made her feel good and we really hit it off.
      I still charged her my normal rate and she didn't have a problem with it. She was just glad I could show up and help her out. She said she called two other plumbers, one didn't bother showing up for the appointment and the other just refused because of where she was at.
      I love this stuff and believe me she will tell everyone. Around here word of mouth is everything.

      Comment


      • #63
        Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

        Well boys thanks for all the advise it is cool to be able to come on here and pick the brain of tried and true plumbers . I am on my way to VA with wife and daughter.

        Comment


        • #64
          Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

          have a good weekend
          be safe

          Comment


          • #65
            Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

            Originally posted by ironranger View Post
            I got a call from a lady last week that wanted to have a lavy faucet installed. I knew it was outside of my normal area but I took it anyway. Well I ended up driving almost 45 minutes, unheard of for me around here. When I got there it turned out to be a pedestal sink. The pedestal was bolted to the floor with two huge bolts. Whoever installed this pedestal actually bolted it to the floor with nuts in the crawl space!!
            So I decided to remove the sink instead and pulled the wood screws they used from the sink. Ended up replacing the faucet, pop up and trap too.
            The lady was 92 years old. Half way through the job she stopped me and said it was time for coffee and cake. She had it all laid out nice and neat on her table with linen and everything. I couldn't deny her so I sat there having coffee and cake for about 20 minutes half way through the job.
            It made me feel good, it made her feel good and we really hit it off.
            I still charged her my normal rate and she didn't have a problem with it. She was just glad I could show up and help her out. She said she called two other plumbers, one didn't bother showing up for the appointment and the other just refused because of where she was at.
            I love this stuff and believe me she will tell everyone. Around here word of mouth is everything.
            As far as I know, word of mouth is everything pretty much everywhere.
            Time flies like an arrow.

            Fruit flies like a banana.

            Comment


            • #66
              Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

              Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
              flux, i would think that after 35 years of plumbing, there's not too many surprises that will go from a 1/2 hour job to a 4 hour job.

              tell me what happens when you need to figure out a job before you can truly give an estimate. some jobs need time to investigate. what happens when they ask you for your hourly rate?

              i can guarantee you that a management company that knows what's up, will not agree on flat rate. a bid yes, but not a book generated price. and that would apply for a large install. the nickel and dime jobs are not flat rate.

              a competitive bid is not flat rate, but rather an educated take off of the time and material to complete a project. an extra is time and material at the pre determined hourly rate.

              i work at 1 of the ritziest buildings in santa monica for 15 years. in 15 years when i'm not available the on-site manager always questions the other companies bills. with me, there is never a question when i present the bill. i get paid by the hour. there are seldom estimates unless the job is over a thousand. there is no way they would ever pay by the task. especially the nickle and dime jobs. your time has got to be worth a certain hourly fee.

              but then again i see more flat rate companies with trucks just sitting in their yards waiting for the phone to ring. in fact one of the largest ones in los angeles is just 4 doors from my shop. they just recently changed their company name to get a new image and new unsuspecting customers.

              maybe i'm just swayed due to all the flat rate proposals i've come across over the years that were way out of line.

              if i switched over to flat rate i would honestly have to start looking for new customers.

              rick.
              Rick, some 1/2 hour jobs can turn into full day jobs in the blink of an eye. Especially with a well involved.

              (No judgement from me on anyones pricing system. Hope all strive to be successful and reasonable.)


              J.C.

              Comment


              • #67
                Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                Originally posted by DUNBAR PLUMBING View Post
                I just got back from setting a skirted jacuzzi toilet with a pill box designed tank, and a pedestal cabinet type lavatory.

                Hourly, it was $290.00 for my time, 2.5 hours.

                No way in hell I could of predicted the bullshit I went through on that toilet, given the way it went. I should of nailed this job down in 1.75 hours, easily.

                But I had to set a new flange because the old one was no good to the floor, and had about 15 minutes of messing around with discussion about a new laundry tub faucet and then I replaced a flush valve seal on a Champion AS4 from 2 years ago.


                Everything I just mentioned above...do you really think I was going to whip a book out every time the initial work detail expanded? Of course not.

                It instantly cuts to the customer that you don't think for yourself, but through a book with agenda.

                This way I keep the customer comfortable through the buying decision process, I'm literally getting paid to sit there and talk it up the entire time. Wanna sit down and discuss? I'm on the clock, why not.


                I rarely get customers complaining about cost...it usually ends up in no work if I'm not getting the job because of the open range I give it.


                But, I flat rate drain cleaning and water heaters, garbage disposals and toilet replacements, lavatory faucet installs that start with a set number with the "which covers up to the first hour" and I imply that "most" jobs are done with the certain task alotted.

                If customers know who you are and trust you? All this talk of pricing gets shot out the window because they know what to expect.

                However,

                I've had customers that I've dealt with over the years, know my workmanship and reputation, and STILL hound me on pricing or try to exact my time.


                If you only knew how many of these types I've tossed out of the equation by either telling them I can't get to their job for weeks/days...or just up and tell them our services are not available to you anymore. <<< That statement infuriates them completely.

                It's because I'm terminating a relationship and you lose the benefit package you once had. Good luck with your next working relationship with another plumber.

                If I toss a customer, it's because they needed to be. It's because of the many good ones I've had over the years are there for future work and I can count on them to give me a good working experience, just like they expect of me in a good service providing experience.


                This is why it doesn't bother me that I work for some customers one time and that's it; I sometimes go to a gas station, only because it's the moment I chose. No other reason. People spend money in this same fashion. It's not always important that every single customer is loyal to you to the end.

                You'll get your feelings hurt real quick, and that's not how this profession ticks.

                Last night my customer on my last job bought me two hamburgers and a bowl of bean soup.

                Talk about the beauty of a profession that pays in spades when you've proved your existence by being a fair and reasonable plumber, not to make a king's ransom every time you step in the door trying to get the highest number.
                Jacuzzi toilet. Put one of those in not long ago. Hated that darn thing. Caulk on bolt covers and 1.28.

                J.C.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                  More, More

                  Thisa is fun

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                    Originally posted by mrs. westcoast View Post
                    More, More

                    Thisa is fun
                    OKAY... but you ASKED for it!

                    No way am I going to jump in on the T&M vs. Flat Rate thing but I will say a few things about ghetto plumbing which i know a little bit about.

                    My career in plumbing started out there. 5 years working in the worst parts of Wash. D.C. After the riots of the late '60's and The Great White Flight of the '70's, nobody wanted to do business here. My boss at the time made a niche out of working the ghettos. We called it 'jobbing'. He would hire young yuckapucks like myself and put us to work. Taught me discipline when handling 100 year old plumbing. Best (and worst) experience I could have asked for.

                    Sure, there's a huge downside to working there. Kids throw rocks at your truck on a weekly basis. Had my wallet taken from me at gunpoint. Bottles broken over my head because I was white and had a job. Even fell victom to a few scams. Some guy says he's buying a vacant house and there's a leak all the way in the back of the crawlspace. Sends me in to investigate. I come out 20 minutes later. No leak, no dude, but I did find my locks punched out and my tape deck missing. Even got my Best of Styx tape Roaches fall in your hair and crawl down your sleeve when your under the kitchen sink. A mouse that was living in the water heater you took out last week has now had babies in the boot behind the front seat of your truck. You go Mano-a-Mano with large rats that have no fear of you or the hammer just thrown at them.

                    Now these arn't people that want a faucet replaced when it can be repaired or a complete repipe because the drain is severly clogged. What you do get from the ghetto is steady loyal customers that mostly pay in cash.

                    A couple of things will happen with these customers. They will move out of the ghetto and reward you a remodeling project in there new home. This is rare but still happens on occasion. A nicer neighborhood comes to them. Street by street things get better and they have built enough equity to make some major repairs long needed. They only call you because they don't trust strangers. And, one thing the ghetto has plenty of, is children. These kids grow up, move out and call you because they remember how well you treated their grandmother.

                    My point is that plumbing isn't all rainbows and butterflies. It's hard, ugly, dirty work. Find your comfort zone. If that's charging $375 to change a ballcock or doing a $50 toilet stoppage at 9 o'clock at night, so be it.

                    Rant over

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                      I just don't get it.

                      What is so wrong with making money doing plumbing?

                      Everyone has a choice who they use, I dont get every call that comes intot he phone, some my choice, some the cperson on the other ends choice.

                      Flat rate, hourly, who cares, its up to the customer if they want to pay and how they want to pay.

                      If I can make 300$ an hour, so what, I owe it to my family to provide them a living, a living the way I choose, a living that I am happy with.

                      I wasnt born with a golden spoon, its up to me to change my generation, I chose plumbing, and I am going to charge as much as I can, if all you others charged as much as you could, then maybe plumbing would be an appealing profession for future generations, but no, low ballers are everywhere and this is causing multiple problems on multiple levels.

                      So, who cares what you charge, get as much as you can. Just do a great job.


                      If it wasnt for George Brazil, Mike Dimond we would all be working for 10$ an hour. I applaud those companies for standing strong.
                      sigpic

                      Robert

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                        Originally posted by westcoastplumber View Post

                        If it wasnt for George Brazil, Mike Dimond we would all be working for 10$ an hour. I applaud those companies for standing strong.
                        Service plumbers were getting $65-$85 an hour back in the eighties when those two rip off artists were taking advantage of an elderly generation of people who could not concieve somebody looking them straight in the eye and telling them that it costs $2,800.00 to put in a $150.00 water heater.The elderly are trusting sort.

                        These guys Honest!!!
                        F#ck That!!


                        P.S.
                        This is no way a reflexion of my respect for Westcoast Plumbing.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                          Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                          Service plumbers were getting $65-$85 an hour back in the eighties when those two rip off artists were taking advantage of an elderly generation of people who could not concieve somebody looking them straight in the eye and telling them that it costs $2,800.00 to put in a $150.00 water heater.The elderly are trusting sort.

                          These guys Honest!!!
                          F#ck That!!


                          P.S.
                          This is no way a reflexion of my respect for Westcoast Plumbing.

                          Adam, my friend, I didnt say anything about honesty.

                          I simply said they are keeping our rates at a sustainable level, because if it wasnt for them, or the roto rooters, or the mr rooters charging what they charge, those less business savy types in our industry would have us working for 10$ an hour.
                          sigpic

                          Robert

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                            Originally posted by westcoastplumber View Post
                            Adam, my friend, I didnt say anything about honesty.

                            I simply said they are keeping our rates at a sustainable level, because if it wasnt for them, or the roto rooters, or the mr rooters charging what they charge, those less business savy types in our industry would have us working for 10$ an hour.
                            This is very much true and some don't understand it. No, I do not believe it is ok to get in and sale or mislead an unaware person into situations of a $300.00 washer replacement on a lavatory.

                            There is a side effect though from these companies doing this that helps those which seem to be more ethical. It makes it much more likely for their phone to ring.

                            I would make more than a killing if some of the California chains would come here and do some of the same things.


                            J.C.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                              geroge brazil was shut down in some cities and their assets were auctioned off due to corruption.

                              i rather doubt you want to use these companies as role models.

                              what amazes me is prevailing wages are the going union pay scale.

                              the non union shops are asking to get onto a prevailing wage job to make union wages.

                              but when it comes to service and repair. the skies the limit. the union shops are now less money than the independent shops

                              i guess 4-5 years of school and on the job union training as an apprentice doesn't apply to service and repair. to turn out from school, you have to pass the journeyman's exam.

                              to turn out from the neighborhood shop, you have to have a clean driving record. i doubt that 50% of the service and repair shops employ licensed journeymen.

                              boy times have changed and not for the better

                              rick.
                              phoebe it is

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Re: Starting to have doubts about T&amp;M

                                Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                                This is very much true and some don't understand it. No, I do not believe it is ok to get in and sale or mislead an unaware person into situations of a $300.00 washer replacement on a lavatory.

                                There is a side effect though from these companies doing this that helps those which seem to be more ethical. It makes it much more likely for their phone to ring.

                                I would make more than a killing if some of the California chains would come here and do some of the same things.


                                J.C.


                                An hourly contractor or a flat rate contractor can both misslead a unsuspected customer into a 300$ washer replacement

                                an hourly guy can very easily mark his material up 500%, or add cable charges, equipment charges, usage charges, drive an empty van to the job site and need to take the long way around to get material, run around on site like a clown, either flat or hourly can rip someone off.

                                I just cant believe this is such a heated discussion, its so silly.

                                Sad part is, people always get pissed and rude and leave this forum everytime this comes up.

                                Its time to accept eachothers ways, there is no right or wrong. Its all about how much $ you can make and how much $ your customer is willing to pay.
                                sigpic

                                Robert

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