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  • experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

    hi all,
    i have run my plumbing company on the T&M model since its inception in 2008. it has been going well but i have been doing a lot of research on flat rate pricing and it just seems to me like a much easier more efficient way to run my business. i like the thought of having my guys show up, give a reasonable rate up front, and have the customer know what they're paying. nothing worse than a customer lurking over your shoulder with a close eye on their watch.

    here's my question:
    i've done a google search for "flat rate price guides" and found a ton of websites selling their versions of price books and software.
    most of the sites don't give pricing on their sites, but the ones that do are showing in the range of $1,500 - $2,000. i think paying this amount for a solid product would certainly save me a lot of time, which inevitably is money, but i am not comfortable forking out 2G's for a bunch of outdated garbage. i'd just like to know what, if any, your personal experiences are with these books and/or software. or if you know of any better products out there.

    here's a list of some of the websites i've checked out:
    Callahan Roach Flat Rate Pricing Plumbing HVAC Pool Contractors
    UpFrontPrice.com
    Profit Strategies Home aka (profitstrategies.net)
    Aptora Complete & Mobile Field Service Management Software aka flatrate plus
    Collier Flat Rate - Home
    ACORATE - Flat Rate Made Easy
    www.trulysimplesolutions.com aka flatrate pro

    i am not asking for your opinions on FLAT RATE VS T&M. just your experience, if any, with the products sold through the websites listed in this thread.

    THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR SHARING

  • #2
    Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

    Why pay for anything? Why don't you just start quoting your customers a flat rate price? Come up with a formula that works for your company and use it. The biggest turn off to your customer would be for your plumbers to be thumbing through a "book" trying to find a price.
    Go to the job, look at the work to be done. Tell the customers you'll be right back and go to your truck. Write up a flat rate proposal and give it to your customer on the spot with confidence.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

      oh no, the dreaded flat rate monster raises its ugly head again.

      quick, run for your lives!!!
      ---------------
      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
      ---------------
      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
      ---------
      "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
      ---------
      sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

        Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
        oh no, the dreaded flat rate monster raises its ugly head again.

        quick, run for your lives!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

          Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
          oh no, the dreaded flat rate monster raises its ugly head again.

          quick, run for your lives!!!
          Charlie

          My seek the peek fundraiser page
          http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


          http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

          new work pictures 12/09
          http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

            Originally posted by ironranger View Post
            Why pay for anything? Why don't you just start quoting your customers a flat rate price? Come up with a formula that works for your company and use it. The biggest turn off to your customer would be for your plumbers to be thumbing through a "book" trying to find a price.
            Go to the job, look at the work to be done. Tell the customers you'll be right back and go to your truck. Write up a flat rate proposal and give it to your customer on the spot with confidence.
            -i run a service company. there are literally hundreds of service tasks that we come across on a regular basis.
            -i have no problem quoting jobs, that is not the point. i do not want my employees calling me every 5 minutes to ok a quote i am trying to standardize our pricing so my customers are given the exact price from Plumber A as they are given from Plumber B.
            -we gave up paper a loOong time ago. my techs use ipads for scheduling, inventory management, invoicing, etc. they will not be carrying around books but simply typing into a search field for whatever task the customer is asking about.


            i am not asking for opinions on Flat Rate vs T&M, their are enough threads on here in regards to that
            i am simply asking those with experience with these types of books and/or software to share.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

              Your situation is not unique. A lot of us run "service Companies", I've been doing this for over 25 years and we also run into hundreds of different types of jobs. I don't call them "tasks", that's a flat rate book term and I hate the sound of it.

              Sounds like your plumbers could use some training from you on how you want jobs charged etc. The costs don't have to be exact from one plumber to the next. Even using books I've never seen that happen. There are always different circumstances to every job.

              One idea that works for a lot of companies is this; figure your business costs first, figure out what you need to cover costs and make a profit of your choice. With this build a flat rate labor cost up to the first half or full hour for service work. Let's just say it's 150 dollars. Then you take your cost of materials and mark them up whatever percentage you desire. Add the two together and there you have your flat rate.

              It's the easiest system out there and your plumbers don't need a book or an ipad to figure it out. They'll only need a calculator and a material cost.

              If you're stuck on purchasing a flat rate system that will be outdated a month later and that will need constant updating that's your choice. A lot of us have been through this already and know what works and have seen a lot of these programs get thrown in the trash. Whatever works for you, good luck.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

                thanks ironranger,
                i appreciate your input, there certainly is some good advise in there.

                moving forward;
                i'm more interested in members real world experience with Flat Rate Pricing software as apposed to hearing other members aversion to trying it.

                again thank you for your input ironranger.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

                  I've tried it, never liked it. Never really got used much. Our method works great and it's free, and you don't make more money just because you're buying software. I'm not saying our method is the way you should go, just saying it works for us and many others that are using it. It's extremely customer friendly and very profitable. Customers like the up front pricing that's for sure. What they don't like is seeing techs fumbling through a book or software trying to come up with prices. They don't like it when techs say "well that's what my ipad or book says to charge you". Complete turn off and that's how the "other" companies are losing customers, my new customers.

                  Originally posted by trid View Post
                  thanks ironranger,
                  i appreciate your input, there certainly is some good advise in there.

                  moving forward;
                  i'm more interested in members real world experience with Flat Rate Pricing software as apposed to hearing other members aversion to trying it.

                  again thank you for your input ironranger.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

                    Originally posted by ironranger View Post
                    I've tried it, never liked it. Never really got used much.

                    there we go, you've tried it and you're not into it, got it

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

                      Originally posted by trid View Post
                      there we go, you've tried it and you're not into it, got it
                      TRID, you need to walk befoer you run. it is good that you have big bucks to throw at someones system but what all of here are trying to do is just slow you down a bit and get you to make a logical assessment. Now if you have it in your moind that you are going to spend the bucks regardless then go to the individual suppliers and get a list of users to survey. Mind you you will only get the right answers as opposed to an impartial assessment.
                      Several years ago our CEO of the Association here tried to sell us on the MAYO system(I think I have this name right). Real smooth, real smooth. That is MAYO, not the system. Now there are some here who are banging around the traps using F/R and supposedly making plenty. Unfortunately reputation is everything and some have no issue sleeping at night.
                      Down here we are getting flogged by the DIY hacks at the Saturday morning Big Green Shed knowlege sessions. 30minute experts. I do believe that F/R can work for some but you have to assess this yourself.
                      I know you were asking nicely up front but remeber there are some old heads here who forget that young pups sometimes need to find there way themselves. Be nice because there is a whole lot more information we can share along the way........................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

                        Originally posted by trid View Post
                        hi all,
                        i have run my plumbing company on the T&M model since its inception in 2008. it has been going well but i have been doing a lot of research on flat rate pricing and it just seems to me like a much easier more efficient way to run my business. i like the thought of having my guys show up, give a reasonable rate up front, and have the customer know what they're paying. nothing worse than a customer lurking over your shoulder with a close eye on their watch.

                        here's my question:
                        i've done a google search for "flat rate price guides" and found a ton of websites selling their versions of price books and software.
                        most of the sites don't give pricing on their sites, but the ones that do are showing in the range of $1,500 - $2,000. i think paying this amount for a solid product would certainly save me a lot of time, which inevitably is money, but i am not comfortable forking out 2G's for a bunch of outdated garbage. i'd just like to know what, if any, your personal experiences are with these books and/or software. or if you know of any better products out there.

                        here's a list of some of the websites i've checked out:
                        Callahan Roach Flat Rate Pricing Plumbing HVAC Pool Contractors
                        UpFrontPrice.com
                        Profit Strategies Home aka (profitstrategies.net)
                        Aptora Complete & Mobile Field Service Management Software aka flatrate plus
                        Collier Flat Rate - Home
                        ACORATE - Flat Rate Made Easy
                        www.trulysimplesolutions.com aka flatrate pro

                        i am not asking for your opinions on FLAT RATE VS T&M. just your experience, if any, with the products sold through the websites listed in this thread.

                        THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR SHARING
                        Forget those flat rate books that are out on the market as they are a rip-off.

                        We came up with our own flat rate system based off of T&M and it's the best thing we ever done. We look at it as we are NOT "hourly employees" working for a wage, we are business owners operating a business.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

                          I'm expecting the Pitch anytime now, don't keep us in suspense...

                          What is the New, Improved, Better, Modified money making flat rate system?

                          I'm excited to hear about the latest money making opportunity please tell us all more!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: experience with FLAT RATE PRICE books or software

                            I used a flatrate book at one of the companies I worked at before I opened my own business. It was a nightmare, but I liked the concept. I was new to that type of system and there were a lot of outdated items on theirs. There were a lot of items that this company never did, and to make it custom, took the owner probably more time than, if he had created his own. Most of the companies that offer this stuff bait you in and then charge extra for updating, even when they say they won't. I think it mostly depends on how big you are or are wanting to be. I am a small company of 2 and we use Qbooks online and created our own flat rate type system. Most of our Items are in there. It is much better than it used to be. I have been using it for 2 years now. We can either print invoices from our trucks or email a copy to the customer. It took us about 3 weeks to get used to it, and now we love it. We have descriptions added in, for example: Click on Toilet rebuild, then up pops everything that we use and a Price. We have tried more elaborate systems, but they failed. We had some 3rd party software that was linking to our accounting software in the past and it failed. We keep our scheduling software, accounting, and payroll separate to avoid conflicts. I have not tried any of the one's on your list, nor would I be interested. Look through all of your old invoices over the last year, and you will find a pattern. You can get a real understanding of what type of items that you do a lot of. Involve your employees when creating the Price. If they don't believe in your price, they will screw it all up for you. I have been very open with my employees and ran a company with 5 in the field. The current guy I have has been very valuable in helping put together our system. We are always updating it up as we go. If you have to use a company to do that for you, it will take more time.
                            "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

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