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Old 02-10-2017, 10:51 AM   #1
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Default 5 Tips for Gracefully Handling Clients Who Want to Watch



Did you ever get that feeling you’re not alone on a plumbing job, turn around and find the homeowner’s whole family silently watching you work from the doorway? Or maybe you’re trying to work through an unending stream of interruptions. You certainly don’t want to be rude to any of your clients, but let’s face it – the type of client you land can vary as widely as each job requirement.

If you’ve been a plumbing contractor for any length of time, you’ve probably faced a few of the following scenarios. If you’re just starting out – this may help you handle certain situations.
The Babbler

This client can be very distracting, because non-stop questions and observations can make it hard for you to communicate with any crew members you may have with you. Sometimes it helps to gently but firmly remind the homeowner that the longer a job takes, the higher the cost.

Even though most plumbers prefer a minimal amount of distractions while working, others enjoy talking to their customers. Developing an easy rapport with a talkative customer can be used as a good PR opportunity for your business. Besides, it can be a plus when presenting the bill.

The Helper

There isn’t much you can do when a homeowner offers to help except to gently, but firmly dissuade them from the idea. This tends to happen most often when on solo jobs, because even the most helpful customer won’t interfere when you have one or more crew members with you. Maybe the client believes it will cut down your work time (and their bill) or maybe hovering is getting boring.

The DIYer

DIYers are seldom experts at the projects they tackle, but they’re usually very accomplished at research. When you come across a DIYer who’s researched every step of the project, the best way to handle it is to deflect his or her attention. Tell a story or two about clients who tried their hands at DIY plumbing jobs that went bad fast. It just might help change the homeowner’s mind about giving you the benefit of all that research.

The Know-it-All

Maybe the homeowner has some experience as a handyman or general contractor or maybe it’s worse: he knows nothing but thinks he knows everything. Knowledgeable homeowners are usually easy to deal with, but a know-it-all can significantly slow your work. Taking a firm, yet pleasant approach is key. Inform the homeowner up front on which supplies will be needed, how they’ll fix the problem and how long it should take if not interrupted. Being able to anticipate potential questions or deflect unneeded “advice” allows you to nip most distractions in the bud.

While You’re Here …

This type of customer usually waits until handing you the check for the job you just completed before asking that one dreaded question. “While you’re still here, can you take a quick look at this?” While “this” can be anything as simple as peeling bathtub caulking to a loose sink fixture, it can also turn out to be an old pipe that disintegrates the moment it’s touched.

There’s no hard and fast rule on this one. On the one hand, tightening a loose hot water handle takes 10 seconds. That alone can produce job recommendations due to your excellent customer service. On the other hand, many plumbers prefer to take that look and give the client a quote for the job – especially if it’s obvious that the work will take far longer than the “minute or so” estimated by the homeowner.
No two clients are alike, but how you handle them ultimately comes down to your expertise at customer service. Being able to “read” and handle an assortment of clients is a skill developed over time. At the very least, every job is an opportunity to show your customers that you know what you’re doing and you do it well.

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Old 02-11-2017, 01:47 PM   #2
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I tell the customers I'm deaf and can't work and lip read at same time.. I still charge the same..

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Old 02-12-2017, 09:19 AM   #3
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Now this is where time and material is better than flat rate. I've done this before after a long winded conversation with a customer. If they want to pay $125 per hour for me to be their friend, that's fine with me. If I have another job afterwards I just tell them I just got a call from an apartment building that is flooding with sewage and need to get their issue fixed ASAP.
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Old 02-12-2017, 10:05 PM   #4
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she can watch all she wants......
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:29 PM   #5
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Hourly rate $75.00

If watching $95.00

If helping $115.00

Or apply to your rates. Just have that on your business card........

Although several years ago some guys I knew had to work in a strip club locally in the ladies dressing area, lying on the floor with the women walking around and above them. Not sure if they ever came out.
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Old 02-13-2017, 03:11 PM   #6
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I work by the hour.

Yap all you want!
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:28 PM   #7
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Experience and tact go a long way with customers.

The quiet, shy, and / or anti-social plumber can politely state that he / she needs to focus on the job at hand. To avoid hurt feelings, offer to talk / answer questions afterward.

The social plumber and chatty customer - you can look at your watch and apologize for wrapping up so quickly. Don't want to be late for your next appointment.

If the rapport is good, the plumber & H.O. equally enjoying conversation, and no pressing appointment . . . stay as long as you want. Your truck parked out front is good advertising.

For the customers we know are chatty - office will place a "rescue" call.
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fixitright View Post
I work by the hour.

Yap all you want!
Funny how quiet they are when they pay by the hour.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phat Cat View Post
Funny how quiet they are when they pay by the hour.


First time you have posted in about 5 months, good to hear from you. Seems like everybody has left. How is business?


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Old 02-17-2017, 12:11 AM   #10
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My favorite YouTube plumber
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