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View Poll Results: What does it mean "I'll talk to my wife/husband"
They wanted a phone consultation. (To see if they really needed to hire a plumber) 1 8.33%
They fish for information on "how to" fix it themselves. (For free) 1 8.33%
They are not sure about the price. (They need advice from their significant other) 3 25.00%
They think the rate is too high and continue to price shop. (A polite way to turn you down) 9 75.00%
They are price shoppers calling for the cheapest rate. (Pretending they need a consensus) 5 41.67%
They actually meant "Would you come take a look" (See related poll) 1 8.33%
None of the above 1 8.33%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-05-2019, 07:21 PM   #11
ECH
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I would just chalk it up to "those just aren't your customers" then.

It is different for me, because I am not on my own, I have a call center, and a dispatcher and I just show up. I get paid by the hour by the company, and make a bonus on what I "sell". I don't deal with the customers when they call in, or really feel any "pain" when they just want estimates.

I imagine it is a different world when you are running your own show.

I will say, that our dispatch fee is very low ($39), and the call center is told to book everything. The company banks on us techs converting the call once the customer sees the value in our whole "system". the door mats, the booties, the listening, the connection, options for repair, and all that.

That's where the "nexstar" system comes into play. The process is meant to maximize the percentage of converted calls.

We don't do high volume of calls/jobs, I am encouraged to be there as long as the customer needs or wants me to be there. I don't have a predetermined amount of calls I have to do before I am done for the day.

They are perfectly happy if I sell out my day on the first call and stay there all day.

As soon as pricing comes up, I pivot right to "as far as pricing goes, we are not the cheapest for sure, but we are not the highest eather, but you wont find better customer service anywhere.

It doesnt work everytime. But for me it is working an average of 72% of the time
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:30 PM   #12
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Part of our training is, before we talk pricing options, we ask if they need to get their significant other, on the phone if necessary......

Not that I remember to do that all the time, but that's the process they want to follow.

There are 5 objections to the customer saying yes to you, right price, right tech, right company, right time, right repair.

If you can clear all the objections, they will say yes. You aren't "selling" them anything, just providing the options that fit them best.

Right time: "is this something you wanted to take care of today?" ask this right after greeting them at the door. Then you know what you are in for right away.

Right tech: Show empathy for their problem: "that must be frustrating to not have a shower for the last two days". Make a personal connection if you can: That is a beautiful grandfather clock! (this connection must be real, don't try to connect on something you can't speak too, it will backfire).

Right Company: We offer a 5 year craftsmanship warrantee, and the best customer service you can find.

Right repair: You asked great questions during the explore/diagnose stages. "are you running out of hot water when your 5 daughters shower", was the heater adaquate when it was working. did this happen overnight, or slowly, does this toilet get used a lot or never, is the height of the toilet comfortable. If the water heater leaks, where will the water go? (attic heater, in pan, no drain), etc, etc.

You are showing that you are listening, rather than just get in and out and collect.

Price: Give them multiple options, top option includes everything found, then last option is minimum safe repair.

Example of a no hot water call:

You found evidence of the heater weeping from the t and p and the elements, heater is 12 yrs old, exp tank is waterlogged, pressure at 90psi. customer tells you they run out of hot water, and his wife hates how long it takes to get water to the shower.

Option 1: Includes, 50gal electric heater, with tank booster, and grundfos pump and crossover t, replace prv, expansion tank (included with heater price).

$5500

Option 2, 50 gal heater, with grundfos, prv, exp tank.

$4500

option 3, 50 gal heater, with booster, prv, exp tank.

$4500

option 4, rebuild heater elements and stats, new prv, exp tank, t and p valve.

$2500


"every one of these options will take care of the problem you called me out for today, some of the options will solve things that we talked about. (tie products to the customers words ((that you wrote down)). My wife hates waiting for water. I hate having a cold shower after my daughters.

Etc, etc.


















Those items that you posted do work. I went through that very same training with a plumbing company that I worked for in the past.


Once I didn't sell a job and so was speaking to my service manager about it. He asked me, "Did you do a post-sell?"......LOL.


That was a technique to get the customer to swallow the price that day AND prevent them from calling the next day griping about the price. Calling the next day to complain about the price after the job is done and done correctly is called "buyer's remorse."......

The post-sell went along these lines: "Now Mr. Smith, I'm not going to get a call tomorrow from my service manager that you called up the office because you thought the price was too high, am I?"

And that is Mr. Smith's last out. If he says do the job after you ask him that, then he is a lot less likely to call up pissing and moaning about the price after he slept on it.....LOL.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:25 PM   #13
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@ECH

It's pretty close to what I do on the phone except you guys seem to be flat rate once on the job? That's why there isn't any price complaint on the phone with the 39$ dispatch fee. At that low price they think the job will be cheap. Me once we discussed their issue, the price shoppers will automatically initiate by asking the price, they finish off with "I'll talk to my husband/wife".

If they haven't asked the price I ask their address and at that point I know they weren't just fishing for free "how to fix it" themselves or looking for the cheapest rate and even hopefully the handy hack. I'm obligated by law to tell them the hourly rate. If I didn't tell them the rate on the phone they would be outraged once I'm in their kitchen.

I also offer some options on the spot it's a 50/50 chance they'll take it.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:45 PM   #14
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Those items that you posted do work. I went through that very same training with a plumbing company that I worked for in the past.


Once I didn't sell a job and so was speaking to my service manager about it. He asked me, "Did you do a post-sell?"......LOL.


That was a technique to get the customer to swallow the price that day AND prevent them from calling the next day griping about the price. Calling the next day to complain about the price after the job is done and done correctly is called "buyer's remorse."......

The post-sell went along these lines: "Now Mr. Smith, I'm not going to get a call tomorrow from my service manager that you called up the office because you thought the price was too high, am I?"

And that is Mr. Smith's last out. If he says do the job after you ask him that, then he is a lot less likely to call up pissing and moaning about the price after he slept on it.....LOL.

When do you do the post sell, once you gave them the flat rate in their kitchen?

When they refuse you leave empty handed or you ask the dispatch fee anyway? I've had the situation maybe 4-5 times this year even though they knew the dispatch fee and 1 hour minimum they started a tantrum when after looking at the job I'd say 3 hours of work and 200$ in materials. I just said no charge and left but I'm going to start to fight back for that minimum or at the very least have them sign my work order so I can claim a non receivable sale to the government.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:02 PM   #15
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@ECH

It's pretty close to what I do on the phone except you guys seem to be flat rate once on the job? That's why there isn't any price complaint on the phone with the 39$ dispatch fee. At that low price they think the job will be cheap. Me once we discussed their issue, the price shoppers will automatically initiate by asking the price, they finish off with "I'll talk to my husband/wife".

If they haven't asked the price I ask their address and at that point I know they weren't just fishing for free "how to fix it" themselves or looking for the cheapest rate and even hopefully the handy hack. I'm obligated by law to tell them the hourly rate. If I didn't tell them the rate on the phone they would be outraged once I'm in their kitchen.

I also offer some options on the spot it's a 50/50 chance they'll take it.
Maybe, we have a ton of good reviews, and the only "bad" reviews are from people shocked at the prices we present. So If a customer goes to the web and reads some reviews, they should be able to put it together that we arent cheap.

Yes, we are flat rate pricing. The way we explain it is it is task based. This much to change your prv, this much to change your main to a ball valve, and so on. No matter how long the task takes, the price is the price. With some exceptions of course, but rarely. What ends up happening is, if we run into something we could not have known until getting into the work, we just have a conversation about how this or that should be fixed, and this is the price, then it's on them liability wise.

If you have to tell them your hourly rate on the phone, does that mean flat rate pricing is not an option for any contractor where you are?

Part of the advantage of the flat rate format is you aren't really revealing your "hourly rate". I mean most people associate hourly rate with their paycheck. I know I did when I first started. But in this business, "hourly rate" includes everything else needed to run the business. Most people don't, or can't look at it this way.

I'm green as can be, so take this with a grain of salt, but I would think finding a way to explain your price in terms that don't relate to "hourly rate" would help with the sticker shock.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:29 PM   #16
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If you have to tell them your hourly rate on the phone, does that mean flat rate pricing is not an option for any contractor where you are?

Part of the advantage of the flat rate format is you aren't really revealing your "hourly rate". I mean most people associate hourly rate with their paycheck. I know I did when I first started. But in this business, "hourly rate" includes everything else needed to run the business. Most people don't, or can't look at it this way.

I'm green as can be, so take this with a grain of salt, but I would think finding a way to explain your price in terms that don't relate to "hourly rate" would help with the sticker shock.

We can be flat rate but not a single company in my area who does service is flat rate. For now I only do flat rate for renos and sometimes for extras after the main task is complete.

The problem with flat rate in my area and I've said it many times I'd be going to places for free at least 5-7 a week That's minimum 8 hours I'd be wasting each week not counting gas and wear and tear of the van. Let say I charge 50$ for the service call. Once on the job I say to fix this it will be 647$ plus tax so the total will be 743$. That is a sticker shock that will get you kicked out the door real quick. And forget asking the 50$ service charge they're already cursing at you and ready to call the police.

Also the wranglers who will argue to death the whole job was the price of the 50$ service call because that's the price you gave them on the phone. To top it off I deal with leperchaun piping almost all the time I can't flat rate gobleygook pipes once I open the walls or pull a toilet. I can't flat rate a mystery ceiling leak, can't flat rate a leaking toilet to find out the flange was hacked, the pipe downstairs had a second crack in the pipes like last weeks's adventure. Can't flat rate a drain cleaning because once you touch the pipe it falls a apart or because your snake gets stuck to find out they had hired a hack to do their reno 4 years ago and he only used vent 90 like in a roller coaster contraption.

I'd be telling them every single situation that could happen with a price tag or else they'd complain they weren't told the price for this or that.

For me right now hourly is the least amount of head aches.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:35 PM   #17
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Maybe, we have a ton of good reviews, and the only "bad" reviews are from people shocked at the prices we present. So If a customer goes to the web and reads some reviews, they should be able to put it together that we arent cheap.
That's a perfect example. What I was getting at with not telling them a price on the phone you'll get bad reviews. For me they know upfront it's going to be expensive they choose if they want to spend or not. It qualifies the people who are ready to pay top dollar and I don't fear bad reviews because I get customers who knew what they were getting into.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:43 PM   #18
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We can be flat rate but not a single company in my area who does service is flat rate. For now I only do flat rate for renos and sometimes for extras after the main task is complete.

The problem with flat rate in my area and I've said it many times I'd be going to places for free at least 5-7 a week That's minimum 8 hours I'd be wasting each week not counting gas and wear and tear of the van. Let say I charge 50$ for the service call. Once on the job I say to fix this it will be 647$ plus tax so the total will be 743$. That is a sticker shock that will get you kicked out the door real quick. And forget asking the 50$ service charge they're already cursing at you and ready to call the police.

Also the wranglers who will argue to death the whole job was the price of the 50$ service call because that's the price you gave them on the phone. To top it off I deal with leperchaun piping almost all the time I can't flat rate gobleygook pipes once I open the walls or pull a toilet. I can't flat rate a mystery ceiling leak, can't flat rate a leaking toilet to find out the flange was hacked, the pipe downstairs had a second crack in the pipes like last weeks's adventure. Can't flat rate a drain cleaning because once you touch the pipe it falls a apart or because your snake gets stuck to find out they had hired a hack to do their reno 4 years ago and he only used vent 90 like in a roller coaster contraption.

I'd be telling them every single situation that could happen with a price tag or else they'd complain they weren't told the price for this or that.

For me right now hourly is the least amount of head aches.
Very true, that's when you have a price to pull and reset. Then another price to repair the flange. At the beginning of the job, you tell them, this is my price to pull the toilet. I don't have x ray vision, I cant see if the flange is properly installed. If I see anything that is wrong underneath there, then we will have that conversation at that time. You got paid for your time whether they repair the flange, or the flange is fine.

Sure you can, charge a leak search diagnostic fee. 250 to find the leak, no liability for drywall repairs. Use a camera if you can, and minimize the sheetrock damage.

You get paid for your time troubleshooting, and if they decide to move forward with the repair (lets say its a shower valve), the diagnostic fee goes away. If they don't want you to fix it, you walk away with 250 for your time.

Sometimes your gonna get burned, snaking stupid plumbing, etc, that's just the nature of the work, nothing you can do about that, other than price all your jobs to cover the rare oops moment, we are all human.

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That's a perfect example. What I was getting at with not telling them a price on the phone you'll get bad reviews. For me they know upfront it's going to be expensive they choose if they want to spend or not. It qualifies the people who are ready to pay top dollar and I don't fear bad reviews because I get customers who knew what they were getting into.
If somebody leaves a bad review because you wouldn't quote a plumbing repair over the phone, they are just being silly. Other customers will be able to see through that. That review wouldn't bother me one little bit.

The problem with "qualifying", is that right off the bat, you took yourself out of the race with that call. I have had customers dumbfounded with the price. Literally staring at me saying "Oh my god, that's crazy, oh my god". But they paid anyway, because they felt confident it was going to be done right.

Just like the work that you do.

You aren't selling them plumbing, you are selling YOU. Body language is 55% of communication, tone is a percentage too. So less than half of whats left over is the words. 55% of your honest intent to help this person with their plumbing problem is lost on the phone.

I have had people in the slum pay for a full 6000 dollar re pipe in cash. And people in the Governors club want financing for a 1000 dollar shower valve replacement. I remember one lady, was going around about how she didn't have the 5200 to replace her well pump, wire, and pipe. She finally agreed, after we were done, she paid in cash. AND left us a review saying you get what you pay for.

In Nexstar speak (i know, i know) "you have to use the tools in the front of the truck, to get the customers to let you use the tools in the back of the truck".

Sorry if it seems like I am coming at you, that is not my intent, I am just sharing some things I have learned so far that have worked for me.
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