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Old 02-13-2020, 10:55 AM   #1
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So I've been putting in these meters for this little subdivision since the end of last year. As you can imagine they are REALLY happy not only with my work but the fact that they were able to locate a leak (supposedly 2000 Gallons a day but I'm surprised nobody saw it if it was actually that much.)

What they aren't happy with apparently is the cost? I've put in probably a dozen of these now and they've elected a new "board chair" for their HOA.

He asked me flat out yesterday: "So how DO I save money with you?"


Let me be clear: They asked multiple other plumbers to take on this project and they ALL declined. I have one of the lowest rates in town, and also, a lot of the other guys aren't interested in traveling outside of city limits for work.

I told him: "I'm billing you hourly, it's a 1-hour minimum, and after that, I bill in 30-minute increments." I don't really have another answer for him.
They're already getting the best price, and they've taken away the digging part of the project from me now, so that's reduced the labor.

As usual, we want it cheap, and we want it yesterday. I guess I don't need to jump out of my butt so quickly on the next few.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:02 PM   #2
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So I've been putting in these meters for this little subdivision since the end of last year. As you can imagine they are REALLY happy not only with my work but the fact that they were able to locate a leak (supposedly 2000 Gallons a day but I'm surprised nobody saw it if it was actually that much.)

What they aren't happy with apparently is the cost? I've put in probably a dozen of these now and they've elected a new "board chair" for their HOA.

He asked me flat out yesterday: "So how DO I save money with you?"


Let me be clear: They asked multiple other plumbers to take on this project and they ALL declined. I have one of the lowest rates in town, and also, a lot of the other guys aren't interested in traveling outside of city limits for work.

I told him: "I'm billing you hourly, it's a 1-hour minimum, and after that, I bill in 30-minute increments." I don't really have another answer for him.
They're already getting the best price, and they've taken away the digging part of the project from me now, so that's reduced the labor.

As usual, we want it cheap, and we want it yesterday. I guess I don't need to jump out of my butt so quickly on the next few.

welcome to being a business owner....this scenario happens all the time..your best answer is to tell them to go fk themselves...they will try and chew you down till you pay them to install meters....dont budge 1 penny or every week you will be negotiated cheaper...if they are happy with the work they will continue to pay you or they will go cheaper with someone else....thats it...
I can write a book of sad stories on why some contractor or big developer should get the bare bottom bones price just because..all bull schit....stick to your price and make your money....and you can bet when something goes wrong and you bring the cheap price up they couldnt care less and will hold you to every issue till you die...
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:59 PM   #3
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What I’d tell them is that’s your price and you understand about saving money and you won’t take any offense if they shop around. I did this once and it worked. Of course that was after a few weeks of bad service.
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:46 PM   #4
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Funny.

This AM, I got a text from this guy. I was out of town getting the new license numbers on the truck and he texts me just to tell me what a good job I did on this meter install and how happy the homeowner is with how it turned out.



Maybe I should charge double for this high quality work.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:05 PM   #5
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It's all a game of who's got the bigger balls. They will try and pocket the money for themselves. You have to man up and pull that money into your pockets. Sometimes they are just putting a fishing line in the water hoping you will bite. I have a treasurer of 4 building condo complex who complains on the price all the time and ask for a discount each time but yet he hires me and refers me to all the tenants without dropping my rate. Even the last Home owner really complained about the price of the water heater install and asked for a lower price. Nope, he called the next day for an appointment and realized it wasn’t an easy job on the 3rd floor and realized where the money went. They realize the value they get. That’s the key, value.

Another problem is you say you are one of the cheapest in town, it may be a good tactic at first to get some recognition but good businesses will hike their prices once they are known. Another thing being the cheapest will attract cheap skates and scumbags who will try to get the best deal any way they can and screw you over. Do you want that kind of customer?

You have to decide what type of business you are going to be, are you going to be a KIA dealership selling inexpensive cars or a Mercedes dealership selling luxury cars? You have to make a business model to sell Mercedes.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:43 PM   #6
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Just ask them- “Of the tasks I am performing now, tell me which ones you would like me to stop doing so I can tell you how much you will save.”

Granted, that’s not always a good idea depending on the circumstances, but it usually gets them all flustered because that’s not what they were expecting.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:42 PM   #7
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Years ago when I ran a shop in L.A. we had a large condo assoc, that
I did a plumbing repair in a unit, they got a new board member that
decided that the bill was too high and refused to pay the bill,
after many try's could not resolve the bill, so I but out a notice that
we were going to file a Mechanics Lein on all the property's we put these on all
the mailboxes and community boards within a week or so we got a check for
the full amount
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:49 PM   #8
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We had a customer try to calculate a bill into an hourly rate and came up with $213 an hour and thought is was absurd. I told him he had no clue because we need to bill at about $350 an hour for me to make a decent living. Fortunately my plumber sniffed out a skunk in advance and had a signature and cc# in advance.

I don't see how you can charge hourly in plumbing.
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Old Yesterday, 05:44 PM   #9
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We had a customer try to calculate a bill into an hourly rate and came up with $213 an hour and thought is was absurd. I told him he had no clue because we need to bill at about $350 an hour for me to make a decent living. Fortunately my plumber sniffed out a skunk in advance and had a signature and cc# in advance.

I don't see how you can charge hourly in plumbing.
We have an hourly rate that we are told to use in calculating the flat rate job quote, based on how many hours we estimate that the job itself will take. As any idiot knows, that is not how much we are actually making per hour, but takes into account everything else required to operate the business, and the hours needed to prepare all that we need to in order to actually get that job done. It is just a fairly convenient way of estimating, despite being imperfect. It just floors me how many guys will still break it down and tell the customer the hourly rate. Of course many customers hit the roof. It gives them ammo to come up with all sorts of ways to complain. You would think that after 2 or 3 times of dealing with that, a guy would try to figure out a different approach, but I see some who do it over and over.

When they ask me for a break down I tell them that we don't do that, we simply charge a flat rate no matter how long it takes us or how many extra fittings we need, not including anything unexpected that I can't anticipate from what I can see on my visual assessment. Occasionally I get caught needing a few more fittings or taking a little longer than I expected, but I usually add a little cushion to account for that. If anything I seem to charge a little less than quoted more than I underquote.
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Old Yesterday, 07:16 PM   #10
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Yup, A trip to replace a repeat customer's RO water dispenser, not going to hit her up with 2 trips so basically a giveaway. A year or less later it starts to drip, I show up and the new water line/prv she had a cheaper plumber replace is at 90 psi so I blame it on that and another trip wasted. The other plumber lowers the pressure but the dispenser still drips, I send 1 of my guys to add a cheap little RO inline pressure reducer (trip 4?) but customer not happy with the slower dispenser so replacing the dispenser next week.

Not worth arguing, black list the customer and move on. But 5 trips and 2 dispensers later means I lost $1000+.

And they think we are expensive.
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