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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. My husband and I own a plumbing company in SC. Looking forward to sharing and learning.
 

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Welcome to the forum, were happy to have you join us, this is all plumbers, you won't see DIY posters here, and if you do, you won't see them for long.

Thanks for joining.
 

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Plumbing Contractor
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971 Posts
Welcome

Hello, and welcome Im not sure but I think you are the first lady on here!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the welcome! I have read many of the posts and am on the same page. We are getting ready to switch over to flat rate / upfront pricing and my web searches indirectly led me here.

Our fear is the price objection. As a T & M plumbing company, you do the work, collect, and have a happy customer. Unfortunately our hearts are sometimes bigger than our brains and the customer gets the better end of the deal. Tired of working hard and not reaping the rewards. Our plumbers are professional and we are tired of being compared to handymen. A handyman who works for one of our property management companies called for a "serious plumbing problem" the other day. He thought there was air in the plumbing lines because he heard knocking. It was a simple fill valve! Of course, he's taking care of the rest of their plumbing work. uggghhh.

Anyway, that's why I'm here. Look forward to chatting on the proper threads.
 

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LeMarr Plumbing, Inc.
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772 Posts
Welcome aboard!
I too felt the stress when flipping over to flat rate. But one thing is forsure, I will never go back to T&M:thumbsup:.
When you do get the hang of the presentations, its gonna make your life/job easier and the hos will understand it better and like it too. You will always have that 3% you can never make happy even if you charged them nothing.

It will be nice to get a female perspective, so POST AWAY!

In Christ,

Song Dog
 

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I've been very surprised since switching to flat rate. Sure, there are a few who will simply say that they can't afford that price. But a far larger number of people seem to have no problem with the price and are generous with thank-yous when you finish.

When I switched, I realized that if I was going to charge more, I should also do more. I added pseudo-uniforms and take more time to keep my work area clean and to clean up after myself.
 

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Hourly is more stressful imo. At least with flat-rate they agree to pay BEFORE you work, with hourly they get the bill when you are done and then they want to argue.....no way jose. I have been doing flatrate for years, its much easier than hourly.
That's a good point,there is a lot of stress with the clock-watchers.
 

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Retired Moderator
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so where does one find info on the flat rate deal? Is there a book value per fixture, say so much for water heater change outs, so much for unstopping a toilet, so much for unstopping a sink? Where does one find these rates at?
 

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Sometimes we put a not too exceed price on service calls. If I have looked at the job prior to doing it, I will let my boss know how long it will take. He will offer a flat rate or NTE. Alot of times I finish ahead of schedule and the customer gets a discount.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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so where does one find info on the flat rate deal? Is there a book value per fixture, say so much for water heater change outs, so much for unstopping a toilet, so much for unstopping a sink? Where does one find these rates at?
There are many programs out there to help...software. Upfrontprice.com is one of them. I started with upfrontprice.com's book and now I make my own simplified book based on my own pre-determined times and materials.

Its really quite simple. First you figure your hourly labor unit. You figure total billable hours per year, and you figure all the overhead expense of doing business and a reasonable profit margin. Divide your total needed gross income by the billable hours and you get your hourly labor unit.
Then each TASK (water heater, toilet, flapper, drain-clean, etc.) you assign an average time unit and figure your material costs.
TA-DAAA!! You have your flat-rate.

Its a lot of work to do it from scratch and that is why there are software programs out there that help, most companies use software to figure their flat-rate books.

Once you go flat-rate, you'll love how easy it is. I have done both ways and for me flat-rate is much better. Its easier to 'sell' your services, you don't have to disclose your hourly rate since the bill isn't based on the clock, and people argue less about the bill, since they have to sign for the price upfront. My customers are happy to get an upfront price. Its the best way to go imo.:cool2:
 

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Retired Moderator
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There are many programs out there to help...software. Upfrontprice.com is one of them. I started with upfrontprice.com's book and now I make my own simplified book based on my own pre-determined times and materials.

Its really quite simple. First you figure your hourly labor unit. You figure total billable hours per year, and you figure all the overhead expense of doing business and a reasonable profit margin. Divide your total needed gross income by the billable hours and you get your hourly labor unit.
Then each TASK (water heater, toilet, flapper, drain-clean, etc.) you assign an average time unit and figure your material costs.
TA-DAAA!! You have your flat-rate.

Its a lot of work to do it from scratch and that is why there are software programs out there that help, most companies use software to figure their flat-rate books.

Once you go flat-rate, you'll love how easy it is. I have done both ways and for me flat-rate is much better. Its easier to 'sell' your services, you don't have to disclose your hourly rate since the bill isn't based on the clock, and people argue less about the bill, since they have to sign for the price upfront. My customers are happy to get an upfront price. Its the best way to go imo.:cool2:

I get that part, its no different than my other trade. BUT the time for each fixture unit. I have gon in and unstoped a toilet in one plunge, really, then there are those times that you start out at the toilet, no luck, move outside. Try to locate a clean out, but wait! There is none! Soo we get the probe and start probing the ground. Find water, find gas, find GI Joe action figure (badly burned:laughing:), neighbors dead cat that they are still so franticly searching for, then 2 hours later, VOILA Sewer pipe! Dig pipe, cut hole, get sprayed with doo, wash off doo, snake out, then fix pipe, re bury dead cat along with sewer pipe. This one takes about 3 hours. So does this book actually have industry standarde based on real time and realistic scenarios that they base their expected time of repair on?
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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I get that part, its no different than my other trade. BUT the time for each fixture unit. I have gon in and unstoped a toilet in one plunge, really, then there are those times that you start out at the toilet, no luck, move outside. Try to locate a clean out, but wait! There is none! Soo we get the probe and start probing the ground. Find water, find gas, find GI Joe action figure (badly burned:laughing:), neighbors dead cat that they are still so franticly searching for, then 2 hours later, VOILA Sewer pipe! Dig pipe, cut hole, get sprayed with doo, wash off doo, snake out, then fix pipe, re bury dead cat along with sewer pipe. This one takes about 3 hours. So does this book actually have industry standarde based on real time and realistic scenarios that they base their expected time of repair on?
I can tell a stopped toilet from a stopped sewer pretty easily.

With a toilet stoppage, it goes like this.
"Ma'am, this is the price to auger the toilet, if for some reason, the auger doesn't work which rarely happens, and we have to pull the toilet, then this is the price if we end up having to pull the toilet to clear it. Sometimes even that doesn't work and the toilet needs to be replaced, but that is extremely rare."

You bring up a good point though, flat-rate can sometimes be complicated when it comes to drain-cleaning.

A member here DMG76, he is a flat-rate drain-cleaner. All he does is drain-cleaning, so obviously he has a system that works.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Song Dog - LOL. You are right about some customers will never be happy. Even free is too much.

Threaderman - My husband is the Master. Take that back, he's the Master Plumber. I have a general working knowledge of plumbing. I do the scheduling, so I ask a lot of questions on the front end. I know just enough to get into trouble sometimes. Whenever I don't know something, I always ask and research the answer so that next time I won't be stumped. Can I reset a wc? No. Do I know how to? Yes. We have had 'so called' plumbers work for us who don't know what I know.

Plumberman - we do the same 'not to exceed' because sometimes you really don't know. DH (dear husband) likes to say "you don't know what's in the monkey until you cut him open."

Service Guy - You are so right in how you handled the clogged toilet. Plumbers ALWAYS have to CYA (cover their a**es).
 

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My husband is the Master. Take that back, he's the Master Plumber. I have a general working knowledge of plumbing. I do the scheduling, so I ask a lot of questions on the front end. I know just enough to get into trouble sometimes. Whenever I don't know something, I always ask and research the answer so that next time I won't be stumped. Can I reset a wc? No. Do I know how to? Yes. We have had 'so called' plumbers work for us who don't know what I know.
Please don't take this the wrong way, the reason this forum was opened up was to attract only licensed plumbers and special invites that that admin approves of, the rules were set by us and the admin on this site.

Since your not the true licensed plumber and it's your husband that is, then we ask that you not post on this site. There is a parent site that we on here also go to, called contractortalk.com, see link at top of forms. There you will find contractors from all parts of the trade, and yes there is a plumbing forum there. Your husband is welcome to register on here if he so desires and particapate on this site.

Once again thanks for understanding and hope to see you on http://www.contractortalk.com/

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ok, I'm on the spot, lets me hear you out, everyone can have there say. I'm all ears.
 
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