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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What percentage of your calls, meaning from year to year is calling you back, retaining that work relationship?


If I sit here and think of the amount of jobs I do, all of them, I bet I'm retaining maybe 30% tops. To me that's great given I only try to make 70% happy.

With those numbers working with each other, 40% would be those who haven't had plumbing problems since I've been there, and that could very well be the case.

Some people I don't ever want to work for again...for no other reason than I didn't like the experience with them.

All that matters is I'm working, making money and that phone keeps ringing, always. The rest will sort itself out.

Poll is coming...
 

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i'd say for me, 80% repeat and referal in a year. if i look in the books by the month some months are up to 95% or better.
if i was to start a business now i'd have one heck of a time getting customers. i find the YP to be less effective every year. it is a nessesary evil. i still retain the #1 spot in my YP. but most are asking friends, relitives or finding us online.
some will move, some will die, some will have a friend a family member do the work, some will just not need you for a long time. i still get repeat customers from 16 years ago that finaly need us now.
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter #6
I get repeat business every week, no way around that but I'm thinking of all the jobs, emergency and one time visits to customers and I know for sure that my numbers are where I put them.


But, I feel good about that as the volume of people I work for. I tout myself as an emergency service plumber so many times, many times I've taken the place of one's regular plumber because they couldn't answer the phone.


That's just how it is...and every once in awhile I'll think about jobs I did when I roll through the subdivisions. No bad experiences between plumber and homeowner, just the span of time has left me forgotten...and the attitude of people wanting selection in who they chose to come to their home.


I see this more and more, and to think another plumber can't do my job just as well isn't accurate. They can, and people can change their mind for whatever reason that I cannot control.

I stick to my guns when it comes to pricing and I don't bend when a customer is skirting a discount or wanting something cheaper. <<< I'm for sure going to lose this group of people because they feel the transaction isn't beneficial to them unless they paid less than the next guy.

I'm willing to forfeit that customer base after that first experience, simply because the "next" time will be the exact same way. No 1up experiences as it spoils the work relationship where they start edging the "how much" "how long will it take" attitude and that becomes the ending of that work relationship.

Get it done and never consider the willingness to come back.

I can remember emergency calls from 7 years ago that I actually undercharged for my time, haven't done work for them since.

Fixed the job, people very appreciative, but I bet they have a 9 to 5 plumber already. No regret though because I made money in someone elses ballfield.
 

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Cincinnati is big. In these smaller places we need to have a repeat base. I have the boys( my 2 sons) that will need customers down the road. Our policy is to satisfy 1st and the money issue takes a close 2nd. Sometimes the way work tends to get given away now I tell them just do a good job, do it right and satisfy them. I dont know what else to do. Its a slower method of growth though.
 

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We operate in a smaller area also. (my son and I) I have probably worked for 85% of the people and places here over the last 25 yrs we have been here. We have loyal customers and we have the ones that will try a new guy(no gals here) Then call us again next time. I can't be all things to all people, so I pride myself in doing it right the first time at the price I have to charge. If I work 24/7 I will just end up in an early grave, for what? I have conditioned people to the way I think and they know I will do the best I can. As quick as I can. Or please give us a call next time.
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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7,616 Posts
Passing on the business to your sons.....

I do about 60% repeat business, the rest are new people from the yellow pages and the internet.... I am polite to the new customers and try to make a good impressioin..
Its sort of like going on a first date....
but you still get some sugar when its over......:thumbup:


Now.if you are planning on passing on the business to your sons,,, wether it be in a large metro area or a small po-dunkey back water...

Remember this fact....
most likely the customers you have today will be either
dead, divorced, or have moved on to florida...in about 10 short years....


By the time your sons grow up and want the business ,
they will have to start over and do their own farming for calls....


My father is 90 and his customers are all DEAD ,,,,
and the only thing that saved me was the fact that I branded
every home with our YELLOW plumbing stickers from 1975 untill now..


the actual HOME , THAT is your customer,
its always gonna be there... when they die, move or whatever
....YOUR NAME is still plastered on the heater, furnace, disposal.
water softener, well pump........


for the next tennant who buys the place to stumble across
Then you get to go on a first date with the new tennants.....




if you are planning to pass the business on to your sons,
you should start plastering that name of yours everywhere...


it will make it a lot easier on them....
 

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The majority of our customers use us faithfully. We do our best by everyone and if our best isn't good enough at the price we charge, then the relationship was not meant to be.

Even at the right price some customer's are not worth having.

We've come to realize that some customer's really appreciate the fast service at 11:00 p.m and are grateful that it was done for a reasonable price :thumbsup:.

Then there are those other customers who conveniently forget how you bailed them out and their attitude is 'what have you done for me lately?'
 

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I do about 60% repeat business, the rest are new people from the yellow pages and the internet.... I am polite to the new customers and try to make a good impressioin..
Its sort of like going on a first date....
but you still get some sugar when its over......:thumbup:


Now.if you are planning on passing on the business to your sons,,, wether it be in a large metro area or a small po-dunkey back water...

Remember this fact....
most likely the customers you have today will be either
dead, divorced, or have moved on to florida...in about 10 short years....


By the time your sons grow up and want the business ,
they will have to start over and do their own farming for calls....


My father is 90 and his customers are all DEAD ,,,,
and the only thing that saved me was the fact that I branded
every home with our YELLOW plumbing stickers from 1975 untill now..


the actual HOME , THAT is your customer,
its always gonna be there... when they die, move or whatever
....YOUR NAME is still plastered on the heater, furnace, disposal.
water softener, well pump........


for the next tennant who buys the place to stumble across
Then you get to go on a first date with the new tennants.....




if you are planning to pass the business on to your sons,
you should start plastering that name of yours everywhere...


it will make it a lot easier on them....
Im going to take you up on that...of course Im already in Florida..I hope that helps.
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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7,616 Posts
thats where they all go.....

Im going to take you up on that...of course Im already in Florida..I hope that helps.
yea , you get them when they are in their twilght years...

When your customer first moves down to florida when they are entering their late 70s,
your turnover has to be incredible...

get those stickers and make the print easy for the elderly to read...
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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5,478 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
The two customers I worked for today, repeat customers.

I like it, don't get me wrong...the first call of the week; repeat customer.

I like new customers though...it doesn't hurt my feelings if they only use me once...for whatever reason.


I'm a lot like my customers themselves...I like variety and not committed to one food, one hardware store, one gas station, one girlfriend. :laughing:

Restaurants have good food, doesn't mean I go to the same damn one every time I eat.

If someone has any reason to use me at one time and not another? There's no love lost...reverse the tables and you'll see how easy it is to be willing to choose others.

I have seen more than a few of my work relationships get trampled on because of the amount of work done over time...and you feel obligated to help, knowing the money being spent.

I feel my character glows when I try to put myself into those shoes at times, understanding the amount of freaking money being spent to get their issues resolved, what it took one or BOTH of those property owners to work all week so you can earn it in a short few hours.

The "least" I can do is perform the work duties to the top notch ritual, do everything and more to respect that thinking and make the harrowing experience less painful by expressing gratitude and offer the small things that make a poignant difference. When I hand out those little candies, people get the biggest charge out of that.

Do everything different than the last guy and make the best out of the possibly one time experience, and move on.
 

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I would guess that about half my customers are new.

I often wonder why more customers that I've had don't call me again and I frankly don't know. I give everything I've got and I know I'm doing the best job in the area.

I am pretty sure that for some it's the money. They always feel that they can get a better deal, and of course they can. After all, there's always somebody cheaper. Always some poor schnook out there who has no idea how to run a business or who will low-ball to get in the door.

The true test is when they don't show up when something they did was wrong. Callbacks are priority 1 for me. It doesn't matter if it was really my fault or not - making sure the customer is happy after the sale is high priority.

I priced a job on Friday morning, to install a new, owner-supplied kitchen sink and faucet. The sink was onyx, the faucet was fancy Kohler. Now, I know this homeowner used to work for one of the tightest general contractors around.

I could tell that he was a little surprised by the nearly $400 price, but he said, sure, go ahead. Then I got an emergency call for a ceiling leak 25 miles away for my best customer and told him I would be back first thing in the afternoon. That was OK - the kids would be home and I could pick up a check on Saturday.

So off I went.

After I got back and had lunch I headed back over and the oldest boy told me that his parents had decided to "wait." We probably all know what that means - they thought about the price and decided that they might get it done cheaper, but if the other plumbers they called were as high, they wanted to keep me on the hook. I came back home and saw on the caller ID that they had called at 10:45 - about fifteen minutes after I left town.

I suppose I may hear back from them on Monday or Tuesday - or maybe later when they find out that whoever promises to do the job may not show up when they say they will. That happens a lot, too.

I wish I could be a fly on the wall sometimes.
 

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i think there's no such thing as customer loyalty nowadays... it's not that the clients were not satisfied with your work, it's just that they want variety i guess... plumbing Atlanta gets that same treatment i think... plumbing companies emerge like clockwork and there are a lot of choices to choose from so competition is just getting steeper and steeper...
 

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i think there's no such thing as customer loyalty nowadays... it's not that the clients were not satisfied with your work, it's just that they want variety i guess... plumbing Atlanta gets that same treatment i think... plumbing companies emerge like clockwork and there are a lot of choices to choose from so competition is just getting steeper and steeper...
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Think internet

Most people these days go to the net..They type in Plumbers in ______
The trick is finding a good web provider/designer/hoster
Im in the small local YPs that covers only a 15 mile radius..But thats all I want.
YPagers are destroying themselves and peeing off advertisers in the meantime with all their come ons and sh__ya get with the meeting.
Although I use the YELLOW BOOK they are sneaky,liars and thieves.
I had two Yellow Book sales people out under 2 different business names and adresses..The exact same ads in the exact same book price was as much as $1200 difference..
Have them take you out to lunch..call again get another sales persons quotes and see whats the best deal and get at least 2 free lunches..hahah "THE YELLOW PAGE BOOK HATER":laughing: Two can play!!
 

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Guess we don't spend that much, our reps. don't do lunch or any schmoozing. I'm lucky if they show up on time for the appt.
 
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