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Discussion Starter #1
this is to all the business owners, specifically the one man shops. how much weight is put on your "look"? i'm thinking that i'm real close to quiting my day job and going on my own full time. now, i'm no slob but i've never bought into the clean cut image. i don't have a "nice" hair cut, i have a pair of fairly large gauge ear rings and i have a full beard. i like to think my work speaks for itself but i also know that first impressions are very important to a lot of people.


my question is this. do the clean cut guys get more of a positve response than the less clean cut? do i need a haircut and a shave? this is a 100% serious question. is it time for me to grow up and clean up?






paul
 

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Plumbing and Gas SCO
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Lets put it this way. What would Sally Housewife think of your look?

She is home alone all day and has to let a strange man into her home, with strange tools, to work on something that she has only passing knowledge of.

Is she going to feel safe? The clean cut look goes a long way to keeping Sally comfortable. Remember, in addition to protecting the health of the nation, plumbers sell comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
that's what i'm thinking, i just was hoping some guys had more experience with the before and after. let me say this. a year ago i was clean shaven and i can't say i've noticed a difference in the way i've been received since i grew my beard. my ear rings get some pretty positive response from older women. men don't usually say anything but the older women seem facinated with them. it's kind of wierd. i shower and all that stuff, i just don't want to push people away with a scary look.


i guess it's kind of the same thing as having a busted truck that rattles and backfires. mine's older but runs well and looks nice. it's not a new $35k rig but i kind of revolt against the "big dog" attitude. it's what i can afford, it's painted one color, doesn't smoke or leak, and it works well. i don't think it's offensive but i'm not sure about the general public.

i'm having a tough time with the whole image thing.







paul
 

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At the end of the day most 'real' people know that they should judge you not by how you look but the quality of your work and professional attitude. But at the end of the day I don't think looking neat and tidy will hurt you either, mind you I don't think having a beard is a bad thing either.
 

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this is to all the business owners, specifically the one man shops. how much weight is put on your "look"? i'm thinking that i'm real close to quiting my day job and going on my own full time. now, i'm no slob but i've never bought into the clean cut image. i don't have a "nice" hair cut, i have a pair of fairly large gauge ear rings and i have a full beard. i like to think my work speaks for itself but i also know that first impressions are very important to a lot of people.


my question is this. do the clean cut guys get more of a positve response than the less clean cut? do i need a haircut and a shave? this is a 100% serious question. is it time for me to grow up and clean up?






paul
This is a rhetorical question.

Put it this way, if you are planning on making a go of it yourself you had better do everything you possibly can to keep that revenue flowing into your bank account. I'm assuming that you are starting with basically nothing. Ask yourself the question a different way. How much if any business might I lose because of my current appearance? I'm picking a small number here right out of the air, let's say it's 3% of people will immediately decide upon seeing you before you ever say anything that they will not do business with you. Of course they will never say "I don't like the way you look, goodbye" you'll receive some other reason and you'll never know the real reason. Ok so starting from nothing let's say your first year you average 1.5 calls per day, 5 days a week or 390 calls for the year. Now take away 3% of those calls. That comes to 11.7 calls or not quite 1 each month. Now lets give you a modest (because your just starting out and you'll probably foolishly low ball everything until you figure out that you're going out of business fast if you keep doing it) ticket average of $300. That comes to $3510 per year that you lost because you didn't want to shave every morning and get your hair cut every now and then. When you start averaging 3 calls a day and your ticket average climbs to $450 you'll be losing $10,530 per year.

So the answer to the question is, is it worth 10k plus per year to you to preserve your right to be a slob or do you want to be a successful business man? Oh btw, it won't stop there because your future employees should you have them will do no more than what you do. If they see that you don't care about shaving, etc. then neither will they, so multiply that 10k by however many trucks you have on the road and that's what it is costing you.

Now you can tell yourself that it doesn't happen if you want to but I know that it does because I've done it. I had roofers out a couple of months ago to see about some repair work around a chimney. I was outside when they drove up and I knew before they ever even shut the truck engine off that I would not be doing ANY business with them. This decision was based solely on the way they looked, before they ever said a word.

Now if you happen to be in the Birmingham, AL market then you should ignore everything I just said, in fact you should do just the opposite. In fact you should stop brushing your teeth and bathing right away too :whistling2: :laughing:.
 

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I aint CPV see in it?
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My roughest looking employee is most of my customers favorites. I find that as long as you can make the customer as comfortable as possible, maybe notice somthing in there home that you could relate to for conversation. I was worried about the same issue that you are, mainly my age. I had to grow a beard to look a little older. was cursed with a young looking face. Seriuosly though i wouldnt let it bother you that much, let the work speak for itself.
 

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Somewhere out there is a statistic showing those who wear wedding bands denoting stability,trust etc do better in sales then those without......
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Appearance is super important in sales/service. People unconsciously connect your appearance and manner with your work. I read something like 55% of someone's impression of another person is based on appearance! That is quite a lot. I keep my hair short and groomed, my face clean-shaven and I dress decently.
I have even had first-time customers say to me, "Can I get your business card? My first impression was that you were real clean-cut and professional. You showed up on time, and got the job done quick. We need someone like you that we can count on." It sounds cliche, but I have had those exact words spoken to me more than once.
 

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ROCK STEADY, read a book on sales and nonverbal communication. There you'll learn some techniques developed by the pros, then you'll see why it would be hard for you benifit from these techniques when the customer may be wondering if you are at thier home to fix thier leak or kill them.:blink:
 

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I been lucky. The people I work for come to me word of mouth mostly. I used to have hair down to my waist, which I recently cut off due to too much gray, and a boat load of tattoos. But because of my attitude, and my ethics I have been left alone in homes with money, guns, and many other things and the HO is not worried one bit because of my reputation. But I would have to say that when starting out, the clean cut way may be better. Maybe trim the beard, dress the part. You would be amazed at how you dress makes the HO feel better because you LOOK professional.
 

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clean work clothes everyday, shower every day sometimes twice, basic hygene stuff. keep your hair cut, dont speak in monosyllabic grunts. keep a back up uniform in the rig, and if you get into something funky go home clean up and go back to work. customers dont want oscar the grouch climbing out of his trash can and work on thier home.
 

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First impressions mean alot!! I always wear clean uniforms, tucked in, I have no facial hair, wear booties, the only questionable thing is my shaved head, but to me, a shaved head is better, my hair is never messed up. I have a piercing, but never wear an earing. No tattoos below the cuff.

First impressions are very important, maybe it is the area where I work, but I have recieved comments on being clean cut and professional. Some have said "Not your typical looking plumber" makes me feel comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks for all the replies, they all help. i'm still not sure what to do. i think my basic question is regarding my very short hair (i usually shave it in the summer and let it grow for a year and shave it again, not a "stylish" haircut.:laughing:) and my beard. i don't have any tatoos that show, i don't smell and i do wear clean clothes/booties/ect. from what i've seen i get a good response but nobody's going to tell you they don't like the way you look.








paul
 

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My ponytail reaches halfway down my back, and my goatee has a tendency to grow to epic proportions, yet my boss never hesitated to introduce me in meetings as the design specialst, it was up to me to tell the designers and architects if their ideas would work on or not. Hell, I worked with a couple architects that put my humble ponytail to shame, maybe it is more a high end thing, but talent has always over ruled appearance in the work I have done.
 

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KTS, that is OK in construction and to a lesser extent commercial service. If you are doing residential service image is super important. In fact, I would say it's more important than how good of a plumber you are. I hate to say it, but it's true. When I was younger, I had long hair and eyebrow ring. Not a big deal compared to some guys out there. When I went clean cut I hated it but my sales #s doubled. No exaggeration. When the day comes that I no longer have to go out in the field and deal with customers, I will grow my hair out again.

It's not right that people judge you simply by the way you look, but the truth is every one does it. If you don't mind taking a huge pay cut then by all means do not be concerned about pleasing other people with the way you look.

Look at all of the big boys out there cleaning house in the service industry: Roto rooter, Mr. rooter, Ben frank etc etc. They are all selling the poster boy image. The only customers that don't seem to be affected by image are the ones who simply want the lowest price. The bargain customers. If you can accept that as your customer base then you don't have to worry about your image. Me personally, I like getting the customers that are willing to pay a fair rate for the best of the best. Part of being the best is looking the best.

The plumber that I apprenticed under was an unbelievably good plumber but he had all kinds of tattoos and piercing and loved to smoke weed. He was a really nice guy and very good at his job, but the fact is he is still at the same position and makes far less than I did when I cleaned up.

If you want to make the coin, appearance matters.

If you are ok with making significantly less, and your current appearance is worth more to you than tens of thousands of dollars per year, then don't worry about your image or communication skills for that matter.

I’m talking about residential service here. Construction is different. Appearance has no bearing in construction, only your skill and attitude.
 

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Black T-shirt, Black sweat pants or shorts. That's me in a nutshell.


If you want somebody good looking then call somebody else because I'm just the plumber. I wish I wasn't fat but I can't fix that right now until I get your plumbing fixed.

I'll try not to smell like a hostess outlet when I arrive but it's important to all my customers to know that your plumbing is fixed properly and I'm wearing booties, cleaning up your home better than it was when I arrived.

"Cleaning up" or "dressing nicely" I'll leave for sundays and church.

I'm short haired, shave most times and keep my goatee trimmed, along with tanning to keep myself looking fresh from the bahamas. I don't look good when I don't tan regularly. I have a very uneven complexion that I know is not favorable for presentation.
 

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Two of our guys have very short hair. So short, I'm not sure why they even bother with hair. They both wear hats and are friendly, so it works. Not to mention, both are on the short side (not intimidating). Whenever the one takes his hat off, I have to keep from laughing because he looks so different.

When plumbers come in for an interview, I know the minute they walk in the door if they will make it from just filling out an application to the interview process.

Another plus - A professional image will allow you to charge a higher rate. People equate attractiveness with intelligence. Unless you are a blond female with double D's, then it is assumed you are not intelligent.

Our daughter who waitresses looks like the good girl next door - her tips are ALWAYS much higher than the girls who have piercings. Like it or not, people judge us by our appearance.
 

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I aint CPV see in it?
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let me try and put it into perspective for ya. say you go the bank, and there are two tellers, two lines. Now, the first teller looks like she just go through doing crunches to enhance her fake breast, that are so heavenly complimented by her long, heavenly looking hair. The other teller looks like she fell in a septic tank, loose fitting clothes, clothes dont match, messy hair and all that. WHO"S LINE ARE YOU GOING TO GET IN?
I know which one I'm getting in. So if you really think about it, women look at us the same way that we look at them.
 
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