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waterheaterzone.com
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Discussion Starter #1
Do you do it at all? Or Never?

I usually tell people that any phone price is inaccurate, as I need to physically see the job to accurately quote an upfront price... but people are persistent. "Can you give me a ballpark?" I hear that ALL THE TIME!:sick:
So what do you other flat-rate guys do, give them an example from your book? Or stick to your guns and insist they pay your diagnositic charge so you can physically quote the job?

I am really stuck on this one, on one hand I hate phone pricing as I have had some real bad explanations of jobs, that when I arrived the job was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than what they described on the phone.
On the other hand, I sometimes get cornered into giving phone prices, out of fear of losing the call...which usually backfires, because then they instantly say, "Let me call you right back." So they can call the next guy in the phonebook and repeat the whole process, until they've called everyone in town to get the lowest pirce...:censored: :cursing:

waitaminute...:blink:I guess I just answered my own question...phone pricing sucks.
 

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I don't see any choice, I give them a F/R price on replacing a toilet seal, but also tell them what it will cost if the flange needs to be replaced.
In other words, I give them a price, but tell them it doesn't include complications or extra work.
 
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Any one who has bein in the business can tell in a few short minutes if someone is tire kicking or is sincerely looking for a Qualified contractor to do the work.I turn away 50% of my calls.You'll never be able to explain over-head to a 9-5 person,or rarely,all they want is the bottom line and cannot see the value past the price.To those I wish them well and go about my business.:yes:I've had 2 free estimates turn into 6,000 this month,so if you're not good at feeling people out you're in for a battle anyways,but I've told 6 or 8 people this month I'm not interested in working for them,and it's ok to do that with tact and professionalism.MO.
 

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When someone asks me for a Ballpark price I tell them New Comiskey Park was fifty million, it should be less than that.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Discussion Starter #8
No, our shop doesn't do service work. We aren't even listed in the phone book.
My question was geared towards service plumbers. I should have been more clear.

It seems there are several ways to deal with it:

A) If hourly, just give your hourly rate and explain when the 'clock' starts.

B) Explain that you must see the job, and have a diagnostic, trip, or dispatch fee to get out there.

C) Give a quote based on the customer's description.

D) Go out and burn your gas and time doing free estimates, even on piddly service calls.

I am just curious as to which methods are the most popular among the service plumbers here.
 

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We go by hourly rate Our choice is A
 
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This works here...

The best way IMO is by charging a small diagnostic fee to really cover yourself and get your foot in the door. You don't waste your time if the mention of the fee (early in the phone call) kills the call .:thumbsup:
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Discussion Starter #11
The best way IMO is by charging a small diagnostic fee to really cover yourself and get your foot in the door. You don't waste your time if the mention of the fee (early in the phone call) kills the call .:thumbsup:
Thats what I usually do. I guess I was just wondering how common it is. Songdog mentioned in another thread that he also has a diagnostic fee to come out and doesn't price over the phone. I guess in the modern day, especially with gas prices, it is now pretty common.
 

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LeMarr Plumbing, Inc.
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772 Posts
I don't answer the phone often but when I do and I get a person wanting a price. I tell them I can't do it accurately w/o seeing it and do not want to jepordize my credibility by doing so.
When I mention a svc fee, at times they balk but when I mention, I have to be able to cover the OUTRAGEOUS gas prices (chuckle) and technition time. They usually understand and I go and look at it. Then I proceed to overwhelm them with my charm:laughing::laughing:.
But if I was to look at a bunch of jobs for free, it would cost a bunch of money(gas) and time. Then there is no cash flow.
I will have to remember what Killer said about the ballpark price:laughing::laughing: May have to use it sometime.:thumbsup:

Oh another thing I say to them: If I was to give you a roundabout and lets say 300 and I get there and it turns out to be 500, you would be disappointed and maybe aggrevated cuz I said 300, which you would be counting on. But if I was to say 800 just to be confident that I wouldn't look bad by misquoting, then you wouldn't have me come out cuz you think it was too high. Wouldn't you say that is fair enough and let me look at it and give you a true price. (for example)

In Christ,

Song Dog
 

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WILLPLUMB4$
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584 Posts
Pricing over the phone is the first step to cutting your own legs as well as other plumbers in your areas off at the knees. Hold tight to your trip charge. I consider it the fastest way to "QUALIFY" my costomers. The diognostic charge can then be used as a negotiation tool if needed ie: "if you go w/ the work, the charge will be put toward the work.
 

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Senior Moment
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For smaller jobs I have no problem giving a ballpark price over the phone. Most of the time the price I quote them is right on. If I get to the job and it looks like they need additional work, I show them the problem and explain why it's not a typical job. 95% of the time they understand and have me do the additional necessary work.
 

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I don't give prices over the phone for most service. I will give prices for water heaters and normal installs and some sewer cleaning. I also don't charge a trip charge fee. I think everyone has a different situation. Mine is that I service 5 different towns and surrounding areas, rarely though do I drive more than 15 minutes in any one direction and I have hardly ever had anyone not want to do the job so I'm confortable with what I'm doing and showing up without a trip charge. Once I'm in the home I sell it.
 

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WILLPLUMB4$
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For smaller jobs I have no problem giving a ballpark price over the phone. Most of the time the price I quote them is right on. If I get to the job and it looks like they need additional work, I show them the problem and explain why it's not a typical job. 95% of the time they understand and have me do the additional necessary work.
By pricing over the phone, you have defintely qualified your costomer:yes:
You've also cut your legs off as well as your brothers!!!:furious:
P.S.
Welcome to the forum
 

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Senior Moment
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Im a one man operation. Most of my work is word of mouth, or return customers and these people don't typically ask about cost. However when someone does I don't see how giving a quote over the phone cuts anyone's legs off, unless you work cheap, which I don't.
 
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