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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I started another thread earlier describing a good sales day I had recently (Aug. 6). Later in that thread I mentioned that that particular day had not actually started out so well because I had been turned away with only the service call charge on a job that included replacement of 2 - 4" centerset lav faucets, 2 - 8" widespread lavatory faucets, and 1 roman tub faucet w/3 cultured marble steps leading to the tub. I had quoted $1750.00 to install the ho's faucets and $2250.00 to install my faucets. I had allowed them a $375.00 multiple faucet discount which was basically my profit on the faucets which would cost me around $485.00. Although the lady seemed to like me the numbers were about twice what she had expected and so I didn't get the work.

Ok, flash forward to this past Friday, Aug 15. We get a call around 1:00 pm from the husband of the same lady I had met with on Aug 6. He had attempted to update his Delta 600 series t/s valve with one of those brushed nickel upgrade kits only he couldn't make it stop leaking nor could he get his gate type house isolation valve to shut off all the way leaving him with a mess all the way around.

I doesn't happen as often as I wish but I love it when we get turned away for whatever reason only to be called back because the ho thought he could do it but wound up mucking it up instead.

It's like "Na na naa na naaa na. You oo oo neeeeed me :tt2:. I told you so! I told you so! Na na naa na naaa na!". Of course you must never let even a hint of this through with the customer. Just be happy that once they realized they were in over their head that they called you and not someone else.

So I take care of a total 3 tasks for him, none of which had anything to do with the quote I had previously given them for the faucetry, including replacing his house isolation valve (this was the BOOM! valve btw) to the tune of $935.00.

So he calls again on Saturday afternoon. We missed the call (shame on us) but he left the following message which I transcribed from voice mail:

"Hello XXX this is XXX XXXXXXXXX. Trevor was out here yesterday doing a good bit of work and uhh, tell you what, on the estimate he gave us for faucets on Aug 6, uhm I want to make him a counter offer on that since I spent so much yesterday because I got another bid that was significantly lower but I like his (Trevor's) professionalism. Let's see it was $2258.00. Ask him if he can do that for uh, $1800.00, you know the same way with all the matching faucets and uhm he can have the job. Could you do that for me I'm at area code ... "

Ok so usually I receive counter offers face to face and don't have time to think about my response so this is a somewhat unique situation. I will be calling him back in the a.m. Now I admit my initial reactionary response might have been to bow up in a knot and get defensive and declare that "this is my price, take it or leave it Bub!" or if I was in a different frame of mind and things were slow I might just cave and say something like "Oh yes sir Mr. X. I can do that. I can start right away. Can I wash and wax your car for you too? There's no extra charge! Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!" Ok, I'm being a little goofy but what is the bottom line? The bottom line is that you don't often get a second crack at something like this so how do you take full advantage and MAKE THE SALE! I see that I must completely remove ego from this to have any chance. On the other hand, times are not slow for me and I've already discounted the price more than I should have and so the price must not fall anymore. So now it is my job to help this man come to the understanding that he'd be foolish to consider anyone else but me. I have a lot of things working in my favor. He's already experienced the level of service that I deliver and he liked it. He's torn between the value of money (in this case $458) and the value of having it done right by someone who has already proven that he is worthy of his confidence and trust. Those are powerful pluses but it is still not a slam dunk by any means. At the end of the day my company sells service and that is what I have to do here. Every sale is important and this one is too. If I don't make this sale, I will think back to it the next time things are a little slow and the memory that I had two shots at it and didn't make it happen will not make me happy. It is now my job to make Mr. X decide that the value of doing business with me is worth every penny of that additional $458 dollars.

I am going to give this some more thought and if I have time I will post a response that maybe I will use in the morning.
 

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I'd call him back, say something like this:

"Mr XXXX, I already gave you a low price, I schedule work with you and I lose other work at my regular rates, I take a pay cut.
There is a reason I charge what I charge, you're experience with the shower valve hopefully taught you that what often seems simple really isn't.
If you're tight on money, I'd be happy to break the work into smaller portions where you could just have me come back in a few weeks, or months."

Bottom line, you know you're a little slow, he doesn't.
Don't overdo the bluff, you might have to maybe meet him halfway, but not $450 less than your price when you already removed your markup.
 

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$1750 to install 5 customer supplied faucets is outrageous imo. But your other price with your faucets is very reasonable since you dropped the markup. I agree with grumpy, since you dropped the markup, your price is fair for your faucets.
2 Widespreads are much more money, Roman tub fillers are a pain in the azz.
Might be high, but like you said, too late to start dropping by as much as $400.
If I were in his shoes, I'd know it was a sale, trouble being how much I'd be willing to drop it.

No matter how many times I panic as I worry the work is slowing, sure enough, I drop my price and I miss the next 6 calls when I'm too busy.
I HATE that.
 

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residential service
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't think the price will be dropped.

I believe you may have misread my post. I am not slow right now, not by any means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just don't want to miss the sale a second time especially when I was a little surprised I didn't get it the first time.
 

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I don't think the price will be dropped.

I believe you may have misread my post. I am not slow right now, not by any means.
I did misread.

In that case, there's not a solitary reason to drop the price.
In terms of referrals, I see lowballing as a way to generate repeat biz in the lines of "So, your plumber wants too much?...I have just the guy for you, he's cheap."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
$1750 to install 5 customer supplied faucets is outrageous imo. But your other price with your faucets is very reasonable since you dropped the markup. I agree with grumpy, since you dropped the markup, your price is fair for your faucets.
??? My price with my faucets was essentially my price for their faucets plus my cost for my faucets. What's the diff? Why is it outrageous one way and fair the other? I allow 1.5 hrs per centerset, 2.5 hours per widespread, and 4 hours per roman tub faucet. That is right in line with my normal pricing which in my opinion is fair and reasonable and allows me to progress rather than simply tread water.
 

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That seems like a pretty long time to install a faucet. Maybe including dragging all your tools in, pulling there junk out of the vanities, returning there junk, testing it, and cleaning up. Once your set up though the next one usually takes significantly less time. No one is going to judge you though because their may be factors we don't know about. I guess you need to build in some CYA time for the unforseable problems that arise too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A possible response.

Hi Mr. X this is Trevor with The Master's Plumbing Co. I want you to know that I really appreciate your business, it was my great pleasure to help you the other day. I also really appreciate the fact that you would like to do business with us again with respect to the replacement of your faucetry. We are ready and eager to serve you. Our primary focus is quality. Quality of the products we sell, quality of the installation of those products, quality of the people installing those products in your home. Quality can be found throughout the full range of plumbing products available to consumers today. Just because a product is relatively inexpensive does not necessarily mean that it is not of good quality. Likewise, just because a product is very expensive that does not necessarily mean that that product is a quality product that will serve you well for years to come. Hopefully this was illustrated the day that I met with your wife when we removed a damaged and unuseable faucet, which you had purchased from home depot, from it's box. These particular faucets, had they been undamaged, had other issues which would prevent me from ever installing them in my home. The faucets we offer are of known quality to us and we are very comfortable offering an unmatched labor warranty to support them. No plumbing company that we are aware of in the Metro area will come anywhere close to the warranties we offer. Of course as I explained to Mrs. X we cannot warranty any faucet that we do not provide.

I have reviewed the pricing that was offered to Mrs. X on Aug 6. It may have not been so clear to you because space was limited on your invoice and I had to write small and close together but we did in fact already discount our installation package by $375.00. This represents an almost 15% discount which we offered you before anyone even had to ask. I have studied this carefully and although I would love to offer you deeper discounts I simply cannot. We are striving to provide our clients with a much higher level of service than they can receive from any other plumbing company in the Metro area. In order to do this our costs are a bit higher than other companies. We think it is worth the extra expense to insure the highest quality of products, technical knowledge, and staff. We would love to serve you and are ready to do so but in order for us to stay true to our principles and provide the level of service that we are committed to providing to the residents of the Birmingham Metro area, and to you, we must remain profitable at a certain level. We were able to discount our price by roughly 15% because of the economy of motion and of scale. The discounts we offered are a reflection of our lowered costs associated with doing multiple jobs in a single location thus relieving us of a lot of drive time, unproductive technician time, as well as other costs which become less when we spend the day in a single location. We can't discount our profit however. To do so would be bad business and limit our ability to serve our community.

We would love to complete this work for you, professionally and in a timely manner but we must be firm on our price of $2258.00 for the entire package. If you'de like to we can go ahead and schedule it for you. I anticipate the job may take a day and a half to complete. Are there certain days this week that are better for you than other days?





I know this is sort of wordy and sounds more like a speech than it should. It's seems to be more difficult than I thought to write in a conversational manner. I'm thinking though and hoping that if the conversation can more or less move along this framework then I might have a pretty good shot.

If I don't secure this sale it won't be the end of the world, we have plenty of work. Maybe because I have been afforded so much more time than normal to think about it, it really is becoming the challenge that seems to be motivating me, the thrill of the hunt so to speak. In any event I will be bummed if it doesn't happen but more so I think because of the failure of it than the loss of the revenue (not that lost revenue is not a big deal).
 

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That seems like a pretty long time to install a faucet. Maybe including dragging all your tools in, pulling there junk out of the vanities, returning there junk, testing it, and cleaning up. Once your set up though the next one usually takes significantly less time. No one is going to judge you though because their may be factors we don't know about. I guess you need to build in some CYA time for the unforseable problems that arise too.
F/R -
You win some, you lose some, but the price has to account for things like rusted nuts & strainers.

It takes less than an hour ideally, but 1.5 for a centerset is a smart idea.
I s'pose he could take out 15 per fixture for a total of 1.25 hours off, at a rate of $150/hour that comes to less than $200.

If this were me, I'd meet him half way to the $450, but he has enough work to justify not taking a pay cut while potentially turning away other work at his regular price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That seems like a pretty long time to install a faucet. Maybe including dragging all your tools in, pulling there junk out of the vanities, returning there junk, testing it, and cleaning up. Once your set up though the next one usually takes significantly less time. No one is going to judge you though because their may be factors we don't know about. I guess you need to build in some CYA time for the unforseable problems that arise too.
Does this mean that you do not charge the customer for: dragging all your tools in, pulling there junk out ot the vanities, returning there junk, testing it, and cleaning up? I assure you that we most certainly do charge the customer for these things plus a lot of other things because they are all part of the job.

I actually went on an emergency drain call this afternoon on which a very astute customer noticed and commented on the fact that it takes (in this particular instance) much more time to diagnose and get set up to do the job than it does to actually solve the problem. This is absolutely true many times and even when it is not true, set up, tear down, and clean up are very significant parts of the job. Yes we charge for these things.
 

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Smells, don't give them the speech, just condense it down to, "Thanks for the opportunity to work for you again, I appreciate the vote of confidence.

The price you have represents a 15% discount off my normal price. I'm sorry, but I have no room to offer more than that at this time.

In lieu of an additional discount, I can inspect your home's plumbing system and offer you an opinion. This will set your mind at ease as to its condition or point out potential problems, as the case may be. I can do this inspection at no additional cost to you.

Unless you would like pricing for any problems we find, my report would be limited to a verbal one (all our prices are quoted in writing (right, Smells?)), but I'm happy to take the time and explain my findings and answer any questions you or your wife might have at that time.

Thanks again for considering us"

By this, you're showing that you have respect for yourself and your trade, but also for their wallet (not to mention yours). Offering to look over his other plumbing is a good opportunity to discuss upgrading the water heater, or water softener, or service stops, if they happen to be old and crusty or just not working properly. It also is a good time to just get to know each other and win a client for life.

Don't worry so much about being slow. Everyone needs work, it just comes in spurts sometimes. Clean the truck out, read a good book on business or just oil your tools. BUT, get out at lunch to where the elite meet to eat and be seen. Pass some cards out, go to the supply house and hound them for referrals, or see if any of them need work. There is always something productive to do with the slow times that will pay off big when things pick up.

Sometimes a quiet phone is a blessing in disguise. Don't take work at a lower price. If you do, just close the doors because you're just wasting your time and money otherwise.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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??? My price with my faucets was essentially my price for their faucets plus my cost for my faucets. What's the diff? Why is it outrageous one way and fair the other? I allow 1.5 hrs per centerset, 2.5 hours per widespread, and 4 hours per roman tub faucet. That is right in line with my normal pricing which in my opinion is fair and reasonable and allows me to progress rather than simply tread water.
Because your labor is too much imo. But since you're not marking up the faucets (when you should) it offsets the fact that your labor is too high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Because your labor is too much imo. But since you're not marking up the faucets (when you should) it offsets the fact that your labor is too high.
I'm sorry I'm just really not following you. If I understand you correctly, the difference between outrageous and fair is $375 dollars. This is a 12 hour job that equates to $31.25 per hour. I am strictly f/r but if you want to equate it to hourly it would roughly be $150 per hour. This means that while installing their faucets I would have to subtract $31.25 per hour which comes to $119.75 per hour in order to be fair. So what you are saying is that $150 per hour to install their faucets is outrageous but $150 per hour plus $458 which is my cost to supply the faucets is fair?

Do you really mean to say that $119.75 per hour is a fair rate but that $150.00 per hour is outrageous. Can you really do that?

I think maybe you are in a temporary t&m relapse. I would say that my service is far superior to 99% of the plumbing companies in my area with maybe 3 or 4 who offer service that approaches what we offer. If my service is better it is just and right that my price match my service. It costs me a certain amount to do the things that others are not doing. We do not absorb this cost, we demonstrate ourselves to be better than the rest and pass that cost on to the customers who recognize and want what we offer. This man made this plain when he called us to save him from his plumbing disaster after he had received our quote and turned us away and after he had received another company's quote. Why didn't he call the other company to come rescue him from his debacle? Why did he call on Saturday in an effort to still get us to install his faucets only at his price? I'll tell you why, it's because he knows that he would prefer to do business with us. We charged this man $935 for half a days work on Friday, we gave him the highest quote (presumably) for his faucet install and he is still trying to figure out a way to have us do the work. Why? The answer is because he knows deep down that it is the smart thing to do. Not everyone wants us. Some want us but can't afford us. It is what it is. If we were no different than all the rest and charged more than everyone else you might have grounds for an argument.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Just my opinion. You asked for it. I have been flat-rate for 5 years. I am also $150/hour but I would not figure 12 hours for that job as you described. I would figure around 9 hours and I mark up my faucets by 50%, so my price would be similar to your with the faucets. Again, its your business to do what you want, I am just giving you my opinion since you*asked.
 

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Hey it's all cool I'm just trying to understand your reasoning.

Where would you subtract the 3 hours?
I'd figure 2 hours for the 2 centersets. 3 hours for the 2 widespreads and 4 hours for the tub filler since those can be a major pain in the butt. But I haven't seen the faucets or the job s you have.

If the faucets are costing you $400, then I would figure $600 for them plus the 9x150=1350 in labor. So my pice would be $1950 total.

Sorry I said 'outrageous' that was a poor choice of words. You sound like an awesome plumber and you're decision is more important than any of our opinions about this matter.:)
 

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Let us not forget the golden rule of pricing.

Know thy numbers!

Just because you have a particular overhead doesn't mean the next guy two states over has the same overhead. Nor does it mean he wants to make the same wage you do. before you offer an opinion as to rates, remember, we all have differing markets and business goals.

One big misconception is that service work is market driven, its not, its cost driven. That is why you don't have a 'going rate' for things in our business. You have a fair price or an unfair price in the eyes of your client and your client only. Anyone else's opinion is like so much cow manure on the garden. The people they share that opinion may thrive on it, but the reality is, it does nothing to improve the smell of the roses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'd figure 2 hours for the 2 centersets. 3 hours for the 2 widespreads and 4 hours for the tub filler since those can be a major pain in the butt. But I haven't seen the faucets or the job s you have.

If the faucets are costing you $400, then I would figure $600 for them plus the 9x150=1350 in labor. So my pice would be $1950 total.

Sorry I said 'outrageous' that was a poor choice of words. You sound like an awesome plumber and you're decision is more important than any of our opinions about this matter.:)
No blood no foul. I might even be inclined to agree with you on the time under ideal conditions but I've had wide spreads before that hung on for dear life in which it took an hour just to get it unmounted and this roman tub faucet is not typical in that it's not skirted nor does it have even a one piece cultured marble facade, rather it has cultured marble steps (3) leading up to the tub with about 1' sq. marble cover through which I can gain access while laying on the 3 steps. I figured it at 4 hours because that is what one will generally take me when it's all said and done but I can easily see it taking 6. If I have any sort of problems at all this could easily turn into 2 full days.
 
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