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Business Hours: 7 am - 7 pm

A Seiko Clock

Hourly Rates

A person called me yesterday and I did not get to the phone before he hung up. I waited a couple of minutes to see if they would leave a voice mail, they did not, so I called the number right back. The man asked me in what I sensed was a slightly agitated voice what I charge by the hour for plumbing repairs, and before I had finished telling him I did not charge by the hour, I work by the job, and give an estimate (contact us at, in writing before doing any work, he was finishing the sentence for me. It was like, “Oh sure, I know, you charge by the job not by the hour. I don’t want that kind of service.” Those were his exact words. Oh, I see, you don’t want to know what the price will be before I do the work, you only want to pay for the time it takes me to do the work, not travel time, or overhead, or anything like that. And hover over me like a vulture, making pained facial expressions every time I go out to my truck to get a part. And then argue with me about the high cost of the final bill, you didn’t think it would be that costly.
Wrong. That is a terrible way to do business and you would be hard pressed to find a plumber who would put himself through that much
grief. Telling the customer what the price will be before hand and then bringing the job in at that price is the way to work. The customer doesn’t have to be a clock watcher and the plumber doesn’t need the stress of watching you watch the clock, asking how much longer it’s going to take, and so forth. Established customers are treated the same way. They want to know up front what the job will cost, usually. They call me out to make a repair, they trust that I will fix it in a timely manner and they will be treated fairly. Sometimes they ask me how much it will cost, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I can’t tell them exactly what the price is because there are complications that I can’t see, like under floors and behind walls. The bottom line is that they trust me and it has to be fixed so, fix it, is what they tell me. First time customers, however, must be dealt with a firm estimate, because I have not established a working relationship with them yet.

Many customers do the math in their heads after you have completed the job. It took you 1 hour to do the work and they have some idea
what basic parts cost so right away they  conclude that you are making $100 an hour on them. What about travel time to the job? What about the truck, tools, licenses, bonds, office workers, insurances? What about the work mans salary, FICA, social security, medical benefits, 401 k,? And then there is this little matter of profit. Yes, there is that dirty word creeping in. This plumbing work we do is not a hobby. This is how we put food on the table. My hobbies are golf and fishing, in that order, not plumbing. An old timer told me a long time ago that not only does he get paid for the hard, physical work he performs, but also for his experience, for what he knows. I never forgot

I get a kick out of these plumbing repair shops that send 23 year old service technicians to peoples’ houses. How much experience could he have.? They are salesmen, nothing more. They could not plumb a house from the ground up. They are not trained. As soon as the repair begins to not go by the book, they are lost. That is where experience takes over. It is futile to go back and forth, and around and around with your service people. Find one that shows up on time and does a good, neat job for a fair price,  and stick with them. It doesn’t
get much better than that.

Trust me.

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