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Discussion Starter #1
Good Morning guys

Prices are set by our insurances, taxes, materails, truck, tools, and retirement
accounts.

Going by these guidelines prices are set correct.

Then why in the hell do customers always have a way to complain about them. We go there they do not come to our shops for repairs, not quite as simple as going to the Drs office. They just cannot understand that we have bill just the same as they have, kills me every time they call to inquire about a bill.

I get everything from seems kinda of high to me, to "could you seprate the bill for me"

This always seem to be the same group of people who have very good jobs in very large co. that have been in business for years and have great job security.

Why is it they complain soo much?

Bernie
 

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I charge extra for codtors and lawyers. Seriously I'd say more than half our problem customers is a doctor or a lawyer. I'm not in hvac but I've experienced the same problems. It's a bit easier for me though because 99% of my work is based off an estimate.

As to the "break down the estimate": Sir I'd be happy to have my administration staff do that for you. There will be a $15 service fee, and they can probably have it done by the end of tomorrow.

As to the "seems kinda high to me" I use a sales trick: "High, compared to what?" Usually they are basing their assumption on thin air.

Bottom line is if you get the same objection over and over again... think of a way to head it off at the pass. Face the problem before it occurs.
 

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I've found the biggest problem is that someone that has never done any kind of construction really have no idea what the value of work is. So, like Grumpy, said - they have nothing to base it on so they don't understand it. And not understanding something is the biggest reason for not knowing something.
Give a 10 page handout to someone to read and on page 5 put a big word that only the brightest of individuals could possibly know what it means. You'll find that everything from page 5 on was not understood and barely read at all. Their mind gets hooked on trying to understand that one word and it doesn't bother with the rest.
Same principle.
 

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Remember guys the customer is always right. If they are uncomfortable with the price then assume that some tension is built up in them. DON'T increase their tension by arguing your case, they don't want to hear it. This just tells them how wrong they are.

Instead why don't you agree with them. Say, "yes maam you are right the price is very high and I apologize for that but the reason is my operating expenses are very high also. You are welcome to get other estimates but you will find that my price is very reasonable compared to other companies".
 

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The customer is NOT always right if it costs me money for no reason. I agree customer service is very important but I also have stubborn pride, not to mention greed. While I agree arguing is not the way to go about it sometimes your left with no choice.

If at all possible I will give in to little things, I try to give excellent customer service from start to finish. Sometimes the customer is just plain wrong.


Also steve I think we are talking about invoices, not estimates. YOur 100% correct if in an estimating stage.
 

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Not all the time Steve. The customer is always right - IF - you have a signed contract with the customer. Even then I like negotiation in lieu of rolling over for a customer.
 

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Rich, regardless of signed contract, the customer is always right only when what they are saying agrees with the signed contract. To be honest most customers don't understand the contract some times. Most of the time I present a proposal, they skip all the meat of the contract, and go right to the price. I have to slow them down to first gear and explain to them price should be one of the last things they look for.
 

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Yes Grumpy that's what I was implying - agreement with a signed contract. It's a hard thing to explain to clients isn't it? Look at the price of a house? Let's say average and to make it easy $200,000 home. Put a 3% up charge (typical difference on most of my bids that I am over the competition) on that to guarantee the home is built the way they want it. $6000 in the overall budget is pretty small - divide that out over the life of a mortgage without interest and it's less than $17 a month to get what they want. One less quarter pounder a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Most of my work is in maintance so almost all of it is T & M, what kills me is when they get the bill the first thing they will say is " the guys was here for only a half hour "
They do not relate to the fact of traval time, and stock pick ups.

Heres an example: Customer calls at 2:00 AM for not heat, I asked if there was oil in the tank and if the switch was on both answers yes, so off I go.

Arrived to find the emergency switch in the hall shut off, turned it on and check out of the system, total time on job 20 mins.

Do you think when they got the bill for the $85.00 after hour call they called me to thank me ?

Was the customer right? NO I think not.

This is the stuff that kills ya

Bernie
 

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Combat travel times with a mobilization fee. The first hour costs 75, each additional is 50. Now they can't argue about how long you spent. Combat time spent picking up materials by marking up the material price, or keeping the most common materials in your truck.

This reminds me of a story. A customer calls and says his TV won't work. The repair man says he'll be right out. He looks at the tv, then feels around in the back. He takes a small hammer from his tool bag and taps on the back of the tv and it instantly turns on. He gives the customer a bill for $100. The customer is shocked! The customer says, all you did was knowck the tv and it took you 15 minutes. The repair man says "Well $10 of that bill was for knocking the tv. $90 was for knowing where to knock."

Maybe tell that story next time someone complains about your bill.
 

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Good one Grumpy. Could also be used to explain the benefits of hiring a general contractor instead of building it themselves. Many people will complain about having to pay a fee for hiring a contractor. That fee they're paying for is for the GC's knowledge, experience, and business sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You gotta love the homeowner GC, they sometimes have no clue what so ever as to how things are done and in what time table.

They all seem to know drywall, so with that in mind they draywall everything.

Of course this is before all plumbing, electric, hvac, and insulation has been installed.

Home Depot loves them, they get to sell twice as much drywall, tape, mud and paint.

I did a new addation a few weeks back, should of taken 20 sheets to complete but Joe Blow the home owner doing his own drywall only took 6 weeks to complete and at a cost of 55 sheets. Saved a ton of money here huh?

Bernie
 

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You also gotta love the home owner that wants to supply their own materials. Do they really think they can get it cheaper? Them who buy it once a lifetie or me who buys it daily and gets a discount. I shy away from jobs like these.
 

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Are you guys interested in a view from the other side?

I'm not here to cause trouble, but I am a homeowner that does some of my own installs and house projects.

My basic premise is that there are DIY types that don't have a clue, and those that do, and I have turned away many a contractor for overbidding or BS'ing me. But then, too, there are many good contractors out there that are honest and reliable as well, so the key is in knowing the difference. I only do it myself if I can't find someone to do it for a reasonable price. I usually get about 5 bids for each big project, and hire the one that I connect with the best. Price is a factor, but getting a lowball bid from someone who isn't clued in on what I want is cause for concern in my book. I don't mind paying more if I think it is value added. Competence is not something you can fake or hide.

As far as buying my own stuff, when a contractor wants to sell me something that I know is marked up 100%, then, yes, I can get it cheaper. He may be able to get it cheaper, but that doesn't mean he is going to sell it to me cheaper. I can understand a reasonable markup, but there is a limit. Same with labor, if I know it's an 8 hour job, and the labor bid is <way big number>, there is something wrong.

Anyways, I came here with a heat pump question, not to ruffle feathers, so toodle-doo.

Doug
 
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It always comes down to competition.

Buyers and sellers of products and services are free to decide for themselves what they are willing to pay or be paid for a job. Sellers compete with each other for business (Thank God!) and buyers can decide, if they are unwilling or unable to DIY, can choose the winner of the competitors.

Personally, on a limited salary, I do as much as I can with my limited skills and get inexpensive, immigrant skilled labor to do what I cannot. This enables me to escape all the overpriced scammers.
 
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