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The Irritator
12-23-2006, 10:11 AM
I was looking over a newsletter I got from Hunter and they had an article on flat rate pricing for service, ie. $x.00 for replacing a broken spray, $x.00 for replacing a broken valve, etc... It sure seems easier than the time/material route. Do any of you guys do service this way?

We run 4 service trucks, and I am looking at a more effective price structure for customers and techs. I don't really like the "by the hour method".

Wet_Boots
12-23-2006, 10:38 AM
Flat-rate might be easier in Florida than in poly-pipe country. How would you deal with a broken pipe price? What if the broken pipe is over a foot down, and underneath a 30-year-old tree? (and the tree is surrounded by a thick tangle of roots, from the surrounding bed of equally mature specimen-grade shrubs)

jerryrwm
12-23-2006, 10:50 AM
Sounds reasonable if everything goes according to plan and no surprises. Changing out that head that would normally take 15 minutes but when you open up that soil and find that a tree root has grown across the lateral and the tee and crushed the pipe and not you have to dig it up and re-route and replace line and fittings, now that flat rate job has just cost you some serious money.

That valve that you would charge a flat rate for now has been installed by some jerk-off and the laterals and wiring are over the piping and you have to dig a bigger hole and replace a bunch of pipe and re-route it so it is done correctly. Just lost some more money on that service call also.

Flat rate service charges are fine for auto mechanics - it takes x.x minutes to change an alternator on a F-150. And it takes the same to do it on the next F-150 that comes in the shop. If you are an HVAC business it takes the same amount of time to charge the compressor on virtually every Lenox unit out there.

There are too many variables in the sprinkler business IMO. T&M is the most reliable method to price irrigation service because you are getting paid for your time. Set an hourly rate with a minimum and price accordingly. We have a 1 hr minimum and charge by the 1/4 hr after that. If your techs are filling out invoices and collecting on the spot, it shouldn't be too hard to calculate how long they were there and what they used. If they can't figure that out, then to my way of thinking they shouldn't be left out alone. A service tech is going to be my most knowledgable employee, and that means knowing how to bill out his time and materials. If nothing else, have them call the office and have the office staff do the math.

londonrain
12-23-2006, 10:54 AM
We do flat rate on 99% of our service calls. The only time we charge an hourly rate is on trouble shooting and misc. repairs IE: raising heads , moving heads, etc.
Our rates are Service call is $60.00 -
installed pricing below.
rotors $35
12" rotor $65
4" spray $15, 6"- $20, 12"- $25.
Valves $100 and up
controllers - $100 and up
solenoids $25 and up
diaphragms $25 and up.
leaks $100 and up.

koster_irrigation
12-23-2006, 11:14 AM
We do flat rate on 99% of our service calls. The only time we charge an hourly rate is on trouble shooting and misc. repairs IE: raising heads , moving heads, etc.
Our rates are Service call is $60.00 -
installed pricing below.
rotors $35
12" rotor $65
4" spray $15, 6"- $20, 12"- $25.
Valves $100 and up
controllers - $100 and up
solenoids $25 and up
diaphragms $25 and up.
leaks $100 and up.


IVe been charging flat rates since i started. Like London said, an hourly rate for trouble shooting and misc repairs. Time is money. Flat rates are great for the contractor if everything goes smooth.

Res $65 hr
Com $85 hr

Rotor $65 installed

aquamtic
12-23-2006, 11:14 AM
londonrain hit it on the money! I learned alot about flat rate pricing through the plumbing industry which is similiar to what we do. We can flat rate about 95 % of it can be especially during season startups.

It also manages the allocated time for the task that techs need to stick to.

If repairs are very intense, techs would take notes and we would put together a more detailed estimate for the customer to approve.

Our service call charge runs from $60-85. Depending on area
Flat Rate Pricing Includes Major Part, Misc Parts, and Install and Setup Labor

Component Price Ave.Labor Notes:
Hunter PGP Rotor $34.00 10 Min
Hunter 1-20 Rotor $38.00 10 Min
All 4" Sprayers $25.00 10 Min Includes MPR or VAN Nozzle
All 12" Sprayers $30.00 15 Min
Nozzle and Filter $7.00 5 Min Install/Adjust Coverage
Backflow 1" or 3/4 $225.00 45 Min Does Not Include Spigot for Blowout
Install Rain Sensor $125.00 20 Min
Replace Diaphragams/Solenoid $35.00
Rebuild manifold Per Valve $125.00 Includes Valves, All Material
Replace Entire Valve Only $95.00
Basic Break Repair $15.00 Quick dig, coupler, clamps
Extended Break Repair $20.00 Dig, coupler, clamps
Flag Heads for Aerating $25.00 Includes Flags

bobw
12-23-2006, 11:47 AM
Interesting concept. Looking at some of the prices you guys doing flat rate are charging, I can't figure out how you survive...

$15 for break repair? $25 for flagging heads.... all very reasonable prices for the service provided.

So... how do you get paid for driving to the customer and back? As much as some of these are 10 or 15 minute jobs, you've still lost 30-40 minutes driving there and back..... and I don't see how you make money @ $15 for that hour of time.

londonrain
12-23-2006, 11:56 AM
Interesting concept. Looking at some of the prices you guys doing flat rate are charging, I can't figure out how you survive...

$15 for break repair? $25 for flagging heads.... all very reasonable prices for the service provided.

So... how do you get paid for driving to the customer and back? As much as some of these are 10 or 15 minute jobs, you've still lost 30-40 minutes driving there and back..... and I don't see how you make money @ $15 for that hour of time.
For example: Customer need one rotor head changed out.
I charge $60 for SC plus $35 for rotor head for total of $95.
most of my jobs are a 10-15 min. drive max.

aquamtic
12-23-2006, 12:04 PM
As I had mentioned in the post, there is always a $60-85 service call charge to come out

bobw
12-23-2006, 12:36 PM
As I had mentioned in the post, there is always a $60-85 service call charge to come out

Sorry... didn't get that you charged the service call fee on top of the flat rate. Makes much more sense that way. I end up at pretty much the same result as you do then in how my customers get charged.

WaterGuru
12-23-2006, 12:46 PM
In my years of doing work in Florida I have found that flat rate pricing just does not work. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in Florida that charges a flat rate. Don't get me wrong, I, along with many companies I know or have worked with/for have tried it. Tried it for all the same reasons, ease of billing, easier for the techs to write up, easier for the homeowners to understand. But it always has come back to, you just make more money on a T&M.
What I have found you need is a very good and though parts price book for the techs, this would need part numbers, part descriptions, and price. Knowing what they need to charge per hour, its very simple. And trust me, if the morons in South Florida can do it, ANYBODY can.
I'm not saying that out of the state T&M is the best way to go, but I am saying that in my 20 some years in the state of Florida from Jacksonville to Key West, T&M is the way to go.

londonrain
12-23-2006, 01:34 PM
In my years of doing work in Florida I have found that flat rate pricing just does not work. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in Florida that charges a flat rate. Don't get me wrong, I, along with many companies I know or have worked with/for have tried it. Tried it for all the same reasons, ease of billing, easier for the techs to write up, easier for the homeowners to understand. But it always has come back to, you just make more money on a T&M.
What I have found you need is a very good and though parts price book for the techs, this would need part numbers, part descriptions, and price. Knowing what they need to charge per hour, its very simple. And trust me, if the morons in South Florida can do it, ANYBODY can.
I'm not saying that out of the state T&M is the best way to go, but I am saying that in my 20 some years in the state of Florida from Jacksonville to Key West, T&M is the way to go.
When I am doing 8-10 or more service calls a day, I need to get in and out as quick as possible. Flat rate works better for me and my customers know what they will be paying in the future on call backs. I provide prompt, courteous and fair pricing. Repeat business is my bread and butter.
If you have tech's that don't care that they must do 8 or more service calls a day I can see doing T&M.

Example 10 min max for a rotor head change.
$60.00 plus head at $10cost or $19 list plus 10 min. labor or $10 = $89 or my flat rate at $95. Works out about the same for me. A Tech "could" take 30.min and charge more but I am on to the next job , so in the long run I would make more in a day than a tech would because I don't have to work per hr, I work per job.

The Irritator
12-23-2006, 02:57 PM
OK. For you guys who do flat rate, how do you pay your techs?

We pay by the billable hour on T&M. We furnish all the material to the techs. I am trying to concieve a way to hold the techs responsible for inventory, without having to do an actual inventory. Any ideas?

bicmudpuppy
12-23-2006, 03:06 PM
Sure glad nobody at my office had considered "flat rates" for that PGP I fixed in the middle of the customers yard back in September. It was about 4 feet from the required street tree.............(yeah, some of the mudslingers are laughing already). Took over 2 hours and the root chopping chain saw. I ended up coring a hole about 6x6 with the chain saw, and was sweating the hole way that I might nick the poly line the cutoff riser was sticking out of. I managed to get down enough to get a stub wrench on the poly riser and 5 gallons of dirt for clean fill and all was better. The only thing wrong with this head on initial inspection was that it had been "mower chopped". Yeah, because it couldn't retract because it was surrounded and choked by a tree root. Customer would have LOVED a bargain flat rate price of less than $100!

Flat rate pricing?? Superman is still not back from vacation, Exray vision isn't an option, so T&M

londonrain
12-23-2006, 05:04 PM
Sure glad nobody at my office had considered "flat rates" for that PGP I fixed in the middle of the customers yard back in September. It was about 4 feet from the required street tree.............(yeah, some of the mudslingers are laughing already). Took over 2 hours and the root chopping chain saw. I ended up coring a hole about 6x6 with the chain saw, and was sweating the hole way that I might nick the poly line the cutoff riser was sticking out of. I managed to get down enough to get a stub wrench on the poly riser and 5 gallons of dirt for clean fill and all was better. The only thing wrong with this head on initial inspection was that it had been "mower chopped". Yeah, because it couldn't retract because it was surrounded and choked by a tree root. Customer would have LOVED a bargain flat rate price of less than $100!

Flat rate pricing?? Superman is still not back from vacation, Exray vision isn't an option, so T&M
Special situations like tree roots , crazy piping and etc. do not get a flat rate from me. I inform the customer of the "special" circumstances. Common sense would dictate this....:hammerhead:

bicmudpuppy
12-23-2006, 09:42 PM
Special situations like tree roots , crazy piping and etc. do not get a flat rate from me. I inform the customer of the "special" circumstances. Common sense would dictate this....:hammerhead:

You can't have it both ways. If you qoute it and change your mind after you start, then you rate right up there with the guy who ALWAYS finds a reason to use the rock clause on the install contract. I say an HONEST flat rate service is going to put you in the hole. Honest, T&M is going to save the customer on the average. Being a repair tech means just what Jerry said, You have to KNOW how to fix it and how to BILL it. If you've been there 25 minutes when your doing the paper work, you bill for 45 (unless your a one hour minimum, but round up). We do a one hour minimum charge instead of a service call. I had one customer insist that if she was paying for 60 minutes, then I needed to be there for 60 minutes. The call was to fix two sprinkler heads. I replaced the two heads and then proceeded to do the complete system inspection. I started flagging the leaking seals and spray heads that weren't retracting properly (reason for replacing the other heads, mower damage). Told her I was more than glad to be there for another 40 minutes, which heads did she want to replace next...............She couldn't write the check fast enough and let me go on my merry way :)

jerryrwm
12-23-2006, 10:20 PM
Special situations like tree roots , crazy piping and etc. do not get a flat rate from me. I inform the customer of the "special" circumstances. Common sense would dictate this....:hammerhead:
Well, you are back to T&M whether you like it or not. And yes I can send a tech out and cover 8 - 10 billable hrs a day on T&M and make pretty decent money. It works out well for us because we do not have cookie cutter irrigation systems to work on as they are all special circumstances, and I have some service calls/repairs that may take 2-4-6 hrs each. You are not going to be able to do that on Flat-Rate billing. You have to go back to T&M.

Plus my clients are invoiced on open accounts. That way the techs aren't doing the pricing. Just the way the big-guy wants it.

londonrain
12-24-2006, 11:03 AM
You can't have it both ways. If you qoute it and change your mind after you start, then you rate right up there with the guy who ALWAYS finds a reason to use the rock clause on the install contract. I say an HONEST flat rate service is going to put you in the hole. Honest, T&M is going to save the customer on the average. Being a repair tech means just what Jerry said, You have to KNOW how to fix it and how to BILL it. If you've been there 25 minutes when your doing the paper work, you bill for 45 (unless your a one hour minimum, but round up). We do a one hour minimum charge instead of a service call. I had one customer insist that if she was paying for 60 minutes, then I needed to be there for 60 minutes. The call was to fix two sprinkler heads. I replaced the two heads and then proceeded to do the complete system inspection. I started flagging the leaking seals and spray heads that weren't retracting properly (reason for replacing the other heads, mower damage). Told her I was more than glad to be there for another 40 minutes, which heads did she want to replace next...............She couldn't write the check fast enough and let me go on my merry way :) This is why I said we bill 99% of the time flat rate, so I can do it either way I like. 99% of the time I don't quote repair jobs, since most of my customers are repeats from the last 15+ years. They know they can trust me on my pricing. If I say it is going to be more ,they are fine with what I say and don't have a problem. I guess this is an advantage of just sending a tech out, I deal directly with my customers. Like I said T&M would be better for a tech but not when I am doing the work. After 15+ years of doing repairs I know what a job is going to take and 90% are easy jobs.

Example on Friday I get a call. I have a leak at a community center. I go Look at the job. There is a leak under a concrete pad at the building going to a water faucet at the tennis courts and it is not irrigation related. I call and tell them before I even put the shovel in the ground, I can stop the leak for $200 so the building can have water for Christmas parties this weekend. 2 hrs later I have a ball valve installed in a 10" box and water back on to the building.
So T&M would be $60 for SC plus 2 hrs labor $100.00 plus $10 for the 10" box and $10 for fittings and ball valve.
T&M total would have been $180 and I quoted $200.
To finish the job I quoted $600 for the boring and hooking up the pipes and I will be completing the job after the new year.

My point is, I have done enough service and I know about how long a job should take and it all works out about the same on flat rate and T&M for me.

Wet_Boots
12-24-2006, 11:52 AM
I had one customer insist that if she was paying for 60 minutes, then I needed to be there for 60 minutes.After I heard this for the first time, I altered my service terms so that the base charge covered 30 minutes, with the clock running after that. Travel time, and all that.

SprinklerGuy
12-26-2006, 08:13 AM
Ditto......Back in 1992......

laylow1994
12-29-2006, 05:54 PM
we use flat rate pricing at valleycrest... it is alot easier for when your in the field.... the only thing that we dont use flat rate on are timers and main line repairs.... makes alot easier when in the field...

bicmudpuppy
12-29-2006, 08:27 PM
we use flat rate pricing at valleycrest... it is alot easier for when your in the field.... the only thing that we dont use flat rate on are timers and main line repairs.... makes alot easier when in the field...

You guys make it sound like the paper work is the hardest part of the job. Paperwork gives me an excuse to get most (yeah, only most) of the mud, glue, crap off of my hands at the end of the call. If adding the parts and time up is to much for a tech, then actually fixing something probably is too.

jerryrwm
12-29-2006, 10:12 PM
we use flat rate pricing at valleycrest... it is alot easier for when your in the field.... the only thing that we dont use flat rate on are timers and main line repairs.... makes alot easier when in the field...
Why wouldn't you use flat rate for the timers? Or for the mainline? Does ValleyCrest invoice from the service tech in the field or from a work order from the field and invoiced from the office?

I still wonder how you flat-raters handle time overages. If you tell a client that it will be $80.00 for a rotor head replacement and you run into problems because you broke the lateral at the fitting and the job ran 1.25 hrs instead of the 45 minutes you thought. Assuming you charge $22.00-$25.00 for a rotor head that puts you at about $55.00 - $58.00/hr. Are you going to lose money on the job or are you going to modify you billing and charge more? If you charge more then you are not flat-rating your work. You are doing T&M with a heavy loaded front end to cover your butt in most instances.

My point is that after 25+ yrs of doing this business I am still not going to quote someone a price for a repair job over hte phone. I'll give them a ball park with a qualifier that I won't know until I open it up. Dirt covers up a multitude of sins and until I see what I'm up against, I ain't pricing anything.

DanaMac
12-30-2006, 10:13 AM
I agree with Jerry. Too many variables below the dirt. We're not Superman with xray vision. A mainline or lateral may be broken below ground, and maybe it's at a straight inline fitting, or a tee, or even a cross. If you quote $120 and it takes more time to dig around the cross and more fittings and slip fixes, yet you've quoted for repairing a straight inline fitting, then you're screwed. The ONLY things I will quote over the phone, are timer and backflow preventer replacements. I have them tell me exactly what make and model, and even then I give them a price range.

I still think service call fee for first half hour, then T&M after that is best. After going over the system, I will tell them what is wrong and approximately how long it will take. And appx. how much in parts. But a lot of time, you have to fix one repair before you can even find the next problem.

laylow1994
12-30-2006, 05:40 PM
yea but for me when i am doing 10-15 service calls a day it is easier for me.... plus if you break something doing a repair why should the customer pay for your time fixing your mistake..... i think it all depends on the tech i guess.... I work for valleycrest and i also own my own business too.... I use flatrate pricing for service calls.... I aslo charge a service call fee also of $25.00..... So that helps alot...

PurpHaze
12-31-2006, 01:07 AM
So what's the flat rate to repair a 6" main line? :)

laylow1994
12-31-2006, 07:38 AM
we dont do flat rate on mainline repairs or electrical or timers or installs....

DanaMac
12-31-2006, 10:08 AM
we dont do flat rate on mainline repairs or electrical or timers or installs....

We can come up with any scenario to or situation to question you about. But it works for you, great. You are probably making great money doing it that way. It doesn't for most of us here. I can understand a vehicle service center doing flatrate pricing. They know that every Chevy 2500 water pump is installed the same. And by doing them before, they know that it should take 1.75 hours to remove the same x number of bolts and install the same pump. They can see everything without digging it up.

Do you charge for digging up the problem, then give a flat rate price for the repair that you have now found? And if not, what if after digging it up the customer balks at the price and says too expensive. Or do you say - OK there is a leak right here, not sure what it is, but it's $300. With my service call fee of $60 for the first half hour, I get paid to even diagnose the problem.

aquamtic
12-31-2006, 10:25 AM
Did you guys read through the entire threads that started this??? We who do use flat rate do not use it 100%. Of ourse there are thing we cant tell what might come up but the obvious tasks that happen especially during startups such as replacing a basic head, replace a do or solenoid can be handled as flat rate all other un obvious repairs should be time and material.

If some of you guys can not come up with a average time and materail cost to do a basic repair. Then you are at times ripping off your customer

And lets also remember we do charge a Service Call Charge to come out

Flat Rate is not something that we just made up. I learned about it from the plumbing industry so if it works well for them, I believe our indyutry can benefit from it also to a certain degree

BSME
12-31-2006, 02:15 PM
Like Dana... the only thing I'll give flat rate for is timers and backflows because those are almost always the same and a little more expensive so people want to know what they are getting themselves into. I'll also tell them that it may change slightly once I get out there and take a look at it.

I believe T&M is fair for everyone involved. I do, however, thinks it's very easy for a company charging flat rate to make good money. I just think they'll lose more customers...

When I worked for a company that charged flat rate they were charging over $50 for a pgp... 5 years ago. So a service call plus the pgp was over $100. Probably higher than T&M. If you ask me... they made the real money when I hammered out 5 maxis that have been chewed up by a lawn mower and changed to pgps. The thing is... the company wouldn't lose money if that pgp was wrapped up by a treet root. They'd just charge extra for the extra pain. Half the time the customer would understand the other half they'd get mad and probably drop the company. It didn't really matter I guess for them since 90% are easy fixes where you come out ahead on flat rate.

So although I think the guys charging flat rate won't have any problems making money... I think T&M is the most fair method.... and I hope the fact that I try to be as fair as possible will help me grow..

....then we'll get a very high flat rate....Just kidding

laylow1994
12-31-2006, 03:03 PM
Just curious what other people that use flat rate what there pricing are.... well i work for valleycrest in tampa... each branch the pricing is different....
here are some of our prices....

6" pop-up spray $21.00
6" rotor $30.00
1/2-3/4" lateral line $47.00
1-1 1/4" lateral line $87.00
1 1/2 - 2" ;ateral line $157.00
1" valve $125.00
1 1/2" valve $200.00

Repairs
01-01-2007, 06:51 PM
Some of the guys on the board are missing the flat rate benefits. Yes, you will loose some money on some jobs, but the point is that you figure your annual operating costs, and desired profit margin and spread that across all of your jobs. I may loose money on 1 job but the 20 jobs I just made 20% more on because I used flat rate made me more money. Customers will pay more money when they know how much the job will cost upfront. They honestly don't care how much you charge by the hour, they want to know the bottom line. I have seen that as a fact over the last 3 years I have been using a flat rate system. You also pre-qualify new customers before you start the job, and if they expect a new clock, 2 valves and 6 sprays for 150.00, you can move on to your next job before even beginning. The key to making money on a flat rate system Is I can run a three man repair crew and double or triple my output, yet the customer never sees that my typical hourly labor rate is 150+. The catch to this system is that your tech must be top-notch. He must be able to recognize what will be problems that may screw you on the job. This system is probably not effective for folks who do not see a lot of systems, and multiple issues frequently. I do not make money going on a call to change 1 head, but the jobs that are 150.00-1500.00 more than make up for a few small ones. I consider the service call a lost-leader to get the folks in the front door. We make money @ 150+.

Wet_Boots
01-01-2007, 08:45 PM
I don't quite get a flat rate for a valve. Is this for fixing or for replacing? I hope there's a valve box. No question that it might be possible to attract more customers with a fixed fee, but it would seem to me, that the only way to accommodate unforseen circumstances is to add to the flat rate, so that all the customers are contributing to defraying the lower 'take' on the problem jobs. I'd prefer that the guy with the $700 leak pay for it, and not burden my other customers. But then, I see a lot of systems that are decades old, and not likely to be repairable on a cookie-cutter basis.

I'd still bet that flat-rate sprinkler service is more common in warm-weather areas. Not a whole lot for that 'top-notch tech' to do around here in February.

bicmudpuppy
01-01-2007, 10:55 PM
I'd still bet that flat-rate sprinkler service is more common in warm-weather areas. Not a whole lot for that 'top-notch tech' to do around here in February.


BINGO! The one benefit I almost "see" to flat rate is that it gives you an "out" for those repairs that don't go right because you had the wrong people on board. That inexperienced tech (or the one who just hasn't seen the right antiques) who costs somebody a bunch of money from ignorance gets absorbed into the formula. In a seasonal market, a "good" tech justifies his pay rate and "winter vacation" by how profitable they are on service calls. Doing your own paper work, being an above average technician, etc. are how you improve your production and thus your perceived value to the company. This helps justify the compensation you wish to receive!

As an employer put it when I was down in DFW............We like to eat at the TOP of the food chain :)

Repairs
01-02-2007, 10:20 AM
It's what works for me. I am located in texas. Valves are handled in the following manner. Only two choices when we work on it. Either the valve is completely rebuilt... solenoid bonnet, diaphram, springs, or cut out and replace entire assy. Now we only rebuild a select few vales mostly the newer type. Old brass valves or hard to find parts for valves get removed. Why leave it so it can be hard to get parts for next time. Isnt that a better long term value for the customer anyway? Regardless of which route we go, it will get a full 6 mos. warranty. If I can't give that then why do it? Why just replace the bonnet, and leave a 10 year old solenoid in the ground? Yes, that may be good for you but is it good for your customer? My guys get 90% of the rebuilds knocked out in 15min. or so. We can do a standard cut out and replace in about 30 mins. tops. Keep in mind we are down south, so our systems are not typicallly over 6", but this is how we do it. Rebuild $98 -- Replace 1" Valve, No roots, rocks, and not over 6" deep -- 126. Locating is seperate -- typically 40.00 first valve 17 each addtl. This system is now upselling orientated. If 3 of the customers valves 205 richdels over 10 years old, and are not opening all the way, why are we not recommending he rebuild all 5 valves and save the aggrevation of having to have you out multiple times. Quote -- Five valves rebuilt -- 4 sprays -- locate 2 valves -- svc call and system inspection including light adjustments -- quote 680.00. My men can knock out a job like this in 2.5-3hrs tops including the initial inspection/quote time. It all comes back to good tech's, my three man crew knows exactly what they are doing on every single repair. Now if the system is multi-strand or goofy wiring this will change the locating quote. All you have to do is write in an time not to exceed in you original quote. If it exceeds 30 mins. on the locating there will be and additional charge etc. If there are roots rock or extra depth, we quote the higher rate. If it hurts your feelings when you are done because it wasnt deeper, most customers will always accept a courtesey discount. I typically tell them that the discount is due to the fact that my men finished the job under the budgeted time. How do you think a customer will respond when you just quoted them 275 for a repair and at the end they end up paying you 225 because it was under the "budgeted time". Can you say customer for life? Our customer satisfaction on this system is unbelievably high.

bicmudpuppy
01-02-2007, 10:39 AM
It's what works for me. I am located in texas. Valves are handled in the following manner. Only two choices when we work on it. Either the valve is completely rebuilt... solenoid bonnet, diaphram, springs, or cut out and replace entire assy. Now we only rebuild a select few vales mostly the newer type. Old brass valves or hard to find parts for valves get removed. Why leave it so it can be hard to get parts for next time. Isnt that a better long term value for the customer anyway? Regardless of which route we go, it will get a full 6 mos. warranty. If I can't give that then why do it? Why just replace the bonnet, and leave a 10 year old solenoid in the ground? Yes, that may be good for you but is it good for your customer? My guys get 90% of the rebuilds knocked out in 15min. or so. We can do a standard cut out and replace in about 30 mins. tops. Keep in mind we are down south, so our systems are not typicallly over 6", but this is how we do it. Rebuild $98 -- Replace 1" Valve, No roots, rocks, and not over 6" deep -- 126. Locating is seperate -- typically 40.00 first valve 17 each addtl. This system is now upselling orientated. If 3 of the customers valves 205 richdels over 10 years old, and are not opening all the way, why are we not recommending he rebuild all 5 valves and save the aggrevation of having to have you out multiple times. Quote -- Five valves rebuilt -- 4 sprays -- locate 2 valves -- svc call and system inspection including light adjustments -- quote 680.00. My men can knock out a job like this in 2.5-3hrs tops including the initial inspection/quote time. It all comes back to good tech's, my three man crew knows exactly what they are doing on every single repair. Now if the system is multi-strand or goofy wiring this will change the locating quote. All you have to do is write in an time not to exceed in you original quote. If it exceeds 30 mins. on the locating there will be and additional charge etc. If there are roots rock or extra depth, we quote the higher rate. If it hurts your feelings when you are done because it wasnt deeper, most customers will always accept a courtesey discount. I typically tell them that the discount is due to the fact that my men finished the job under the budgeted time. How do you think a customer will respond when you just quoted them 275 for a repair and at the end they end up paying you 225 because it was under the "budgeted time". Can you say customer for life? Our customer satisfaction on this system is unbelievably high.


But thats not "flat rate". Thats a T&M table with a SWAG thrown in. I can "estimate" all day long. Estimating high so you seem like a nice guy when it all is over is still estimating, and its still T&M. I still don't know whats down there until I get the shovel out of the truck. Flat rate means you fix it for a FLAT RATE no matter what you find down there. Pipe art, six abandoned laterals, or poured concrete. If you quoted a flat rate and then change your mind..........well, yeah I covered that in the earlier post. Got a lot of "rock clause" junkies in this market too.

Wet_Boots
01-02-2007, 11:44 AM
While I don't think a lot of the flat-rate concept on the old systems I deal with, I can let any caller know what a sprinkler head replacement should run, when they inquire, just by adding my minimum T&M for such work.

Sometimes, when I encounter a job where a major refit of both backflow and valve manifolds are called for, I'll set a price ceiling for the job, based on what I expect the T&M to run. That way, a client doesn't have to worry about the meter running into extra charges. But I don't like to do that unless I know exactly how I'm connecting the dots, with no buried surprises.

Repairs
01-02-2007, 03:40 PM
You call it what you want to call it, my point was you can flat rate with a guarantee but under certain circumstances have an exception. I do not have a rock clause, the price of the original quote is higher if it is in rock. I told you previously I have two laborers on a crew so if need be we dig up leaks before quoting the job we do it. My customers never pay a dime over what I quote them, and ocassionally when I finish one under my time figured for, I will reduce the price as a courtesey. It sounds like t&m is the best system for your business and that is fine. I just cant run the volume I do now under the t&m system. When I started 10years ago we did the t&m thing and that worked for a while. The facts are facts, we did 30% more in gross dollars the year we switched to flat rate and I put about 20% more profit in my pocket. For each his own though, if you are happy with what you are doing then by all means dont change. I was just at a point several years ago that I wanted to make more money without working more hours.

Wet_Boots
01-02-2007, 04:16 PM
I think it might work out to a warm/cold poly/PVC kind of argument. Just two different ways of doing things. Northern fixit guys have a shorter repair season. I have a lot of issues with roots on some properties, and there isn't any good way to flat-rate them. Pulling new pipe is sometimes required.

Obviously, the idea is to maximize profits. With a flat rate, you can shift the service labor around, and not have to sweat the clock. I like that idea.

Duekster
01-02-2007, 05:21 PM
I use a hybred system for larger sites.

You have to cover travel time and truck charges.

SprinklerGuy
01-03-2007, 08:58 AM
Repairs...

I would be very interested in seeing a copy of your book....your flat rate book....care to share it? I have researched this tremendously.....I have gone so far as to have someone quote me a price to create a book.....

would you share yours?

Thanks,

Repairs
01-03-2007, 10:46 PM
I have a pretty simple excel spreadsheet set up. I know there are companies out there that have more complex books out there, but have found my simple spreadsheet to work well. I took my target hourly rate, the average time it took to do the job, and the estimated material cost, and then generated a quote amount. What I figured max time, and materials off of was what 95% of the jobs would take. All of our markets will probably differ, as conditions, and common materials are different. I have a ridiculous amount of time invested in it, and would prefer not to give it out. It will probably take about a week to set up the spreadsheet, then initially an hour per week to update items that may not be accurate for the first couple of months. Once you get it dialed in, You can update material costs every 6 mos. or so. I created my own because most of the flat rate companies I could locate only did plumbing or electrical, so I assumed they would have little experience on Irrigation. Let me know if I can help.

zman9119
01-03-2007, 11:04 PM
Repairs...

I would be very interested in seeing a copy of your book....your flat rate book....care to share it? I have researched this tremendously.....I have gone so far as to have someone quote me a price to create a book.....

would you share yours?

Thanks,

I would be interested too (if your sharing...)


.mz

laylow1994
01-17-2007, 07:07 PM
just send me a pm and ill email everyone that is interested in my flat rate pricing... sprinkler guy please send me your email again....

SprinklerGuy
01-17-2007, 08:48 PM
sprinklersolutions at msn dot com

zman9119
01-18-2007, 05:45 PM
PM sent. Thanks



.mz

No Rush
01-20-2007, 08:57 AM
just send me a pm and ill email everyone that is interested in my flat rate pricing... sprinkler guy please send me your email again....
:waving:
I would like to see the flat rate pricing...can you pm or email me a copy?

Thanks

laylow1994
01-20-2007, 12:52 PM
6" pop-up spray- $24.00- 6" rotor $34.00- 4" pop-up spray $18.00 4" rotor $30.00 12"pop-up spray $30.00 1" valve $150.00 1 1/2" valve $200.00 2" valve $250.00 rain sensor $75.00 wireless rain sensor $100.00 clocks vary it all depends what clock and how many zones.
all our main line repairs are t&m. electrical is $50.00 hour. usually when i do installs i usually do $400 a zone.... this is justa quick overview of my pricing...

PurpHaze
01-25-2007, 10:15 PM
Interesting insight on flat rates.

http://www.hunterindustries.com/Resources/Library/Business/200611_hdln_pricing.html