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View Full Version : Overloaded, Booked, Swamped


SprinklerGuy
11-18-2001, 05:51 PM
What do you guys do when you are booked/swamped and someone you have worked for before calls and needs you? I never know what to say. I hate leaving that money on the table like that by not being able to get to the work.

Obviously time to hire someone! Anyone for sunny arizona?

HBFOXJr
11-19-2001, 08:34 AM
Depends on what has you swamped/booked and what the exisiting person wants.

If it was installation work I'd put them on the list after the other jobs and maybe hire someone to speed up work if demand will be steady.

If it's service and a real emergency I'd have a guy work late one day or a saturday.

Some of this depends the customers perception of the problem versus your perception/reality.

I get people that call here with a broken lateral or a broken head that get all in a tizzy because they can't "run" their system. We tell them to turn off that one zone till we get there and use the rest. The comment usually is "I never thought of that".

Other consideration, is need for your service quickly a lack of planning and organization on the customers part?

If your jammed for service and demand is fairly steady, leave a spot or two open each week for emergency work and you can fill them with new stuff at the last minute or other little things you wanted to get to.

When we are restarting in the spring I tell my guys that when the run into a big problem, skip and keep checking the rest of the system. Some had started to repair as they go rather than scoping out the entire job.

When a full day of work is scheduled by appointment you can't die on one problem of one job. I tell them get all the easy stuff done to give the customer the most banf for the buck and we'll reschedule the tough stuff for another day when we can allow enough time to deal with the big problem. It works well and the customers understand and are greatful. These jobs are sometimes re-scheduled immediately while on site or the customer is called the next day if no one in the office is available to do the scheduling.

SprinklerGuy
11-19-2001, 08:52 AM
I generally leave one spot open per day for emergencies but it gets filled pretty quickly.

As for installs, they will always wait if they like the salesman and the price is right, never a problem, service however.........

One of the selling points for the guys working for me was that we would never work on Sat or Sun. Have yet to work a weekend in over 5 years. I wonder if I could put FAQ's on my website to walk a customer through turning off the water or a particular zone so that they feel like they can do it themselves while they wait for us to get there?

gusbuster
11-20-2001, 01:10 AM
Originally posted by SprinklerGuy

I wonder if I could put FAQ's on my website to walk a customer through turning off the water or a particular zone so that they feel like they can do it themselves
Tony,
If the client were able to shut off their water or re-program the timer so that one zone wouldn't turn on until our work load permitted it, We wouldn't have a job:)

John

gusbuster
11-20-2001, 01:17 AM
Originally posted by SprinklerGuy
I generally leave one spot open per day for emergencies but it gets filled pretty quickly.

As for installs, they will always wait if they like the salesman and the price is right, never a problem, service however.........

I wonder if I could put FAQ's on my website to walk a customer through turning off the water or a particular zone so that they feel like they can do it themselves
Tony,
If the client were able to shut off their water or re-program the timer so that one zone wouldn't turn on until our work load permitted it, We wouldn't have a job:)

John

SprinklerGuy
11-20-2001, 08:24 AM
Sure we would John, they would still be waiting for us to come fix it they just wouldn't be inconvenienced completely while they wait. I think that is part of good customer service, trying to help people no matter what. Maybe we make it so that only repeat customers can visit the FAQ's and perhaps a membership fee?

gusbuster
11-22-2001, 12:09 AM
Tony,

If people take the time to read the manuals that i leave with them, I wouldn't get so many call outs to re-program timers. Hey, it does make for a quick buck or so...

Do you realy think that people would read a FAQ page on your site? How would you promote it to you clients?

I do like the FAQ on the web site. I just don't think people would take the time to read. Being lazy is part of being a human being.
John

HBFOXJr
11-22-2001, 09:06 AM
even for money. I think people feel ripped off and it doesn't do anything for the relationship. We tell them we charge the same to program as repair, now at $56 minimum charge. Then we tell them when they are done hacking up the fur ball in their throats that we can help them for free over the phone or jsut read what's inside the door and follow directions. They won't break or ruin anything, call us if you have a further problem.

That seems to end it and we all live happily and better ever after.

Servicing this kind of nonsense takes you away from more important stuff they can't do or new sales.

gusbuster
11-22-2001, 01:02 PM
Charging a service call still doesn't change the fact that people are too lazy to read the box or manual.

I do charge a simalar charge, but not as high as $56 to re program a timer for my regualr maintenance gardening accounts. I will charge a min. plus time it takes me to drive out. Here in the bay area of San Francisco, I can say we pay the highest cost of fuel in this nation. My truck don't run on water or whisky.

John

Chuck Sinclair
11-22-2001, 01:17 PM
gusbuster,

I saw on the news last night were gas in Stockton was .99 cents a gallon, i think we are both in the wrong part of California.

Were at 1.27 right now.

gusbuster
11-22-2001, 02:22 PM
Ah, if you been at it as long as I have, the money can be good. The lifestyle can be good. I don't freeze my butt off in the winter like other people, plus, I don't have to work like a madman for 32 weeks. I get another 20. I just wish people wouldn't be so crazy about paying the money they do for the price of a house.

That's why I have to pay 1.69 for a gallon of unleaded.

John

brian klimek
11-25-2001, 05:57 PM
tony,

first, when you are busy, bid work higher. i always add 10% when i am busy. this is where you make your money.

second, how many times are you turning away/swamped with work? are you the lowest bidder, have great marketing tools, word of mouth references: how are you getting the work?

if you are getting work from low pricing, raise prices and make more $$$ doing less work.

if the situation is customers are willing to pay your price, and you run into this problem often, you need to look at taking the next step. second install crew, second service crew, office help...

email or call me if you want to talk.

914-420-8634 cell

any time during waking hours eastern standard time

SprinklerGuy
11-25-2001, 06:20 PM
first, when you are busy, bid work higher. i always add 10% when i am busy. this is where you make your money.

The contracting side is not really the swamped part, mostly service, which as you know feeds the contracting side so you must take care of the service customers.

second, how many times are you turning away/swamped with work? are you the lowest bidder, have great marketing tools, word of mouth references: how are you getting the work?

I probably turn away 1-3 service calls......per day!
I am probably NEVER the lowest bidder, according to the people we work for we seem to be one of the highest
Marketing tools are working well, website, customer service, yellow pages, length of time in business (10yrs in a volatile market), direct mail............
We do get some word of mouth but not a lot, not as much as I would like, rich people don't seem to talk to each other much!


if you are getting work from low pricing, raise prices and make more $$$ doing less work.

See my post.......price increase if you have not already.


if the situation is customers are willing to pay your price, and you run into this problem often, you need to look at taking the next step. second install crew, second service crew, office help...


I have added crews and repairman often.....I am about to add one more service person....hence the need for this thread


Thanks Brian, nice to see you here!

brian klimek
11-26-2001, 11:20 PM
you should not be turning away service work. that is $400-$500 you are turning away each day. hire more service techs and purchase new van/service truck.

these are future extension/word of mouth referrals.

i would start working sundays. against all of my principals, but cannot pass up the $$$. i am a money ho.

by the way, how is the other message board? still s.o.s.?

KerryB
11-27-2001, 09:15 AM
Tony, I wish I had the constant problem you do. lol. But it never fails as soon as I start a large job the phone starts ringing.
I think you have the right idea about reprogramming till you can get to them. However, I think you should send a tech or yourself to do this, not ask the cust. to do it. Sometimes (especially rich people) think that if I could do it myself why call anyone. Some get mad think your not giving them the service they desearve. I know thats not the case but thats what they think.
I hate to leave money on the table. If you can get the service call then later get the repair, thats more (mo) money in your bank account. Not to mention they get that warm fuzzy feeling that you have come to their rescue and provided them with the service they think they should get(personal touch service).
I only turn down a customer if it appears they are going to be a nightmare customer. Like I said I hate leaving money on the table.
Thanks for the help on that other sprinkler problem I had. Maybe next time I can hire you to come back to your homeland and do a little work.