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irritation
07-17-2012, 09:43 PM
She called for me to check the system because it was coming on when it's not supposed to and grass is brown.
First thing I notice is controller off time and at default settings, 10 min a zone every day. I check all zones and all heads and reprogram controller. I billed her 75.00

What would you charge? It's not like I was next door, at least 20 min drive time one way. Long time customer and an old system I didn't install.

I almost called her back when I was hot and tired and tear up the invoice and find someone else.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-17-2012, 09:53 PM
Stick to your guns. You could of been a lot of places and yet you were there to help her. If she can't appreciate that then tough.

txirrigation
07-17-2012, 10:04 PM
She called for me to check the system because it was coming on when it's not supposed to and grass is brown.
First thing I notice is controller off time and at default settings, 10 min a zone every day. I check all zones and all heads and reprogram controller. I billed her 75.00

What would you charge? It's not like I was next door, at least 20 min drive time one way. Long time customer and an old system I didn't install.

I almost called her back when I was hot and tired and tear up the invoice and find someone else.

We charge $105 min. I had a tech come back one day after he plugged in the clients controller, which was the reason the system was not working. The customer didnt want to pay, so I called him and explained it.

1. Tech left shop at 7:30 and did not get to the next repair until 9:15. He paid for the time I lost where I could have made money somewhere else.

2. Gas

3. Insurance Company/Auto/Workers Comp

4. Training Time

5. Lost time

I probably paid $45 to have my tech plug in his controller.

DanaMac
07-17-2012, 10:12 PM
$75 for the first half hour on site. That's what I would have charged. If it was an out of area home, with additional drive time, more $ on top of that.

I kindly tell them, "hey if you can bring your sprinkler system to me, I will charge straight labor with no service call fee or minimum charge". I tend to get the pause on the other end of the phone, then the ok I'll send a check. But this is a customer that you may lose due to charge. Some folks don't understand what ti takes to operate a business.

irritation
07-17-2012, 10:27 PM
I'm not worried about losing the customer but I hate confrontation and don't look forward to the phone call. I should have called when I was hot.

DanaMac
07-17-2012, 11:29 PM
I had to deal with one today as well. $700 to replace a ball valve 6' deep, with a curb stop, going from the line from the well to the house, teeing off for the sprinklers. Some manifold work too. And I already gave him a discount. Lots of labor, not much in materials.
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irritation
07-17-2012, 11:42 PM
6' deep? That would require a hole I'm not willing to dig or reach for. Your frost depth is not that deep is it? I would have charged that for the backhoe.

DanaMac
07-18-2012, 12:05 AM
Supply to the house is typically 6' here. I should have told him to get a plumber with a bucket, but I didn't. My employees dug it, and I got in the hole to replace it. I'm not putting them in jeopardy.
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jvanvliet
07-18-2012, 06:03 AM
She called for me to check the system because it was coming on when it's not supposed to and grass is brown.
First thing I notice is controller off time and at default settings, 10 min a zone every day. I check all zones and all heads and reprogram controller. I billed her 75.00

What would you charge? It's not like I was next door, at least 20 min drive time one way. Long time customer and an old system I didn't install.

I almost called her back when I was hot and tired and tear up the invoice and find someone else.

$95.00 to show up for any part of an hour & $95.00 per hour thereafter.

ArTurf
07-18-2012, 06:36 AM
I'm not worried about losing the customer but I hate confrontation and don't look forward to the phone call. I should have called when I was hot.

$75 for a service call is not unreasonable. Better to not talk to a customer when you are upset. My philosophy is to not let people get to you, if they make you mad they won. As the saying goes "cool heads prevail". When you need to talk to her have your speech more less prepared. Say something to the effect like txirrigation said.

1idejim
07-18-2012, 07:35 PM
i received a nice letter today concerning http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=367642&highlight=veterans
and the fact that i haven't been paid yet, guess what? this turned out to be a he said / she said finger pointing mess that will cost more than what it's worth to collect.

i would rather work for HO's any day than work for new to me contractors, my list of gripes goes on for days but i think of one thing in this instance. the little bit i lost pales in comparison to what they gave.


Wn_iz8z2AGw

DanaMac
07-18-2012, 07:43 PM
Stick it to 'em Jimmy :)

jbell36
07-18-2012, 08:06 PM
i got that two weeks ago...we have a full maintenance customer who wanted me to come over to check out a head that she thinks is watering the neighbors yard...so i check it out and nothing was wrong...i was only there maybe 10 minutes so i tacked on $25 to her regular bill...it was only $25 because she is a great customer and does full maintenance...she didn't agree with the additional charge but she paid it, she's lucky it wasn't at least double that...it's hard to make everyone understand our side

BPS##
07-18-2012, 08:10 PM
$95.00 to show up for any part of an hour & $95.00 per hour thereafter.





DAMN I'm too cheap. $50 an hr here, some guys are $60.

Wet_Boots
07-18-2012, 08:25 PM
i received a nice letter today concerning http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=367642&highlight=veterans
and the fact that i haven't been paid yet, guess what? this turned out to be a he said / she said finger pointing mess that will cost more than what it's worth to collect.

i would rather work for HO's any day than work for new to me contractors, my list of gripes goes on for days but i think of one thing in this instance. the little bit i lost pales in comparison to what they gave.


Wn_iz8z2AGwputting a lien on a cemetery would be kind of weird

jbell36
07-18-2012, 08:51 PM
DAMN I'm too cheap. $50 an hr here, some guys are $60.

i agree...$95/hour is crazy money, i would love to get that...i also only charge $50 right now because i'm still fairly new...once i feel like i can diagnose most problems and fix things the correct way i will charge about $65, that seems to be the going rate around here...there is one company from the area that charges $85/hr. they are new to irrigation, what they have going for them though is they are a huge company with a great reputation in the green industry...

Irrigation Contractor
07-18-2012, 11:52 PM
i agree...$95/hour is crazy money, i would love to get that...i also only charge $50 right now because i'm still fairly new...once i feel like i can diagnose most problems and fix things the correct way i will charge about $65, that seems to be the going rate around here...there is one company from the area that charges $85/hr. they are new to irrigation, what they have going for them though is they are a huge company with a great reputation in the green industry...

Take this for what it is worth since I know many never take my advice:cool2:

PLEASE RAISE YOUR RATES TO MATCH ALL THE REAL IRRIGATION CONTRACTORS IN YOUR AREA.

You will have a hard time explaining to your customers the increase when you all of a sudden decide to change.

$50.00?????

We are $85.00 per hour for residential and $95.00 for commercial service work. A tech will time-in to Hindsite when he leaves the shop, gets to the job, completes the job, then they time out and time in to the next service call. This process continues daily until the last service call which will be billed 30 more minutes of drive time back to the office.

This year we had some customers used to pricing from years ago and they were not happy when they got their bill, we explained and justified our prices. Some of them left and some we even dropped, all the others jumped onboard and the best were the one's that called back a few days later:clapping:

It was fun telling a few EX-customers that ran their mouths, that we were no longer interested in their business.

GreenI.A.
07-19-2012, 12:04 AM
Last year we had one where there was no power going to the electrical outlet for the controller. Quick check of the fuse box showed a piece of equipment on the same circuit trip the breaker. Customer didn't like the 123.00 bill to flip the switch.

1idejim
07-19-2012, 12:21 AM
Last year we had one where there was no power going to the electrical outlet for the controller. Quick check of the fuse box showed a piece of equipment on the same circuit trip the breaker. Customer didn't like the 123.00 bill to flip the switch.

mine was much more involved than flipping a switch but along the same line that the RP was out of their comfort zone and ability.
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jvanvliet
07-19-2012, 06:04 AM
DAMN I'm too cheap. $50 an hr here, some guys are $60.

I'm too cheap; my competitors are getting from $105.00 to as high as $165.00 I'm aware of.

DanaMac
07-19-2012, 07:34 AM
We are $70 for the first half hour, and $70 per hour after that. So the first hour is $105.
For new customers this summer, I'm quoting $75-$80. Some take it, some don't. For my area, I am on the high end. There are only 1-2 companies higher than us, other than maybe some of the larger companies that have their commercial accounts.

There was a system we shut down last fall that had an old gate valve. About two weeks after we shut it down, the GV isn't holding and water starts dripping out of the drain just past it, onto the floor. She couldn't get a hold of us, and rather than put a bucket under it, she called a plumber. All they did was tighten the GV a bit and it stopped. They were there for less than 10 minutes she said. $100, and she tried getting me to pay for it.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-19-2012, 10:45 AM
Raising rates is tough when you have lots of longtime customers. I raised it 5.00/yr/hr regardless of the competition's prices.
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DanaMac
07-19-2012, 11:49 AM
There was one year when I went to the half hour service call fee, and raised the additional hour rate, that did not go over well with customers. Best decision I have made. Weeded out a lot of cheap customers and poor systems.

jvanvliet
07-19-2012, 03:21 PM
We drop low margin accounts semi-annually. We are full right now and not adding people till after the elections. If we pick up a solid high end account, well drop a low end or PIA the next house cleaning.

BPS##
07-19-2012, 05:00 PM
I'm too cheap; my competitors are getting from $105.00 to as high as $165.00 I'm aware of.






Unreal, that would never float in my area.


Up to $80 yes as some folks will call a plumber to fix sprinkler issues, but that is the upper end of what folks would tolerate.

Some even beech about $50.

jvanvliet
07-19-2012, 07:48 PM
Unreal, that would never float in my area.


Up to $80 yes as some folks will call a plumber to fix sprinkler issues, but that is the upper end of what folks would tolerate.

Some even beech about $50.

Most of our business is commercial or HOA

Weekend cut easymoney
07-19-2012, 08:00 PM
maybe next time work for most of an hour doing an irrigation check and adjusting some heads--

should have told her it is 'item pricing', not 'per hour' pricing for the trip--the charge to diagnose a failing system, for your experince and efficiency is $95-flat rate

LI15573

irritation
07-19-2012, 08:12 PM
I called and left a quick message. "I'm sorry you feel my bill is unreasonable but it is not, please pay whatever you think is right and find another company to service your sprinkler system."

1idejim
07-19-2012, 08:14 PM
I called and left a quick message. "I'm sorry you feel my bill is unreasonable but it is not, please pay whatever you think is right and find another company to service your sprinkler system."

:clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping:

Wet_Boots
07-19-2012, 08:22 PM
then file a lien :mad:

DanaMac
07-19-2012, 08:22 PM
I called and left a quick message. "I'm sorry you feel my bill is unreasonable but it is not, please pay whatever you think is right and find another company to service your sprinkler system."

Sometimes that is all you can do. I've had to do the same. There have been a couple where I tell them forget it, don't pay, and don't call.

irritation
07-19-2012, 08:27 PM
then file a lien :mad:

Never worth the hassle.

Weekend cut easymoney
07-19-2012, 08:27 PM
I called and left a quick message. "I'm sorry you feel my bill is unreasonable but it is not, please pay whatever you think is right and find another company to service your sprinkler system."

should have waited to see what she paid you, then you could send her the note to never call back--I think she already beat you to the punch...she won't call again, until one of your competitors charges the same rate-

irritation
07-19-2012, 08:40 PM
I bet she pays the full bill, if not she's in for a shock for poor service and higher prices.

1idejim
07-19-2012, 08:48 PM
should have waited to see what she paid you, then you could send her the note to never call back--I think she already beat you to the punch...she won't call again, until one of your competitors charges the same rate-

she's already been fired.............

irritation
07-19-2012, 08:56 PM
she's already been fired.............

Not really, and if she pays I doubt there will ever be anymore problems.

1idejim
07-19-2012, 09:06 PM
Not really, and if she pays I doubt there will ever be anymore problems.

point taken and corrected.



i can't have nuthin nice :hammerhead:

irritation
07-19-2012, 09:15 PM
I've had customers dump me before and come back. Anything goes now and they are the best customers.

DanaMac
07-19-2012, 09:16 PM
Not really, and if she pays I doubt there will ever be anymore problems.

In my eyes, the relationship is over. She will never trust him, and will always think she is getting overcharged. Then talking bad to her friends about it. Sometimes, you just gotta move on. We'll never make 100% of the people happy.

irritation
07-19-2012, 09:38 PM
In my eyes, the relationship is over. She will never trust him, and will always think she is getting overcharged. Then talking bad to her friends about it. Sometimes, you just gotta move on. We'll never make 100% of the people happy.

I did nothing wrong. I gave her next day service. Charged competitively. The system is working good. Why would she not trust me?

GreenI.A.
07-19-2012, 10:42 PM
mine was much more involved than flipping a switch but along the same line that the RP was out of their comfort zone and ability.
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When the customer asked how we could charge that much for just flipping the switch I simply told him we did not charge that much to flip the switch. The charge was for our knowledge to know to check the power source.

irritation
07-19-2012, 11:16 PM
I had one today that said zone 2 always kicked the gfci. I told him it's not the sprinkler system but something is getting wet causing it to trip. He insisted something was wrong with the sprinkler system so I showed up. There is an outlet on a yard lamp post and when the sprinklers hit the post water runs down into it and kicks the gfci. Again my fault on an old system I didn't install.

jvanvliet
07-20-2012, 05:45 AM
I called and left a quick message. "I'm sorry you feel my bill is unreasonable but it is not, please pay whatever you think is right and find another company to service your sprinkler system."

Did she send you a brand new crisp two dollar bill or a shiny new quarter?:)

DanaMac
07-20-2012, 07:52 AM
I did nothing wrong. I gave her next day service. Charged competitively. The system is working good. Why would she not trust me?

She will always feel you are taking advantage of her. There will always be something in the back of her mind, that you are too expensive. If she is questioning this bill, she will secretly be questioning every bill. She probably trusts your work and you personally, but she may feel she is being overcharged for something so "simple". Been there too often.
I'm not saying that every customer of mine that has questioned a bill, is no longer a customer. But yes, if they are questioning the bill, they will always question the next bills.

1idejim
07-20-2012, 08:49 AM
She will always feel you are taking advantage of her. There will always be something in the back of her mind, that you are too expensive. If she is questioning this bill, she will secretly be questioning every bill. She probably trusts your work and you personally, but she may feel she is being overcharged for something so "simple". Been there too often.
I'm not saying that every customer of mine that has questioned a bill, is no longer a customer. But yes, if they are questioning the bill, they will always question the next bills.

many of these people think nothing of going to Starbucks or picking up a six pack on a daily basis though.

DanaMac
07-20-2012, 09:19 AM
many of these people think nothing of going to Starbucks or picking up a six pack on a daily basis though.

Very true. Very true.

Dirt Boy
07-20-2012, 03:27 PM
many of these people think nothing of going to Starbucks or picking up a six pack on a daily basis though.

Or smoking, or dropping a wad at bingo, or takin a trip to a casino...... my sympathy leaks out pretty quick like!!

Mark B
07-20-2012, 08:50 PM
I always hated the billing part!!!

AI Inc
07-21-2012, 06:18 AM
I always hated the billing part!!!

I hate the bullshhit time wasting phone calls. Last yr a lady left a message saying she wanted to pay her bill but before she did she wanted to make sure we started the sprinklers in the back yard because she has not seen them come on.
Now I had to take time out of my day to call her and explain that we did not start the sprinklers in the backyard because she does not have sprinklers in the backyard.

tsimmons0615
07-21-2012, 08:45 PM
When I get a call Its 75 bucks right off the bat how do you guys charge after that first hour and parts ect

irritation
07-21-2012, 09:08 PM
Time and materials. Unfortunately you can't always do that. Know your clients.

Wet_Boots
07-21-2012, 09:09 PM
the first 'hour' is 30 minutes, because of travel time

DanaMac
07-21-2012, 09:25 PM
the first 'hour' is 30 minutes, because of travel time

Yes sir. $75 for the first 30 minutes on site.

1idejim
07-22-2012, 09:03 PM
Many people are grumpy when it comes to parting with their money but I feel that it is much better to have people grumpy about yovr prices than your performance.
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Mike Leary
07-22-2012, 09:06 PM
"Once the price is forgotten, the quality is always remembered."

1idejim
07-22-2012, 09:12 PM
"Once the price is forgotten, the quality is always remembered."

And you are?
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Kiril
07-23-2012, 09:11 AM
"Once the price is forgotten, the quality is always remembered."

Too bad there are those people who think their work is gold plated, and charge like it is, but it ends up being nothing more that a gold plated piece of ****. If I had a nickel for every contractor that I have dealt with that fits this bill ...............

Wet_Boots
07-23-2012, 11:36 AM
....you'd have eleven nickels :p

Mike Leary
07-23-2012, 12:22 PM
....you'd have eleven nickels :p

Just in Suffolk County?