Service call appointments

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by DanaMac, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    How do you all schedule service calls? And do you call every one before you head over there? We generally give a 1-2 hour window of time that we will show up. This is much better than the cable or phone company saying "morning or afternoon". I don't call each home before we go there. The reason is....

    Today a guy called for service that my supplier referred. I asked what is the problem? "Well if I was a sprinkler guy I would know the problem and not be calling you." I was just trying to find out the main problem - heads broken, timer shot, leaks, etc. Finally got him to tell me that the heads are 2" and he wants 4" and a couple rotors not moving. OK, next Wednesday between 8:30 and 9:00. (Shorter window first appointment) "Well call me before you come out." I'm sorry sir but I can't guarantee that. "Then just don't come. You're obviously too busy." As he gets angry. No sir, we're not too busy. But if it's a priority for me to put in my schedule, you need to make it a priority and put it your schedule. "Well I can't schedule my day like that. I work!" Well so do I, and that's how I work.

    Is that out of line to ask someone to stay home for 1/2 to 2 hours for us to come out to fix THEIR problem? I know SprinklerGuy calls everyone before he goes out. And that's fine, it works for him. But I can't, especially with another tech. I can't call all his and my appointments beforehand.

    Just curious as you think.
  2. Desertdweller

    Desertdweller LawnSite Member
    Posts: 159

    We don't call before we show up unless the customer requests it. If they want a 1/2 hr heads up, we will give it to them. We also try to give a 2 hr window. I don't think its a big deal to call ahead if they want.
  3. Green Sweep

    Green Sweep LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts: 322

    I schedule my first stop everyday 7:00 - 7:30 - sometimes as early as 6:00. I am a nut & am usually in the office by 5 am everyday. This early 1st stop can usually accommodate most people before they take off for work. After that, I also schedule in 2 hour increments. 8 - 10, 10 - 12, etc. I try to get a pretty good feel for what it is we are doing at the house, and sometimes will have 2 or 3 stops in those 2 hr. increments - drive time also a factor. This, as you all know can backfire quickly with the 'replacing the head' service call turns into pulling out the 521 & looking for valves & troubleshooting. It helps that I have myself & another service tech doing service calls, so if one of us gets backed up, the other one can help to pick up the slack. Also, if everything goes too smooth, the we can join in an an installation. I, like you, refuse to give anything less than a 2 hour time limit except for the 1st stop. It sounds like this guy was nice enough to show you his true colors right off the bat. He has an attitude problem before you even service his system, just think what he'd be like after. Good riddins.... fix it yourself. Oh yeah, If they want a call before, then I will definately do it. I have a few customers that work 10 minutes from home, but I'd say I have to call before a service call maybe once every 2 - 3 weeks?? It's rare.

  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Problem with calling is I sometimes get too busy to do it, forget it, or don't read the notes in the schedule that they want a call. If it's a good existing customer, I will try. For this new guy, forget it.

    Yeah, I'm glad to find out what he's like ahead of time. Definitely good riddance.

    Sorry that all my posts are negative and cranky. But, that's the way it is right now. Wife came back from Disney Land yesterday and brought me a Grumpy (the dwarf) coffee mug :laugh: :laugh: Totally fits me.
  5. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 829

    I don't call either... but if they ask I'll tell them I'll try.

    I do like when they give a cell phone though so if they aren't home when I get there I can find out if they are on their way home and if it's worth me sticking around to wait.

    Now that we got a second truck out more often it is easier to schedule since we can help each other out if someone gets behind.

    One reason that I do try to call to catch them on their lunch break is because I'm getting tired of 14 hour days. Appointments before and after work fill up long before stuff during the day.
  6. I give a 30min window on the appointment time. If I am running late I will call and let them know. If a customer asks me If I can call when I am on the way then I write a note in the schedule book. Previous serviced systems I give 1 hr. slot because I know its not in bad shape. New customers I give a 2hr time slot. If I go past 2hrs then I reschedule for the time I think it will take too finish the work. On an average I do between 6-8 service calls a day and I keep a tight schedule.
  7. Hank Reardon

    Hank Reardon LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 599

    No calls and the clients are rarely home when we service. Then again, we only have about 50 systems we maintain and generally have 1 or 2 projects going on.

  8. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,267

    First, last, AM (8-1pm) or PM (12-6pm). That is it. If you have 7 service calls a day you might have 4 that take less then 30 minutes and 2 that take an hour or so and you will always have that one that gives you the mud spa treatment that you spend 2-3 hours on. Customers don't complain so giving the time periods must be ok. During shut downs we just give a day nothing besides that. RE: the originial post. I had a lady similar the other day, I told her just to go with another company. Why bother with someone showing signs of a PITA?
  9. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I had one guy leave a message this morning saying he needed some repairs done after work next Tuesday at 5:00. Said he'd put it in his schedule and see me then. I made it a point to push it to Thursday at 2:00 just to piss him off. Tuesday was wide open, but I won't meet at 5:00, and won't have them leave a message dictating my schedule. Jackass
  10. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Ouch!!! Blue Meanie??? :)

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