1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Flat Rate Pricing for service

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by The Irritator, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. laylow1994

    laylow1994 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    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...
  2. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    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.
  3. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    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.
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,219

    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.
  5. laylow1994

    laylow1994 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    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...
  6. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    So what's the flat rate to repair a 6" main line? :)
  7. laylow1994

    laylow1994 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    we dont do flat rate on mainline repairs or electrical or timers or installs....
  8. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,219

    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.
  9. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    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
  10. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 829

    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

Share This Page