Flat Rate Pricing

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by SprinklerGuy, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    anybody do this? Companies in my area have started...they charge a service call fee...usually quite small, 15 bucks or so, and then quote a price to fix the problem....if the customer says yes...the service call fee goes away.

    What do you think?

    One guy I talked to said there was flat rate for everything including troubleshooting? How?
  2. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,213

    No. If I set up an appointment for a repair, I am there to actually do the repair. Not give a price on it. I will tell them my rates ahead of time, and they can either hire me or not. I DON"T do estimates on repairs. If it is a large re-design or re-build, then yes. Or if it sounds over the phone that the entire manifold has cracked and might need replacing (or something else that is large like this), they can pay for my one hour service call to check it out and then give them a price.
  3. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I am the same way....only I smell a change happening. Maybe not with existing clients but new ones. These guys are next door to me in the phone book.....they call me and I say " I will not give a free estimate, pay me 60 bucks and you'll have an estimate or it might even be fixed...plus parts of course." They call them and they say "25 bucks and I will give an exact price quote to do the work, if you don't like it, pay me the 25 and I'll leave, if you do...the price will be what I said, nothing more!"

    Who do you think they will let come over? The other guy.

    I'm not advocating change, I am thinking about it though! I want to maintain my foothold in that market and actually make the foothold stronger and bigger, but if these other guys are changing......I don't know.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I am with you guys. We charge a $55 service call (just to show up) and then it's $48 per hour. Most stuff I can give them a good idea over the phone at how many hours they may be looking at. And if that changes after we arrive, we're honest with them and let them know. But 90% of the time, we're right on.

    I don't know anyone in my area who's doing it the way you described and I don't personally see a need to change. We stay fairly busy with irrigation repair jobs all spring, summer and fall using the methods we use now. And irrigation is just a small part of what we do. I really don't care all that much if we didn't get any irrigation repair business. But if I am going to do it, I want to be paid well for it. If some other company wants to beat us out in price, that's totally cool with me. We'll do just fine with installations and maintenance.
  5. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    I don't have a service fee yet but I think I will have one this season. I like the idea about the flat rate idea,but how many of you have spent time with a customer and not gotten the service job? I think I have only had a couple. When a potenial victim calls me they have had enough they want it fix A.S.A.P. Mt 2 cents:D
  6. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    I fergot again. When do ya'll tell your customers or rates? I was telling mine when I would meet them fer tha first time. But I have stopped doing that because they look at me like so what. I have only had a couple ask me what my rates are. I'm just wondering.
  7. greenworldh20

    greenworldh20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 659

    beginning this season, no more free estimates for repairs. i did them for free for so long because i was just starting out. now, $25 to show up and diagnosis the problem.

    if you want it fixed...i will credit you $25.

    end of story.


    tony, you have the right idea...just lower the charge a little bit...good luck.

  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I tell them right when they first call what our rates are. And if I can get a good idea of what's wrong (e.g. one zone doesn't turn on anymore. Probably just a valve overhaul) then I will give them a rough estimate of what they might be looking at for time.

    Some people say, "Ok. Well, thanks. I'm going to keep checking around" (which indicates they are just price shopping for the lowest bidder) and then there are others who say, "Sounds good. How soon can you come out." And those are the kind of people we like to work for.

    I'd say probably 60% of the calls we get are in the second category. It's a pretty good market around here. Lots of demand and not too many good irrigation contractors who have a good reputation.
  9. devildog

    devildog LawnSite Senior Member
    from sc
    Messages: 270

    Saw this scam a few years ago, they won't be around long. Think about it for a moment...... drive around all day....give high estimates (or cherry pick the jobs)...... collect your $25. and on to the next sucker..... with regards... devildog
  10. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,213

    Another problem I see is in scheduling. If you only schedule the consultation to give them an estimate, then you have to re-schedule to do the repair. And I can be 2-3 weeks out during the busiest time. and if you schedule to do the consultaion and repair, but they don't give you the go ahead, then you have a lot of wasted time until the next appt.

    And who knows what else will be wrong when you get the initail repair doen. If there is a broken RP, mainline or manifold, then you can not check out the rest of the system and then give them another price.

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