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Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Apr 16, 2008.
What are typical rates to charge for retail on a service call?
MR16's, PARs, etc.
I don't think you're going to get an answer to this question as it is a bit too forward. It will all depend on your purchasing power (what you pay for them) and what you need to mark it up to make a profit.
I am always looking at what name brand lamps cost at retail stores. Take Home Depot for instance. They are selling Phillips FMW MR16s for between $8 and $9 each around here (packaged as singles, a bit cheaper if you buy a card of 3)
If it is good enough for HD, then it is good enough for me.
Pretty hard to justify a $8 MSRP lamp at $10 or $12 bucks each to savvy clients these days.
Of course the other way to do this is to package the lamp and the service together as one line item... So on your invoice you might have: 1 Bullet Uplight - Replaced lamp, cleaned, reaimed, labour incl. -$27.50 (or whatever)
Buy Low, Sell High
James brings up the local Big Box pricing being a factor, but that can only hurt you if it's your bulb of choice. If you use the same bulb Home Depot sells, than being several dollars more than the box is an issue. If you use something else (Ushio Long Life or GE Constant Color are my choice) that isn't available at the Depot, than your higher price may be easier to justify. I've shown up a couple of times to repair/troubleshoot a system, and the homeowner has some cheap bulbs on hand and says to us them so as to avoid the cost of replacement bulbs. I charge by the hour for my time, parts seperately, so in this case, I say no problem, but said bulbs carry no warranty from me, and should they burn out, I will charge for another service call to come back. Most said to use my bulbs and provide the warranty.
Mike, do you have a handle on what other guys are doing in your area?
Sean, good points on comparing quality. By the way, the other guys in my area are buying aluminum fixtures and pointing them at the road. It's good when the bulbs go out.
Most are electricians or landscapers and are not offering service contracts.
I'll go to home cheapo and write down their prices. James, that's a good idea. Also, I have an idea for connections. They sell an ace connector rip-off for like ten bucks a pair. And the silicone twist-ons have a retail price, too. I'll even price the wire per foot at the same price for extending leads. Then I'll include something nominal for CLR and lubricant.
I'll tag on $10 for the gate pass if they have one.
From there, it's pro-rated hourly, including my windshield time factored in to the first hour.
I agree with Chris to just add up all the costs and add-on how much your time is worth. But I just want a nice way to itemize it for the customer.
One thing for certain, I hate having to haul my f-150 around for service calls.
Gate pass? You mean they'll charge you to do work in gated communities? Never heard of that...
One I've worked in that has a guard just writes down your name, veh. lic. # and reason for "visiting"... others you either have the gate code given to you ahead of time by the customer or use a keypad to call the customer who buzzes you in.
I never itemize an invoice. I write down what I do and what parts I use and a final price. I inform them that if I separate parts from labor I have to charge them sales tax (in my state) and they understand that it's going to cost them about 9% more if I do that.
I don't itemize proposals either!!
That is the same situation here... If you sell a widget to someone you have to charge them sales tax. If you install that same widget in their home or commercial property, then it is exempt from that sales tax as it is now considered an installed service.
Beyond that, would you have a portrait artist itemize their invoice to you for a painting? Didn't think so.
Portrait artist? This is lawnsite. We're one click away from talking about chicken poop as fertilizer.
The greatest film producers of all time were held accountable to their budgets and itemized expenses.
I'm talking about a service call. You know, guy calls for a bulb, I tell him it's ten bucks, and I'll swing by at my rate and materials, plus my gate fee. While I'm there I'll service the fixtures and see if there is anything else I can help with.
I like to itemize to show them why it cost 80 clams to change a light bulb.
I also like to itemize my projects. By doing so, I had the confidence to get 350 a fixture on my last job instead of 250.
There was a lot of time-consuming and tedious work, and a lot of wire.
Now, when I get a solid reputation like my elders on this forum, I may be able to ditch doing demo's and itemizing materials.
By the way, chicken poop has a well balanced supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.