On Thu, 10 Aug 2006 20:43:39 -0600, "Nathan W. Collier"
Because a lot of techs do not understand that, before all else, you
MUST have correct airflow. I've seen techs where I work with 10 years
experience do this. Went on a call yesterday behind one of them. When
he went he had no 410a on his truck. Diagnoses the system as low. I go
out the next day with instructions to charge the system. Because of
some training I recently had, I decided to go through the motions of
diagnosing the system myself before I charged it. Turned out tech
never went into the attic. System was 3 tons with a 14 inch return.
DOH! So now instead of charge and go, homeowners purchased new return,
new return grill and filter. After installers install it I am going
out again to check the charge.
do you support those immoral restuarant owners who charge a flat rate
for each particular entree? nah, lets dont go there.
suppose you had 5 techs running nothing but refrigeration service
calls 5 days a week, 8 hours a day.
tech 1 has been with you forever and knows everything there is to know
about refrigeration and can fix systems faster than any man alive.
tech 2 is close on his heels
tech 3 signed on 18 mos ago and isnt quite up to speed. he takes 2x
times as long as 1 or 2 to find & fix problems.
tech 4 signed on a yr ago and is not quite as sharp as 3.
tech 5 signed on 6 mos ago. he's your best money maker, as he takes
the longest to find and repair the problem. The first two techs spend
more time on the road and less time fixing.
So you pad the hours when $10 travel pay doesnt pay the techs hourly
pay and vehicle expense?
You're telling us you pay your salary, the techs salary, the overhead
& taxes, vacation pay, pay all the insurance, fund all the
retirements, all for $60 hr? oooooooooook
5 techs, 5 different find & repair times, 5 different hourly charges
for the same identical problem. no wonder you're big on stormin
moron. he'd be your biggest moneymaker.
I guess its morally ok to screw the customer by sending out the
slowest tech, one thats going to take the longest to fix any given
at $90 a motor you're paying almost double wholesale for
fractional hp motors
I'd bet your fastest techs find more things wrong than the slowest
i dont break up pay on driving/working time. hourly rate is hourly rate,
both billed and paid.
dont put words in my mouth. you know nothing of my arrangements, as i never
said anything about them. but yes, you can indeed. the largest
refrigeration company in the country (over 700 employees) recently raised
their rates to $65 an hour and they have better benefits than any other
company i know of. with T&M you break even on the labor, and make your
money on selling parts.
doesnt matter so long as all repair times are reasonable and WHEN THEY ARENT
YOU EAT PART OF THE BILL. its the price YOU pay for hiring inexperience,
and this is why new techs are $12-$15 an hour employees.
dont be an ass. im not "big" on anybody. im "big" on being helpful, and
being a decent person to talk to. ive never said i agreed or disagreed with
him or anybody else in here. my only position has been that theres no point
in being an asshole needlessly, especially when he admitted his limitations
("im a new tech").
dont impugn my integrity, as i have not impugned yours. i said that i
disagreed with flat rate billing on moral grounds. i did not say that you
were a crook.
your thinking is messed up. if you have slow techs, you eat much of the
bill and hopefully pay them accordingly. that said, i wouldnt hire or keep
anyone like this anyway. im a small company with a small and very specific
customer base (mainly grocery stores/distribution centers where
refrigeration is critical).
how do you figure that? the last 40/5 capacitors i bought were nearly $12
each. i cropped them out of that receipt i posted to make the picture
smaller, but if youd like i can upload the bigger picture.
"reasonable" would vary with each job. you know that, lets not waste time
playing games. eating part of the bill is the price you pay for hiring
inexperience. this is why they make about half of what a journeyman could
Actually in the bigger picture, a dual run cap should go for around $80
installed. (I can't help it if you don't charge enough) The increase in
business is due in part to direct mail advertising, TV advertising, and a
lot of help/advice from a bunch of folks on here and Service Round Table.
Since I changed the way I do business, and learned the business of doing
business, last year, my year end gross doubled and my net increased by a
factor of 10!! After closing out my books in June, I had already surpassed
my gross and net from last year.
Point of information, and Nate, if you e-mail me privately, I will send you
copies of some spreadsheets of before and after.... When I raised my rates
and went to flat rate, I got more business than I can handle. I have gone
from the brink of bankruptsy to making a decent living. I no longer have to
watch every penny, and if I want to buy a new toy... no problem.
I am about to do an across the board price increase..... I have not raised
my prices since before Katrina, other than specific items where my cost has
You can do what you want.... but when you get tired of working your ass off
just "turning" money, there are several here that will help you learn how to
"make" money. After all, isn't that why we are in business in the first
The company I work for used to belong to the Service Round Table
group. They saved the companies bacon some years ago, that's for damn
sure. We no longer are part of them, but the reason we are not is in
no way negative. I would strongly advise anyone that is using time and
materials to use either flat rate or level pricing, your profit margin
will increase dramatically. Our price for a dual run cap is 118.00 and
people have no problem at all paying for it. There are always a few
that bitch, but then they buy it because sweating in a 100 degree
house is just not fun.
is this in addition to other work? if i show up and diagnose a bad
capacitor and change it, with nothing else wrong youre looking at:
$10 trip charge
$25 (roughly) capacitor
$15 condensor acid (i typically wash all condensors)
$110 total. not far from what you charge. if youre billing for other work
and charging $118 JUST for the capacitor then i dont know how you can charge
On Fri, 11 Aug 2006 18:45:43 -0600, "Nathan W. Collier"
That's for a full system diagnostic. If I go out there and see the
condenser not running, cap swelled up like a frozen soda can, the
customer still gets a 17 point inspection after the cap is replaced.
Do the full diagnostic *first*, then give the customer the laundry list (in
writing)of what needs to be done to the system for it to perform as it was
new(except the refrigerant, thats the very last thing). They sign off on the
recommended repairs, you do the work, then once everything is clean and in
good working order, you balance the refrigerant charge, inform the customer
if you had to add or recover any refrigerant***, and write the bill.
*** I include the first pound of R-22 for free. If it takes more than 1
pound, then the customer is notified that there is a leak and signs off for
an electronic leak search.(I usually start with the evap coil) When the
leak(s) are found, the customer is informed, and repairs are scheduled.
At no time do I do any repairs without notifying the customer and they sign
off on it, or at least have it noted on the ticket so it doesn't come back
that they never approved those repairs and are not gonna pay for them.
I always have them sign off before I do anything. Sometimes I will do
as you suggested, sometimes I will not, the reason being, I prefer do
inspect a system that is working if at all possible. This way I can
see what all the electrical values are, the charge and sh/sc. Then I
make my laundry list and present it.
If I do something like replace a cap first then I tell them: this is
what is needed to get the system to run. After I replace this
component I am going to do a complete check up on the system. I will
be checking for things that can affect its effeincy, longevity or your
safety. If I should notice any of these things would you like me to
bring them to your attention? Rarely do they say no. This also puts a
bug in their mind that more likely than not something else is going to
be wrong. Having shown them the level pricing sheet when I first made
contact with them, they love it when they have seen the price for a
level 5 repair and the repair they actually need is a level one.
Condenser fan motor(1/5 - 1/3hp) with single run cap (3 - 10mfd) installed
Dual run cap installed is $80
They are 2 different line items
Thats what I thought too being in a rural farming community in south
I have been in business for 10 years, and barely made expenses with T&M....
it was "HOW MUCH FOR LABOR?????" Consider that some of my customers highest
salary was only $5.00/hr. With flat rate, the price is the *INSTALLED*
price, and it doesn't matter how long it takes because we don't charge
I live in one of the poorest areas in the country and my current labor rate
in my flat rate book is $100/hr, my current service call fee is $64.95 and I
am about to do an across the board increase. I have only gotten 2 complaints
about my pricing in the last 2 years. Can you say that??
Like I said....E-mail me privately and I will send you a bunch of stuff that
has helped *including* a copy of my current flat rate books...there are 2 of
them... one for repairs and the other for change-outs/installs.
i typically base my pricing on what my competition is charging. once upon a
time i tried to make a name for myself by doing it cheaper than my
competition. now i make a name for myself by doing it _better_ than my
competition, while charging similar rates.
since dumping residential work i have _never_ gotten a complaint about my
billing. what we do in many ways isnt comparable. a supermarket owner with
tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes much more) worth of product in
their freezer doesnt care how much it cost to fix the equipment so long as
you fix the equipment .
We're not recommending you price yourself out of your market, what we
ARE recommending is you charge whatever the heck you want to charge,
but do so as FLAT RATE. Have a flat rate fee for diagnostics. You
choose how much. Have a flat rate fee for every single repair you or
any of your techs do. You choose whatever flat rate price you want
Nathan. Flat Rate is consistancy, across the board fairness to all
Take your condenser fan motor scenario. Did that customer have any
problem paying the bill? If not, fine. Make that your Flat Rate
price to change every similiar hp-voltage cf motor. have another
item number for 460v motors or whatever. How about a task that isnt
in your flat rate book? Have a line item with a flat rate price for
every 15 mins or whatever, just for those situations.
Now print out your Flat Rate book. Every tech has one.
Joe Customer can see the price to change out his cf motor.
Next to that price will be another price, lets say the Silver Club
Membership price. (slightly cheaper) Next to that, another price, the
Gold Club Membership price. Even cheaper yet.
Joe Customer will ask how he can get the Gold Club Price for his cf
motor changout Thats where your tech sells JC your Gold Club
maintenance agreement. you DO sell maint agreements dont you? Spiff
the tech whenever he sells one. Techs love incentives to make more
here's another benefit, your bookkeeper will love, depending on your
state tax laws. I buy a cf motor and pay tax on it. Then I sell the
motor t&m and collect more tax on it. My bookkeeper has to track the
difference between what tax I paid and what i collected, and pay that
to the state every quarter. OR
I buy a part, pay tax on it and thats the end of that. The Flat Rate
price is inclusive of all taxes labor materials profits etc.
The real problem Nathan? As techs we feel like we can walk on water
with our skills. Hell we lead the wagon train west and open up our
own businesses. That however in no way qualifies us as a businessman.
The two are rarely mutually inclusive.
even if i disagree with something i always keep an open mind because ive
been proven wrong in the past, and most likely will be again in the future.
im going to take a look at what noon air sends me with an open mind.
montana (one of the last truly places to live anymore!) has no sales tax.
that is my biggest problem EXACTLY! i dont much care what it is.......if
its mechanical and it breaks ill fix it.....even if it requires calling
manufacturers tech support, one way or another ill fix it. but im no
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