Friday I had a customer call..........
We installed his 90% American Standard furnace, uncased coil and 10
SEER A/C in 1999. I think we've been there 3 times since. Always for
problems...never for maintenance. He says its not cooling, suction
line frosting. I find the unit low on refrigerant. I search for the
longest time at the outdoor unit. I see the oil spot but bubbles just
are picking it up but the electronic is going nuts. Finally I find it
about a 1/4" from the where the aluminum is covered with spiney fins.
About 1" the other way is where the aluminum changes to copper. Right
on the aluminum tube is a little black spot (several actually) and
that is where the pinhole is. I tell the owner it needs a new
condenser coil, or new unit with matching coil. I give him all the
options and prices. As I button it all back up he comes out and asks
to see the leak. I am happy to show it. Take the door off, spray it
with bubbles and show him the leak. This is where the fun begins.
He keeps going back and forth as to what to do but keeps repeating the
number I gave him for a new A/C system. Then he tells me that is as
much as his cruise will be with his wife for his 30 anniversary this
year. (Oh, that breaks my heart..........NOT!) Then he tells me he
just has to ask. "How much of that price is profit?" Again Im amazed
but never shocked. I toss a number out of my as and tell him Im making
$1000 on this install. (Its not an actual number but I thought it was
my turn to shock HIM). He looks at me and asks, " Do you really need
to make that much?". I told him, "Yes, I sure do!" This business isnt
inexpensive to run and it costs what it costs. Then he asks me to
lower my price by $400 and he will do the replacement although he wont
be thrilled. I told him, "Nope, I cant do it". He tells me he has to
think about it and to get back with him if I can do a discount and/or
when I can do it. I call him back an hour later and he tells me he has
an engineer friend that can patch aluminum but he doesnt feel
comfortable doing it unless he can get the condensing unit to his shop
where he can control the conditions. I told him, "Thats fine but here
is my price to come out, leak check it, recover the refrigerant,
disconnect the refrigerant lines, line voltage and low voltage. Then
the cost to put it all back in running order after his buddy "patches
it" and all with absolutely no leak guarantee from me. Needless to
say, he is thinking it over for the weekend.
Im sure he will find someone cheaper even though its 90 and humid
here. It couldnt make me happier. :-)
What I've found... in the industrial-commercial sector where customers
can be in the range from $2M a year to Fortune 500...
It's tough out there for everybody. You HAVE to work with them....
Offer options; make no-guarantee 'guesses'... whatever. I'm afraid the
days of us in the U.S. doing everything RIGHT are over with. If you
dont believe me, look up all the factories that did do THINGS RIGHT and
ended up with no jobs and cheap-shit knock-offs made in Mexico, Brazil,
China or wherever else. I buy my Levi's at Meijer's... a small(er) but
growing retail chain because they have REAL U.S. Made, high quality
jeans. Most others don't... real Levi's here cost $55.00 a pair but they
are worth every penny... something most consumers and retailers will not
Take a walk through WalMart and see the plethora of crap you can buy for
30 percent of what it should cost. It's a giant International Flea
Market for the masses.
... as so is your business, Bubba.... and mine. Get used to it and USE
your great AMERICAN entrepreneurial mind to HELP your customers... not
It works, my friend. We topped $60M last year... with a 8% AT margin...
doing just that.
You do the math.
I was trained by one of the bigger resi companies. I know all the
sales and options training methods.
I even offer Goodman to those that just cant see anything but cheap,
cheap, cheap. Thats still too expensive for this guy.
Ive been in Wal-Mart. I even read the book "The Wal-Mart effect". Very
Sorry, but you know as well as I that some customers are just plain
tight ass pain in the butts that nothing makes them happy.
Fortunately, I have a lot of customers that are a joy to work with.
Yep... it is interesting. I read it, too. I'm not certain the
organization resembles anything close to what Sam thought it would...
Yep.. I agree. I might have been a little to hard-case in my first reply
I have a policy I call "F*** You Money"...when it comes to folks like
that. If I'm gonna have to deal with them... then they pay a premium or
find someone else.
There can be a lot of trade-offs in our respective businesses.. as
relates to quality and what makes the ultimate best sense. Some
customers are not gifted with good sense, however... so we do what
they'd like so long as it doesn't compromise safety or our own standards
Ha.... Sometimes 1 + 1 doesn't even equal 2, does it (-;....
I drove by Sunday evening. 90 degrees+ still and humidity to match.
His windows were all still open.
Then I got a call for an older couple that evening about 2 mins from
them. No A/C. Turns out, it is his mother and father in law. I got
there this Mon AM and had them up and running before they got back
from their morning walk. Inexpensive repair, I shut their windows and
it was starting to cool. They were happy as pigs in mud. All the
while..........the Son-in-law is still trying to figure out if he can
use a piece of rubber and a clamp to contain the leak! ( I swear he
asked me that). Im goina guess he went another route so I'll send him
my bill tomorrow. :-)
Bubba, why dontcha try some of that SuperSeal?
Me, I'd offer the customer SuperSeal @ $350-$450 installed &
re-charged & no warranty on whether it worked or not. If it didnt
work, I'd offer a $350.00 credit toward a new condenser / matching
indoor coil, conditional you do the work.
If ya do use it, buy SuperSeal 3 phase. The 3 phase variety contains
a little bit more fluid than the regular variety.
On Tue, 19 Jun 2007 00:03:59 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Shit! Now you remind me. Actually Ive still got a can of that on the
truck (the regular, not the 3phase. I dunno. I hate that hocus pocus
stuff but It seems it "MAY" have a use in an instance like this?????
I may have to make that decision.
You missed the part where I said it was a 99 model. They were 5 yr
condenser coil warrantys then.
....and Im sure he still wouldnt like the price Id charge him to put
in a "warranty" coil.
This is where I tell him that there is no "profit", that whatever is
leftover from the equipment, parts, tools, company overhead, insurances,
advertising, etc is my salary. Then I ask him "if our positions were
reversed, would he be willing to take a cut in pay to do the job??"
Again the question.... "if our positions were reversed, would he be willing
to take a cut in pay to do the job??"
Sorry, I would have told him that I can do it right, or he can call somebody
else to get it done cheap.
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