Charging more for plumbing?

I'm coming to the conclusion that I ought to charge more for plumbing work.
I like to think that I'm quite good at basic plumbing jobs. I do it all properly, check everything at least twice, use the right tools & materials.
Every now & then you get a call back - usually a drip that definitely wasn't there when you last checked. You have to go back & sort it free of charge obviously. Normally you get the call at 5:00pm on a Friday night :-(
I starting to realise why plumbers charge so much - it's to allow for the unexpected call backs.
Would it be incongruous to charge one rate for most jobs but another for plumbing?
--
Dave
The Medway Handyman
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Work out how many extra hours a month you typically spend on callbacks - divide the cost between all the plumbing jobs, to work out the % price hike needed. Remember the rule - the customer always pays for everything.
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The Medway Handyman wrote:

Hmm tricky one that...
If you went on a fixed price for the whole job basis, then that just moves the risk on to you on a job that is renowned for throwing extra complications at you when you least expect them. So you would have to factor in significant contingency on the estimates, which will probably make you seem expensive compared to a plumber!
One solution might be to have a list of fixed price "job elements" - say "fit a washing machine tap Łx", "new radiator valve Ły" etc. If the list is fairly fine grained than you estimate the cost to the customer in advance, and you know that some contingency is factored into the prices. The price can include materials as well at a suitable profit margin.
It is also a defensible position with customers since you can explain that experience has shown that plumbing jobs have a nasty habit of growing in scope after you have started them. As a result working this way you are protecting the customer from an unexpectedly large bill should the work turn out to be more complex, and also protecting yourself should the complications arise after you have left the job.
Obviously you will still lose out on some jobs, but also you will gain on the ones where it is straight forward.
--
Cheers,

John.

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On Fri, 29 Jun 2007 00:21:44 +0100, The Medway Handyman wrote:

As long as it's OK with the Guild of Medway Handymen I don't see why you shouldn't charge what you see fit.
I charge according to the perceived depth of the punter's pocket, amongst other factors. Other factors include generally charging more for gas work than for plumbing, and more for plumbing than for general handyman stuff but I tend to do the latter more for sweet little old ladies[1] so factor #1 comes in there anyway.
[2] or sweet little young ladies :-)
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John Stumbles

A backstreet vasectomy left me sterile
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Remind me never to employ you for any job on my house. Ever. What happened to a fair rate for the job done?
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Depends which way you read it. IT could be a discount for people with little money, or a tax for people with loads of money. Depends on what your starting price is compared to everyone else, which is what it comes down to. Everyone charges differently on different jobs, not neccesarily intentionally either, but how the customer treats you also plays a factor in the price of the job.
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Regards,
Stuart.
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mused:

No excuse for ripping people of no matter which way you dress it.
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rrh wrote:

It's called 'business'. I adopt the same principle as John Stumbles does.
If I estimate (not quote) a job at 'approximately' 5 hours and do it in 4 the customer is happy. If it takes 6 hours they are rarely happy to pay the extra.
It happens all the time in real life too. Consider Tesco 'value', Tesco 'standard' and Tesco 'Finest'.
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Dave
The Medway Handyman
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Whatever happened to paying someone what they are worth?
I charge what the market will bear, if you don't like it you can fuck off.
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Huh?
The fair rate is the one that pays the supplier of the goods and services the price that he wishes to charge, consistent with the volume of business that he expects to get and the price that the customer is willing to pay. It's called business.
The supplier may wish to offer a lower price in order to win specific business or because he would like the repeat business from the customer. To that end, the supplier should consider that it is generally less expensive to get repeat business than to prospect for new.
He may also wish to win a greater volume of business. Sometimes reducing the price achieves that. More commonly it doesn't because there are usually other reasons not to buy.
If the customer wants to buy on price then he must also expect to receive goods and services produced to meet that price.
"Fair rate" does not equate to low price for customer.
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Andy Hall wrote:

It's the 'price the customer is willing to pay' that gets me. It's a kind of "you are richer than me, so I am going to screw you approach" which is on a par to a high street conman IMO. It is like saying that people with a higher-paid job than you know the value of nothing.
I have always believed that the rates should be appropriate to what the market can bare. Within that framework, different levels of service can be offered. Someone who can pay more and needs a job done quicker, can pay more to get that. But paying more for the same job and service is just cynical.
In my line of work, I have my rates for putting jobs into my schedule. When my schedule is full, the rates can go up, and I let people know it is because I am busy. They then pay extra for me to work weekends and evenings to get an urgent job done. That is worth it to them - if they need it that bad, and can afford to pay more for the service, then it is probably worth it to them. But they do go into the agreement with eyes open and trust is built.
What next: little old lady can 'afford' to pay Ł10,000 for a six foot length of guttering, because she does not have all her marbles and so is 'willing to pay it'? Supposing she does have her wits about her? Then do you threaten her a little - a few hints about her health dropped in? That's business, isn't it? Where do you draw the line?
-- JJ
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On Sat, 30 Jun 2007 08:13:39 +0000, Jason wrote:

How about "you are poorer than me but need the work done so I'll do it for less than I really need to be charging to live on"? Is that on a par with a high street conman?
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John Stumbles

Extremely moderate
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John Stumbles wrote:

Seems fair John. You could then explain to Tesco that they should charge you less for your weekly shopping, or the building society that they should reduce your mortgage.
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Dave
The Medway Handyman
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On Sat, 30 Jun 2007 08:54:50 +0000, John Stumbles wrote:

Nicely put. So often the arguments to 'how can you charge me so much' come down to:
If others are so much cheaper why are you asking me? Why don't you do it yourself. i) No time. ii) No skills. iii) No tools. iv) Not certified/qualified/legal.
Which all come down to my time is valuable, my skills have a price, my tools cost money and they wear out and get stolen and finally getting qualified is very expensive.
Why do you think my time is not worth as much as yours?
The most determining factors on getting me to do work for someone is a) How busy i am. b) How near they live to me. c) Past experience good/bad of hassle and paying.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk
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But do you charge extra for plumbing because you have to keep going back to jobs for free of charge, to rectify drips and leaks. ?
-
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On Sat, 30 Jun 2007 22:55:23 +0000, Mark wrote:

The question presupposes that Ed *does* have to keep going back to rectify drips and leaks.
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John Stumbles

Bob the builder - it'll cost 'yer
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On Sun, 01 Jul 2007 08:23:11 +0000, John Stumbles wrote:

Plumbing is an awkward trade as the required standard is perfection. No one is perfect. My hit rate for joints is around 98% (all types of fittings). Of those that do leak 90%+ are detected and dealt with at the time. That leaves the ones even if it's only one in every 500 joints which cause a call back.
When I first started my percentages were worse. My apprentice said "It's one thing doing this in college on the bench it's a bit more difficult doing it in a badly lit cellar with old pipes."
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk
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He forgot "lying on your back in a confined space, working above your head so the cr*p falls in your face, with spiders running over you, the tool you need out in the van and the householder repeatedly asking 'is it finished yet?'".
--
"If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker." ~ Albert Einstein
[email me at huge huge (dot) org <dot> uk]
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If you had to revisit to rectify a problem then that's fair enough isn't it. I'm sure generally people have better things to do than call up plumbers for ficticious problems (although I agree this sometimes happens) People tend to call back when they have a problem not for the fun of it.
As for charging "well off" people more. Then how exactly do you ascertain this?
The type of house, where it is, the decoration, what the person is wearing, age, how they speak? Its bordering on discrimination. Its fairly difficult in most cases to know who is well off and who is not.
Ripping people off in any field is simply unacceptable and is sheer greed. No wonder the Polish people are getting all the jobs. (although from experience are learning your ways too)
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No it isn't. Nobody is being screwed if the customer is happy to pay the price. If he doesn't wish to, he can buy elsewhere. This is the normal operation of the free market.

No it isn't. Service is also as perceived by the customer. Delivery/execution time is only one example - there are many others. The same item/service can have a significantly different value to one person vs. another. For example, it may be the confidence that the job will be done properly or that there won't be collateral damage or in some areas could be advice on the design and execution.

Trust is another large factor and is certainly worth paying for.

Do you sell to the little old lady at a loss because you feel sorry for her or the nubile blonde because you like her attributes?
One can have a fixed set of charges for certain well defined jobs. However, most are not - there will be unexpected side issues so pricing variability certainly comes into play.
It's always possible to dream up rip off and give away arguments. However, there is a broad spectrum in between where the market determines the price.
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