Charging What You are Worth

I speak with plumbers everyday and one of the questions I ask is, “Are you charging what you are worth?”

First, many do not know their costs. They no idea if they are making money. They don’t know because they are “too busy working”… Well, that is another subject.

Second, “If I raise my price, I will lose by customers!” As if your customer knows what the job is worth, including what materials are being used, how long it takes to do the job, the knowledge required and your overhead costs. The problem here is total lack of confidence in your abilities. If  you think you are not worth it, you probably aren’t.

Third, is appearance and courtesy. The lack of personal grooming, the nasty truck, not showing up on time and not keeping the customer informed about the issue. These are all people problems that you bring on yourself. It is also a good reason why you cannot command a higher price.

Why is the biggest plumbing company in town have the highest prices? Fairly simple.

Clean service trucks. Inside and out. What a wonderful impression the customer receives when a sparkling clean truck is in front of their house. It adds a sense of professionalism. And, don’t forget to keep the inside spotless as well. No trash. All items neatly stored. The floor is open so you can walk in it.

Uniformed technicians. Clean uniforms. No blue jeans. No tee shirts. Company hats if they wear one. The techs bathe daily, their hair is neat and trimmed, and if they have a beard, it is also groomed. Your client does not want a mountain man in their home during service work.

Timeliness. The first bad impression is showing up late and no one informed the customer you were running behind. Want to really grow your business? Show up and show up on time. Your customers do not mind paying for promptness.

Knowledge. Just know your stuff. The customer is not a plumber. They called you, the professional plumber. Know the products on your truck and be prepared to show them and explain the differences between disposers, faucets, toilets, etc.

Options. Analyze the issue and offer options to get the repair or replacement done. “I can rebuild it or replace it. Let’s go over the differences and the benefits of each and select the best option for you.”

Guarantees. If you are a 30-day guarantee guy, you apparently do not have confidence in your ability to do the work well. Most products today carry at least a one-year guarantee. Your labor should carry that and more. Your guarantee is the least expensive thing you can offer, plus it allows you to command a higher price.

Cleanup. Where ever you work, when you leave it should be cleaner than when you found it. If a mainline line backs up into the bathtub; clean it. If you rebuild a faucet, clean the faucet and the counter around it. If you do some digging outside and get dirt on the sidewalk, sweep it off and hose it down to clean it if you can. That lasting impression will seal the deal to call you again when other issue comes up.

Payment. Take all forms of payment. Checks, cash, Visa, MasterCard, AND American Express. I bring this up because, some want to charge a “convenience fee” to take a credit card; an additional 3 or 4 percent to cover the card costs. Don’t slap the customer by wanting additional money at the end of the job because you are cheap and don’t want to take credit cards. Add this to your pricing as part of doing business.

You want to charge more? Be more professional and look and act like it! If you do these things above, you can probably double your price, and your customers will appreciate it!

The Plumbers Coach. Detailed personalized business coaching and training for plumbing contractors. See us on line at, like us on Facebook @ThePlumbersCoach, follow us on Twitter @T_PlumbersCoach, and on LinkedIn @KeithGlass1.

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