Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

The Lowdown On Plumber Service Call Fees

With summer plumbing season in full swing (drain clogs, sump pumps, and standing water are hot topics this summer), a quick review of how plumbers charge for service calls seems like a good topic. As a rule, there are 3 approaches that Cincinnati plumbers when billing out time to customers.

How do Service Call Fees Work?
There are typically three approaches to invoicing customers:

1. Charge a standard “trip charge”, no exceptions
 – In this approach, a flat fee (sometimes called a service fee) is added to the final bill, in addition to the labor and materials charge. Generally, trip charges cover the plumbing company’s cost of sending the plumbing team to your home or business. Trip charges are a common practice and service to solidify over-the-phone agreements between customers and plumbers.

2. The “no fee/no trip charge” approach – While this seems like a winner, consider that the cost of sending a trained plumber on a house call must be absorbed by the plumbing company, even if no work is performed once the plumber arrives on site. The customer may end up paying more, either in hidden fees, higher prices, or by having work performed by workers with a junior-level skill set. Be wary of this tactic.

3. The “Over the Phone Estimate” – In this scenario, the customer provides a description of the plumbing need (leaky pipes, flooded basement, overflowing toilet, etc.). The plumbing company provides an estimate over the phone. If the customer is agreeable to the phone estimate, an appointment is scheduled and the plumber travels to the job site.

This approach is considered favorable by many – customers have an idea of the job cost and the plumber is able to manage their billable time.

But what happens when the plumber arrives on-site and finds the job is much smaller (or much larger) than the estimate? A reputable plumber will give the customer an honest assessment of the “actual work.” From there, the customer can decide to proceed or decline moving forward with the job. Should a “decline” decision be made, the customer may be charged a trip fee to cover the plumber’s expenses of prepping/traveling to the job site.

The key word here is ‘honest’ – when a plumber travels to a job in good faith, only to find the job scope is much different than described, a trustworthy plumber will explain the situation to the customer in a friendly, professional manner.

Water You Waiting For? Plumbing is a business that depends on happy customers – Allied Reddi-Rooter has more than 60 years of satisfied customers. Ray and his team provide an accurate, no surprises estimates over the phone. Call today at (513) 396-5300, or Contact us to obtain a free quote on your plumbing project. From high pressure water jet cleanings to toilet, sink, or garbage disposal repair and installation, Ray’s team is top-notch.  We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service.