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Old 07-09-2008, 09:28 PM   #1
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Default Flat Rate Pricing for residential

I've been using a flat rate system of pricing to sell/upsell my services for about the last 4 years. It seems to work pretty well. Troubleshooting/Diagnostics calls start at about $150 and go up from there. Anybody else using flat rate pricing? If so, where are you located and what do you think about it? Success? I'd love to hear how other techs are doing out there.

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Old 08-12-2008, 12:25 AM   #2
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I have just recently gone out on my own and I would like to go to a flat rate system. I am just curious as to how you put it all together? Do you average you time doing tasks and estimate from there? Or do you use those national pricing guides?

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Old 08-14-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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I use a national guide format but i've modified my prices based on the area/economy. It works out very well for me.
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richrock1605 View Post
I've been using a flat rate system of pricing to sell/upsell my services for about the last 4 years. It seems to work pretty well. Troubleshooting/Diagnostics calls start at about $150 and go up from there. Anybody else using flat rate pricing? If so, where are you located and what do you think about it? Success? I'd love to hear how other techs are doing out there.
Im in Savannah GA . I am very intersted in flat pricing , but I dont know that much about it
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:32 PM   #5
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Hey Richrock, do you charge a fee to give estimates? Then waive the fee if they authorize the work? Seems that Flat Rate pricing methods always handle estimates that way.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:20 PM   #6
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Hey Richrock, do you charge a fee to give estimates? Then waive the fee if they authorize the work? Seems that Flat Rate pricing methods always handle estimates that way.
We flat rate, but do give "free estimates". Obviously, the cost of this is built into the rates.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:13 PM   #7
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I'm a small shop, I drive out to jobs (residential) and give them written estimates on the spot. Like you guys, over the years I've gotten very good at pricing jobs, so essentially, I'm "flat rating" jobs now, no need for a fancy book.

So, going to a flat rate book system seems to only have 3 advantages:

1. Somebody else can price jobs, for instance the technician who will do the work.

2. The technician knows how much money he will make, so he has an incentive to work briskly.

3. The book looks "official", consumers don't think you're pulling numbers out of thin air.

Do I pretty much have this right?
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline Electric View Post
I'm a small shop, I drive out to jobs (residential) and give them written estimates on the spot. Like you guys, over the years I've gotten very good at pricing jobs, so essentially, I'm "flat rating" jobs now, no need for a fancy book.

So, going to a flat rate book system seems to only have 3 advantages:

1. Somebody else can price jobs, for instance the technician who will do the work.

2. The technician knows how much money he will make, so he has an incentive to work briskly.

3. The book looks "official", consumers don't think you're pulling numbers out of thin air.

Do I pretty much have this right?
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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We use flat rate for certain testing jobs, we made it up as we went along. It seems for an expierenced man a homemade flat rate guide should be simple to arrive at. For a newbie I can see it as simplifying estimating.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:34 AM   #10
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I would like to go with flat rate pricing, but I just can't seem to see how it would work in the real world. Recently went out to to a small job which consisted of:

1. Add a RV outlet
2. Replace a outdoor GFI plug
3. Replace 4 stacked switches in a barn.

No biggy right. Well 2 days later got the above work done and got a better look at the rest of the mess which I could easly spend a week on just to fix the Disney Electrician's work.

How do you flat rate this? I seem to get these a lot. Handling it now by T&M.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:17 PM   #11
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My flat rate for those jobs that are fixing other jerks work. I take a educated guess at how long it will take to fix, usually material is not to much on this kind of work, and give an hourly rate including material. But I do not tell customer it's an hourly rate I just give them a price. generally this kind of crap that I do not like doing and is a pain in the ssa I would go 155 an hour. So if you have four hours of f ing around redoing others work, 620 inlcluding the material. I came up with this system from reading all posts on pricing in this forum. Thanks again all.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:21 PM   #12
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Hi everyone, I used to do these forums long ago and it's nice to be back - I think.
While most customers prefer a bottom-line price, I prefer to push the T&M by explaining that it isn't costing more than it should. But, I also suggest that if there happens to be more work involved due to the unknown element, at least your covered. This way, there's no rush to get the work done, just work at a regular pace and do a nice job with no call backs.

Now to the next job - where's the directions.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:22 PM   #13
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I don't like T&M because I don't want to be given crap for trips to the bathroom, phone calls, drive time, trips to the supply house, material prices, etc. I had one PITA customer who kept track of time on the job and would only pay for that time, no travel or material runs. He took my bill to HD and compared prices before he mailed the check. I learned quick to quote totals or flat rate.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:08 AM   #14
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I wish what those customers thought was true: That every penny minus materials goes straight into our savings accounts. Or that we make 85 an hour profit, 60 hours a week with one person. The difference between those who do and those who don't understand the way it is is amazing. My customer right now is remodeling a house he just bought. Probably putting 90,000 into a 500G fixer upper. He owns his own underground utility installation company, he gave me a check before lunch on the first eight hour day for double what I asked. And tells me constantly to make sure I charge him for all the little changes he's making. I bid to (as always) to stay clean while I work and told him that at estimate, he has a laborer (legal) there all day to clean up after everybody, insists on us drinking his bottled water and gatorade and has mentioned my name to other contractors in at least three phone calls in two days while I was nearby.
On a small addition/remodel I waiting to finish, the lady is such a bich, it's the exact opposite in every way. She want refund for for one recess can she deleted after I wired it despite me adding two outlets and a three way that were added later for free.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bauler View Post
I would like to go with flat rate pricing, but I just can't seem to see how it would work in the real world. Recently went out to to a small job which consisted of:

1. Add a RV outlet
2. Replace a outdoor GFI plug
3. Replace 4 stacked switches in a barn.

No biggy right. Well 2 days later got the above work done and got a better look at the rest of the mess which I could easly spend a week on just to fix the Disney Electrician's work.

How do you flat rate this? I seem to get these a lot. Handling it now by T&M.


Since you are in california, I would say the above work would lead me to say between 500 and 600 dollars. I am assuming you mean add a new circuit to a panel and pull the wire for the RV outlet. If the wire was allready there for the RV outlet, I would say between 200 and 300.

I use a modified flat rate. Basically: I have a flat rate price, and I modify it upon seeing the job at hand.

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Old 09-24-2008, 02:50 PM   #16
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I know this is an older question but I personally like the flat rate pricing for alomost all residential work. Most customers really would like to have an idea of what the work will cost. And this can have other advatages cause sometimes it might wind up being a little less than what they anticipated so thell throw in a little more stuff. And this can give you a better angle for upselling.
I dont know, thats just my two cents.
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:35 PM   #17
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Sorry its been a while since my last post. This house probably about 2500 sq ft, occupied, which means you have to dig around peoples stuff, go around the house through gates that woundn't close right, deal with 3 dogs, ect, ect. Barn in the back must be about 150 ft from the house. You get the idea.

Now I open up the main 200 a panel, what a rats nest, and of course it located over a nice rose bush, and only a few inches from a fireplace chase. You have to come at it at a angle. Wonder who approved this.

I just can't see how you can flat rate such a job. The sample flat rates I've seen look like someone just pulled the prices out of thin air. But like someone said, you wonder if the customer thinks you are charging them for phone calls, and other breaks.

I'm still working it out.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:59 AM   #18
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I try to T&M whenever there are to many variables, but if the client insists on a written quote, I make sure I cover all contingencies that would make for extras. like running into a situation thats gonna cost an extra hour or 2, and including any changes, no refunds once its in, in fact it cost money to now remove or relocate it, and the quote is also a work order once its signed its the same as a contract. as for using a flat rate, myself I have found that when I do a walk through I can ball park the hours pretty close so I base it on the high end of my guess and it seems to work out fine for me, never lost money yet and am usually within 10% on jobs that are under 50 hours, anything over 50 hours I try to fine tune a little more on a quote, as there usually more guys competing for those.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:38 PM   #19
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Has anyone ever heard of software where you could make your own? I don't mean the comercial stuff for HVAC, plumbers and electricians. I mean some type of software you could make up a flat rate book for any type of service business. I know about using excel.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:36 PM   #20
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Old thread but still valid, especially since I am working on my flat rate as well.

I am 100% for developing a spreadsheet for creating your flat rate pricing. You can have formulas written in that calculate your mark up & allow you to develop multiple prices for the same project type, standard price, seniors discount, preferred pricing... You can also develop modifiers that apply when a project breaches the limits of your flat rate pricing.

You can set it up to allow you to make changes that affect all flat rate assemblies globally or just locally.

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