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Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 206
H
Member
When a residential customers calls do you schedule an appointment with the intent of doing the work or with the intent of estimating the job or does it depend on what the customer tells you on the initial phone call?

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 10
F
Junior Member
Usually the customers are calling to get the job done and have called other electricians that either didn't want the job, or never showed up. They need it now, so I try to get it done for them asap. There are tirekickers out there that want a free estimate and are just shopping around for the cheapest contractor. You can easily
distinguish them from the serious customers just by talking to them on the phone. I do not bid jobs, what I do is provide an honest estimate of the probable cost and keep it on the high side. It is better to finish a job that you estimated for 1000.00 and only charge 800.00. This keeps the customers happy that they saved 200.00. Some people are just not worth dealing with, however, and when I run across those I will avoid dealing with them in the future.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
H
Member
It depends on a lot of things. There are valid reasons for either way.

If you do the work right away there is no chance the customer will cancel but they may raise objections to the cost since they haven't been given an estimate to mull over.

Some jobs can be a can of worms throwing your scheduling for a loop. Better to have seen it first so you know what you are up against.

If you are going to do the work right away you need to have a well stocked truck otherwise you will be making a second trip anyway.

Me? Unless it's simple I always estimate the job then schedule it depending on how long it's going to take and the availability of materials.

-Hal

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
L
LK Offline
Member
We like to look at all the jobs first, when they call, we get all the information, on location, type of work, if it is a small job, then for a small dispatch fee we send a man and a truck to do a free estimate, if they accept the estimate, we drop the dispatch fee, otherwise they pay, works well tire kickers, are pretty much eliminated, we get the customers that want the work done.
On larger jobs, we do the same process, but usually do not charge a dispatch fee.

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 91
S
Member
hmmm....tire kickers. A short time back I received a call from a person who purchased a small building and he was in the process of converting into an ice cream/hotdog restaurant. He needed me to do a few small things and hook up his 3phase ice cream serving machine. The problem is the building only had single phase power. I knew I was wasting my time when I walked thru the door and he said, "You're the fifth electrician I've talked to..."

I gave him a price for the job anyway which included installing a single to 3phase converter. I also told him we needed to change out his panel since it was full and the converter needed a 240v/100amp feed.

I didn't hear back from him....


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