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#190498 11/21/09 12:42 AM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
cool In the downturn what are you doing to add value to your service? For example I have been doing my own patching for years, I am promoting it more and as a one stop option I have won several jobs even being high on the electric portion.


Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
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Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
I was un-employed for 6 weeks before I was allowed to quote on a dairy shed.
Personally I did nothing out of the ordinary.
I quoted such a high figure and never really expected to get the job, but the farmer called me after the tender process finished and said "you've got the job"

There is me and a helper with a big time-frame to get this job done.

IMO, if you have to make concessions, is there really any point in doing the job?

I mean, we are Electricians, we aren't mud workers, we are also not plumbers, just how far do you go with saying "Yes we can do that!"?

Value to the customer is one thing, but in a down-turn, it could mean that they can screw you over for more money as well.

Sorry about the negative attitude, I've been there before.

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
Phil .,

I have few diffrent ways to add to my contracting work as like example in resdentail area if very small patching on drywall I can do that but there is one spot I will hand off is painting due it hard to get match the exsting colour on the wall or ceiling but if there there is going be a bunch of of patching many time it cheaper to get a hold of drywall contractor to do all the patching.

As for other service I do work on Diesel engines as the situation required { due I work on alot of generators so that do come handy when do the troubleshooting }

I did try to make all one stop for me before it did not work too well with me but for other peoples it may work ok.


Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,441
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
I think Phil raises a good point. Let me give an example.

Back in the 60's, Ford ran ads showing how they dipped entire car bodies in a vat in order to paint them, and extolled how this process ensured a fine paint job. The public, suitably awed, ran to the Ford dealers when they wanted a new car.

The catch? Ford wasn't doing anything that the other companies weren't doing at the time. The general public didn't know that, though, and were impressed. They associated a common process with one brand name. It was a marketing coup.

The customer is always going to notice a difference in price. You have to make sure he understands the difference between the various products. I mean, you can pay $5 or $150 for a pair of sneakers - and some customer will feel the $150 pair is worth it.

Last summer I lost a job to a lower priced contractor. Well, the customer had a choice: my complete desigh, or the other guys' inadequate (but legal, if you fudged the paperwork) plan. A choice of either be happy with my work, or to be always fussing over the other guys' results. There are no hard feelings; the customer was well aware of the chance he took.

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
Good point Reno. When I do contracting work or even I do my job for our Uncle Sam, I stick to the basic:

*Never treat the customers as stupid
*Never act as if you are stupid
*Explain things in a manner where they can understand
*Sell them only what they need, not what you can sell them
*I avoid using cheap parts and explain why, long term cost
*I suggest using quaility parts and explain way, long time value
*Flip a freebie to the nice customers. It's cheap advertisement
*Know you compitition. What are they doing? What are they not?
*Answer their questions even if they are planning to do the work themselves (to a point). In most places the home owner can legally do electrical work on their property. They are going to do it anyway. If it is not too far, offer to stop by an double check the work. Odds are they will hire you for the harder stuff.
*I look customers systems over and Identify any major issues and bring it to their attention and identify it on the bill. More times then not, I get a service call of it.

*Stay on top of what the industry is putting on the street.

Treat your customers as human beings, not cattle, impower them with usible information and they will be more willing to spend the extra money even in this economy. People want value and safe wiring and will pay more if you sell it right

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
Nicly said Sparky. I have been a little carful about advise latley. If a customer injuries themself trying something I advised them there may be some implied liability. I got this from mechanic that was held liable for a brake job that he advised a customer on.

Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 8
New Member
It's never a good idea trying to explain to a customer, how to do something. You can be held liable and loose everything.
You are a professional. It took many years to get where you are and learn what you have learned. That knowledge and experience can not be taught in a 10 minute conversation with a home owner.
You are not going to someones house to give them an education on how to do something. Your there to provide service, not DIY!

Founder and creator of Precision Pricing Electrical Flat Rate Software.
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
I hear you guys. I do not instuct them on how to rewire a house or anything. The people I do assist I have a good understanding what they are capable of. It's typically it just answer a technical question or clear Gray areas in installation instruction. I also make them well aware that they are resposible not me. I am cautious to give out advice just for thar reason. There are too many varibles that can come back and nip me in the butt. Pending on what it is and I think they are biting off more then they can chew, I fire off with a slew of questions like did you check this? Did you check that? Did you double check your calculations? Etc. They either go away or hire me.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,441
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
I can't deny your logic, but the challenge is to still be able to communicate with the customer, to reassure him that he is getting value for his money.

Be too vague, and you sow the seeds of distrust and suspicion. Be too vague, and the customer is left without knowing how you differ from the other guy.

I just head an ad for a local firm, assuring customers that their 'technicians' were professionally trained, state licensed, would appear on time and be neatly dressed, that all work would be done in a timely, professional manner, and carried a one year guarantee.

No trade secrets there - most of what they said is required by law, and the rest is common in the industry. Yet, this guy has a very effective ad, and successful business, by directly addressing the customers' concerns.

Let's look at another few examples:

If you make sure to explain to the customer that you will wear booties in the house, lay gown tarps and vacuum up afterwards .... that reassures them - and sets you apart from the guy who might do all that, but doesn't point it out to the customer ahead of time.

If you are having to trench, the customer will certainly be interested to see pics of how well you were able to restore the grass after the last job. Who wants to wait two years for the scar to heal?

If you're running pipe, instead of a simple cable, it's to your advantage to explain why you think it's worth the extra expense.

Likewise, if there are things the customer can do to reduce the expense, make sure he is told exactly what his savings will be. For example, you might say ($500 to run that new circuit, but you can save $50 if you empty the closet for me, so I can access the crawl space."

Don't sell yourself short as to your skill. Often the tiny details are what make the difference; if you wear dentures, you know exactly what I mean!

Perception is key. As another example, I know several folks who will pay a bit more for the nice, comfortable experience at Target, rather than the cattle-drive feeling they gat at Wal-Mart.

Most of us have plenty of experience to draw upon; the key is to sit back, and remember what you like and dislike = then put it into practice. Look at things from the customers' perspective. The customer likely has no interest in whether our drill is DeWalt or Milwaukee, but cares a great deal about mjuddy footprints on the new carpet.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,917
Likes: 29
My wife is a customer, first as a builder, now as the manager of a country club community. She has hired tons of tradesmen and fired more than a few.
#1 on her list is "RETURN YOUR CALLS".
Nothing is more frustrating that trying to hire someone and not getting a call back. It certainly makes you wonder if this guy will actually show up on time.
That is
#3 "Bring what you need to finish the job when you start it"
We all understand things come up and you may have to go get something but if you know you will need something, bring it.
#4 Clean up after yourself.
Don't walk away leaving a mess and don't create unnecessary hazards for other people by leaving things laying around.

She puts price way down on the list. It is more important that you can actually finish the job for the quoted price than it is the lowest quote. The low bid is always suspicious.

I understand she might not be the typical customer because she has done this for a while but in the end I believe that is really what people want, in spite of what they say.
BTW that was also what IBM strived to do ... back when they were selling service. We called it different things but the elements were the same.

Greg Fretwell
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