Are Plumbing Service Fees Nickel and Diming You?

Are Plumbing Service Fees Nickel and Diming You?

Nickel Diming PlumbersThe following is a blog written by Janet Murphy, an Allied customer.

When looking for a tradesperson – plumber or other repair person – one of the number one questions is “Do you charge a service fee?” In our home, one of the hallmarks of a quality small business is when the business owner believes a “no service charge”, consultative approach is the best approach. Yes, he or she might get burned by customers only seeking information so they can do the job themselves. It happens. But in the long run, being consultative and charging a fair rate by-the-job lends itself to a relationship built on trust.

We like trust.

In the world of plumbing, a “the price you are quoted is the price you pay” approach is a win-win situation. The customer calls, explains the problem the plumber provides a fair and accurate quote over the phone. The customer agrees to the quote and an appointment is made. Upon satisfactory completion of the work, the customer pays the bill. If the customer agrees to the work, then backs out for any reason, the customer pays a “trip charge” to cover the cost of the plumber’s house call.

Here’s an example: Last Spring, our exterior faucet water line was leaking inside our basement. My husband Joe was sure it was a busted pipe. We called Allied Reddi Rooter and asked for a quote on installing a frost-free spigot. We accepted the quote – it was in the $300 range to have a new frost-free faucet installed. That day, the Allied plumber arrived, took one look at our exterior faucet and the leak and said “Lady, you already have a frost free faucet, so you don’t need one. Your pipe is not busted, either. The trouble is a tiny drainage valve that’s come loose over the years.”

With that, he pulled a screwdriver out of his pocket, tightened the valve, and charged me $94 for the service call. My husband kind of freaked at that rate, but let’s look at the facts:
· My husband was not going to get around to fixing that leak.
· Allied quoted a price based on my description of the problem; I agreed to the quote.
· Once on site, it became clear the work was significantly less than expected.
· I needed that leak fixed; the plumber was able to fix it.
· Because I had agreed to the original price quote and set up the appointment, I was going to receive a “trip charge” regardless of whether he tightened the screw or not. So, I let him do that work.
· The next time I see a leak on that pipe, I’ll know to tighten that screw on my own.

I am a happy customer – the Allied plumber was honest from the start and he fixed my leak. Because of that honesty, they are my go-to plumbing company. I trust them.

Forget the “high fee” plumbers who charge a fee just for showing up, then line item the additional labor and materials. Beware of the “no fee” plumbers who don’t charge a fee but can nickel and dime you in other areas. Look for the “right price quote” – the one you agree to over the phone. 

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