George Burns Hires a Plumber


Contributing Writer
Rodney Koop
Founder, The New Flat Rate

I remember years ago George Burns, with his ever-present cigar, telling about calling a plumber to fix his sink.  When he got the bill he was startled.  He never expected it to cost so much just to get someone to fix a sink.  When he questioned the plumber about the bill he was given an education in plumbing economics.  George then looks into the camera and says “Did you know plumbers have something they call port to port?” “You see that means that they charge you from the time the plumber leaves his home until he gets back. “ “Well,” said George, “from the cost of the bill I’d say that plumber must have left home when he was 13 years old.”

Many a customer has acted surprised at the bill for in-home services.  Even though a service contractor assumes great expense to provide a technically detailed service right there in your home or business, it is almost always more than the customer expected to pay for that service.

Up-front pricing of one kind or another has been around for years and the general idea is this:  Give the price before you do the work.   Why?  Well, first of all, it makes it much easier to get paid.  It eliminates the objection that they were not expecting to pay so much, and it documents what is being bought so everything can be agreed upon before any expenses are accrued.

George Burns may not have liked the price of the plumbing repair but if he had been given the price first, he might have felt like he had a choice, even if it was just “take it or leave it.”

Menu Pricing is a pleasant experience for the customer and the technician. It keeps everyone on the same page and allows the customer to discover (all by themselves) that they really do want to buy more while you are there doing the work.

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