Picture this: A technician is hired to fix a leaky faucet or a clogged toilet, and suddenly what was supposed to be a simple, quick repair turns into a job costing thousands of dollars and dozens of hours...
Who hasn’t heard of this horror story?
Of course, technicians do sometimes come across legitimate, unexpected problems when performing routine repairs, but unfortunately there are other instances where a sudden jump in cost and time is unwarranted. An increase in services and cost could be the result of a commission-paid plumber eager to pad his paycheck. A customer might be without any plumbing experience and at the mercy of “the expert.” If an expert says something is necessary, most of us will follow the expert’s advice. (This is true when it comes to any service technician in any industry, but plumbing in particular has a poor reputation for it.) The bill can also increase if the customer is advised to add unnecessary services or more costly options to a basic job, or if the technician is not motivated to finish in a timely manner. It’s a sensitive topic.
Many service technicians are out working hard, doing their best to be honest in their assessment of the problem at hand, but there are enough technicians who are not, and that is why the issue needs to be addressed. Consumers can be sure they’re working with an honest technician by considering how they are paid, which is usually one of two ways. The first is commission-based, which is when the plumber gets paid a commission percentage based on the total price of a job that they complete. The other is hourly pay, when a company pays employees for hours worked.
Here are some differences between Commission-Based Plumbers
& Hourly-Wage-Based Plumbers!
Since commission-based plumbers are paid a percentage of how much they “sell” to their clients, this may naturally encourage the plumber to focus more on the “sales” aspect of the job, as opposed to providing the best plumbing services they have to offer. In some cases, you may also find that commission-based plumbers will push products or services not required or needed to complete the original job, also known as an “upsell” or “add-on” to push the total price of the job up, resulting in a bigger payout for them. Since these plumbers are not paid for things like travel time or estimates, it’s not surprising that they would try to make up for unpaid time worked. For example, a simple replacement of a thermocouple on a water heater yields less money than a complete replacement of the water heater. This would potentially be a difference of several hundred or even a couple thousand dollars more than what was really necessary. When you go to the doctor, would you rather the doctor focus on treating your ailment, or on how much he’ll get paid for performing the work?
In contrast to a commission-based plumber, hourly-based plumbers get paid a set rate per hour for all work. They are paid from the minute they are on the clock to the minute they punch out, whether they are providing an estimate that may not get accepted or driving from one job location to the next. In this case, the plumber is less likely to try and “upsell” you and instead focus on simply providing the best service possible. They know what the job requires, and they work until it is completed to the best of their ability. An hourly paid plumber won’t feel like they need to rush through a job, as rushing will not yield another or larger payout. Also, with each job billed to the client at an hourly rate with each part itemized, it is easier for the client to see exactly where the money for the job went (parts/labor).
Come join us next time to learn more about FLAT RATE PRICING and What is fair! Be prepared for when you need a reliable and honest plumber in Pt. 2 of Down the Drain by Mark Bush ~ VP of Operations at R&L Plumbing