- Blame it on your plumbing software – If you use some sort of plumbing estimating software to calculate your costs and generate invoices, you could cite that as the reason for not being able to adjust the bill total.
- Offer a payment plan – If you have the ability to, offer the client the option to start a payment plan. Take a down payment up front, and then bill them for the remaining balance over the next few weeks or months. This can make an otherwise hefty bill much more manageable for many customers.
- Get them to sign off on an estimate before you do the work – To make sure your clients don’t feel inclined to haggle, estimate the work and costs, and get them to sign off (literally – in writing) on the expected bill. This will serve as a sort of contract that binds them into that rate before you begin.
- Give them a discount on a future service – Consider giving the client a small discount (10 percent or so) on a future visit. Tell them you can’t offer the discount today, but if they use your services again, you could get a discount pre-approved by your manager. Often this is enough to make the client happy (plus, it means a more long-term relationship, too.)
- Point out other areas where you’ve saved them cash or given them a discount – Did you provide free diagnostics? Did you clean out that drain pipe just because? Make sure you point these things out to the client, and let them know the value you’ve provided with these services free of cost. Chances are it will make them more amenable to paying the rest of the bill.
For many plumbers, hagglers just come with the territory. They want the job done right (and fast), but they don’t want to pay full price for it – especially if it’s a higher cost than they bargained for. Unfortunately, handing out discounts left and right just isn’t an option for small plumbing businesses. It eats into profits, and it sets a bad precedent for future customers and service calls. So how do you handle these cost-cutting clients? What do you do to keep the peace and ensure your get the price you’re asking for? Here are some tips to get you started: