You're fighting a constant battle in the appliance repair trade to get the most money out of the time you spend. One of the biggest problems you face is unprofitable service calls. Most often these crop up as repairs that are close to the replacement cost. What customer is going to opt for a $300 repair when they can buy a new dryer for $400?
Fortunately, there are 2 simple steps you can take to weed out 95% of these kinds of calls. These steps are prediagnosis and flat-rate pricing.
Prediagnosis just means wargaming the call before you actually head out. Seems like common sense, but a lot of guys don't do it. It includes researching the appliance and the problem, reviewing any tech literature that you can find, and coming up with a firm idea of what the problem might be and how you're going to troubleshoot it.
Not only is prediagnosis vital for good troubleshooting (which will keep you more profitable too, by the way), but it also lets you sniff out unprofitable calls before you head out on them. If you identify the most likely cause of the issue, you can look at the cost of the parts and labor, do some quick math, and determine what to communicate ahead of time to the customer.
How do you accurately estimate the cost of a job? This leads us to...
Flat-rate pricing. If you're not already using this, you're missing out. Using a flat-rate guide (we use the online Blue Book, arguably the most popular one), you can quickly and easily look up the cost of any repair, parts and labor included. This lets you figure out in a snap what the job will cost.
From there, you can either decide to accept it, turn it down altogether, or even tell the customer over the phone what the cost of the most likely repair will be to see if they're still interested in having you come out. Not only does this save you time and money, but it keeps customers happier too -- no one likes having a tech out just to tell them that the repair will cost nearly the same as replacing it.
Bonus tip! Don't set your service call fee too low. If you're willing to drive to a customer's house for a pittance, then you're just asking to be taken advantage of by tire-kickers and DIYers who just want you to figure out the problem for them so that they can fix it. This might shock some of you, but our service call fee is $125 -- and yes, we still get lots of calls! Generally better quality ones, too...
Take all this advice to heart, and you'll see your wasted time plummet and your profit margins skyrocket. Want to learn more about how to structure service calls and troubleshoot like a champ? Check out this webinar recording on the Samurai System for Service Call Excellence -- available to premium members only!