Turning A $59.95 Drain Clearing Call Into $125.00 Per Foot Work


$59.95 Drain Cleaning to $125.00 Per Foot Work

Last week we talked about the contractors who try to make a living on volume calls getting as many drain calls into a day as possible to cover direct costs, overhead and profit and the fallacy of that practice. I had a few people who wrote me that they could make money under that model, others who said they did the drain cleaning as a loss leader and then see what other plumbing or drain issues they could do while they were there to make money. Finally one thought I had no experience in the plumbing industry.
First of all, I was a plumbing and heating contractor for about 14 years in the Midwest and have a pretty good handle on “giving away” work in the hopes of getting other work to make up for the loss. I also know what it’s like to have no calls for the day.
Obviously getting people to call you is why most drain cleaning companies advertise $59.95 drain cleaning and is a good way to get you in the door. The down side is that it will cost you money to get you or your crew to the jobsite. Here’s where many take their eye off the ball. One figures that spending 10 minutes there getting the drain to flow and leaving will let them get the volumes of calls needed to make money. The others spend the 10 minutes to get the drain open but then veer off to water heaters, leaky faucets, new sinks and toilets. These tactics take your potential profit center, drains, and moves it to other things. Poking a hole through a root ball or pushing some tuberculated scale down the line moves the bigger issue down the road for you to address later or for your competitor to swoop in and pick up a customer who is disgusted that their drain is backing up again 6 months down the road.
So, you are there in your customers building. Do you have a camera with you? If you don’t you shouldn’t have even showed up. Just this week my neighbor had a sewer back up. He called the local plumber who showed up with his cable machine. He ran the cable machine, didn’t feel any blockage, but didn’t get the sewer to drain either. He was 30 miles from home base, so back to the shop to get a camera and a reschedule for a few days later as my neighbor had other things to do.
My point here is go to your customers building prepared. If you are going to a drain clearing call with no camera, be prepared to get your $59.95 and that’s it. Most drain clearing calls are caused by roots or scale. If you aren’t prepared to show your customer the problem there is little opportunity to sell a deeper cleaning. You’ve had a problem identified by your customer and if you steer them away from this problem and direct them toward water heaters and faucets you are setting yourself up for failure or, at best, a low margin drain cleaning provider.

Next week – How to move your customers drain clearing to high margin work cleaning that drain. Tune in.