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billable hours

This guy is a pain in the butt,i wanted to just give him a price to do the job,he insisted we do it for t/m.
I charge him a hour everyday we are there for travel,its 45 minutes to the job,he cries and says i should only bill for 45 min.,and then asks why i bill for travel-duh.
He originaly bought all his own stuff,none of it was right.Thinks i should take it in exchange,wrong,i don't need to sit on a bunch of stuff.
But i would like to get a idea of how others charge,because up here in the woods of pa its strange.
i guess i'm looking for a norm.


  • Randy-Lee Braman
    Randy-Lee Braman Member Posts: 40
    OT-Billable hours

    First off i'm not asking for monetary values,
    What i'm looking for is how you count your time,
    Such as travel to job,time at job,haveing to go get parts,
    I'm in a dispute with a customer who thinks he needs
    to be there with a stop watch.I'm just looking for the norm so to speak.
  • kevin coppinger_4
    kevin coppinger_4 Member Posts: 2,124
    if your...

    customer is going to be that way about it maybe he should get someone else.This might be an adavantage of doing the job flat rate....kpc

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  • keith
    keith Member Posts: 224
    clock ticks

    The clock is always ticking.

    If the techs receive their hourly wage then someone is paying for that.

    We are fair to the customer, they aren't getting billed excesivly or to cover another customer who doesn't want to be responcible and pay their fair share. does the part make its way from the vender to the system in need of repair? Is it magic? No, we pay some one to go pick it up. If we have it on the truck it's a bonus. How did it make it's way into the truck? Magic? No

  • mark s
    mark s Member Posts: 12

    I learned not to do jobs that home owners supply materials.
    Dan stated in a seminar that if they supply materials will they also supply the tools.CAn you bill for tools,solder and any other incidental you use.
    By letting them supply materials how much money will you then be able to make.
    To answer your question, yes you can bill for all time.
  • Ken D.
    Ken D. Member Posts: 836

    We charge $85 for the first half hour. This is a service charge that covers travel. $85 an hour after that. Seems to work well. We charge from the moment we arrive to the moment we leave. We keep the time on the quarter hour to keep our math and bookkeeping simple.
  • Gave a firm price & they accepted, but.......

    The wife clocked everyone on the job site - right down to seconds & put it all on an excel spread sheet. Then, knowing our hourly rate from previous service work, she demanded they pay for the productive on-the-job-site-only time!

    Didn't matter that I'd given them a FR price.

  • Adam_3
    Adam_3 Member Posts: 403

    Randy-lee Braman,

    You're kidding right? Why would you even consider working for someone like that! It is clearly doomed before even starting! The writing is all over the wall (sorry, no offense Dan!). If you're that good, you should be deciding who you work for and who you do not!

  • Brad White_184
    Brad White_184 Member Posts: 135
    Ourly versus Hourly

    I agree with those who say, "who needs a customer like this?"

    It would be presumed that the quotation and terms are pre-arranged and agreed-to before work starts, especially if it is a fixed price (for a given scope of work) or flat-rate (for a defined task such as a change-out. There should not be any argument there. If there is, tough cookies.

    Now, if the job is T&M, I can see a H/O getting antsy especially if they do not appreciate the complexities involved. Perhaps T&M with an upset or not to exceed limit may give comfort. Regardless, in contract work, all of this is pre-arranged and agreed to.

    I typically perform consultations for an hourly rate, sometimes with a two or four hour minimum. The rate is a sliding scale to make it more affordable for some folks, sometimes pro-bono. The reduced rate is usually given to those who contact me though the local building materials co-operative where I teach.

    If the travel is a short distance, (15 minutes or so) I absorb that. If longer, I charge a reduced rate for that time, maybe half-rate or an hour round trip built into the hourly tally.

    In other words, I work under a range of terms. The benefit I have versus tradespeople in the home, is that the H/O is not hanging over my shoulder when I perform calculations, drawings or prepare reports. I sometimes charge a reduced but ample rate for drafting (where it may otherwise be sub-contracted to a lower pay-scale person).

    A former client (architect) and mentor once told me that there has to be at least one of the following reasons to take a job. If none of these are present, refuse the job. The categories are: Money, Glory and Fun.

    I do use an hourly time logger software which defines and sub-defines the tasks and rate associated with that task:

    Responsive Time Logger Version 4.03.16
    [email protected]

    A bit rambly, but my $0.02

  • Ed_50
    Ed_50 Member Posts: 18
    Sounds like............

    ...... he doesn't appreciate everything that goes into becoming the best you can be. Say thanks, but no thanks and leave your card (g).

  • Bob D._2
    Bob D._2 Member Posts: 34
    Portal-to-Portal + % Shop Time

    As a "used-to-be" consultant (PE), I wouldn't blink an eye at whatever your posted rate is times the time you left the shop until you get back to the shop, plus some shop time. Seems to me that travel time is very fair. I used to want to bill for the time I spent awake at night, thinking about Projects (the "Oh S**t!" factor). By the way, the Wife's an MD, and at the end of the day a "typical" office visit pays less than a haircut (no B.S.), but there's a lot of "haircuts" every day, and she tries not to think about the time "included" for charting, orders, etc.
  • Randy-Lee Braman
    Randy-Lee Braman Member Posts: 40
    the problem people

    One of the biggest problems we have in this area is all the wannabes we have who hang out a shingle and work out of a beatup old station wagon.No insurance,no schooling,
    no tools.yea they can do it cheaper,they have no overhead and are the first to disappear when the job turns crap.
    When i started my own biz i sat down and found out everything i had to have,insurance,workmans comp,etc.
    My wife and i then figured out a rate.Yes we do adjust it,
    to compansate for riseing prices and such.I'm not the cheapest and i'm not the most exspensive.But i stand behind
    my work and feel i am owed my money because i have given the customer my best.Which is more then i can say for alot of guys in this area.
    I get more work because of thier take the money and run attitude,and no service after the install
    ways,and lots of parts changers not problem solvers.
    My attitude has become if you want to hire the hacks fine,but when you call me to straighten it out
    don't exspect me to work for nothing.
    And as far as my problem customer he called
    today,only problem was he got my wife and a ear full when
    he started to complain to her.
    He called back later with a attitude change so
    we'll see monday.
    Thanks guys,Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Tony_23
    Tony_23 Member Posts: 1,033
    Been there

    I live in a similar area as you.

    I found that if I knuckle under to those type of people they have no respect for me or my work. I stand my ground and tell them my price and terms and stick to it. If you show respect for yourself, they'll respect you as well. Don't show yourself respect, why should they ? Don't be their patsy.

    I've had some people walk away from how I handle things. there's always somebody else tomorrow. Funny thing is, a lot of them come back after getting a dose or two of lesser service or quality and unresponsiveness. I recently had a group of former customers come back after 10-12 years of using a competitor who played their political circle until he proved me the right choice. It was hard not to say I told you so, but I managed :)
  • Gordo2
    Gordo2 Member Posts: 7
    Mr. Yates

    I wonder that if the wife had determined the t&m rate had cost her more, she would have paid the difference between the agreed price and her t&m calculation? I suspect not.

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  • don_192
    don_192 Member Posts: 45
    Alittle off topic

    But I'm sure you all can relate.There is a guy in my area thats has been working on building a house for at least thirty years.

    I often travel down this road when I first got into the trade and before I ever was marry with children.Now thirty
    years later I'm still traveling down this same road and yet the house still set incomplete.

    Just so happen I got a service call last week on a house
    acouple fields aways.So I ask the ho just was up with this house.

    His reply was that the ho was so picky and always clocked the subs on time,and the guys was never ever happy with anything that was being done that he taken all the subs to court to get his money back.Some cases he won other he lost.Now he can no longer get anyone else out to the house to help him.tis the reason the house set incomplete till this day.

    Now thats justice.

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