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jonny88jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
Okay so I am in a very competitive area and trying to focus on boiler work.I find most contractors are doing their own plumbing until they get a job where they need a licensed plumber.(pex and pvc made this a lot easier for them but it is what it is.)

When I approach a potential boiler job I have a heating consultant come with me,he performs heatloss etc,I know my limits.He designs my systems I install then he comes back for start up and does combustion analysis etc.

I am on a Nat Grid list of plumbers but find I cant compete with the large companies which I see like to use a Burnham Series 2 82%AFUE and free standing water heater.

I at the very least am trying to put in the ES2 with odr and indirect .Obviously it costs a little more but feel the return on investment is much better.Customers I find are looking at prices alone.Anyone got any tips.

I noticed a plumber on Long Island installs a lot of Veissman boilers so I know it is possible to get the best products out there.

Any thoughts would be apreciated,


  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 2,932
    Who cares what you think?

    "it costs a little more but feel the return on investment is much better.Customers I find are looking at prices alone.Anyone got any tips."

    Customers buy for their reasons and feelings,not yours! And it's their money,they can spend it as they see fit. Very few want the cheapest but most people want the best value for their money and cheapest usually isn't best value. If everybody is quoting the same brand and all seem equally qualified,then what is left for a consumer but to go on price alone?
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  • jonny88jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    best value for money????

    I guess what I was trying to get at is how do you inform a customer for example to get away from the series2 and water heater install and and go for a better system.The majority of homes I go into have pretty basic systems.I believe it or not do care about what the customer thinks and was looking for ideas on how to upsell a system,I know it is there hard earned money and wouldnt it be nice if they spent it wisely.As an example I asked a oil company to give me a quote on an oil to gas for my house and believe me they were not giving me the best advice.Anyhow I wasnt looking for a confrontation just some ideas
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    edited August 2013
    First you sell yourself

    and then you offer them several, well-informed choices.  If they truly understand the value proposition, you have pretty much done all you can.

    Bringing financing (and appropriate analysis) to the table can help a lot.  That's where the utilities and the oil distributors have an edge.
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 2,932

    Not at all! Just pointing out that your feelings are meaningless in this context and if you plan on selling,you better develop a thick skin! The customers feelings are what matters,find out their concerns and issues,come up with a solution that addresses those problems and there is your answer. You keep mentioning one specific manufacturer,if everyone else uses that brand,why would you?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,330
    We like the ES2

    but it can be 2012 compliant without reset. I know, I know- reset is far and away the best option, but if customers are that cheap you may have to leave it off- for now. It's pretty easy to add it later given the way the ES2's control setup works, though- the only rewiring is the cable to the sensors.

    We have an ES2 going in next month, and they didn't go for reset this time. But it won't be hard to add later.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • GWGW Member Posts: 2,517
    That was me

    I used to worry a lot about keeping the lowest price possible until I realized i was going into debt and that not everyone wants a cheap installation. Once I had my ah ha moment I have enjoyed life and business so much more. It took a good butt-whupping by Frank Blau, he got through my thick head many years ago. I think he stopped touring though.

    Anyhow, I don't know if this reply is helpful, it's not your price in my opinion. It seems like your apologetic that your price isn't as cheap as the others. That's not good.

    Gary Wilson

    Wilson Services, Inc

    Northampton, MA
  • jonny88jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139

    I also like the ES2 and have quite a number of them installed.The reason I am mentioning the same brand all the time is because when doing an oil to gas conversion where i live utility company only offers burnham products.When using the odr I pipe in a bypass between supply and return and regulate it with a gate valve,whats your thoughts on this.I know the boiler can handle low temp but was advised to try and keep chimney at a higher temp to avoid condensation.Again thanks for your comments
  • gennadygennady Member Posts: 677

    I solved this issue. I offer the best system for the job, no corners cut, period. I must make healty profit. If potential buyer cannot afford it, then he cannot have it. Simple like that.
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
  • TomTom Member Posts: 455

    I assume you are either a young man or new to being a business owner. If that is true you will learn pretty quickly that your customers are not your buddies, this is business and in some ways it's very dog eat dog. You need to make sure you are 100% confident you are putting out a great product on every job.

    Listen to the advice of SWEI and give options. I do it every time, they can have the terrible oversized combo there friends told them to get, I work to steer them away. They can have the most efficient boiler on earth for there 34K Btu of baseboard in there 1100sqft ranch. I again will install it but try to reason with them. Not one boiler with a sidearm is the right choice for every job. Thats why there are so many manufacturers.

    When I first started I was nervous about prices because I thought that if I didn't get that job I wouldn't get another. So I was working on the cheap, apparently I needed the practice. Now I price to make money not "gouge" but to cover me and my expenses. Do a little reading on small business operation and see if there are some changes to made, I did and have been busy and profitable ever since.
    Montpelier Vt
  • GWGW Member Posts: 2,517
    yes, and here's another nugget

    I am making the grand assumption that you feel your pricing isn't low

    enough based on the fact that you aren't getting enough jobs. Or, the guy with the cheaper system is taking all the work (which is the same thing)

    The biggest irony is people will tell you they went with someone else becasue the other guy's price was lower. This is sometimes (not always of course) a white lie. Remember, customers are allowed to lie in our society (if they get caught it could be a problem, but that's another story). It's simply the easiest thing to tell a hard working blue collar man like you and me that "you're out of the picture".

    In my earlier days i had pretty low costs (I lived with my grandparents when i started out in 1989, had a rented 30' trailer for inventory), yet I would still get, "your price was higher than the other guy'. It took me well over a decade to get over this price myth; it was stuck deep into my head.

    So, you need to hurdle over this price thing! You can't win every job, it's never going to happen. Don't let the white lies get you down!!  Some people prefer fine dining, other people prefer McDonalds. Some people prefer a used car, other people prefer a lexus/mercedes. These simple thoughts helped me get over the mental block i had.
    Gary Wilson

    Wilson Services, Inc

    Northampton, MA
  • RolandRoland Member Posts: 147
    The one that got away.....

    I find this a fascinating topic because it explores so much more than 'why didn't I get that job'? I was working for my family many years ago in a field unrelated to heating but the issues with customer relations were much the same.

    My father was a craftsman of the highest order, trained in Germany and came to the U.S. with two children in tow and me on the way. He worked crazy hours to establish himself and somehow feed,clothe and put a roof over our heads.

    He was always busy. Many times he had to turn down jobs because there weren't enough hours in the day to accommodate everyone. It seemed he was on his way to retire comfortably at a relatively young age. It didn't happen quite that way. He fell prey to his own fears. The worst of which was the fear of not keeping the customers, decorators (who ripped him off royally),and architects happy with his prices. Always too low.

    This kind of distorted thinking cost him his family, health, and ultimately his lively-hood. I worked for him for over a decade and watched as the income slowly ebbed away. Very sad.

    Anyway, all I can contribute to this discussion is to be the best you can and strive to be better. Draw the line between getting the job at any cost and getting paid what your worth. You know you're good at what you do, get compensated properly.

    Offer something the other guys don't or won't. Feel good about walking away from a potential headache. It takes practice,but once mastered, elevates you.

  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,920
    ok post is going too serious for me now

    when asked " how's business?" these are my three favorite replies:

    1- Down the drain!

    2- It runs hot and cold.

    3- Steaming along!

    DO good work, keep a fair profit, stand behind your work, and enjoy your work!

    If you are not making a profit at the price the other guys are working for and you have your costs under control then go fishing now, for you will be busy fixing their installations when it gets cold out.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
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