WHY DOES THE HVAC TECH CHARGE MORE THAN THE MACHINE SHOP
I had a short visit from our HVAC repairman today. It took him about 2-minutes to pop the access cover, grab a tester and proclaim that the flame sensor had shot-craps in our 10-year-old furnace. He’d been in my office for a total of 5 minutes when he said that I owed him $90.00 for the service call. I could install the sensor myself, there is dealer across town, or, he had the part “on the truck” for $30 plus $30 installation. After a quick math calculation I figured the extra 60-bucks was cheaper than the hour or two I’d waste acquiring the part and making the repair. I reluctantly approved the job. The tech was fast. He scored $150 for 20-minutes of work. As he packed-up his “tool” (one screwdriver) I got to thinking about his company investment and how that relates to the guys in our business. This small business owner drove a descent older company van stocked with a few hundred dollars in repair parts and the rest of his assets hung on his butt! When I compare the investment a machine shop owner makes in equipment and training and the ROI (return on investment) he receives versus the HVAC guy, I realize there is inequity in our pricing model. I’ve spoken to countless shop owners who feel undervalued for the work they do but most are afraid to raise prices in fear of losing business to the competitor down the street. This tip is simple – charge what you are worth. You gotta’ earn enough profit to update machinery to work on late model engines, AND pay for good help, AND afford health insurance, AND retire some day! Here’s an idea… raise your shop labor today; right now. The worst thing that will happen is a regular customer may notice and complain – you always have the ability to discount your labor for a good customer. Don’t let the HVAC owner retire before you! Make sure you are profitable and if needed, raise prices today.
Sterling Bearing Inc.
N. Kansas City, MO