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A HO called me about a repair because a few shingles had blown off his roof.


I quoted a price over the phone which he agreed to.

I told him that even if I could find the exact same shingle it would be darker because they fade. I also mentioned that it’s possible that a shingle could be discontinued.

I told him I would come out the next day and call when I was on my way, which I did.

I drove for about 20 minutes to get there. I told him I had never seen that color before. It was a cheap 3 tab. I told him it was probably discontinued but I would take a sample to my supplier to see if I could match it.

My supplier confirmed that it was a discontinued product and they didn’t have anything like it.

So I called the HO and asked if he wanted me to use something that was lighter or darker.

He said that he had another roofer coming out later on and wanted to see if the other guy could match it.

I got a little upset as you can imagine.

You may have stories of your own. People seem to assume that your time and expertise has no value. They can blow you off without a second thought.

Do you have a process that you go through to make sure you get paid for service calls?

Should I be asking for a credit card number before committing to drive over?

I’ve never been big on offering service calls because frequently they want to get estimates. They don’t want to commit to hiring me over the phone. It’s not worth the time that it takes to drive over unless they are committed to using me. -How do you handle it?
 

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A HO called me about a repair because a few shingles had blown off his roof.

I quoted a price over the phone which he agreed to.

I told him that even if I could find the exact same shingle it would be darker because they fade. I also mentioned that it’s possible that a shingle could be discontinued.

I told him I would come out the next day and call when I was on my way, which I did.

I drove for about 20 minutes to get there. I told him I had never seen that color before. It was a cheap 3 tab. I told him it was probably discontinued but I would take a sample to my supplier to see if I could match it.

My supplier confirmed that it was a discontinued product and they didn’t have anything like it.

So I called the HO and asked if he wanted me to use something that was lighter or darker.

He said that he had another roofer coming out later on and wanted to see if the other guy could match it.

I got a little upset as you can imagine.

You may have stories of your own. People seem to assume that your time and expertise has no value. They can blow you off without a second thought.

Do you have a process that you go through to make sure you get paid for service calls?

Should I be asking for a credit card number before committing to drive over?

I’ve never been big on offering service calls because frequently they want to get estimates. They don’t want to commit to hiring me over the phone. It’s not worth the time that it takes to drive over unless they are committed to using me.

How do you handle it?
Call up an Electrician or a Plumber or an HVAC company for a service call and see how they handle it.

Yes, if you accept credit cards, bill them in advance, pending actually doing the job to process the invoice amount and get a written authorization from them when you are there, so that they can not dispute the fee and get a charge back attached to your merchant account.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
get paid in advance

I guess I would have to get paid in advance and process the transaction before going over.

Maybe I should see if I can do it through QuickBooks. I think they have a feature for getting paid online, but there is probably a monthly fee.
 

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Quickbooks sells the software for about $29.00 at Office Max, et al...

It is called QuickBooks Credit Card Processing Kit.

$14.95 Monthly fee, waived for the first two months
No monthly minimum
1.79% (card swiped rate)
2.69% (key entered rate)
.30 cents Per Authorization
No Cancellation Fees or Contract

It is a Merchant Account provider and not too bad on the discount rates either.

Ed
 

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Lesson learned. Verbal agreements are not binding because peoples' memories get foggy or flat out lie. Next time you fax or email a written proposal and ask them to sign and fax or email it back before you waste your time. I do alot of repairs that I close over the phone like you, the difference is I won't send someone out there without a binding agreement.

This IS a job, not an ESTIMATE. We don't give free estimates on repairs, unless you twist our arm. We typically want to close the job over the phone T&M since replacing a few shingles is maybe $250 assuming it's a stock color. However That same $250 will jump to about $400 if I, or one of my estimators, have to make two trips and write up a detailed proposal. It's most fair to the customer and the company to do these small jobs T&M.

But the fact remains, it's a job not an estiamte and the customer needs to know this. Which is why I make them sign a contract before scheduling the work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Eamil contract?

Lesson learned. Verbal agreements are not binding because peoples' memories get foggy or flat out lie. Next time you fax or email a written proposal and ask them to sign and fax or email it back before you waste your time. I do alot of repairs that I close over the phone like you, the difference is I won't send someone out there without a binding agreement.

This IS a job, not an ESTIMATE. We don't give free estimates on repairs, unless you twist our arm. We typically want to close the job over the phone T&M since replacing a few shingles is maybe $250 assuming it's a stock color. However That same $250 will jump to about $400 if I, or one of my estimators, have to make two trips and write up a detailed proposal. It's most fair to the customer and the company to do these small jobs T&M.

But the fact remains, it's a job not an estiamte and the customer needs to know this. Which is why I make them sign a contract before scheduling the work.
If you email a contract for a signature how to you get it back?

Do they have to scan it after signing it and then email back? (if they don’t have a fax)
 

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This is good stuff!

I am so tired of giving people prices for repairs only to be turned down.

I have thought about charging for estimates on repairs and then credit it back to them if they accept it.

I like the idea of taking the credit card on the phone before hand. Maybe even record the customer agreeing to the credit card charge.
 

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I never knew that

Quickbooks sells the software for about $29.00 at Office Max, et al...

It is called QuickBooks Credit Card Processing Kit.

$14.95 Monthly fee, waived for the first two months
No monthly minimum
1.79% (card swiped rate)
2.69% (key entered rate)
.30 cents Per Authorization
No Cancellation Fees or Contract

It is a Merchant Account provider and not too bad on the discount rates either.

Ed
If I buy QuickBooks are you saying I don't need my separate credit card terminal and I can process credit cards through QuickBooks instead of a bank.
 

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If I buy QuickBooks are you saying I don't need my separate credit card terminal and I can process credit cards through QuickBooks instead of a bank.

Yes, I believe so.

http://quickbooks.intuit.com/product/add_ons/credit_card_processing_kit.jsp?priorityCode=3969702399
Main info page.


http://quickbooks.intuit.com/product/add_ons/credit_card_processing_kit.jsp?priorityCode=3969702399
Face-to-face

If you do face-to-face transactions, use our card reader. Credit card data will be automatically transmitted to the Intuit QuickBooks Credit Card Processing Kit you can take advantage of our low 1.79% card-swiped rate. 1

How It Works Notes
1 Rates subject to change. Credit card reader required for card swiped rates; sold separately.

Additional fees apply to accepting American Express and Diners Cub cards. Transactions are subject to association guidelines.

Innovative Merchant Solutions, an Intuit Company, LLC is a registered agent of JPMorgan Chase, Columbus, OH and Westamerica, Santa Rosa, CA.



Credit Card Reader Hardware:

http://payments.intuit.com/product/...=noscript&TB_iframe=true&width=890&height=600





.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Credit Cards & QB

I process credit cards through QB,

I recently bought the swiper for around $80 and I got internet access for my notebook computer through At&t for about $60 per month.

I only used the swiper once so far and they did not give me the lower rate.

We called them about it and they said if the customer has a card that gives them points for a frequent flyer type promotion then you will not get the lower rate.

The only benefit so far is that the money got into my bank quicker by using the swiper, it was there the next day.

QB has banking partners that process the transactions.

The Software Ed referred may be a stand alone product the does not require you to use Qb for your accounting.

You can also enter credit cards manually through QB and it takes longer for the money to show up.

They have been charging me about 2.25%
 

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Correct.

The Quickbooks/Intuit Merchant Account Credit Card Kit Software does NOT require you to use Quickbooks Accounting Software Packages.

It is a stand alone product that gets the funds into your designated account.

By the way, here is a tip for a credit card bank account.

Set up a separate account, in the event that there are ever any charge backs, so that you would have already shifted the funds from the credit card account to your primary account.

That way, you don't get caught off guard for cash flow reasons.

Also, have them sign an agreement form that they authorized the charge, or a signed receipt will also suffice.

Ed
 

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Of course, the latest thing these days with regards to credit cards is the "chipped" credit cards, that have a chip and require the customer to enter a PIN. I have one, but I'm surprised at how many vendors *don't* require me to enter my PIN when I present it, because they "haven't set that part up yet".

Trust me, set yourself up to take PIN payments. That way, there's NO WAY a customer can call up their company later and reverse the charge, claiming that it isn't their signature or whatever. If the PIN went through, the credit cards will push back at them saying "you authorized the charge, so pay the bill."

My point: If you're taking credit card payments, get the terminal that allows you to swipe the card and gets the customer to enter their PIN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Contract Language

Lesson learned. Verbal agreements are not binding because peoples' memories get foggy or flat out lie. Next time you fax or email a written proposal and ask them to sign and fax or email it back before you waste your time. I do alot of repairs that I close over the phone like you, the difference is I won't send someone out there without a binding agreement.

This IS a job, not an ESTIMATE. We don't give free estimates on repairs, unless you twist our arm. We typically want to close the job over the phone T&M since replacing a few shingles is maybe $250 assuming it's a stock color. However That same $250 will jump to about $400 if I, or one of my estimators, have to make two trips and write up a detailed proposal. It's most fair to the customer and the company to do these small jobs T&M.

But the fact remains, it's a job not an estiamte and the customer needs to know this. Which is why I make them sign a contract before scheduling the work.
I don’t suppose you would mind sharing the contract language for a repair work order?

I’m not sure how to go about this because I don’t know how much to charge for it if I haven’t seen it and the prospect isn’t going to be comfortable giving me the go ahead if they don’t know how much I am going to charge.

All I know is that I don’t have time to give free estimates for repair work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Someone called today that has a leak around a skylight. He was referred to me by a home inspector that I know. I told him I would come out and take a look at it. The only reason I did that was because it was a referral.

I’m thinking about calling him back and telling him I have a minimum charge for coming out to evaluate the problem.
 

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This may be off topic slightly. I don't think I could get away with a service call in my market, I suspect the customer would just call someone else.

I don't mind going out to look at repairs, sometimes the customer has bigger issues than they originally thought, and end up replacing the roof in lieu of repair.

Sometimes that small repair turns into a new roof down the road, and you already have done work for them before so you may have an advantage over a competitor. Perhaps their co-workers, friends, etc may need a new roof, the repair customer may provide a ref. for you, which could lead to a new roof sale.

You would be surprised on the amount of new roofs I get off repair work. Some contractors in my area don't do repairs, which I think is stupid on their part, and suggest the H.O. call me for the repair.

James
 

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I love small leak repairs. I can knock them out myself and it's almost pure profit. I turn them into larger jobs if possible. With the weather we have had this year most CO. are not interested in anything other than complete reroofs. I'll take all these little jobs now cause when it slows back down all these people will remember that I came when needed and the others didn't even return there call...
 
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