When your phone rings, how often do you hear, “How much is this going to cost?” As service providers, we can feel as though we need to answer all of their questions immediately because, truthfully, we don’t want them to go somewhere else.

As contractors and business owners, we have an inherent need to please our current and potential customers. This need can make you a true success, but it can also keep you from the very success you dream of.

Have you ever wondered, “Maybe we’ve been doing a few things wrong?” Just maybe we have been giving out all the wrong information and ending up stiffing ourselves in the pocket book.


The customer is diagnosing the problem

We’ve all dealt with the customer who calls in and has already done the following: self-diagnosed the problem via the internet, self-priced the repair via the internet and formed an opinion based on that information. Then they ask what we’ll charge to come out and do the work. Does this seem familiar?

So many people these days, because of the access to information, have much more knowledge about service industry repairs than ever before. But, they fail to have the most important piece of knowledge — the kind you can only acquire through experience. It’s why they call you, and because of that experience, the value of that repair goes up exponentially. Your expertise also allows you to not give a price without a diagnosis.


Actual value or perceived value?

When we give prices over the phone, we have to make assumptions, so the number is determined by the consumer’s information and not by our professional diagnosis. The value placed in an experienced technician’s diagnosis is far greater than any Google find.

What about a “guesstimate?” What if we were to give the customer the potential cost? That is a bad idea, too. The moment you give the customer a price, you have communicated perceived value. And when that “perceived value” is calculated in a consumer’s mind, chances are you may never get the “actual value,” or you might have to fight tooth and nail to get it.

Expectations are set when a price is given over the phone, and if that price changes, it can cause some serious buyer’s remorse. The expectation that the service will be reasonable and within range of the given price is a dangerous place to put yourself in.


Stop giving away your money

Contractors all over the nation are short changing themselves. Profit is being sifted like wheat, and the loss is far more than pennies. They are allowing the customer to define the cost.

How, exactly, can we answer, “How much is this going to cost?” It’s simple, and here’s how. Follow the script. Adjust the below sample script to meet your company’s pricing and policy.

Customer: “How much is this going to cost?”

Contractor: “Our service and diagnostic fee is $59, for that we will send out a certified technician with a well-stocked truck who will do a thorough diagnosis.

Then they will discuss any options with you so you can decide how much you want to spend. Does that sound fair? Great, will someone be home tomorrow?”

It really is simple. You are the expert. Correct assessments can only be made in person. It’s time to get paid what you are worth.