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Dan's The Man

I've got to hand it to Dan Holohan; he is a philosopher of life as well as steam heat. I guess they have a lot in common -- I know life and heating systems can both be full of surprises. After reading "If I Knew Then . . ." (January 2002), I had to reflect on some of the same philosophies I have learned over a short 20 years in the business:

  • The more I know, the more I find I don't know.

  • There is no such thing as a loan to a friend. (It's called a "gift.")

  • To hold a grudge only hurts yourself.

  • To forgive heals the forgiver as well as the forgiven.

  • And most importantly, when all else fails, read the manufacturer's specification for installation and new boiler piping instructions.

    Barry L. Gochnauer
    Robert H. Ranck Inc.
    Lancaster, Pa.

    I just wanted to say I really enjoyed Dan's column. It is some very sound advice to live by.

    Jason Holthaus
    A-1 Plumbing Heating Cooling
    Wakarusa, Kan.

    I appreciated Dan's column. I was aware of his mechanical knowledge and experience, but after reading his column, it has given me a better understanding about the man.

    Tom Hafle
    Hafle's Plumbing, Heating & Cooling
    Frederick, Md.

    More On T&M Vs. Flat Rate

    In regard to the letters that addressed time and material vs. flat rate pricing debate, (January 2002) not one letter mentioned value considerations. We can all agree that urgency, appearance, degree of hazard, elimination of risk and knowledge all are factors that comprise value.

    A burst water line can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage in a very short period of time. Does a toilet with a minor flapper leak warrant the same value consideration as the bust water line? Of course not.

    It takes time to develop and implement a fair pricing policy that incorporates value considerations. A time and material shop can only adjust its pricing structure with respect to scheduled work or emergency work.

    Incorporating value considerations is much easier with flat rate pricing. Technicians trained in understudying value considerations use flat rate far more effectively. If you start to understand that snaking a main sewer line and changing a check valve on a sump pump have varying degrees of value with respect to risk, hazard, knowledge etc., you are well on your way to implementing a flat rate system.

    I believe that the service we provide the public is no less valuable then that of the service provided by an attorney or a physician. It's time our earnings reached the levels of the other professions.

    Implementing a flat rate pricing system that takes value considerations as well as overhead will not only improve your bottom lime, it will improve your self-esteem as well.

    Harry Feuerwerker
    Thrifty Plumbing and Rooter Service
    Eastlake, Ohio