Two Minute Drill: Pushing for Pricing Clarity
What’s up Kaizenovators, Happy Tuesday Two Minute Drill. Today’s topic of conversation is plumbing. Before I get to plumbing, I just want to thank all of you who reached out to me by text, email, by phone, just to check in and make sure that myself and, most importantly, my family were safe. Thank God everybody’s doing well so far.
Why Transparency Matters…
This week’s conversation? Plumbing. We probably all had experience with plumbers. I’ve had experience with plumbers, and you know, my house is an old house. The drains in my master bathroom, get clogged.
I called a plumber, and I asked, “How much is it to snake the drain?” I’ve snaked the drain before, and it fixes it for at least a few years.
They won’t give me a price over the phone. I’m like, “I don’t understand, have you snaked a drain before?” and they’re like, “yes, we’ve snaked a drain.” So, I asked, “what did you charge?” Their answer? “That just really depends.” I said, “It depends on what?” They replied, “It depends on whether it’s the regular drain, or if it’s the main drain.” I’m like, “okay, well then, if it’s the regular drain, how much have you charged? And if it’s the main drain, how much do you charge?”
It was impossible to get pricing out of these people. I called multiple plumbers. This must be kind of the industry standard where they don’t give you pricing over the phone. They come and then they give you the estimated cost.
Now, I did this a few years ago. I have some context here. A few years ago, they came and said they needed to do this whole thing, snake your drain, and it’s going to cost $600.
I was like, okay, am I going to spend the time to research another plumber and deal with the same nonsense? Or am I just going to pay this $600 and be done with it? That’s what I did.
However, this time, I said no. I found a plumber who actually had a $93 special for cleaning the drain. I called them up, I verified the price, and they gave me the whole regular drain versus the main drain thing.
I said, “fine, I’m going to watch. And if it’s just the regular drain and you guys want to upsell and upcharge me, I’m just going to file a complaint with the attorney general’s office.” So, she said, “Oh, okay”, and I booked the appointment.
The plumber came out, he snaked the drain. Took three minutes. Then he got on the phone, probably with one of his managers, trying to figure out what to do. I think they probably knew there was something in the notes that said “Don’t mess with this guy.” Ultimately, It was $93.
If you’re dealing with professionals, especially plumbers, who aren’t transparent about pricing over the phone, don’t be afraid to push back. Remember, many of these industries are regulated by boards or trade associations. So if they’re not playing fair, let them know you’re willing to file a complaint.
While the Better Business Bureau might not be as effective, the Attorney General is a different story.
That’s it for this week’s Two Minute Drill. If you’re working with service professionals who play hide-and-seek with pricing, consider finding another vendor. Always push for clarity upfront to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
That’s this week’s Two Minute Drill. You guys have a great week.