We are looking to move to a flat rate book and was looking for suggestions. Any pros or cons to various products would be helpful. We currently do time and material
John Scola, Service Manager
We have tried many flat rate systems on the open market and found all of them focused on parts and pictures. We have also found that 99% of all customers could care less about what parts are necessary to fix the system and what the parts looks like. When trying to use the many flat rate systems out there we have found them to focus only on these parts and pictures and NOT THE LABOR. Focus on the labor with a flat system and not the parts as most all parts are cheaper than the labor and overhead tied to it. How many contactors do you need in a price book, how many fan motors do you need in a price book, how many condensate repairs do you need in a price book and the bigger question is how much time are going to spend training people how to find the exact parts on a spread sheet or in a book to quote the repair. Focus on the labor when setting up service flat book and forget about the parts and if you look at your P&L direct expenses for a service division what is your biggest expense LABOR not parts, not warranty parts. The manufactures have taken over the parts in our world so use that to your advantage, I think we can all agree that if there is one thing the manufactures suck at is customer service. We built our own flat rate book and have been using it for about 6 years and I can tell you I have not looked up or adjusted a part cost since we set it up not even R-22. Who has that much time. Part cost is not where you will find your losses, it's labor. All of our time is spent training technicians and staff on confidence, operating systems and flow. Put your money there and most problems will go away. Everything in a service division revolves around labor, everything in a service company revolves around labor. Every customer requires labor not parts and yes there are plenty of people out there that love to work with others like them not you, so grow your own team.
11479 Fox Cross Road • Ashland, Va. 23005
(804) 798-0455 • (804) 798-0456 fax
Good Morning John, We have been using Collier Consulting for about 15 years now and it seems to be a pretty good program. Easy to use, set up, and it comes with a lot of options. That being said I exported all the info into excel about 7 years ago and have found it much easier to work with and edit, but I love excel. Just starting out with flat rate though purchasing a program will give you a good solid base to start from. Before purchasing any program I would suggest you make sure it integrates seamlessly with your management and accounting software. If you are paperless in the field I would highly recommend trying a few different companies / test runs, and make sure the chosen program works well with your field software. Technician training in how to use Flat Rate and explain the new pricing structure to customers is crucial prior to implementation in my opinion. You have to sell the idea to your techs, so they can in turn sell it to your customers. Menu pricing is a big change from T&M and your techs must be on board 100% or it will be a bumpy road ahead.
I would highly recommend a program that allows you to be in the driver's seat and stay away from the subscription based programs. You'll be doing a lot of fine tuning the first year and you don't want to pay someone for every change. In house part numbers helped us a lot. We used to use manufactures / vendor part numbers but you know how often they love to change them, which meant changing flat rate descriptions every couple months. Using in house part numbers will allow you to change vendors, part numbers, etc. without updating flat rate descriptions. Another big help I found was creating repairs using stock numbers. All the programs I looked at listed every brand out there and every possible repair, for example "control boards". Given most everything is OEM just gas furnace control board's encompassed over 30 pages "If you printed the book". Years ago, unless it was a truck stock part (in house part #), I deleted all the brand specific repairs and replaced them with "stock number repairs". The stock numbers are just our direct cost of the part, so it can be used for brand / model repair. For example: SRV-123456 (repair #), "Replace furnace control board stock #14-20-150" (description) would cover any furnace control board up to $150.00 in direct part costs. The "14-20" are just fluff to hide the costs numbers in the description. Depending on the repair we use increments in parts. Using stock numbers our techs can price out virtually any repair on the spot as soon as they have our cost on the OEM part. They just select the stock number equal to or greater than our part costs. Each section of our book, motors, control boards, compressors, etc. already has the labor and ancillary materials factored in. This repair format took our flat rate book from over 400 pages down to less than 100, and we have far more repair options now.
Hope this helps.
Joel Key, LEED AP
Service Division Manager
Airmakers Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing
919-878-8800 ext 26
LEED Accredited Professional
BPI Building Analyst
BPI Building Envelope Professional
Certified Energystar Contractor
North Carolina Licensed Contractor, #'s 20066 & 3928
1st off thanks for the feedback. Does anyone use The new flate rate or Profit Rhino. We are moving over to Service Titan and they recommended those 2 companies. We were also looking at Cool front. We are a small company with 5 techs with 2 office staff.
Thanks for the support
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