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RAH52:
If its an obvious problem that you can resolve over the phone will you do it .I tend to like to ask people to check a few things before I come out but am starting to re-think this .An example would be slow drying ...check your vent .I'm finding I am losing a lot of potential service calls by being a nice guy and its really cutting into the bottom line .

wildimaginations:
I don't look at it that way.  I always offer the usual free advise over the phone before I come out.  If it's a slow drying complaint, I usually tell them that it's the exhaust vent and to have it cleaned out since I don't do that kind of work.  99% of the time, that resolves the issue.  What's really cool is that they call me back for some other problem to service or they tell their friends that I'm 100% trustworthy enough to call.  I'm getting more calls from customers who found me through their friends experience. 

Don't worry about the bottom line too much.  Work on being helpful over the phone first.  Understand the problem over the phone and if it's something that definitely needs a service call, then go for it.  Remember to charge accordingly.  Your skill set is very valuable and you should be compensated properly.  Don't under charge or you'll go broke. 

AJ:
I have no problem telling a customer on the phone what maybe the problem.

Take your dryer example. I would tell them the it's probably a problem with the dryer vent restricting the air flow either by being plugged with lint or pinched off. But I would also go on to tell them that in either case the dryer should be taken apart and cleaned out because lint will also build up inside the dryer especially around the blower housing and that also causes long drying times.

Most often they then just ask when I can come take a look at it.

I know a lot of bigger companies don't give out advice over the phone, but I rather be part of the solution then part of the problem. ;)

Specialist:
Nicely put Guys: I've never had a problem with telling customers how overcome simple problems like blocked vents or filters etc. As with AJ I very often find that the customer will ask you to come do it anyway & as wild said even if you don't do that repair they will come back when they need something else done. After all you were the guy who was honest with them & did'nt just run out & take their money.

As an example: A while back I got a call for a dryer overheating & her usual guy was too busy, told the customer to check the vent 1st & she discovered a blockage. When she removed that the dryer was ok, anyway a couple of weeks later her washing machine died & I got the call rather than her usual guy because i'd been honest enough to tell her what to check 1st. Apparently her usual guy allways comes out & charges her, since then i've had 4 repairs from her recommendation & made a lot more out of it than I would have for cleaning her vent.


Andy

andersenappliance:
Perhaps I have recently made a mistake. 

A guy called me and said his washer wouldn't hold water, but did not leak.  I thought 'siphon.'  Told him I'd come out right away and look, and it was a siphon.   We trimmed the drain tube, and discussed slow drain lines (he has new carpet) and he paid the call.

I'm still rather green, but the way there I could not think of any other option than siphon.

Oh well. :embarassed:

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