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Topic Title: am I being greedy? £350 for 1/2 hrs work and I didn't even get any tools out
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Created On: 27 December 2012 01:43 AM
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 27 December 2012 01:43 AM
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Dave69

Posts: 447
Joined: 16 July 2011

Had a phone call from a national pub chain at 3 in the afternoon on Boxing day saying they had a problem with the fire alarm at one of their pubs/B&Bs, It kept going into fault, they would silence it and reset it only for it to go back into fault again after a while although they said sometimes the fault cleared by its self. I asked them how long it had been going on for and they said since Christmas lunch time but it had been getting worse .

The pub was just over 80 miles away, so getting on for a 2 hour drive and it wasn't one of my installs so I told them it would cost £250 just for me to go their and then a further £100per hour or part off while I was on site. They moaned and groaned a lot and then agreed and emailed me an order through.

I drove up their arriving at 5-30-ish to be told they had just reset the panel, when I asked what lights had been on they didn't know. As we all know, if there is NO fault to find its dam hard to find it.

They offered me a cup of tea and a mince pie and I sat down in a comfy chair and waited and waited, after about half an hour sure enough the panel went into fault, I jumped up, well sorta struggled out of my seat to note zone 3 had gone into fault, on checking, zone 3 just happened to be the 5 B&B rooms on the second floor so I asked which rooms were occupied, the lovely girl checked and told me only one room was in use. I asked the girl to find the manager and get him to bring his master key so we could check the rooms. Low and behold just as he turned up with the key the fault cleared. He said something like "Oh dear I guess we will have to wait now until it goes off again" I told him no and that we should go to the occupied room straight away as i had a hunch. We knocked at the door and a young man answered, and I turned to the manager and said there you go, he looked at me blankly so I asked him what he could smell? he sniffed and then replied "smoke" exactly i told him, "but the fire hasn't gone off" he answered so I said "NO and lets ask the gentleman what he does every time he lights up" sure enough he admitted that every time he had a smoke he unplugged the smoke detector

So it cost them £350 for me to go up their to find a customer smoking in a non smoking room and causing the fire alarm to go into fault because he was unplugging the detector. Still he was due to leave the following morning so if i hadn't gone up there there and then the fault would of disappeared and been one of life's unsolved mysteries
 27 December 2012 06:50 AM
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normcall

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But you didn't know that before you went, did you?
You knew you had at least half a day driving as well as trying to sort out an unknown problem.

Good value, I would say for a public holiday and an unknown installation (even if a regular customer).

Must confess, I might have tried to get more information before setting off and if the customer 'couldn't' provide basic information - like which zone? what does this zone cover etc. then they get charged well. I bet you had a good idea of the problem once you discovered, only zone occupied with one customer and B&B zone!

-------------------------
Norman
 27 December 2012 09:23 AM
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John Peckham

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I feel sure the management will overlook the criminal offence and counter charge the guest for interfering with the fire alarm system so they won't be out of pocket?

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John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 27 December 2012 12:59 PM
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broadgage

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£350 for half an hours work sounds greedy, but after taking into account the time and petrol spent travelling, and the fact that it was on a public holiday, then it is probably reasonable.

Deduct the petrol cost, and then divide the remainder of the £350 by the TOTAL time spent, and the hourly rate looks fair for a holiday day.
 27 December 2012 01:16 PM
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leckie

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I think you could justify .40p/mile. It's not just the cost of fuel.

Boxing Day wants to be double time minimum.

So that's about 30/hr @ x2 = 60/hr. That's would be about right and fair I think for a fire alarm engineer. If you had to pay an employee they would want double time wouldn't they.
 27 December 2012 03:03 PM
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ebee

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It`s not half hours work it`s total hours work, so include travelling and "working" to get your hours then multiply it by a reasonable figure for out of hours/holiday then add your vehicle costs (40p a mile might be reasonable) your charge is not OTT

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Ebee (M I S P N)

Knotted cables cause Lumpy Lektrik
 27 December 2012 03:13 PM
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maximilian

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We do not charge for travel time, just for the time spent on site, that is 65gbp per hour, in hours on normal day. out of hours x1.5. maximum we have to travel is about 10 miles. if you told them in advance what would be the cost of your 80 miles journey, plus hourly rate on site of your time during holiday, and they agreed, this is absolutely fair, and they should be happy you could help them on Boxing Day!

-------------------------
Max


Dimmable LED bulbs
 27 December 2012 03:55 PM
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Dave69

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Norman if had been one of my installations then I would of asked more questions before I left home and i would of even tried to help them over the phone.

It is not the first time I have had this fault/problem and I am sure it wont be the last time.

Maybe this place was lucky, i hate to think how much a cab would of cost for a wait and return if I had been drinking do I couldn't drive.

lol I done at least 50 quids worth of fuel so now I am thinking I didn't charge them enough
 27 December 2012 05:40 PM
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Zs

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Fair play to you Dave. I reckon you are about £100 up on a normal call, give or take the fact that you weren't leaving another customer in the lurch while you spent the hours on this job, and give or take any stress from nearest and dearest.

Treat yourself.

Zs
 27 December 2012 06:31 PM
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Dave69

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cheers Zs
maybe I will put £100 to one side then and keep it towards next year sparks night out and do my best to finally make it to one. We could even start planing one from now giving everyone the chance to put a couple of quid away each week so we all have a hundred pounds for the night, at least that would just about pay for a hotel for one night
 27 December 2012 07:17 PM
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JonSteward

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Originally posted by: Dave69

It is not the first time I have had this fault/problem and I am sure it wont be the last time.


On the detectors I've fitted, there is a very small allen key grub screw that you're mean't to tighten up once the detector is fitted to prevent unauthorised removal.
 27 December 2012 07:49 PM
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Dave69

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Originally posted by: JonSteward

Originally posted by: Dave69



It is not the first time I have had this fault/problem and I am sure it wont be the last time.





On the detectors I've fitted, there is a very small allen key grub screw that you're mean't to tighten up once the detector is fitted to prevent unauthorised removal.


many heads require a tool to remove them or as you say have a grub screw but we all know spakies are good at losing tiny allen keys so often the grub screws are not done up and on the other hand I have been to places where the base and head have been ripped off the ceiling where someone has tried to remove them for cleaning or even so the can paint the ceiling
 27 December 2012 08:17 PM
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perspicacious

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"lol I done at least 50 quids worth of fuel so now I am thinking I didn't charge them enough"

"The pub was just over 80 miles away, so getting on for a 2 hour drive"

Under 20 mpg, I'd

"maybe I will put £100 to one side then and keep it towards next year sparks night"

put the £100 to getting your vehicle serviced......... Unless you took the lady's Porcshe (sic)

Regards

BAD
 27 December 2012 09:01 PM
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Dave69

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yep 20 mph on back roads and driving through towns etc is about right
 27 December 2012 09:09 PM
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perspicacious

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"yep 20 mph on back roads and driving through towns etc is about right"

Most tractors can do more than 20 mph

What vehicle and engine?

Regards

BOD
 27 December 2012 09:19 PM
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leckie

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I'm sure dave drives a model T Ford. In black
 27 December 2012 10:03 PM
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Dave69

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lol ok so it was probably more like £40 on fuel,its only Vivaro, but it doesn't do much to the gallon
 27 December 2012 10:28 PM
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leckie

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My Marina Coupe TC does 30mpg
 28 December 2012 08:19 AM
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ebee

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I must admit I usually try to solve this as a telephone query to which there is no charge (Did once have a customer sent me an voluntary unexpected £5 cheque in the post as a thank you for my advice on the phone though).

Then my hourly rate including travelling locally 5 or 6 miles say

Long distance I`d have to think about any additional travelling costs.

Then any extra for out of hours or priority/emergency response.
In which case I explain that by visiting them for an hour I might be taking 2, 3 or 4 hours off the job I`m on which could throw me back a half day or sometimes even a day . So ,often, the extra is a small contribution towards that. My time is one hour minimum and then to the nearest 15 minutes increments thereafter

Similarly if I can lump more than one small job in nearby locations the travelling time will be shared.

I could alternatively charge the first hour site time at higher rate to reflect travelling time/costs etc

-------------------------
Regards,
Ebee (M I S P N)

Knotted cables cause Lumpy Lektrik
 28 December 2012 10:02 AM
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perspicacious

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"My Marina Coupe TC does 30mpg"

One of 26 left taxed in the UK with a similiar amount on SORN

Regards

BOD
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