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Topic Title: How much for a call out??
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Created On: 01 January 2018 08:44 PM
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 01 January 2018 08:44 PM
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Dave69

Posts: 644
Joined: 16 July 2011

Although most of my work is in pubs carrying out FRAs and working on fire alarms, the breweries/pub chains I work for do sometimes ask me to carry out electrical work and this morning I had a phone call from a help desk asking if I could attend one of their pubs in Norwich as the kitchen had lost the gas to the cook line and the gas fitter had said it was an electrical fault. I thought about it and said it would cost them £300 for me to go and that would cover them for my first hour on site and every hour or part hour after that would be billed at £75. They grumbled quite a bit and said they would get back to me. I did explain it was new years day and Norwich was 75 miles from me, meaning 150 mile round trip and three hours driving. 10 minutes later they phoned me back saying the order had been emailed through. Off I set, an hour and a half I arrived to a busy pub packed with diners, went to the kitchen and sure enough every 10 minutes or so the system was shutting the gas valve off. I quick prod around with my meter soon showed that the pressure switch in the gas line was dropping out. Obviously I didnt have a spare pressure switch and asked where the gas fitter had gone and was told he had left over an hour ago. They gave me his phone number and I called him asking if he had checked for leaks, his reply was that the pressure switch was faulty and I should just link it out, very helpful. I then phoned the help desk and told them I needed a gas man to check for leaks. Half an hour later a different bloke turned up, I told him the story so far and he plugged his rubber tubes in and sure enough detected a leak in the kitchen cook line, we then spent the next half hour going round spraying everything with leak detector spray. Mean while the kitchen continued cooking by resetting the system everytime it dropped out. The leak was traced to a split pipe on a fryer which he replaced and problem solved. I asked him how much he was charging and he said that as he only lived up the road it was £150 plus materials.

I am now sitting at home feeling guilty as my invoice comes out at £450. I'm thinking I was out for four and half hours so its a hundred pounds an hour and just cant decide if that sounds too much for a call out on New years day
 01 January 2018 09:00 PM
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dustydazzler

Posts: 1591
Joined: 19 January 2016

I wouldn't feel too bad.

If it was a little old lady who couldn't reset a breaker I would say offer her a small discount

But

a large pub chain won't even blink at £450

Send the invoice and don't give it a second thought
 01 January 2018 10:21 PM
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aligarjon

Posts: 3880
Joined: 09 September 2005

It will probably take you 3 months to get paid. Put your bill in and move on. You gave a price and it was accepted. No brainer. Offer a small discount for prompt payment. You never know.


Gary

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Specialised Subject. The Bleedin Obvious. John Cleese
 01 January 2018 11:16 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 9789
Joined: 22 July 2004

if they really want you to drive 150miles, and cant get their collective act together to find a more local chap, then feel no guilt about charging - perhaps the more local bloke turned it down of course...
I suspect that
a) you and the gas men are still costing less than manning the help desk for the day (not the person manning it, but the 3 layers above that.)
b) there won't have been a loss made on the day, and the pub chain will still be in business tomorrow.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 02 January 2018 07:42 AM
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sparkingchip

Posts: 10253
Joined: 18 January 2003

Ones of my customers until recently was a national manager of a cleaning and remediation company that has major contracts.

One fast food franchise has a deal in place that if there is a hazardous spill someone will be there to clean it up within an hour, they don't think twice about refusing to pay if they can claim it the response time was sixty one minutes or more.

Andy B.
 02 January 2018 11:22 AM
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broadgage

Posts: 2484
Joined: 07 August 2007

£450 is a bit steep normally, but IMO entirely reasonable for a long drive on new years day.

Returning to the actual fault, what controls these gas valves, and how does it detect a leak ? When no gas is being used, it is clear that the pressure in the gas pipe should remain almost constant, and that any significant drop in pressure indicates a potential leak. This is a recognised test for gas soundness.
If such a test is automated, and performed during working hours, then how does it tell the difference between a gas leak, and an appliance legitimately consuming gas ?
 02 January 2018 02:55 PM
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Zoomup

Posts: 3478
Joined: 20 February 2014

You are being paid for your skills, expertise and helpfulness.

Invoice and be happy.

Happy New year,

Z.
 02 January 2018 03:05 PM
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24Hour

Posts: 272
Joined: 06 April 2006

seems on the cheaper side to me .

to get cover on new years day is at a premium .

me personally id have got an email prior to attendance stating they agree to pay me about £600 for that as you describe above.

no point being on call if you don't earn the dollar.

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Yes i do do 24/7 everyday of the FLAMIN year.
 02 January 2018 05:54 PM
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sparkingchip

Posts: 10253
Joined: 18 January 2003

The most expensive person on the job was the first gas fitter.

You have reminded me though that I consistently under charge.

Andy B.
 02 January 2018 09:53 PM
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davidwalker2

Posts: 308
Joined: 29 April 2009

I'm with sparkingchip; the person who cost the money was the first gas fitter. You diagnosed the fault - worth every penny.

David

Edited: 02 January 2018 at 10:01 PM by davidwalker2
 02 January 2018 11:42 PM
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dustydazzler

Posts: 1591
Joined: 19 January 2016

As above

The most expensive call out was the one who didn't fix the problem , they got nothing for something

The world is a crazy place right now

I live just outside London where some call out firms have starting rates at £200 per hour for evenings and weekends

Yikes
 03 January 2018 02:05 PM
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mikejumper

Posts: 2475
Joined: 14 December 2006

Originally posted by: Dave69
I am now sitting at home feeling guilty as my invoice comes out at £450. I'm thinking I was out for four and half hours so its a hundred pounds an hour and just cant decide if that sounds too much for a call out on New years day

Considering what other professionals charge for their specialist knowledge and experience it's not unreasonable. A friend recently paid £600 for a survey on a 2 bed terraced house, I doubt if that took four and a half hours and it was on an ordinary day, not new years day.
 03 January 2018 03:16 PM
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leckie

Posts: 4527
Joined: 21 November 2008

So it about 3 hours travel time plus time on site. Imagine if you employed engineers and you were sending them to the job. You would need to charge for a full 8 hour day as your employee would need a day's pay and wouldn't have time to do anything useful after returning. So in reality you would need 8 hours at double time on a bank holiday to pay your engineer. Depending on what part of the country you are a standard hourly rate is properly £28 - £40 per hour. So let's say as a fire engineer you would be at the high end anyway; say £36/hour. So £72 at double time for a full 8 hour day = £576. Then we have vehicular cost of say 40p per mile, so £60. Total £636 plus VAT of applicable.

As an individual you might be happy to charge for a part day, say 6 hours, but as I said if you employed people you would have to pay them a minimum of an 8hour day.

So seems reasonable to me. If it was more basic work and they could rely on Joe Sparks it might be a few pounds an hour cheaper. But they needed it working so they had to pay to get someone who knows what they are doing.
 03 January 2018 03:35 PM
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dustydazzler

Posts: 1591
Joined: 19 January 2016

I think 'trades' are generally a bit tentative Charging 'call out' rates for unsociable hours.

But in reality if a business or even homeowner wants you at 11.30pm New Year's Eve to investigate a fault and they are happy to pay you accordingly , then great.
If not then they will have wait 2 days till business resumes at 8"00 on the 2nd to get you round.
Give them the options.

My mum recently paid £200 to have an x ray done private as she didn't want to wait for the nhs appointment

Same logic applies
 04 January 2018 10:30 AM
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dustydazzler

Posts: 1591
Joined: 19 January 2016

The other way to look at rates is

I pay BG just shy of £30 a month for boiler and heating breakdown cover

If I don't use them this year they take my £350 for nothing

Do they feel bad and offer me some money back

I don't think so

Same applies to any emergency policy

The pub wanted your emergency assistance and they got emergency assistance
 04 January 2018 11:25 AM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 16183
Joined: 13 August 2003

Returning to the actual fault, what controls these gas valves, and how does it detect a leak ? When no gas is being used, it is clear that the pressure in the gas pipe should remain almost constant, and that any significant drop in pressure indicates a potential leak. This is a recognised test for gas soundness.
If such a test is automated, and performed during working hours, then how does it tell the difference between a gas leak, and an appliance legitimately consuming gas ?

I'm guessing, but I do know that there's a limit to the amount of pressure drop that's acceptable when a gas appliance is running (akin to our voltage drop) - so setting a sensor below that limit should only trigger on a serious problem. I'm not sure it would reliably detect a small leak though, so I suspect the intended purpose is to detect a gas supply failure (like a no-volt release) - since if it did fail and then return any gas burners or pilot lights not fitted with flame failure devices would extinguish when the supply failed and then pour out unburned gas when the supply returned.
- Andy.
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