The Appliance Service Business Success Progam Philosophy….

 One of the underlying philosophies that you as an independent major appliance service organization must understand when “going flat rate” is that you’re no longer going to be setting your prices in accordance with what the other service companies in your area are charging, nor are you going to be the cheapest service company in the area. You’ll be charging professional rates for professional services, and your rates will be set by understanding your CODB, Cost Of Doing Business. Information on how to calculate your cost of doing business is included in the Appliance Service Business Success Program.


 How To Respond To The Question, “How Much Is A Service Call?”….

 Anyone who picks up the phone at your service company can answer this question very simply with the following statement: “Our service call and diagnostic fee is $____. Once the technician has determined what needs to be done to repair your appliance, you’ll be provided with a complete estimate for the cost of the repair.”


Successfully Completing A Service Call: A Ten-Step Plan By The Numbers….

1.  Show up in a clean, lettered vehicle, park on the street if you can, and be dressed in a uniform.

2.  Greet the customer by name and introduce yourself….”Hello, I’m Jim from XYZ Appliance Service and I’m here to solve the problem with your ________” (specific appliance).

3.   Verify the customer’s approval for your initial service call and diagnostic fee. Ask for the customer’s description of the problem.

4.  Record the model and serial number of the appliance, diagnose the problem, and determine the necessary repair procedures.

5.  Refer to The Appliance Service Flat Rate Solution to estimate the cost of the repair. To use the guide:

A.     Find the service description matching the service needed.

B.     Determine the price and availability of parts, if needed

C.    Total the estimate.

6.  Explain the cause of the failure to the customer, and answer any questions they may have concerning the repair. Give an estimate for the repair and have the customer sign, approving the estimate. If the work cannot be completed at this time, determine parts availability and re-schedule the call at the customer’s convenience and according to the expected parts arrival date. If the estimate is not approved, or parts are needed to complete the call, collect the Service Call and Diagnostic fee.

7.  If the call can be completed at this time, perform the repair (work carefully to protect the customer’s property and clean up as necessary) and, if possible,  demonstrate the product to the customer to verify proper performance.

8.  Record the Service Code, Description of Service Performed, Charge Code, and charges on your invoice. Verify that all problems related to the diagnosis are written on the invoice. Advise the customer of any additional services you can provide (accessory items or customer replaceable parts). Total the invoice and present it to the customer, and, if necessary, answer any questions the customer may have about the repair and related charges.

9.  Accept payment for the invoice and indicate the method of payment, documenting check number or other necessary information on the invoice. Request a signature verifying that the job was completed satisfactorily, and give the customer a copy of the completed invoice. 

10. Thank the customer and ask about referrals to someone else they may know who needs your services.         Leave a business card or magnetic card for their refrigerator door or other suitable location.


How To Use The Major Appliance Flat Rate Labor Guide Effectively When Communicating With Customers....

The Appliance Service Flat Rate Solution isn’t designed to be kept away from customers. It’s designed to be printed, placed into a 3-ring binder, then used as a presentation tool when communicating with customers. This is a key factor in using the guide successfully. Once you’ve diagnosed the problem with the appliance and determined the correct repair code, show the guide to the customer and point out the repair code you’re using to fully explain the price of the repair.

Your goal in providing top-notch appliance service is to provide outstanding customer service in the process. And making sure your customer is fully informed about the cost of their repair and how you arrived at that cost is part of accomplishing that goal. Making sure that your customer understands that you’re using a national labor price guide that is:

 ….legal in all states

….tailored for use in your service area and for their specific situation

 ....lends credibility to you, your business, and the professional technical services that you provide. Let The Appliance Service Flat Rate Solution work for you so you can work for your customers.



 When you insert the CD into your computer, you may find that, after waiting for a moment or two, your screen will show the two files that are on the CD…A Microsoft Word File entitled TheApplianceServiceFlatRate and a Microsoft Excel file with the same title. When you double click on the Microsoft Word file, you’ll find “Getting Started With The Appliance Service Flat Rate Solution.” We suggest you read this file before opening the Excel file and working with the guide. You may want to print this file so you’ll have it handy for reference if you need it. If the CD doesn’t show the files automatically when you inset it into your computer, you may have to open the files manually.

When you double click on, or open manually, the Excel file, you’ll see a page that reads “Regular Appliances” and “High End Appliances” with a set of numbers showing in a blue box. Left click on the left-pointing arrow at the lower right of the page and you will then see the first page of the guide. You may have to left click on the arrow at the top right of the page to scroll down slightly to see the heading, which is Washing Machines. You’ll now see the Repair Code for washing machines….AW….and a listing of Repair Classifications, Service Rate and Rate Without Trip Charge. Scrolling back and forth on this first page, you will also see Zone 2 Rate and Zone 3 Rate columns. The Regular Appliances are shown in the yellow columns and as you scroll down the 17 pages, you will see the repair classifications for Washing Machines (AW), Electric Dryers (DE), Gas Dryers (DG), Refrigerators (RF), Built In and Custom Refrigerators (RF), Dishwashers, Plastic and Porcelain Tub (DW), European Design Stainless Steel Dishwashers & DishDrawers (DW), Garbage Disposers (GD), Electric Cooking (CE), Gas Cooking (CG), Professional Style Ranges and Cooktops and Wall Ovens (PR), Microwave Ovens (MW), Vent Hoods (VH), Professional Style Vent and Downdrafts and Ventilators (PH), Trash Compactors (TC), Hot and Cold Water Dispensers (WD), Window Air Conditioners (AC), and Free Standing Ice Makers (IM). Repairs to ice makers in refrigerators are listed within the refrigerator repair classifications.

The Appliance Service Flat Rate Solution only needs a minimum amount of information to be fully customized for your company. The basic charge that is listed as the minimum the customer will pay is a combination of two amounts. The first is the “Trip Charge” and the second is the “Diagnosis Charge” which you will enter in the appropriate box so the program can fill in your charges for various jobs. The next thing the program needs to know is how much you charge for every 10 minutes you work on the job. Once you enter your charge for every 10 minutes, the program will compute your charge per hour and fill the entire guide with your rates.

The next two items are the Zone Differential Amounts. If you do not want to use zones, open the Next Tab that is a Flat Rate Without Zones. The Zone 1 and Zone 2-dollar amount will be added to the Service Rate to give you the Zone 2 rate. The Zone 2 and Zone 3-dollar amount will be added to give you the Zone 2 rate to give you the Zone 3 rate.

What are zones? Zones can be a service area that requires more travel time, or an area that requires a lot of windshield time between calls, or a city outside of your normal service area. Zones are used so that you can charge more based on increased costs to service that customer living in a particular zone.

The last two items that are requested are the amount you charge for refrigerant recover, refrigerant, torch fuel, solder, or anything else in the way of supplies you use to do a sealed system repair. There are two places to put this; they are for R-12 and for R134a/R-22 systems. They can be same or different, and if you do not work on sealed systems, they can be left at $0.00.

 If you look at the Appliance Descriptions, you will notice that there are separate sections for High End Appliances under Refrigeration, Dishwashers, Cooking, and Ventilation. The prices for service in these sections use the numbers in the orange block. If you put the same numbers as are in the blue block, then all rates will be the same. This allows you to charge more for high-end appliances.


Getting Started Directions for using

“The Appliance Service Flat Rate Labor Guide”

 All versions of the ‘The Appliance Service Flat Rate Labor Guide’ are contained in one Excel spreadsheet.  You will need Excel97 or newer to use this program.  The name of the file you will be loading is “The Appliance Service Flat Rate.xls”.  Before opening the program, start Microsoft Excel and we will reset the security levels so that the macros in the program will run properly.  Click on “Tools”, Select “Macro”, Select “Security”, and then set “Security Level” to “Low” and click “OK”.  To open the program, Click on the “File” button, and click on “Open”.  Click on “Desktop” then double click on “My Computer”, double click on your CD drive (usually “D”) and the spreadsheet “The Appliance Service Flat Rate Guide.xls” will be highlighted.  Click on the “Open” button and the spreadsheet will load and open. 

 There are two versions of the program.  The first contains extra charges for ‘Zones’.  Zone Charges can be can be used for service calls that require extra travel time, extra time for access, or any type of service call that requires more time and effort than the regular service call to get to the service site.  Both versions have provisions to allow you to charge more for working on ‘High End Appliances’ which have separate pages under the Refrigeration, Dishwashers, Cooking, and Ventilation. 

 When you first open the program, the “Flat Rate with Zones” worksheet opens.  There are two colored columns where you will enter the information to make your custom Flat Rate Solution.  The blue shaded column is for the regular appliances and the ‘Zone Differential” amount.  The orange shaded column is for ‘High End Appliances’ and will fill the rates on the ‘High End Appliance” pages.  The program is designed to be very user friendly and only needs numbers entered in the two shaded areas.  When you make entries in the shaded areas, the program automatically computes your rates in almost 3000 places.

 You can see how this works by moving to the right of the spreadsheet so that cell ‘C2’ is in the upper right corner.  Use the left arrow at the bottom of the page to move the sheet to the side in the viewing window and use the upper right arrow to move row two into the viewing window.  This will allow you to see the effect of the changes you make in the blue shaded area.  Go ahead and change the values for ‘Trip charge’, ‘Diagnosis Charge’, ‘Charge per 10 min.’, and ‘Zone 1 and 2’, then watch how the amounts change on the left side.  The ‘Charge per hr.’ is computed by the program, and the ‘R-12 Rec, Etc.’ and ‘R-134A/22 Rec., Etc.’ only affect the pages for sealed system refrigeration charges.  If you scroll down to those pages, you can see the changes.

 Now we will print your own custom flat Rate Solution.  Move back to the left so that both the blue and orange shaded areas are visible.  We will now enter the information from our CODB figures and apply some marketing skills.  The total of the Trip and Diagnosis charges are going to be the minimum that you will be quoting to customers.  You may know that you need $69.95 for this charge, but customers are not willing to pay more than $59.95 because of competition in the market.  This is not a problem.  Set the rate at a total of $59.95 and add $2.00 to your ‘Charge per 10 min.” from your CODB calculations.  Since the average job will be charged at least 40 minutes on the flat rate, you get at least $8.00 of the $10.00 that you new you should charge for the basic charge. 

 Put in your ‘Charge per 10 min.’ rate and add your ‘Zone’ differential rates. There are two ‘Zones’ available and the amount you enter for the ‘Zone’ differential is added to the “Service Rate” column.  In the example of “The Appliance Service Flat Rate Solution” on the CD, the ‘Zone’ differential is $20.00 for each ‘Zone’.  The charges for “Zone 2” are $20.00 more than the “Service Rate”, and the charges for “Zone 3” are $40.00 more than the “Service Rate”.  If you do sealed system, add your refrigeration rates for the different gases.  Remember that these charges are for all charges related to a sealed system job.  They include such thing as welding supplies, recovery equipment, Freon, and the investment to maintain your scales, gauges, leak detectors, and other tools.

 The last thing to complete is the orange area.  If you do not charge a higher rate for ‘High End Appliances’, then fill in the orange area with the same numbers as the blue area.  If you charge more for the ‘High End Appliances’, then consider adding $10.00 to the ‘Diagnosis Charge’ and 5% or 10% to the ‘Charge per 10 min.’, rounded up to the next dollar.

 You have finished the data entry and are ready to print your custom copy.  Click on the printer in the tool bar to print your copy.  If you are satisfied with the results, you can save a copy to print quickly at a later time.  Click on the “File” button and select “Save As”.  Save the copy in “My Documents” with a name and date that makes it easy to find in the future.


 About Appliance Service Companies and Flat Rate Pricing

Back To The Appliance Service Business Success Program Start Page