I'd love to get just one day like that. Between the wife snoring, the dog snoring, the other dog wanting to go outside at 5am, my picky back, and all the crap running through my brain, I'm lucky to get a fitful six or seven hours. The rest I can deal with, but the stupid back and the stupid brain...
Got to write a non-toxic "go screw yourself" letter to a customer yesterday, after a call I got Monday. Some new person paying the bills, who decides that the company is no longer going to pay for the travel time and expenses on my invoice. Beg pardon? He demands that I absorb those costs when traveling at their request.
"None of the other techs charge for that." You're talking about local techs, and none of them drive the same 140 miles and 2.5 hours that I do - each way - to work on your machines. And yes, they DO charge travel; it's simply that they roll the travel into the labor charge whereas I do it honestly on individual line items so you know exactly what you're paying. You'll see that when they're in your shop for four hours and the invoice charges five hours.
"I drive 65 miles each way to get to work and the company doesn't pay me for that." Obviously, you need to move closer to work (he didn't like that one). But think about it: if the company asks you to drive your own vehicle, on your own time, to visit a customer 150 miles away, would you be compensated for the miles and paid for the time? Yes, you would. When your company is contracted to ship and install the products it makes, does it include in the contracted product price an additional amount in order to cover those particular costs? Yes, it does. When your company - and every other business - does the same, why am I the one guy expected to do it differently?
"We'll just call one of the local techs from now on." That's always your option, and if it's more important to pay a little less instead of having your machine serviced by the person in the US with the most experience on this brand and model, then I suppose that's a decision you need to make for yourself. Remember that it will take them longer to repair and adjust the machine so the labor charge will be higher - and be sure to note for yourself that actual time spent on the machine versus the time on the invoice. Also be certain to keep my number handy when you need the top expert to correct those things done improperly by the guy you hired to save you money, and who sees this type of machine just once or twice a year. When you have me come back keep in mind that you'll be paying travel time and cost - just like your company has paid for every other visit since 2008, and your parent company has paid since 2006 - for my visit to fix the other techs' screw-ups.
Again, your decision. Good luck.
A few years back I had one guy ask why he had to pay travel time AND mileage. "Why am I paying for your car to get here?" You're not paying for my car to get there. You're paying for my toolbox
to get there. Just so happens that doing so requires a car. If you'd prefer I could fly and rent a car, just like the OEMs do, instead of driving 3.5 hours myself. And still charge travel time. It'll cost you two or three times more, but if that's what you want then that's what I'll do.
Fuck me runnin' - I have more experience than any of the OEM techs, and I charge much less. It's your machinery that needs to be fixed so why am I the asshole for trying to earn a living when you call me
to quickly repair and adjust things that you
break and can't fix yourselves?
It's hard being a small business owner in America. Look on the bright side, at least, this douche bag customer of yours didn't leave a negative review of your business on Yelp.