During a recent continuing education seminar I got to talking to the guy next to me who works for [unnamed national plumbing chain] and learned that he’s paid a 20% commission on everything he “sells” while in someones house. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with salespeople. It can be a honorable profession. Even commission payments have their place but not, I repeat, not when the knowledge gap between the homeowners and the specialist (a plumber, in this case) can be so vast.
Imagine the person at the deli counter told you that turkey slices would be $65 a pound because they needed to use a special slicer? Or it’ll be extra to put your turkey in an extra durable bag? You’d laugh. It’s turkey. Who are you trying to scam??
When it comes to specialty trades where we have to trust the expertise of the tradesman, i.e. your mechanic working on your transmission or the plumbing in your bathroom walls, most consumers don’t really know much about it. That just leaves too much opportunity for a shady salesperson (who’s pretending to be a plumber) to jack up the price just so they get that weekly bonus check.
I can tell stories about the countless times I’ve talked with homeowners who were told they absolutely needed to replace this or that for thousands of dollars when, in reality, an $85 dollar repair is all they needed.
Obviously, all plumbers are trying to “up sell” – any business relies on the income from our customers. However the temptation is too strong when your primary motive is a fat check; that’s why we do not pay our plumbers sales commissions.
When we send a plumber into a home their sole intent is to do what is best for the customer. Our plumbers are there to solve your issue and provide options that best suit your needs. After the homeowner has been educated about the right repair the best option for them is also the highest priced choice. But many times it’s not.
We grow and by doing what is right for our customers. Period.