Am I Priced Right for Covid-19?
Danielle Putnam - President, The New Flat Rate
Immediate Past President, Women in HVACR
yourself wondering, “Am I priced right?”
As my attorneys like to say about everything that I ask
them, “Well, that depends,” as I roll my eyes and say,
“Will somebody give me a straight answer please?”
CEO of Ferrari was once asked how many of a certain type
of model he was going to produce. His response? “Exactly
one less than the market will want.” Now, isn’t that
interesting? We all know Ferrari is a high-end luxury
racing beauty, and yet they price based on what their
market will bear. And they know exactly what their
market will bear.
will your market bear, and is COVID-19 changing how you
Are your customers questioning their bill?
Our team has been running service calls in the field all
across the United States over the past few months, and
when presented with a menu of options, homeowners are
still buying the level of service they want…and let me
tell you, to no one’s surprise, COVID-19 is not turning
these homeowners into cheaper buyers.
We are finding that now is the perfect time to continue
on providing great service to your customers, presenting
your prices with options, and when applicable, even
offering new services such as air sanitization and
fogging throughout homes and businesses.
On a resume I reviewed earlier this week, I was amused
by the candidate’s creative liberty, as they stated,
“Here are my accomplishments pre and post COVID-19.” I
hit a hard stop; there was a lot of truth in that. How
many of us, if not all of us, have been forced to change
and change for the better? Have your processes in the
home changed? How about how you greet your customer?
That has certainly changed.
Have you adjusted your prices to meet the demands of
your customer’s current health and safety needs?
company is most likely now using more products in the
field for cleaning, sanitizing, and safety, and many
materials and parts have been much harder to get your
hands on. So, have your costs gone up? Maybe to question
with more emphasis, HAVEN’T your costs gone up?
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We change our prices for what the market will bear; we
do not price gouge, but our costs as an industry are
currently much higher. Running a business is expensive,
and we are in business to serve our customers while
turning a profit. So, it’s important to recognize the
costs that are happening; don’t ignore them.
I’m ready to extend my neck on the guillotine, so might
as well jump all in with this one:
Pre-COVID-19 vs. Post-COVID-19
Our circumstances have changed, and our field
presentations have changed. But if we aren’t raising our
prices to match the costs and needs of the business, are
we at least watching our closing rates?
A low closing rate cancels out all the good you could
possibly do. Service should close over 95% of every
opportunity you run. If your closing rates are low,
especially when customers are stuck at home and noticing
all the problems in their homes and they have time to
fix them, something about your presentation is
communicating that your expertise isn’t worth it;
something about your presentation is presenting your
company as a commodity instead of as a solution.
We have been hearing lately that some technicians are
nervous about giving options to the customers because
they know times are hard and don’t want to make anyone
uncomfortable. It’s important to listen to your techs
and listen to your team and course correct accordingly.
But don’t believe for one second that people aren’t
spending money—Amazon would beg to differ; it’s their
super bowl right now with everyone sitting at home;
online shopping is no longer the new rage. It has even
bypassed the new norm and has become the new family
member. People are buying, and they’re even buying more
because they WANT health and safety – if you don’t offer
it, they can’t buy it!
If they’ll spend on new paintbrushes and paint at The
Home Depot for a DIY home project, they’ll invest in
having their systems working properly. And if they’ll
spend $8 for a bottle of hand sanitizer right now,
they’ll look at pricing options and swing what they can
do. No, we don’t want to overcharge; that’s never been
the idea; we just want your customers to be given the
option to buy. Really, on every call, you give your
customer an option whether you mean to or not: buy from
you or buy from your competitor. So, you might as well
give them some options to choose the service they want
so they are more likely to remain your customer.
Don’t prejudge your customers and decide for them how
this pandemic has affected them. For you, it might be
your wallet affected, but for them, it might be a family
member; let them decide what’s important to them and
spend accordingly. In a time where we have lost so much
of our power, let your customer have the power to
The New Flat Rate, a home service menu-selling system
designed to put profit directly into the hands of
plumbing, electrical, and HVAC contractors. Women in
HVACR, a non-profit member-based organization providing
professional avenues for networking and educating women
while encouraging more women to enter the trades.
For more information, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit