Billing for Installer and Technician Services
How much is your time worth?
I just missed a connecting flight here in Chicago on my way from Denver to Dayton, Ohio, so I suddenly find myself thinking about just that.
Sure, my client understands he has to pay me for the three-hour training program I’m conducting for him tomorrow. But if I only charged him what I think I should earn for those three hours alone, I’d have a hard time making ends meet.
To be honest, I deserve to be paid for more than those three hours. In addition to the time making the presentation, I spent time researching the topic and writing the seminar. To keep my audience engaged, I spent time developing PowerPoint presentations, downloading templates and pictures to make them interesting. Although I’m a fairly confident public speaker, I always rehearse my presentations. And isn’t my 35 years of retail experience worth something?
What I’m getting down to is that it’s always easier to justify pricing for products. Clients understand that flat panels and audio gear have a certain value just because of the technology and components that go into producing them. It’s a different story when it comes to justifying the value of less tangible things, like design, installation and programming.
What is the actual cost of an hour of your installer’s time? It’s much, much more than the hourly wage you pay him.
How Many Actual Billable Hours?
First, you must determine how much of the time for which you pay your technicians is actually productive and billable to your clients.
A 40-hour week is 2,080 hours per year. If your staff members get two weeks of paid vacation and another six days of paid holidays, you’re down to 1,952 possible income-producing hours. And how about training time? You might send your installers for five to 10 days of training; now you’re down to about 1,900 hours. But that’s still not the amount of time they’ll spend in your customers’ homes.