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My plumbing 'warehouse' on wheels – just a GMC Savana – helps me avoid supplier runs 90% of the time

Having a fixed price list, such as StraightForward Pricing, in the service business requires a second component... you have to have almost all the basic parts of a typical residential home's plumbing set up (excluding import parts and large fixtures) with you before you head out for the day.


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July 25, 2014 by Steve Payne

Our loyal reader Edward, a plumber, is a fan of StraightForward Pricing (if you missed that article, click here). He’s not a fan of having to do supplier runs, so here’s how he avoids them “90 per cent of the time”)…

My truck has the parts. I had worked in the service industry for a while for a few StraightForward Pricing companies with stocked trucks, so now I have it stocked at all times – it’s a warehouse on wheels (and all I have is a GMC Extended Savana).  A residential home is pretty simple set-up (for my vehicle): the only thing I don’t have in the truck are large fixtures and the majority of import parts. As a plumber, doing 4-5 calls a day, supplier runs are wasted time for both me and my customer. 95 per cent of my work is residential service and new install. All my jobs are set quotes, so if I am going to a home to repipe a kichen sink drain, it is one price and everyone pays the same. It is rare I have to hit up the supplier, the majority of time I scroll my calls for the day, stock up on what I need, especially if I know I am short, and I’m on my way… I always gather as much information as I can from the customer over the phone – this way I am prepared.  I have been doing this for a while. I can say with confidence that my calls go as planned – without supplier runs 90 per cent of the time.

Editor’s note: Tell us if you are using a particular company’s racking or storage system for your van or truck. If we feature them in the magazine, we will send you a $100 gas card if you’re the first person to suggest that particular equipment supplier.

 


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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4 Comments » for My plumbing 'warehouse' on wheels – just a GMC Savana – helps me avoid supplier runs 90% of the time
  1. Marten Burghgraef says:

    I normally tow a 16 ft. Hallmark trailer behind me. I have built and modified the wood racking over the years to accomadate almost everything I need. It is a little expensive to tow but the time it has saved me over the years is amazing. Oh I am a renovation contractor for most of my work so a little of everything in my trailer.

  2. Dave Bennett says:

    You are so right Edward …..I hate supplier runs as well!!
    I have an extended GMC Savana 2500 series with a HUGE turbo diesel engine that halls around my screws, nails, paint, caulking and assorted odds and ends and of course every tool imaginable. The 360renos team as affectionately nicked named it the Big White School Bus!

    The Ranger shelving running down both sides of the truck is always packed and ready to go. And if more room is needed for that 16′ baseboard it goes on the roof rack

    Unplanned supply runs are a huge waste of time. I’m always planning and grouping together projects to minimize the shopping.

    Cheers
    Dave

  3. Edward says:

    Fan of straight forward pricing yes (which anyone can do)…… you do not need to pay 50k a year or more to some american company to know or learn that.

  4. harry veenstra says:

    we run 4 plumbing trucks here in Prince Edward county
    normally 3 are doing service work
    time and material works for billing
    it’s fair to everyone
    we run e250 extended ford vans
    lots of room for lots of parts/supplies
    key is make sure your client tells you everything that is required to be fixed before you go to the job
    no need to run to supply house if you are prepared