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Service pricing and it's real value. Some deals aren't worth the price.

Updated on February 22, 2014

Is this what you want ...

...when this is what you paid for?

The knock offs should knock it off

So it's approaching Christmas, and my wife is shopping online for our preteen daughter. She finds these boots that are supposed to be the same as a high end name brand, but WAY cheaper. It seems like a no brainer, so she buys 2 pairs, one for her and one for our daughter. The order goes through and the product doesn't arrive. My wife contacts the selling website and goes through quite an ordeal just clarifying what was ordered and what should have been sent. Finally, after what seems like an eternity of explaining the facts, they agree to send out the order again and provide us a credit. Honestly, we aren't that excited about a credit at this point. Eventually, the boots arrive, after Christmas. They are expectantly removed from the packaging with high hopes that it would be these wonderful boots. WRONG! These boots are made to look similar, but in no way are the materials anywhere near similar. It seems as though the soles are made of some kind of a cheap, molded foam rubber. The fabric of the boots themselves is extremely thin and clearly not designed to keep your feet warm or dry. Overall, the boots were a waste of time and money. Very disappointing, and a valuable lesson learned.

It's not to say that all 'look alike' products are as poorly made as these, but more often than not, the premium priced item has premium materials and workmanship. That's what you pay for.

Customer service. You might get what you paid for.

Customer service means to serve. Sometimes the meaning gets lost

Have you ever walked into a store and felt like the last thing the associate wanted to do was to help you? You know, that whole, sigh, shoulder sag, droopy faced, "How can I help you?". Ever feel like just turning around and leaving? Me too. Honestly, it's one of the reasons I hate to ask for help in a lot of places. Usually the help you get is less than helpful. Like the person that barely looks away from the electronic device to acknowledge you. What happened to manners and courtesy?

Honestly, some of it is our fault. We reward the cheapest retailer we can find by frequenting them often. Of course, to keep these low, low prices, they also have to keep low, low wages and benefits. So these low paid people tend to not feel like they care because there are plenty of low paying jobs. Then there is the ridiculously high paid people that know that they are in a niche and there's nothing you can do about it. When these people treat you with the same type of disrespectful attitude, it's almost more infuriating. Have you ever thought, "Gee, with what I'm paying you I should be able to at least get a smile and some courtesy?".

What would you pay for great service?

Would you pay more for the same service provided by someone who was more professional and courteous?

See results

The right service at the right price

Then there are the times when a company hits the right chord with the customer by providing great customer service at a fair price. This comes from a company that trains and compensates their employees in direct relation to the pricing of services. Consider your favorite hair stylist, barber, restaurant or other service provider that you would go to and recommend without fail. No matter what it is, there are usually some common factors, like, a positive attitude and a warm smile. These people usually display good manners and strong professionalism. They have learned to balance relating to the person with professionally performing a service. When it comes to places like that, you know you'll usually pay a little more, but you know that it's worth it. Like the previous illustration shows, what attitudes are acceptable when you sit down at a steakhouse versus a fast food establishment? Both are made from the same cuts, but the preparation and presentation make all the difference.

Great customer service is made up of a lot of ingredients

Pricing put into perspective

At our company, Mobile Service Pros, we provide on site oil changes. We come to the customers' home or workplace to provide a necessary service. The challenge was to find the right price. The market is full of providers of this service and plenty of do-it-yourselfers too. This made it very challenging.These were some of the factors.

Dealerships know that they lose money whenever one of their certified technicians do an oil change. Most places charge less than what they pay the tech. They know that they have to sell you additional services to make up for it. So they figure, if they are already losing money, they just need to increase their traffic. What better way than to offer a ridiculous low price? They know that statistically, at least 1 in 3 people will accept some type of an upsell. How do I know? I was there and did the selling. Believe me, it's watched very closely. I was pressured to sell which means you were pressured to buy. Nobody really enjoys that feeling. Also, time spent at a dealership is usually no less than 1 and 1/2 hours. If we have to order something, we encourage you to leave your car. Not very convenient. The average invoice is around $150.00-$200.00.

Then there is the 'independent' repair shops and franchise stores. They usually offer great prices and fast service. The fast service doesn't start until they actually start working on your car. Up to that point, you've still had to wait. Then they also will offer you various upsells. Finally, when all is said and done, you leave usually spending more time and money than you first expected. Usually, a minimum amount of time lost is about 45 minutes from start to finish. The average invoice is around $45.00.

Lastly, there is the cost of doing it yourself. First the materials. A person should be able to get oil and a filter for about $15.00 give or take. Next, they have to make time. Maybe it's in the evening. Maybe it's the weekend. So, you've worked all work, you've worked around the house and spent some time with the family. Now you just need about an hour to get the materials together, put the vehicle in a place to service it, lift it, perform the service, clean up and properly dispose of the waste. So now, consider what your hourly rate is. What exactly is an hour of your time worth on a weekday? Or on a weekend? Let's say we set it at the frequently suggested Federal minimum wage, $10.10. With materials, you've spent roughly $25.00 to service your vehicle yourself. More, of course, if you think you're worth more.

Founded on values

My wife, Jennifer, and I, have a vision of creating a true service mindset about our company. We believe that we are servants to our customers, but not in a derogatory sense. Instead, if we embrace the concept that our job is to serve our customers, and this is what they pay for, not that our customers have to pay for us, and then we give them something. We can create solid, long-lasting relationships with our customers that are mutually beneficial. We want to create an environment where our people and our customers enjoy the service we provide.

That's the customer service vision of Mobile Service Pros.

Mobile Service Pros is value priced

So with careful consideration, we decided that our oil change service should start at $35.95. We considered the pricing for doing it yourself as the greatest comparison. With the average ticket price at any other brick-and-mortar facility being more than our price, we know that the time savings alone makes our value far above theirs. After all, consider:

  1. No waiting to get in for service
  2. No waiting in a waiting room while being serviced
  3. No hassle of trying to get in on a weekend
  4. No hassle of a salesperson trying to cover shop expenses by upselling
  5. No 'courtesy' shuttles or loaner cars that are never on time or quite what you expected.

Instead, this is what we do:

  1. We come to where you are so you can keep doing what you are doing
  2. We communicate electronically to keep you informed without interrupting
  3. We maintain professional certification and business coverage to cover your interests
  4. We are clean, courteous and professional
  5. We take pictures of what we recommend so that you are informed
  6. We won't sell just to push our tickets up

Since we don't have the overhead of a shop, we can succeed without burdening our customers. At $35.95, we cover the assumed $15.00 for materials, the assumed $10.10 for fair labor and another $10.00 for performing a service call. Consider the price of a service call from a plumber, electrician, heating or cooling expert, or just about any other service provider, and we think our customers will agree that our price has exceptional value!


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