"We don't do free estimates...
...The encouraging news is that you will always get something for your money..."
Two of the most common questions I hear when talking with new customers are “how much will it cost to have you come out and look at my equipment” and “I’m looking to get a quote, do you do free estimates?”. These are reasonable and straight forward questions, but the answer can be a bit complicated. Because the answer can be complicated, a common response you may hear from a typical pool service company is something along the lines of “ Well, it’s hard to say” or “We’ll need to come out and take a look before we can give you a quote”. While this boiler plate response has been used across the industry in an effort to manage expectations since seemingly the beginning of time, it isn’t very helpful to a customer shopping their options; and if I’m being honest, it has always felt like a shady business practice to me, even if deception isn't the intent. It is our belief that as experts in pool equipment service we should do more to inform our clientele about what they can expect to pay before we show up at their home, and why. Having a general idea of what they are getting into can give our potential customers a better understanding of whether or not Apache PoolTek is right for them, before we ever set foot in their yard.
Many people don’t realize that a pool equipment repair company does not make a profit off of labor rates. Labor is our “break even” income, while parts sales are what allow us to make a profit (more on parts in a later article). So to begin the conversation, let me introduce the elephant in the room: We don’t do free estimates. We charge a $160 service call to come to your home, and that is the bare minimum you can expect pay for an Apache PoolTek technician to show up on your doorstep. The cost of owning and operating a pool service company is pretty steep, and it’s only getting more expensive. Licensing, insurance, consumer protection bonds, vehicle registration, maintenance and fuel are all factors that come into play when calculating our cost of operation and they are really just the tip of the iceberg. Our monthly overhead climbs steadily higher as you begin to factor in the cost of tools, materials, rising inventory prices, uniforms, taxes, fees, continuing industry education…the list goes on and on. So, because this business (any business, really) costs money to operate 24/7, it is necessary for us to charge a fee for our time. I emphasize the word necessary, because it is important to me that our customers understand that our service call is not a cash grab. We don’t charge a service call simply because we can, we charge a service call because we must in order to keep trucks on the road, to keep parts on the trucks and to keep the lights on in the office. The encouraging news is that you will always get something for your money. Our service call is not just a trip charge, but covers the first hour of labor as well. That means for $160 you are automatically going to receive a full equipment pad evaluation, diagnosis of the original concern and very often a completed repair, if you choose to have us perform one. In fact a large percentage of the calls we receive can be repaired within the first hour, meaning it is highly likely that your total labor charge will be covered by the service call. In the event that your equipment requires additional time to repair, our labor is pro-rated in thirty minute blocks with a “round down” philosophy. If your repair takes an hour and twenty minutes to complete, you only pay for one hour. If your repair takes one hour and forty-five minutes, your labor will be pro-rated at an hour and a half for a labor charge of $240.
"What if I want to shop around?" I'm glad you asked. There are times when we give a customer a quote to repair their equipment and they aren’t prepared to pull the trigger without getting a second opinion. This is a completely understandable position and one that we support readily; we are consumers too, and we like to explore our options when making a purchase. Should you seek another company's diagnosis and then decide within thirty days of our visit that you would like us to return to repair your original concern, we will gladly do so with no additional service call charge to you.
Transparency and fair business practice are the foundational stones of Apache PoolTek’s operation. A true and honest desire to elevate the pool industry and by extension, the customer experience, has been the guiding light that led me to start this company from the very beginning of my career in the pool business. When we say that Apache PoolTek is Service With Integrity, we mean it. And if you give us the opportunity, we’ll prove it.