When most customers call a plumber, they’re experiencing a clogged pipe and expecting to pay for a simple clearing. However, sometimes, it’s not that straightforward – leading to a more extensive (and expensive) repair.
The problem? Clogged drains can often serve as a symptom of a more significant issue, according to James Mullis, Operations Manager at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.
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It’s a classic (and aggravating) story. A $500 service call becomes a $15,000 repair. Yikes! And to boot, the customer is hesitant to hand over their rainy-day savings to pay for the improvement. In the end, they choose a temporary fix for $500. Enter financing. You can boost your bottom line and provide a permanent customer solution by offering pay-over-time options in situations like these.
Signs, Symptoms and Problems
As a plumbing service provider, you know which things can spell trouble. For example, frequency of service can be a major red flag. If a homeowner has a plumber come out once a year, that’s a problem. Whatever you’re unclogging is just a symptom of a more significant issue. There’s likely scale buildup, sludge, or a break in the line.
Another red flag is water treatment issues. If the customer has a toilet that’s running or a faucet that’s dripping, it can be more than just a plumbing problem. The real culprit? Water quality – and simply repairing the plumbing fixture won’t be enough.
According to Mullis, “in this case, someone might pay $300 or $500 a year to fix the symptom, but we’ll be back next year.” Mullis’ team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing aims to be a fixer, not a patcher. They could easily address the symptom but prefer to solve for the problem instead.
If it’s a big issue like water quality (AKA an expensive repair), offering financing can make it achievable. “Without financing, it wouldn’t be possible. Especially when a service call becomes a $10,000 problem,” said Mullis.
Helping Homeowners with Financing Concerns
When you aim to fix the problem, not the symptom, customer budget concerns can be an obstacle. Not everyone wants to shell out five, 10, 30 thousand dollars upfront. However, according to Mullis, many homeowners are comfortable paying a digestible, fixed monthly amount that resolves the issue entirely.
Financing helps when clients are in a crunch. “We can give the customer what they truly need,” said Mullis. His best advice? Offer financing upfront and not as a rebuttal to “I can’t afford that.” It’s essential, as a plumbing service provider, to supply consultative, transparent, and proactive advice, rather than simply react.
The Way Forward
Whether a client needs to fix a leaky faucet, clear a drain line stoppage, or re-pipe the whole house, financing makes it possible. Customers are less likely to delay work with financing — which helps them avoid paying more in the long run when things deteriorate.
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For Mullin and his team, financing from Ally Lending simplifies the process.
Mullis finds Ally Lending’s financing experience easy and user-friendly. “From an accounting side, it’s super simple to pull the money. We have consistent revenue streams that help with our bottom line, and our customers have manageable payment options,” said Mullis. “At the end of the day, financing helps us get the job done, so customers don’t have to worry constantly, be continually inconvenienced, and pay annually for a bandage solution.”