“Hourly versus estimating… what works for me might not work for the guy down in Louisiana.”
The debate between working hourly and estimating is not new, especially in industries like marine services where projects can vary greatly in scope and complexity. Let’s explore this topic
The Hourly Conundrum
Working hourly seems straightforward. You clock in, do the work, and get paid for the hours you put in. However, there can be pitfalls. Customers might not always have a clear understanding of how long a task will take. They might not be “out there with a stopwatch keeping track,” but when the bill arrives, sticker shock can set in. The customer might see the boat, think it’s a simple fix, but not realize the intricacies involved in marine mechanics. When the bill for several hours of work comes in, they’re taken aback.
The Estimating Approach
On the other hand, estimating provides clarity upfront. The customer knows what to expect, and there’s no surprise at the end. Customers “need to know and be prepared for what you’re going to charge them.” In the marine service industry, this could mean providing a detailed breakdown of parts, labor, and any potential additional costs. This way, when a boat owner needs their vessel serviced, they have a clear understanding of the costs involved.
The Marine Service Twist
In marine services, the stakes are high. Boats and marine equipment are expensive, and mistakes can be costly. Working hourly might seem like a good idea, especially for smaller tasks. However, the unpredictability of marine environments, potential complications, and the specialized nature of marine repairs can quickly turn a one-hour job into a three-hour endeavor.
Estimating, in this context, offers a safety net. It allows marine service providers to account for potential challenges, ensuring that they’re compensated fairly for their expertise. Plus, it offers boat owners peace of mind, knowing that they won’t face unexpected costs.
It’s clear that both hourly and estimating have their merits. The key is understanding the context and setting clear expectations. For marine service providers, this might mean:
Educating Customers: Customers often don’t understand the intricacies of a job. Marine service providers should take the time to explain the complexities of marine repairs, helping customers understand the costs involved.
Building Trust: Whether you’re working hourly or estimating, trust is crucial. Doing quality work ensures repeat business and referrals. In the marine world, where word of mouth is gold, this is especially true.
Being Adaptable: The marine environment is unpredictable. Being flexible in your approach, whether that means adjusting an estimate or being transparent about hourly costs, is key.
Whether you’re fixing a boat or a yacht, the principles remain the same. Understand your worth, communicate clearly with your customers, and always strive for excellence. In the end you have to do a good job to ensure long-term success.
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