If you're a homeowner, you are bound to employ tradesmen for repair and maintenance in your home at some point and time. And it is quite possible that once the repair work has been done and you get the invoice, there are some additional charges that you were not expecting. That’s the call-out fee.
While many homeowners think of it as just another way of making money by a materialistic tradie, we believe it is a justified cost. Before we look at some of the reasons why tradespeople charge call-out fees, it is essential to understand what call-out fee is and how homeowners can avoid confusion and unnecessary confrontation with tradesmen over call-out charges.
What is Call-out Fee?
A call-out fee is a set of predetermined charges by service providers or tradesperson when they attend your home or business. The amount is charged separately on top of repair costs and labour charges. Generally, it covers the value of the time it takes for any tradesman to come all the way to take a look at the prospective job or diagnose a potential problem.
Call-out fee is not standardized or industry-regulated, so different types of tradespeople charge varying amount depending upon a lot of factors. Some may charge a call-out fee only when they visit the potential job site on short notice, out-of-office, or busy hours. Others may waive it off once they get the job. Tradesmen who typically charge call-out fees include electricians, carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, and technicians.
Why Do Tradesmen Charge Call-out Fee?
As mentioned earlier, a call-out fee is a charge of visiting the potential job site even when getting the job is not guaranteed. So technically, skilled labour charge the call-out fee primarily for two specific reasons.
They Invest Time and Effort
Imagine if you are a carpenter who went out to three different job sites, quoted the price, and didn't get the job? You shared your knowledge and technical skills with the customer for free thrice! It is the same as going to the doctor and not paying the fee if the diagnosis in not according to our desire.
Tradesmen invest a good share of time visiting your site and put in the effort to get the potential job, so they ask for a call-out fee just to cover a small portion of the value of their time.
Call-out Fee Covers Certain Organisational Expenses
Service providers have a lot of expense that may vary from a brick and mortar store. They have to pay for staff and vehicle insurance and the driver's wages, fuel, and vehicle maintenance. A call-out fee is generally used as a mechanism to cover all the vehicle-related expenses.
Call-out Fee Reduces the Risk of Business Inconvenience
When a service provider charges a call-out fee, they are also reducing the risk of putting a job on hold to respond to an emergency call out or an operation call outside normal business hours. Putting a job on hold is a potential expense for the business that can be covered using the call-out fee.
3 Tips to Avoid Confusion with Your Tradesmen Regarding Call-out Fee
Call-out fee typically comes as a surprise to most homeowners. Here are three questions that can ask your tradesmen before they start working so you can avoid some unpleasant surprises on your invoice after the job gets done.
- How Much Is the Callout Charge and Does That Include a Minimum Charge for Time?– ask this question before the tradesmen come to your property, so this is clear well before a prospective worker arrives.
- What Features of the Job Does Your Call-out Fee Cover? – Since there is no industry standard, different service providers cover various features such as 10–15 minutes of labour or initial diagnosis of the problem.
- Can I Please Get It in Writing? – It is always best to get a written quote, so you know whom you are paying.