[lit-ideas] Re: The Cat At Whom He Has Hissed

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 12:57:04 -0500


ATLAS AIR CONDITIONING COMPANY charges $68 per hour, one hour minimum charge. However there is no service charge, trip charge or truck charge and the meter starts ticking when I get to the job site, not on the way there.

The one hour minimum is waived in cases of customer stupidity -- such as the piece of equipment not plugged in, the water turned off to the ice machine or anything that lets me get my kicks by humiliating the customer. Also I very seldom charge my good customers any overtime or time and a half charges -- something I now regret.

I service some residential customers, but most of my customers are independent restaurants. I repair all types of cooking equipment and commercial refrigeration equipment as well as air conditioning. I do a lot of illegal electrical and plumbing work as well (illegal in that I'm not licensed to do those trades). I do quarterly maintenance on AC and refrigeration equipment and seasonal start ups. I gladly take any air conditioning installation jobs as long as the customer realizes that service is my bread and butter and the installation work might get bumped at any time. I make it clear that my doing the job will take 2 to 3 times longer than any company with a crew, but then they charge quite a bit more and besides I usually do the electrical as well if the owner doesn't want to pull a permit. Kant would frown on that, I know. So would the city and the various trade unions. So sue me. Because time is very much the issue in summer and winter, most of my installations occur in spring or fall when temperatures are far more temperate and service work slows.

I am Atlas Air Conditioning Co. I'm the whole enchilada. I'm the President and janitor. I'm the hasn't-got-a-clue boss and the laziest, most recalcitrant employee and I like being them. If I were a go-getter, I could be rich now. I could have a fleet of service vans with my name emblazoned on them. I could-a been a contender. Maybe next go round.

Gas prices are killing me. I'm going to either have to raise my rates or start charging a trip charge. I think I'll raise my hourly rates to $70 (it's been 68 for three years now), and it's been my experience that restaurant management types think the world is out to screw them. They question tacked on fees. They like things simple.

Mike -- What's your hourly service call rate?  It might be cheaper for
me to drag you from Mississippi than to call local servicemen.

Dear Julie, I live in Memphis, TENNESSEE, not Mississippi. I know that Faulkner said the Delta starts in the lobby of the Hotel Peabody (in Memphis) and I know that some people call Memphis the capitol of Mississippi, but the state line is at least 8 miles south of where I live. You're a Midwesterner, you should be vaguely aware of where Memphis is. When I lived in Seattle some guys kept asking me what it was like living in Louisiana or Alabama. They had no idea where Memphis was -- somewhere down there, they would even confuse Memphis with Nashville -- but they were Seattleites, you have no excuse.

Mike Geary

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