It was being used for almost 2 decades by now. The plumbers used to carry small booklets that had the prices for each and everything that the company offers as a service, the prices of items if needed to be installed. Whenever a guy visits the site, he makes the analysis and goes through this booklet to add up the prices and give a final quote to the customer. Now, this was a tedious job. It was even more irritating when you have to stop at many houses throughout the day and they are scattered all over the city. This made plumbing jobs very rough business.
Once, the prices were added up, the customer had no other option than to pay the price or just refuse to go ahead with it. This would take an entire day at times for far away from residential areas or lone houses on the city outskirts. Such facilities by offering a quote beforehand were necessary to keep your clients. This was just not the best way to go ahead and needed an overall evaluation. Anything that was better in terms of time or money was required. And, this could be done only through automating things. It could be done only through faster communication methods in place. This could be done with modernizing the methods of practice.
How has things changed now?
Although an overall change is not possible and things evolve over time one by one, a good start is a boost. If you know the exact details within seconds, it is much more than nothing at all. This was done using automated pricing software and a pre-fed calculator. Then, the internet came along and the pricing was all done at the office and sent to the customers through SMS as well as to the worker on site. This was the beginning of the fixed rate plumbing system. The customers were happy that they are paying just what they were told earlier and the work is done to their satisfaction. They are happy to call the company once again.
Since these leaking taps and broken washers are a nasty thing, you need immediate repair. This is important when you have to save water or stop yourself from drowning from an overflowing tank. Thus, budget-constrained customers were happier than before.
In the modern era, since past few years, the whole process book has been integrated into apps like up front pricing plumbing software that runs on desktops and laptops, and tablets and smart phones. It is amazing.