Americans lose billions waiting for the cable guy

Americans are losing $250 annually sitting and waiting for in-home appointments. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Who hasn’t sat at home for hours, waiting for the cable guy or repairman?

Now a company has calculated how much it costs Americans annually to sit around and wait for someone to fix, install or deliver something. The price tag is $37.7 billion a year.

A new study by TOA Technologies looks at the cost of waiting at home for both customers and companies.

TOA makes software that helps companies manage their service crews and dispatch them more efficiently.

TOA’s co-founders, Yuval Brisker and Irad Carmi, tell USA Today they founded the company after a “particularly frustrating wait for a guy to come and fix Brisker’s video on demand.”

“I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way,'” Brisker told USA Today.

TOA polled more than 1,000 Americans who have waited for utilities, cable/satellite, Internet, home deliveries and other services.

They found that more than half surveyed (58 percent) had waited for an in-home appointment in the past year. TOA calculated the average individual cost of waiting to be nearly $250 annually.

In applying that to the entire American labor force, they found the potential loss to be $37.7 billion.

Those polled said they were forced to take wage, vacation or sick day losses in order to wait for an in-home appointment. They waited an average of four-and-a-half hours — which was two-and-a-half hours longer than expected.

On the flip side, the survey found that “long waits lead to bad business reputations.”

And patience is shrinking. Seventy percent of respondents said they would recommend a company based on if the serviceman is on time.

The largest medium used to complain and voice concerns is social media. Within a half-hour wait, almost half of those surveyed (49 percent) said they would have posted a complaint using a social media tool.

The top five services Americans are waiting on:

  • Paid cable/satellite TV: 57 percent
  • Internet: 37 percent
  • Furniture/item delivery: 34 percent
  • Appliance/computer repair: 33 percent
  • Other home services: 27 percent

The longest waits were for:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Home health care
  • Water
  • Phone

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