View Full Version : Policy on returning to jobsite
05-06-2002, 03:00 PM
What is your guys' policy on returning to the jobsite?
Here is the situation:
Feb 1st 2002 we went to a house and repaired numerous drip leaks due to rodent damage (packrats). We got this lead from some direct mailers we do, offering a tuneup which is basically a checkup at a reduced price. We spent 1 hour and 10 minutes at this house checking things and fixing etc.
Today, May 6th he calls and says: " you guys were here in Feb and you did a crappy job tuning up my system. Saturday I was cleaning out a planter bed and found some tubing laying on the ground." I said "is it leaking?"....he says "no, but it is just laying there, what the hell did you guys do while you were here?"
I proceeded to explain how drip systems are not perfect and leaks can happen. Perhaps it was more packrats blah blah blah. Keep in mind I did NOT INSTALL this system sir...I just fixed what I could find at the time that was broken. That was not good enough for him and he wanted us to come out and fix this stuff without a service charge.......
After several minutes of bantering back and forth, I told him to call someone else and he called me an "unethical business person".
05-06-2002, 04:02 PM
Tony, I don't think anyone familiar with you would call you unethical. We all go on about how we want to dump customers that are a PITA and stick to the good ones, so I won't fault you for running your bizz the way you want.
It's up to you if you think that this encounter will affect your reputation. If so, it's never too late to call the guy and say " Hey, I hate to have an unhappy customer. Can we meet in the middle. I'll inspect for free if you cover parts" or something similar.
I'm sure you'll do what's in the best interest of your Co. Whatever that is.
Good Luck, Landscraper
05-06-2002, 04:32 PM
I guess my point of view is different....you see if he is unhappy at this point about something that cannot be controlled...he will never be happy. If I cave on this particular item, what is next? I used to get real upset and take care of guys like this and then they would refuse to pay after telling me on the phone that they would be glad to....of they pay and the check bounces or they don't sign it and I don't notice till it is too late. Had the guy been nice up front it would be different but he called me after a 3 month period of time and his first sentence is one of degradation.....no, not going to do it.
When I was solo I met 1 or 2 of these guys per year....now we do 15-20 jobs per day and I meet 1 or 2 per month.....I think it is just the law of averages.
HB......DanaMac where are you guys on this?
05-06-2002, 06:59 PM
I'm sure you know, you'll never please everybody. And I don't believe in "the customer is always right". It is probably best to end the relationship there, but maybe you could give him a referral. If he doesn't take it, that's his decision. I'll admit I've pissed off customers in the past. Most of us probably have. Are we unethical? No (at least not all).
If your mechanic gave a tune up in Feb. and you called him in May and said there is a knocking noise, leaking coolant, and wipers don't work, what's he going to say? This was after the tune up and and extra charge. The drip tube in many installs becomes visable because it is often just below the mulch or rocks. There is nothing wrong with the pipe. Don't fix it for nothing.
05-06-2002, 09:11 PM
ATTN Client: Due to various watering regulations, seasonal adjustment needs and personal preferences, we do not program controllers. If programming is done at your request, please verify accuracy yourself. We assume NO responsibility for programming accuracy or legalities.
Warranty: Service by us does not imply a warranty of any kind on your existing equipment. You have 10 days from the date of service to notify us of any additional problems that we missed or that arose after we left. We will return and bill you for additional parts if needed and on the job time only. Problems reported after 10 days or if no problems are found will be charged our$56.00 minimum labor charge.
New parts installed and the labor to install them are warranted for 1 yr.
05-06-2002, 11:43 PM
This is your first complaint like that, youíre lucky!
When fixing other people's work, I use a similar disclaimer like Harold's.
I also try to take it one step further and point out other potential problems.
I think this is bugging you. Don't let it. There's always that PITA client out there.
Get that disclaimer going before you do any kind of repairs of other contractor\homeowner work.
05-07-2002, 01:44 AM
Yeah, I stole that idea from HB months ago but only started using those invoices on April 1st!!
Gus....not my first one, but it was my first one this week....I get lots of losers like this...this one just got to me more is all.
05-07-2002, 08:48 AM
Woman calls and didn't like her bill. 2 men for 2.5 hr and says I charged her $106/hr. It was $96 ($56+$40) We had to replace 2 valves. Job was installed by us 16 years ago and butchered by her husband since.
One was a 2 valve mainfold that had to be dug out of roots and replaced and the second was a valve that they poured concrete around rather than move when the drive was widened. On that one we had to tunnel under the drive ( valve was on end of main) cut 2 laterals free, extend pipe out, install new valve, run pipe from 2 lateral under drive to new valve and punch a hole in the valve box to extend wire out to new valve. The wire had gone up the side of the drive with one lateral to the garage. Pulled the solinoid plunger to keep the old valve permanently open. Old diaphram was leaking and we couldn't get valve apart.
Said I didn't tell her I was sending 2 guys out. (she didn't make the call her husband did) I asked what she would have expected to pay and she said $60/hr. I said one or 2 people and she said one. I just couldn't get it through her head she was billed at $48/hr avg and she was willing to pay $60. She questioned the guys skills. The one guy has been with me since 1983 and built her system and the other guy is no kid either. I asked if she would rather have paid $56 for 5 hr but she wouldn' budge off the $96 thing. Even if one guy got it done in 4.25 hr the bill would have been the same.
Probably menopausal and has taken leave of her senses. She said she couldn't use our services any more, not even for winterization.
If the customer is always right what would others do about this one. One thing I didn't offer was an adjustment on the bill which I didn't feel was appropriate and she didn't ask for. I look at it like this customer was already lost the moment she say her bill and mis-interpreted it and an explantion of the correct charges didn't clear it up. If you would have cut some slack on the billing (ugh) where does that leave the realtionship in the future? Always suspect in my opinion, like we can't be trusted.
So we have all these business types pleasing the customer and giving us the same old rhetoric about referalls and reputation an whatever and say say much of it is bull...t. I say that even though I get many fine referalls every year these people never gave me squat in 16 years. What am I losing, a $55 winterization? BFD!
I had between 80-100 new people call me last year with problems that I quoted $28 to come out and $56/hr and more are calling this year. And they are glad to get us. Am I gonna worry about a 16 year customer that just blew me off and hasn't provided me with anything other than winterization?
05-07-2002, 09:36 AM
This **** happens all the time. It boils down to respect. No matter how sharp of a company you run, they don't respect us because we work outside. The friggin plumber with the visible butt crack gets more respect than us.
HB? did you get paid at all?
What I do in that situation if it seems hopeless, I try to get as much money as I can when it seems as if they will never pay. When I do get paid, I make a mark next to their name in the database, (as If I'd forget!) so that next time they call I can explain our "new" rates and procedures to them. And they will call again! Like you said, the relationship is suspect but they figure they can get over on us again. When they do call, my service call fee is doubled and I need the money upfront on a visa.. When asked why I explain, "lately some people have been taking advantage of our good nature". The intention is to never go back.
Funny thing about people, they forget who thev've screwed. I have had these bozos call 3 years later and act like they don't remember. Those are the calls that could make up a whole 'nother thread man! Those are FUN.
Little respect, is'nt that the truth. The only gratuity you can really get is knowing that the doctors, lawyers, or whoever have to deal with the likes of us guys to install and keep their systems running smooth.
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