View Full Version : Another headache

07-22-2002, 07:58 PM
:angry: Does anyone have the problem of doing a quote for someone, then when the job is finished they call you and say that you didn't do something?? This has happened twice this year already and it is burning my ***** that it is happening. Now they don't think that they have to pay after the job from the estimate is completed. I even go out of my way to do alittle extra while I am there to gain repeat customers. How can the he said she said bs be stopped once and for all. Seems like there is alot of misunderstanding from the homeowners on the estimates. Now when we go back out to complete the work from their point of view should I charge extra for the extra work?:confused:

Bob Minney
07-22-2002, 08:00 PM
Do you have a written contarct?

Chuck Sinclair
07-22-2002, 08:13 PM
Put everything in WRITING

07-22-2002, 09:56 PM
Besides putting it in writing. We always walk the area with potential customer and describe exactly what will be done. Be sure to encourage questions because your definition and theirs can be completely different. We will do little extras IF we are ahead on budget. If not charge for all the "little extras". We even go so far as to say we will take money off of the estimate if we over estimate (materials and labor related to materials) , but will never add to it unless it's specified in the original estimate that materials could change.

07-22-2002, 11:13 PM
Writing a clear set of parameters of work (also called a scope of work) takes some practice. One way to learn is to write down everything it takes to do the job as though you were givng instruction to another foreman, including descriptions of where the work will take place. Then take that and distill it into a concise description of the finished work including the types of materials being used. If you specify that an area of a certain size is going to be improved in a specific way with exactly the listed materials, its hard for the client to play that game.

07-23-2002, 07:10 PM
I have to wear 2 different hats. I get everything in writing. Materials labor etc. etc. I think of all the ways i have been screwed before and I don't let it happen again( and of course it does) so I have to make my agreement a little bit longer. It happens all of the time, The homeowner comes out and says "Wow this looks so good lets go ahead and put that extra plant in" o.k mam Out with the different hat (change of work order) blah blah

07-23-2002, 09:42 PM

This whole subject really raises a lot of questions anymore.

Lately, as I do more and work, and the jobs get bigger and bigger, I find myself spending more and more time on my proposal sheets.

At this point, I have a entire page of 'small print' attached to every proposal, and then, the proposal itself ends up being almost 2 pages in itself........... and this is for only the little 300sq ft patios !

I don't leave a thing out. I describe everything and anything that may pertain to the job.

The whole problem I have with this is WHEN IS IT GOING TO END.

Honestly, as the days go by, and I hear more and more people getting burned, and personally experience more and more "unfaithful" customers, I really wonder if I'm going to have to make pre-recored videos or something and have the clients sit down, watch them, then sign a seperate contract stating that they watche the video.......

I don't know anymore...........For all the old timers here..........has it always been THIS bad? I mean, when you did work for someone, did you ALWAYS have to worry about them dropping a lawsuit on you because of such things like a '2x2 section of grass not growing in the middle of a 2 acre grass install'.

For the record, I firmly believe the world has gone mad. But that's besides the point. What scares me is the absolute lack of power we, as contractors, have in collecting money due to us and the very, very, limited ways in which we have in going about collecting what is owed to us.

What really scares me though, is the total lack of trust and understanding that clients express towards us. If you ask me, people are just plain out becoming stupid! In this day of computers, big office jobs, etc. etc, does anyone but us actually ever go outside and do ANY work at all! I mean, are we going to have to include, within are estimates, a pictorial book of things like, say, shovels, rakes, etc. and explain to them that 'these tools will be used on your jobsite"!

Sorry, just had a long day,.......man was it hot.


robert payer
07-23-2002, 09:53 PM
The best customer, is a properly informed customer. It is our job as a professionals to be sure that the agreement is clear and spelled out.

07-24-2002, 12:54 AM
Contracts have become a neccessary evil, I find myself putting more & more detail into mine as well.

Sadly, the days of the handshake are gone.

07-26-2002, 01:33 AM
Now answer me this. If a customer adds something to the job or something is taken out does anyone really have the time to go back and rewrite the original contract? If it is our last day at a job and the customer wants something changed or added to the original estimate we don't have time to run back and forth to the office all the time so trust comes into play. Which is turning out to come few and farther between customers. This is where I am running into problems. Customers add additional services and expect the price to stay the same. For example, I had a small landscape job to do for an older lady. Estimate came to around $800.00 and when the job was finished the bill came to $1600.00 after the older lady and her siblings added additional services. When they recieved the bill they said what happened to your "FIRM PRICE ESTIMATE". The whole time we were there they would add something to our "to do" list and said we will pay the extra $$ for this to be added on to our bill. It has been over a month and they still have not paid. Guess what came next..... you said this would be included blah blah blah.... Burns my butt because I know what I said we would do because I have to write it down or I will forget to do the extra work.

Now days it is hard to find the time to walk through the job with customers because everyone is busy. So other forms of communication have come into play...email, cell phones, fax, ect. I am finding that if you don't tape record every exchange you have with the customer the he said she said games start.

07-26-2002, 07:06 AM
I put a line in my contracts, "Any work requested not described above is available at additional cost". Then keep a copy of the contract in the truck while at the jobsite. When these issues come up, you have it for reference.

Bob Minney
07-26-2002, 09:07 AM
I use a change order-It can be a pita but every time they add 50 to $100 work write it up and have it signed. memories get fuzzy when the bill comes due if its not all in writting.

07-26-2002, 09:18 AM
Bob Minney is exactly right -- Change Order. Either party can write it, just as long as the customer signs it. Have them fax it to you.

07-26-2002, 03:17 PM
You could carry an invoice pad (office depot) in triplicate form
and write down the change order on it with an estimate(if it's
something minor) and give them a copy on the spot. It's
unfortunate that it has to come to that but it will save alot of
haggling over price later.

Tony Harrell
07-28-2002, 08:48 AM
Home builders go through this all the time. True, they work from blueprints but, there's a lot that's not on the blueprints that can be "flexable". I'd think that getting EVERYTHING in writing is the way to go. Change orders seem like the only logical answer also. Communicaton with the client during a job might help too. Some people like potatoes and some like potatos. Know what I mean?