She thinks my bill is unreasonable

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by irritation, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,248

    She called for me to check the system because it was coming on when it's not supposed to and grass is brown.
    First thing I notice is controller off time and at default settings, 10 min a zone every day. I check all zones and all heads and reprogram controller. I billed her 75.00

    What would you charge? It's not like I was next door, at least 20 min drive time one way. Long time customer and an old system I didn't install.

    I almost called her back when I was hot and tired and tear up the invoice and find someone else.
  2. Stick to your guns. You could of been a lot of places and yet you were there to help her. If she can't appreciate that then tough.
  3. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    We charge $105 min. I had a tech come back one day after he plugged in the clients controller, which was the reason the system was not working. The customer didnt want to pay, so I called him and explained it.

    1. Tech left shop at 7:30 and did not get to the next repair until 9:15. He paid for the time I lost where I could have made money somewhere else.

    2. Gas

    3. Insurance Company/Auto/Workers Comp

    4. Training Time

    5. Lost time

    I probably paid $45 to have my tech plug in his controller.
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    $75 for the first half hour on site. That's what I would have charged. If it was an out of area home, with additional drive time, more $ on top of that.

    I kindly tell them, "hey if you can bring your sprinkler system to me, I will charge straight labor with no service call fee or minimum charge". I tend to get the pause on the other end of the phone, then the ok I'll send a check. But this is a customer that you may lose due to charge. Some folks don't understand what ti takes to operate a business.
  5. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,248

    I'm not worried about losing the customer but I hate confrontation and don't look forward to the phone call. I should have called when I was hot.
  6. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I had to deal with one today as well. $700 to replace a ball valve 6' deep, with a curb stop, going from the line from the well to the house, teeing off for the sprinklers. Some manifold work too. And I already gave him a discount. Lots of labor, not much in materials.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,248

    6' deep? That would require a hole I'm not willing to dig or reach for. Your frost depth is not that deep is it? I would have charged that for the backhoe.
  8. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Supply to the house is typically 6' here. I should have told him to get a plumber with a bucket, but I didn't. My employees dug it, and I got in the hole to replace it. I'm not putting them in jeopardy.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,939

    $95.00 to show up for any part of an hour & $95.00 per hour thereafter.
  10. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,461

    $75 for a service call is not unreasonable. Better to not talk to a customer when you are upset. My philosophy is to not let people get to you, if they make you mad they won. As the saying goes "cool heads prevail". When you need to talk to her have your speech more less prepared. Say something to the effect like txirrigation said.

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