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To Bill or Not to Bill

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by lawnspecialties, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    Ok, I have this fertilizer/pesticide customer with irrigation. They did not want to sign up for my yearly fertilizer program which also includes winterization/de-winterization of irrigation systems. No big deal since they'll just go "pay-per-service". When I sent out emails and letters letting everyone know if they wanted me to de-winterize their systems, he inquired about the price. I answered back and never heard anything else out of them. That was about 3-4 weeks ago.

    Today while mowing next door to them (regular full-service customer), the wife comes out and says her husband had emailed me this morning about the irrigation system. He and a neighbor (who had dewinterized his own system) tried to get this couple's system going but it wouldn't work. They wanted me to check it out and see what he was missing. Of course, I checked the backflow and like I thought, it was on backwards. I fixed that and reprogrammed the controller with the current day/time and checked to make sure last year's programming was still there. Since their rain sensor wouldn't allow the system to run, I told her to watch and see if it runs later this week when it's supposed to. I then left.

    Would you bill this couple anything at all or not? Yes, I only turned the backflow around and programmed the controller (more or less). No, I didn't run the system since I didn't know if I should even bill them or not and I really didn't have the time.

    The kicker is I offered to do this for them, they tried to do it themselves, and I ended up doing "some" of it. Last year a similar yet different thing happened with them but I truly believe both occurences were unintentional.
  2. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,192

    no tikki no laundry
  3. Tom Tom

    Tom Tom LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,281

    Well, they emailed/asked you in person for a service and you performed it.

    Full charge

    Messages: 18,668

    Yucchy grey area but they should have offered to pay you. Sometimes in situations like this I'll say "I'm running a tab and the next minor need I'll just bill then for both times."
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,219

    How long were you there? If it wasn't long, and didn't put you out, go with Fimco's idea. Just add it on next time.
  6. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    We have customers calling all the time asking to talk to a tech because the tryed to turn on there own system and it doesnt work. .............

    "so mister customer your to cheap to have me turn your system on so you want me to pay one of my workers to talk on the phone with you for 15 mins so you dont have to pay a service call to get it turned on"

    Yer dont think so.

    Our office manager has some GREAT lines that i told her to use. They pritty much say we are in this to make money not give everyone free service.
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,550

    I'd probably bill. Two services without billing is at least one too many.
  8. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,984

    I would have bypassed the rain sensor and done a full startup.
  9. mudter

    mudter LawnSite Member
    from texas
    Messages: 15

    The same as AI said, bypass the rain sensor, do a full startup and there would not be a question of bill or not to bill. If you were to have 8 service calls like this one in a day would you not expect to get paid? If this customer is expecting you to do this for free, I would lose their number.
  10. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    Thanks for all the responses.

    If I'd had more time that day, I would have done a full start up. But right now, my days are absolutely swamped and I certainly hadn't planned on stopping to help them out.

    I was thinking about it today and decided I'd just bill them half of what I quoted them. That's fair to me since all I did was the backflow and the controller. Very little effort but obviously, a lot of knowledge to them.

    Thanks again, all.:)

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