But just had that "call" with a client that now feels our prices are too high. He calculated our hourly average for the scope of work and determined it's more than a doctor or lawyer.
His invoice is almost two months old. Lots of calls and text back and forth trying to collect. Offered credit card, payment options etc. Never once did he say he had an issue with the price in all these communications. Only telling me he has been busy, working on bills now and it will go out, yadda yadda. Almost two months of friendly emails, texts and calls. Today, I told him if we didn't see some payment by the end of the week, I'd have to file in court. (We require payment at the time of service, but this was an old high school acquaintance so we went to do the work when he wasn't there, which is not something we do with a first time customer, but we knew the guy. See what happens when we don't stick to protocol!).
As always, I put it back on the customer and ask what would you like. I've found that typically they ask for less then I might do and it gives them a sense of control. I was floored by his response.
He is a custom builder/woodworker and wants to know our hourly rate. His on site labor rate is $55 an hour shop rate is $65 per hour and he wants to pay us his shop rate, per man, for the two and a half hours we were at his house to clean upholstery and carpets. The bill was a bit over $1200.00 and we gave him a break. He wants to only pay $65 per hour, per man so about $325.00. This is after he agreed to the price on the phone when we called him with the total. I explained we don't charge by the hour, but for the job/piece areas. Which he verbally agreed to, and didn't have any issues with paying until now. I asked him why it's taken him two months to have the discussion regarding price and why it wasn't done right away? Why is this the first he brought it up....? He said it was "uncomfortable" and that he didn't want to cause an issue.
He claims he wasn't felling well the day we went out, he was busy with work and he didn't realize what the total was. I put it back on him that it was his responsibility to speak up at that time and say he needed time to think about it and thanks for the estimate (no charge by the way) and he could have waited to have the work done or get other quotes. He agreed, but still kept going back to what we were making by the hour and that he felt "bamboozeld". Buyers remorse....
It was getting tense and he just couldn't get past the "hourly rate" thing. I ended the call saying I'd think about it and get back to him.
He's convinced he would win in court saying that verbal authorization doesn't hold up (I have texts telling him we'd call him to review the scope of work and price when we got out there, to which he replied "ok", so he knew it was going to go down this way). As a contractor, he said we are breaking the law by not having provided a written contract for the work and giving him the mandated 72 hour window to cancel. We are not contractors and don't have to abide by that law. He also has questioned the fact that we charged sales tax as he doesn't in his business. I sent him a link from the state that outlined which services are required to collect sales tax and told him if he had further questions, to contact his CPA or accountant. I don't make the tax laws, just follow them.
So, now we deal with the hassle of letting this play out legally or writing this off. We are willing work with the guy, but not $325.00 for a $1200 job!