Notice It's been a while.....

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!
 

Comments

#4
Bottom line:

You did the job and he did not complain.

Later, all I read was a bunch of excuses of why he didn't pay and/or why he wasn't available, which once again proves that he acknowledged you did the work and he had no complaints (at that time).

File this claim with your local court and see it all the way through. No exceptions.
 
#9
what exactly was the job and how many people did you have on the job for $1200?
 
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#11
I'm in the business... Yet I have reservations about you being there for two and a half hours and wanting to get paid $1200.

Obviously I don't know you guys personally... Only here on the board. But I feel like there is no way you're not ripping him off with that amount. To be honest, these types of things give our industry a bad name as much as the hacks do.
It's just like mechanics who can fix cars fast, they get paid book rates even though it doesn't take them that long.... Being efficient and getting the job done sooner than later is the name of the game.... If there was no problems with the work done (other than the time factor) then I don't see him having a leg to stand on...

Sorry he chose the wrong profession... Pay the bill or let it go to court... Or you could trade services, if you need new cabinets... :lol: Or have a friend order some cabinets and let them finish the work then say "I'm not paying for something that shouldn't take more than $20 an hour...."
 
#12
It's just like mechanics who can fix cars fast, they get paid book rates even though it doesn't take them that long.... Being efficient and getting the job done sooner than later is the name of the game.... If there was no problems with the work done (other than the time factor) then I don't see him having a leg to stand on...

Sorry he chose the wrong profession... Pay the bill or let it go to court... Or you could trade services, if you need new cabinets... :lol: Or have a friend order some cabinets and let them finish the work then say "I'm not paying for something that shouldn't take more than $20 an hour...."


I know... I edited my response.... Whatever.
 
#13
I'm in the business... Yet I have reservations about you being there for two and a half hours and want to get paid $1200.
Obviously I don't know you guys personally... Only here on the board. But I feel like there is no way you're not ripping him off with that amount. To be honest, these types of things give our industry a bad name as much as the hacks do.
Two guys, two trucks working in tandem?

upload_2016-11-2_13-24-56.png


I understand your perspective, but these are our prices. We charge for the job, not by the hour.

I gave him the example of finishing a basement for one of his clients. If he as all the right tools, a great team, years of experience and systems in place to keep him efficient and can finish a basement in a week for more or the same amount of money that a contractor who is working at the next door neighbors house that takes 3 weeks to do the job, should he be paid less because it took him less time? No, because you bid the job based on the scope of work, not by how long it took you to complete vs. someone else. Essentially he's saying that if we were there all day he could justify the price for the job, but since we were there only a few hours it's over priced?

He also had the opportunity to decline the work if he felt that our price was too high for the amount of work we were doing for him. Buyers remorse....that took him two months to speak up about.

Reminds me of this story...

“There is an old story of a boilermaker who was hired to fix a huge steamship boiler system that was not working well.

After listening to the engineer’s description of the problems and asking a few questions, he went to the boiler room. He looked at the maze of twisting pipes, listened to the thump of the boiler and the hiss of the escaping steam for a few minutes, and felt some pipes with his hands. Then he hummed softly to himself, reached into his overalls and took out a small hammer, and tapped a bright red valve one time. Immediately, the entire system began working perfectly, and the boilermaker went home.

When the steamship owner received a bill for one thousand dollars, he became outraged and complained that the boilermaker had only been in the engine room for fifteen minutes and requested an itemized bill. So the boilermaker sent him a bill that reads as follows:
For tapping the valve: $.50
For knowing where to tap: $999.50
TOTAL: $1,000.00”

We haven't had this price issue come up in over a year. It only seems to happen when the significant other comes home and sees the price, that the other person paid. Even tho they are happy, tell us it looks great, etc. once they calculate the "hourly rate" based on how long we were there, they suddenly have an issue. The other time it comes up is in an instance like this, when the homeowner wasn't there when we were. We don't do this type of thing with first time clients because we know how important it is to educate them and review our process and have them there for a final walk through. Tried the bend the rules for an old "friend" and this is what happens.
 
#14
hum·ble·brag
ˈhəmbəlbraɡ/
noun
noun: humble brag
  1. 1.
    an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.
    "social media status updates are basically selfies, humblebrags, and rants"
 
#15
You must somehow instill a fear of a retalitation so great that he wilts lik an unwatered flower. ...

Now....being a female I'm positive that you have the ability to convince the guy that you are bat sh!t crazy enough to do somethin so crazy. ....that he should pay right up...

PS

If you need any ideas to help yor situation. ...jus ask me!
 
#17
hum·ble·brag
ˈhəmbəlbraɡ/
noun
noun: humble brag
  1. 1.
    an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.
    "social media status updates are basically selfies, humblebrags, and rants"
Humble bragging about humble bragging.
 
#19
Meg has no problem cutting the guys balls off and stuffing them in his wallet. She must have posted this because Johns being a little indecisive.
 
#20
Meg has no problem cutting the guys ball off and stuffing them in his wallet. She must have posted this because Johns being s little indecisive.
Not at all, Marty. John would probably not want me to give him any type of a break.

Just like to use these types of things to spark conversation and get people thinking as to how they would or have handle it.

Sooner or later everyone finds themselves in a situation. Why not learn from others?
 
#21
He has offered to settle at a much lower price, so he is willing to negotiate. You are making good money at your prices, maybe offer to knock off a couple of hundred because he is your old high school buddy. Better to get something rather than nothing.
 
#22
I've had some very similar situations occur.


Settle in the middle as nicely as possible.
 
#23
I have a NSF check on my desk that an idiot gave me a couple of months ago. I called her about it and she said she'd have to call me back as soon as she got out of the doctors office. Of course, she never called back. I just let it go because I knew the woman was a risk when she handed me the check. She's not too bright, single, living in a basement rental with two or three small children and no job. She can't afford it and I'm not going to make her life harder.

On the other hand, I've taken others to court.

It's just a personal decision based on my "understanding " of their intentions at the time.

I'd probably sue your guy.
 
#25
I know it's not relevant, but I would have have been in the $700-800 range. The time frame sounds about right depending on the efficiency of the techs and ease of job

I believe it boils down to his perception of time value . his price reservation arose after you pulled out of driveway in under 3 hours

$1200 is a lot of dough, no matter what rung of the economic ladder you are on.

That's a hell of a job ticket, honestly in 28 years in biz I have never done $1200 in 2 and half hours

His perception is the reality of this situation

I'd probably ask him "what do you think is a fair price , factoring in cost of equipment , chemical cost etc"

Cash discount?
 
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