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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Previous customer called on Saturday with a broken pipe to an outside faucet. I told him I was extremely busy and couldn't get there until Tuesday which he was fine with. He was also extremely explicit that he didnt want me to come out after hours and charge him extra. (as the first time he called it was late night the day after thanksgiving, for a kitchen cable job and he was charged for a night call.)
I show up today and easily replace the broken pipe and hose bibb. His wife showed me to the basement to turn the valve back on, and to her surprise there is water everywhere!:eek:
After some diagnosis, I found out the sewer was stopped up and coming up through the floor drains. I notified them and started looking for a cleanout access. There is none. I look outside, in the basement, everywhere. The access to the bathroom is ridiculously narrow and only accesible through rickety stairs, and I inform them that it is going to be very difficult to clean a 100' sewer by pulling the toilet.
All this guy cares about is price. He thinks my price to do it from the toilet is "EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE.":rolleyes: His words. So I tell him I can do it from the roof, but I dont have a big enough ladder with me and I am booked up already until this evening and tomorrow I am available in the late afternoon (remember, he doesn't want to pay for night service, because he is a cheapskate. And this call wasn't supposed to be sewer call as they didn't even know about it until just now.)

So, being that they didn't even KNOW about the sewer until I informed about just now on this call, and the fact that this guy is so insistent on me doing it "cheap".:rolleyes: I tell him I'll be back tomorrow with my ladder and charge him my regular rate, no night service charge.
So I get home and he calls me at my dinnertime, around 8 pm and tells me to , "send him a bill, thanks for your service today, but we got somebody to come tomorrow morning at 8 am.":eek:
I told him, "but I could do the job tomorrow, what is the problem?"
He says, "well, you just didnt seem to show any enthusiasm to do the job."
:furious: I tell him, "well that is because all you cared about is me doing it "cheap." I explained to you that you have no cleanout access, and the cheapest way was to go from the roof. Also you called me for something else entirely, so I didn't have the time scheduled for the sewer job without going into evening time, which you also didn't want to pay for, so I told you I could do it tomorrow."
He says, "we were very happy with your service, but don't worry about the sewer, just send us a bill for the other work."
I told him, "Don't worry about it. If you don't want me to do the sewer, fine , I won't send you a bill for anything.":mad:
"No, no, no, we will pay you for your time.":
"No, don't worry about it."
Back and forth we go. Finally he accepted that I am not charging him anything for all the time I spent. So I hung up.
I didn't charge him because I feel he is a cheapskate a$$hole, and obviously he acts like he is poor as dirt and I no longer want his business in anyway at all.:tt2:

The point? And this goes for all other cheapskate customers whose main concern is price above all else:
Why should I show any enthusiasm to work for someone...
WHEN THEY SHOW NO ENTHUSIASM TO PAY FOR IT!!!
:no:

Anyway, I should have never scheduled the call in the first place since he talked so cheap on the phone. I only did it, because he is a previous customer, and he's old and handicapped and I felt sorry for him. Lesson learned. Next time someone is cheap with me on the phone, they are getting no appointment at all. Even previous customers. I can't afford to be running a charity. I CAN afford to turn these cheapskates away, because my services are in high demand and I am absolutely swamped with work.:thumbsup:

AHHHH, I feel better now. Venting feels so good.:thumbup: I hope he called my old company Mr.R, because I know what they charge and he is in for a rude awakening when he founds out how much higher they are than me.:devil: :laughing:
 

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Retired Moderator
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6,781 Posts
Venting is good!
Cheap skates are bad!

I have gotten mad and done the same thing. Thats what irritates me as a plumber. Electricians and HVAC techs get what they want because the average HO knows absolutely nothing about them 2 trades. Plumbing seems to be something everyone is an expert in (Including rates!)

Let them crawl in some holes I been in, or let them stick their arms in sewer lines, they wont think cheap then!
 

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Banned
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18 Posts
You handled it very well, its sounds like your busy anyway and dont not need a customer like him, being kind and nice has back fired on myself as well in the past,but it doesn't change whom I am, alot of my work is from referrals which I am sure yours is to,I always try to please the worst customer, but some times you cant, dont let it change how you run your business, your very busy for a reason, you can never please everyone.:thumbsup:
 

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Always Something
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1,369 Posts
My personal opinion is..sure the customer had to go...I have very little patience when ppl tell me my price is too high and I tend to not do anymore work for them after they tell me "that's too expensive". But I would have billed for the new bib. My grandfather once told me....Never ever refust to take money. I have been in situations like yours.......I've done what you did...I told customers to get fuked to their ugly faces and I have raked people over the coals for pissing me off. Now...it's a little more mellow and I don't make it a habit of getting into it with people....But as far as getting paid...I think of my wife and kids when I feel like saying just forget it to someone about a bill. I think about how I can't afford to live where I live and put my kids in Private schools...or that new car the wife wants or how bout a real vacation...Vegas is not a vacation...and neither is Palm Springs. So now......I don't give a crap...everyone pays. I don't care how bad my ego is barking...or how bad I want to make some dip shyit feel.....at the end of the day I gotta pay. My girls don't care or will I ever tell them about the issues I deal with on topics like this. It's my job to deal with the idiots and I will be paid to do it.

I'm not bashin on ya...you do your own thing bud...just giving ya my POV because I used to do things like that. Anyhow...promise me and the rest of us that if Mr. cheapass calls back up you will bill him for the bib.....
 

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Registered
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83 Posts
Always take the $$

Why get so bent yourself when hes sleeping good? Its like drinking poison and waiting for the other guy to die..lol:jester:

The trick for me is always how a customer "acts" on the initial call..Smell/hear something funny? Youre probrably right..Mens institution,er i mean intuition..like the broads have..;)

I learned years ago that cheap on the phone or people wanting something "right now" end up being the worst payors..:yes:

People who thank you for calling back,people who will wait a reasonable time,are polite and or sound elderly etc. are the only ones i service..:thumbup:

I had a few jackasses call and tell me "first one here gets the job" F.Y. pal.:furious:

Oh ,and one more trap..I always before hangin up tell them im coming out to FIX or Service the problem..
Too many times i got somewhere and after i drove 10 miles,looked and quoted a price,they said ..Oh,thanks i just wanted a free estimate!! What!!
I dont give free estimates I say(and i dont)..Why i say-do you go to work for free??
Only a few things are free in life ..V.D. is one ...hahahah:laughing:
 

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Apprentice Plumber
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31 Posts
Cheapskates

are expendable. Good on you, let him go. You have other customers that are more than happy to have your skills at their home/business. :thumbup:
 

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Drain Cleaning Specialist
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2,076 Posts
Take the good with the bad.. Most customers are good for every 99 good customers theres that 1 bad one.
 
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philosopher and statesmen
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7,603 Posts
piss on him

piss on him....

send him a x-mas card...

stateing thank you ....
for finding someone else...


you were not going to make him happy anyway
and he would have whined and moaned about your bill,
so you probably saved yourself a ton of greif....
 

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Trust me. I'm a doctor.
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934 Posts
I am not picking on you ServiceGuy but based on the information I have I can see the customers point. I wasn't there and obviously don't have the same opportunity as you do regarding all of the facts. Maybe I'm missing something. It is hard to include all of the facts in an internet forum post so maybe I am misreading the whole scenario.

It sounds to me, based on what I read, that you may have lost a future long time client by not seeing things from his point of view. If I was the customer I know I would have felt that my plumbing issues were not to important to you and you had bigger fish to fry somewhere else. If what he was telling you was true, he decided to contract with your competitor because you couldn't service his needs, not because your price was too high for him. He needed his sewer fixed now not later.

If I am working at someones house and discover that there sewer is blocked and they are out of service, I would not leave that job to service another client and leave them hanging. It is my problem, not theirs, that I am busy or overbooked for the day. Customers are paying me to fix their problems. They don't care about my problems. When I am in their home I try to make them feel like they are my only concern in the world because that is what they think anyway.

Maybe it is time to hire another plumber? Maybe it was just one of those days when when you were busier than normal. It happens to me too but when I am on a job my only concern is taking care of all of that clients issues while I'm there. Sometimes they are just inconsiderate and call in one plumbing issue and spring a whole list of issues on you when you walk in the door. That is both good and bad. Good for the bank account, bad for your schedule. I hate to call a client and tell them I am going to be late but a blocked sewer is an emergency and if I explain the situation to them most people understand.

A good dispatcher can work out most scheduling conflicts but unfortunately, sometimes someone is just going to be unhappy.

I know the customer threw some price concerns at you but you have serviced him in the past and he was still calling you for a reason. He obviously seen the value in the service you provided. Maybe he was okay with your normal rate and thought your overtime rate was out of line. Maybe he is just frugil or money is just tight right now. Just because he is concerned about paying overtime doesn't mean he is cheap. Afterall, he did want to pay you for the service you already provided. Aren't we all looking for the best deal possible when we purchase goods or services?

Again, I'm not picking on you ServiceGuy. I'm just trying to look at this from another point of view. Matbe you missed out on an oppotunity here to retain a client that you worked hard to get in the first place. Maybe not.

I will probably catch some heat from this one but so be it.
 
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Drain Cleaning Specialist
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2,076 Posts
I hate cheap people :furious: But some money is better than no money
If it was drain work paying today. No can you give me credit I'll pay you later B.S. It's just labor involved. Clear take Da cash and run. Your already there. But sometime to cheap is not worth it.
 

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Illinois Licensed Plumber
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4,253 Posts
Well I just may have lost a long time customer today. They called complaining about sewer odors. Our Technicians went there and the home owner pointed them to a suspected floor drain, after looking around they determined it was the floor drain as well. They Techs gave them a price to dig up the floor drain, they opted to break open the floor themselves. So our guys collected the service call and our 1/2hr Minimum charge.

Two days go by and they call as telling me the want our guys to come back out and power rod the sewer. So they do this and the people pay happily. Now about 5 days go by and the lady of the house calls me complaining that our guys misdiagnosed the problem. She said her husband dug up the floor drain pulled out the trap and could not find any breaks or cracks in the pipe. Then he decided to have us power rod the sewer which seemed to solve their problem. She is upset for spending the service call for the first trip, husband busting up a tile floor spending two days working on the pipe.

I tried to explain to her that her husband might of cut the pipe where the leak was, also that it is the cost of trouble shooting. Also the plumbers did not charge her another service call, they just put her back on the clock for the power rodding. Then she proceeded to yell at me saying she sees I am am not willing to do something for her and that I have lost her and her family as a customer, I responded to her " Do not forget to call your neighbors and tell them not to call us either."
 

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new nickname:Quaker State
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1,204 Posts
Ashleymc--- You sure do dig up a lot of bones from the past. January 09? It does however help keep down the boredom here. I'm just saying.. ( sorry Rick ) :laughing:
 
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Registered
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Some of these customers don't know how good they have it until you are gone. Then they get the "cheaper handyman" and suddenly you will find them calling you back again, which they will.
You are correct. Sooner or later, they will call you again.

Usually it's the ones you don't want to call again!:yes:
 

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628 Posts
you need a do not call list.

i have a list of customers that i don't want. they are cod. cod ain't cheap. works for me. breid......................:rockon:
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Guys, this isn't complicated. The customer could not afford me. He literally was poor and didn't want to pay for the sewer service, otherwise I would have done it right there on the spot. The whole thing was upsetting, thats why I didn't send him a bill, nor did I offer to do the work for free as charity. I told him what it would cost and he flipped out, so I told him I'd be back tomorrow. He can live without indoor plumbing for all I care. The 8am "other plumber" was also a lie. I called him back the next day and offered to come out around 10 am, he still hadn't had anyone come out yet and said "he was taking care of it." Yeah right.:rolleyes:
I will not work for him again. I don't mind minor price-objections, but this guy literally could not afford my services. That is life.
This was over a year ago, and I can truly say that I have no regrets, as this customer was horrible to work for. Some other plumber can have him!:laughing:
 
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