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#12738 - 08/15/02 07:06 AM Dreading this Call
Happi_Man Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 213
Loc: Columbus, Ohio - USA
OK - false alarm - he was calling about the extra stuff in his basement we'll be doing for him...
A builder called me today and left a text message to call him. I sent him an invoice for the house we just wired a couple of days ago and it was 320 bucks higher than he expected. Higher than he expected mind you, not higher than what we agreed. In fact, we never agreed on anything - he just let me know that he expected it to be 3000...and then told me what he wanted...

So after we went out there at the last minute, dropped everything and busted it out in a day and a half (on a weekend). I went ahead and cut my prices almost in half on a lot of his extras, charged no overhead, am planning on making an extra trip to make sure some extra wiring he ran in the basement is correct - he's going to bitch me out about 320 bucks.

So when I break it down, project the time that we'll put into the finish, subtract materials - me and two licensed electricians will earn 11 bucks an hour a piece...

Let'see - when's that 2G Insurance Bill come again?

So I guess what I'll have to do is bring it down to 3000 and the next time he calls me I won't have time for his house...

[This message has been edited by Happi_Man (edited 08-15-2002).]

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#12739 - 08/15/02 08:29 AM Re: Dreading this Call
mamills Offline

Registered: 11/30/01
Posts: 739
Loc: Wharton, Texas, USA
I have seen this numerous times lately, not just in your thread, but many others. I have also experienced this myself in the business of providing professional sound systems for special events. This sort of thing really gets me hacked off (putting it very mildly). A workman is worth his pay for his time and his labors, and the thought of someone trying to weasel their way out of paying him his fair wage is insulting. I guess that the times require everything to be spelled out in black and white, all the "i"s dotted and the "t"s crossed, signed and notorized, then go though the whole affair again when the changes come up.

Strictly slow motion stuff, but what choice do you have...?

Rantingly yours,

Mike (mamills)

#12740 - 08/17/02 04:12 AM Re: Dreading this Call
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
I am little confused here. It seems as though you did all the work at the price he wanted and not for what you normally charge. What is the point of being in business? I am guessing you tried to do a favor here? As usual these situations ALWAYS end up bad. As has been said many times before "No good deed goes unpunished"! I am constantly reminding myself that I owe my customers nothing other than the job done properly and billed fairly.

#12741 - 08/17/02 06:10 AM Re: Dreading this Call
Bill Addiss Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA


If this isn't some special situation you are setting yourself up for a tough road ahead. No matter how much work He throws at you if you can't make a decent wage out of it you lose. I've been there, and done that myself. He knows what He got out of you and will expect it everytime. When you try to raise your prices He will just find someone else.

It's possible that others that know him may give you a shot with some work, but they will expect the same out of you. Consider it a lesson learned and don't do it again, if anyone asks say that you made a mistake.


#12742 - 08/17/02 09:49 AM Re: Dreading this Call
Happi_Man Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 213
Loc: Columbus, Ohio - USA
Well what happened was this - we gave him an estimate on to code wiring only, no extras...10 months ago. This was when we were just getting organized and hadn't quite figured out how we wanted to work out our pricing. We were pricing by the square foot. And we had just handwritten him up an estimate that he could take to the bank and we figured we'd never hear from him again.

Well when we did hear from him again - 8 or 9 months later - he kept saying he had the old paperwork but he never did produce it. And since we originally gave it to him we had upped a lot of our pricing because we realized we were way low and not making any money. But I felt like I couldn't say "hey - since we last talked our prices have doubled." I guess I should have.

So far he hasn't been as bad as I feared and I have been sure to let him know that he is getting a hell of a deal. He told me he was going to be building another house...but hell, one or two houses a year ain't gonna cut it - I've got a builder that's building a house every month - so if he calls me - I'll quote him at our going rates and if he doesn't like it - well I won't be upset if he gets someone else. Again, one or two 1820 sq ft house ayear ain't gonna make or break me.

Lesson learned, thanks for the input guys. (or lecture, depending on your perspective

#12743 - 08/17/02 12:01 PM Re: Dreading this Call
arseegee Offline

Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 321
Loc: Statesboro, GA USA
Happi, when you give a guy a price be sure to give a time frame on how long that proposal is good for and how soon the job should commence. It will save you a lot of trouble.

#12744 - 08/17/02 12:47 PM Re: Dreading this Call
Roger Offline

Registered: 05/18/02
Posts: 1779
Loc: N.C.
Happi, I agree with all the others, and would like to expand on arseegee's comment.

Think about material quotes from your suppliers, they will always state quote only good for 30 or 60 days. I suggest putting this on all you quotes.

As far as a contractor that gives you steady work, you will be able to quote him a better rate and mark up do to quantity. (standard business)

Also, when you do increase your rates in the future, notify your repeat customers by mail.

Of course this probably wouldn't apply to this guy by your choice.


[This message has been edited by Roger (edited 08-17-2002).]

#12745 - 08/18/02 10:45 AM Re: Dreading this Call
Electric Eagle Offline

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
I love it when a customer ask me to bid on a job, usually small, and keeps telling me how much work they have coming up for us. I just smile and say that's great we'll be glad to do it for you, all the while knowing they're just blowing smoke... I then give them my regular price or sometimes higher because these guys are always hard to please and the other work never comes up. These guys are professional BS artists that try to make a living screwing the little guy out of a decent wage. They also usually need the work done the same day, but remember if you help them out this time, they're going to take careof you on the next job.

#12746 - 08/19/02 09:21 AM Re: Dreading this Call
BuggabooBren Offline

Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 336
Loc: NM
Eagle, you pegged one of my peeves - people saying things that either they think you want to hear (usually to smooth over something that's happening that's not quite as great as they promised) or promising some future prize that will be less likely than you winning the big lottery.

I have been in a similar difficult situation though where we (the gov't facility) had a supplier (big name, national company) that was ramping up to install more equipment locally to provide more capacity, broader coverage, perhaps additional functionality and their decisions were based on the fact that we'd had a steady 100%-200% annual increase in demand on their services. None of us could breathe a word that policy and therefore purchasing of said services were about to drastically change and not only stop increasing but cut back. I could tell there were people interacting with the reps though that were promising astronomical growth potential and I wanted to wring their necks!

#12747 - 08/20/02 06:33 PM Re: Dreading this Call
harold endean Offline

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ

Here is one for you. I was wiring up several new homes for a general contractor.(GC) The homes ranged from 3500 sq ft to 5500 sq ft. All was going good, the job was going to last 2-3 years because he wasn't in any hurry. On the last house the bill came to $7000. He said it was too much. ( The housing market crashed and the house was sitting for a year.) Long story short, we were going to sue. Got my lawyer (who was also a friend and customer.) and started the suit. 1st the lawyer said, Lower the bill to $5000 so that we can go to small claims court. Did that. Still too much. 6 month later(After waiting over a year and 1/2) 1 hour before we had a court date, the lawyers settled out of court. I was going to have to settle for $4400.(out of the original $7000) Now several weeks later I finally get my check for $3300. ( The lawyer took his cut.) Got all this so far? Now for the kicker. My FRIEND?/LAWYER hands me a check for $1000 as a deposit to me for his new hot tub that I had to wire. Now I know that the lawyer DID have to write several letters to get tha GC to give me my money, but I had to work for that $1000 TWICE! Ya gotta love it!



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