In the picture forums, there are many pictures of nightmare installations. Sometimes, we are asked to clean up a mess that, quite simply, has no "easy fix," and for which a bulldozer would be the tool of choice.
In such a situation, you mind thinks "what a nightmare- there's no way I want to get bogged down in this hellhole." Ok, that's what you think .... but what do you SAY to the customer?
How about before I get involved in this project I want written authorization to fix the mess as well as provide the new installation. The thing that scares me the most about finding a mess is the owner probably does not care about the mess and is unwilling to fix anything much less pay for it. Except for new owners most of the bad cheques come from long time owners that don't like to fix things and aside from the mess are often also very bad customers. A very big deposit/retainer with your lawyer in escrow is the minimum insurance I would ask for from a new slumloard customer. Never work past the money. especially when you are very close to finished. the last bill often does not get paid.
#159402 - 01/12/0701:55 PMRe: How Do You Say "No?"
First off, I am assuming that you really don't want the job.
I'd nicely point out that there are a lot of issues with the existing conditions, that I could certainly deal with all of them, but it would cost a lot and take a lot of time. I couldn't, in good consience (or legally) deal with just some of them; I'd need to bring everything up to the proper standards in order for the final job to be safe.
Then you start with rough estimates that keep getting more stuff added to them until they get the idea that it might be cheaper to tear down and rebuild...or that it would take them out of commission for quite a while.
If they still insist on starting the job, try giving them a duration; including the fact that you can't possibly commit 100% of your efforts on this task to the exclusion of all else.
If you're stuck doing it, start with small-ish items and see if you get paid. If there is an issue with payment, you might be best to cite that as the problem and walk away.
If I don't want to do the work, but not have this guy badmouth me to his friends; I'd stack the deck while talking to him about the job so that HE'S the one who decides against proceeding.
That way, I'm still the good guy...and I don't have to get involved with a can of worms.
#159403 - 01/12/0705:19 PMRe: How Do You Say "No?"
Normally when looking at a job I figure man hours and materials in order to come up with a price. When looking at an electrical abortion I figure it differently, I say to my self "What would someone have to pay me to make me become interested in this job?".
So I just throw a number at it, something so high it's obscene. A price so ridiculous, so extreme it can't be spoken out loud. I write the number on a scrap piece of paper and push it toward the client, careful to avoid eye contact.
The next few seconds are the most dangerous, you just can't predict how some people will react. Be prepared for things to get ugly, but it might be ok, they might go for it. Those are sweet victories.
I hate fixing other people's garbage, so if I do it, I want big money.
#159404 - 01/13/0712:20 AMRe: How Do You Say "No?"