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#156417 - 05/02/05 10:59 AM Charging for “small extras”  
VinceR  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 35
Edgewood, WA, USA

I have been getting lots of great stuff from the ECN forum so I though I would ask a slightly new question:

What are some ways to handle “small extras” the homeowner asks for mid way through a job?

A common problem we have is that about half way through the job, the homeowner starts thinking of extra things they would like us to do while we are there such as an extra outside light, or a few more plugs in the family room. We are always torn between doing them at no charge to build good will for referrals and so we don’t create tension between ourselves and the homeowner, and between making sure we get paid for our time.

Any thoughts?


Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#156418 - 05/02/05 12:26 PM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
kinetic  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 156
Phoenix, Arizona
A small extra or goodwill is helping move a couch. Anything electrical is $$. As soon as they ask you need to tell them the price to do it. If someone is asking you to do the work they are willing to pay a price. If not do you really want there business. Anyone they refer you to is going to try the same thing. I shy away from conflict but being paid for my time shouldn't create tension. They aren't about to come over to your house and work for free are they?

#156419 - 05/02/05 04:44 PM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
Bert66  Offline
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
Belle Chasse, La. USA
Vince, remember your an electrian. Thats where you make your paycheck. Now if a friend needs a hand to re-roof his house, paint a room, fix his truck, etc. I'm there for him. Because I'm not a roofer, painter, or auto mechanic. So there fore I'll lend a hand. But when I have my meter in hand I expect to be paid for my skill and knowledge that I have worked to achive. Don't sell yourself short, it's your skill and knowhow that they hired you fro in the first place.

#156420 - 05/02/05 05:52 PM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
tkb  Offline
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 94
If you have a good customer, one that give you repeat business, you could do the samll extras for free if you want and then send the customer a no cost change order for the work showing the cost then a credit.

This way they now know what was done and how much it would have cost if you charged them. This works when you know there will be a larger change later. They don't nickel and dime you as much.

One time customers should pay for everything. No freebies. [Linked Image]

#156421 - 05/03/05 02:21 AM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
macmikeman  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
Honolulu, Hawaii
When any of my customer's try to put me in this spot where they want free extra's and try to put a guilt trip on me since they were so very very generous in hiring me, I just tell them " hey this might work out because my lawn needs mowing and I have a large patch of overgrown howlie koa trees (trust me you don't want any of these bushes in your yard ) ,behind the house that needs removing

#156422 - 05/03/05 10:09 AM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
VinceR  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 35
Edgewood, WA, USA

Thanks for the replies. Message received low and clear: The Iron clad policy is that unless they want to mow my grass & repaint my house, no freebies.

The question now becomes, how to pull it off. What seems to work best for me is to respond to the customer’s request for an extra by saying something like: “That is a great idea and since I am here, I can do it for only $$$ more.” Where “only $$$ more” works out to be the hourly rate that covers my costs and profit.

Does anyone have a better approach?

Does anyone know of any books or charm schools that will help me interact with my customers in a positive way so they understand that I am a professional and want to help them, but that I do this for a fee.

Again thanks


#156423 - 05/03/05 10:25 AM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
Dave55  Offline
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
In contracting you should provide a Change Order. Don't do the work until you have the autograph or you'll be negotiating to get paid for it at the end.


#156424 - 05/03/05 05:43 PM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
tkb  Offline
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 94
Also on the change proposal should be a deadline for approval.

Something added during the rough is much less expensive for the customer than adding after the finish.

#156425 - 05/03/05 07:59 PM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
Electricmanscott  Offline
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Holden, MA USA
Three most expensive words in contracting "While you're here"
It's funny how people feel that they "Own" you when you walk through that door. I get this all the time and unless I have alot of spare time figured into the job it is usually give them a price and call to schedule it as soon as possible. They don't usually like this because they figure since you are there anyway....But what they don't realize is that you are there to do a job already speced out and that is how much time you scheduled for them. Usuually I tell them I didn't bump you to do extra work for other people and I can't do it to the next guy. All that said. No Freebies!

#156426 - 05/03/05 08:36 PM Re: Charging for “small extras”  
maintenanceguy  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 300
Southern NJ, USA
I'll not the first to say it but I'll say it anyway: Change order.

A simple form that gets filled out and signed, becomes part of the contract. Then nobody has to remember how much you said you'd charge for something and you get paid.

And give a price when asked for a change, don't say "Sure I can do that" because you think you're doing it for hire and they think you're doing it for free since you're here anyway.

If you're doing jobs that have progress payments, change orders get paid with the next progress payment, not at the end. If a change is big enough, it gets it's own payment when the "change" is complete.

When dealing with customers, smile, be kind, make friends, provide great service, but don't forget that the only reason you're there is to make money.

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