View Full Version : Is the principle of the matter worth 5 bucks?

12-01-2011, 09:09 AM
I gave an estimate of $85 to a guy for the clean-up of his front yard. Everything went smoothly and he was very happy with the work, but when I received the check, it was only for $80 bucks. I know $5 is no big deal, but my principles are telling me to tell the guy he shorted me 5 bucks. I'm just worried the trivial amount will make me look like a cheapskate....thoughts?

P.S. I should also note that this guy was so happy that he asked me to give him a price for next year for weekly mowing, so I am worried about leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

12-01-2011, 02:59 PM
What a great post!

It does make you wonder, is he trying to scam you out of that $5? If he is, he would probably be a terrible client next year and do this more often than not.

One way you could go is to call him and ask him if he was satisfied with your work. If he wasn't, ask him what you could do to fix it and make him happy.

If he was happy, then why not ask him why he wrote out a check for $80 instead of the $85 the bill was for?

Maybe he has a simple explanation? Maybe he doesn't. But I think his response will have an effect on if you want to do further work for him.

Otherwise, you could just forget about it and move on with your day and not contact him any more about this.

What's your thoughts on that?

Also, if anyone else wants to jump in, please do.

12-01-2011, 04:18 PM
Personally I would drop it and move on, it will probably cost you five bucks in fuel to go back over, deposit etc. More than likely an honest mistake

12-01-2011, 05:01 PM
I've had people send the wrong amount. I just send them a balance due invoice as a reminder. If you send one and they call about it then you can drop the issue. Most likely you'll get a $5 check in the mail.

12-02-2011, 06:09 PM
Have these responses helped you formulate your plan? What are you thinking you may do?

12-03-2011, 08:34 AM
Honestly if it was anything 10 dollars or more I'd pursue it but I think like picframer said, it was just an honest mistake. Plus he wants me to cut his lawn next year so I can always tack a few extra dollars onto the spring cleanup to make up for it. And if it turns out the guy is a dishonest guy I'll find out pretty quickly, drop him, and move on. But my gut tells me he's decent person who just made an error.

12-03-2011, 05:00 PM
Fix this problem as soon as possible. A client getting comfortable with paying you the wrong amount can lead you into more trouble. Already he will have a defense, "How come you didn't tell me it wasn't enough the first time?".

$5 is small, but over the course of time, that $5 could become $5000, etc.

Forget $5 ?
That's like getting a pack of cigarettes for free.
That's like getting a sack of apples for free.
That's like getting a box of 12 donuts plus coffee for free.

Wouldn't be right.


Stick to your guns, I know all about how awkward it could be to have to say, "Hey, uh, you forgot to add $5".

Truth is, it's not your fault, it should have already been done.

It'll only get worse, no matter how nice your client is. One of my best clients would make the 'mistake' (yeah, right), of forgetting the price and trying to guilt me into allowing him to pay less after the first and second year.

That'll be $300.

Good, so $100 it is! Thanks!

12-05-2011, 09:38 AM
Good, so $100 it is! Thanks!

Scott, that made me laugh for a while! It does make you wonder how often people are playing those kind of games.

12-06-2011, 08:09 AM
Well it's already been a few weeks since this all happened. Should I decide to pursue this ,would it be better to send him a bill with the balance as I do the rest of my bills or should I call him on this?

12-06-2011, 09:32 AM
... would it be better to send him a bill with the balance as I do the rest of my bills ...
That's what I do as it is non-confrontational. Then if he calls you can say something like "sometimes people pay less than the agreed upon amount accidentally and my bills are automated so even someone with a balance of 1 get an invoice if I don't catch it before they get sent out. You can either send a $5 check or I can waive the late fee and just tack it onto your next invoice." Let him know you feel it was a mistake, or even that it was your fault, and he won't get upset like most people do when you tell them they are wrong about anything.

Best of luck. :)

12-07-2011, 06:44 PM
That sounds like a really nice way to handle it! I look forwards to hearing how this turns out.