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Biggest douche of a customer ever...


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  #1  
Old 07-02-2008, 09:10 PM
UniversityLandscapers
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Default Biggest douche of a customer ever...

Pardon my French, but this guy is a pretty big jerk.

He asked for a quote on the spot for some random work in his yard, and I pulled $250 out of my *** as a ballpark for labour and the material costs I knew. I said I had no idea how much the hedge trees he wanted would cost. I ended up sending him a bill for $360 and change after purchasing the two hedge trees for $60 and buying and extra $30 worth of bark mulch that he specifically asked for. He then called me to complain that I was 50% over my quote and I reminded him of the additional material costs then pointed out that the labour overage was insignificant. He insisted that I was way over the price and that he was a nice guy, not trying to be a jerk, appreciated the quality of my work, on and on. So I finally said ok, I'd be willing to split the difference at $300. He said $275 and after some further argument I conceded. I finally got a cheque from him (The accounting software I use sets the automatic invoice due date at 30 days and I can't figure out how to change it) two days before the printed due date for $265.

What a douche
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2008, 12:15 AM
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There are a lot of those kinds of people out there. I have ran into similar situations and after a little talk with my dad who has owned a construction co. since he was 20 years old, he had helped me through a few learning experiences.
One important thing he has taught me is when you are a business owner and someone argues with you on your final price, you NEVER lower your price to make them happy. It only kills your credibility as a business owner. By lowering your price, you just proved to them that they were right and your price was too high.
I have seen my father walk away from a finished job without pay rather than lower his price to make the complaining customer win in his quest to try to save some money. Understand that people will argue with you to save $5 just for the sake of thinking they pulled one over on you.
I had a recent issue that I had to stand my ground on and in the end I still got my full deserved pay and my credibility as a respectful business owner. Had I lowered my price to make the guy feel good, I would look like a fool.
Hope this sheds a little light on your situation.
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Last edited by Little's; 07-03-2008 at 12:16 AM. Reason: edit
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  #3  
Old 07-03-2008, 12:35 AM
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Default When to use purchase orders.

Dave:

This thread opens up a GREAT learning opportunity of when to use purchase orders / contracts.

Verbal contracts seem to often break down when there has been extensive discussion on the exact description of a project. Written PO's help clarify price and keep everything straight for you and your customer.

Do you think a purchase order would have helped in this situation?

Sorry for the bad luck with this customer.

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  #4  
Old 07-03-2008, 12:42 AM
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Default It Stink's!

I know there are alot of people out there like that, and it does stink! I have to say i agree with Littles. One way to cover any confusion is to have a written install agreement written up prior to work beggining to make sure both parties are on the same page, then when they try something like that, you just wipp out the agreement you both signed and poof, they cant win, they can try but there it is in black and white. They have a couple of such free download agreements on here that you could use. Good luck man, and stand your ground.
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:40 AM
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This is a great post. I am giving it a 5 star rating.

When I look at it from a macro perspective I see it this way. You were doing your best to ballpark what you thought it would cost. The customer then heard a price he fixated on.

I think as consumers we all get fixated on a price. Then when the price changes we all feel like something tricky is going on.

A lot of different points of view have come up in this discussion so far that we can all learn from and that's a good thing.

Ultimately, if you wanted to just vent, I am with you and realize it was a tough situation and the customer acted like an idiot.

Has this experience changed your thinking at all on how you will handle these things in the future? Any thoughts on it as you reflect?
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:02 AM
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It has been a learning experience definitely.

1) Never ballparking a quote on the spot again, especially when materials are involved and I'm not quite sure what they cost.

2) I've only ever used a contract once on a large commercial property, and I don't really intend to use them still, since I think they kind of scare customers.

I have only offered a credit once before, when I simply went way over my estimate. The way I estimate is by quoting them my hourly rate and an estimated number of hours to complete the job. I usually try to overestimate a bit so that the bid comes in at the bottom (I usually estimate a range of hours) or slightly below the original quote so the customer is happier. The one I went way over on was estimated at 7 hours, and I went 5 over...so I was ok with dropping the final price a bit there. At some point, you have to be accountable for estimating that poorly.

In this case, the guy was just a total jackass, and I hate dealing with people like that, so I just wanted to be done with it.
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