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  • What do I do now?

    I got a call from a lady yesterday that we have worked for. She said she knew a "really nice guy" who does plumbing and drain cleaning but doesn't have a septic pump truck or excavating equipment like I do, so she thought I should call him and introduce myself and maybe work something out. I sort of feel like being allies with your competitors is better that being enemies, so I called him.

    Oh, ya, he's ready to get together and talk! He can get me all kinds of grease trap pumping, septic pumping, and hydrojetting whenever I get into that, maybe camera work, etc. etc. He named off several "potential" customers he is sure he could get me that unbeknownst to him are already using me, and some others which I have been in contact with directly.

    Problem is, he has that coarse, loud, know-it-all voice on the phone that doesn't have a friendly, customer service tone to it, and to top it all off, he worked for two other companies before he went on his own two years ago. One of the companies is about like RR, upselling and charging ridiculous prices, and the other company he worked for is your classic dirty, smelly, grubby "sewer guy" outfit with crap running down the back of old derelict trucks that never get washed, etc. He also mentioned that it could be "a couple years yet" before he bought his own pump truck.

    So I'm thinking that he saw an easy mark in me, he does know a lot of commercial customers from his days with those other companies, whether he could get their work "in 5 minutes" like he says I don't know, but I'm suspicious he wants to line up a whole lot of work which he subs to me until he gets enough to purchase his own equipment. At that point he would take a chunk of the work that I project in my cash flows as I build my business and I'd be out on a limb.

    I had been thinking more of a give-and-take, I could use him for stuff I don't or can't do and he could use me to dig for him when he replaced a sewer or I could pump septics for him when he needed it done.

    I just don't like the sound of this guy, I don't have much respect for the companies he used to work for, and I think he may just "use me" to grow his business with no investment. I just don't think he's the type of person I would want to recommend to anyone, just based on our conversation. Ya, I know, you can't judge a book by its cover but you all know, you just kind of get a feeling one way or another about someone, right?

    He wants to meet next week and talk turkey. What would you do?

  • #2
    Re: What do I do now?

    If you don't feel comfortable around this guy then listen to his pitch and then just politely decline any kind of you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours arrangement he may come up with. He may well be totally legitimate but if you're not comfortable dealing with him before you've even met him then I doubt if you ever will be.
    Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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    • #3
      Re: What do I do now?

      From my experience so far, not one "i'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" type of deal is a good deal. I have many different trades I work with, we all refer work to one another and ask for nothing in return and we all are busy. No need to make a buck off each other. By far this has been the best arrangement I have found. Feeling obligated to help out fellow tradesmen is a crappy way to do things as everyone thinks they are owed a favor.

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      • #4
        Re: What do I do now?

        Just forget the whole thing. If he calls wanting to know where to meet, tell he you dont need to. Ask for a bunch of cards, and leave it like that.

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        • #5
          Re: What do I do now?

          Originally posted by Alphacowboy View Post
          From my experience so far, not one "i'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" type of deal is a good deal. I have many different trades I work with, we all refer work to one another and ask for nothing in return and we all are busy. No need to make a buck off each other. By far this has been the best arrangement I have found. Feeling obligated to help out fellow tradesmen is a crappy way to do things as everyone thinks they are owed a favor.


          I follow this logic to a tee. I counted on another plumber to install a water heater for me within 3 hours notice and they completed the task, no questions asked.

          Couldn't do the job and the customer is satisfied with the ball toss.


          As long as I refer and the customer is treated well and proper, that's good enough for me.
          Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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          • #6
            Re: What do I do now?

            if it does not feel good to you from the start then your gut is right
            if he wants to call you for the things he cant do come in as a sub contractor or have him pay you ,only do one job at a time to make sure you get paid

            by the way you are talking about his past it would be iffy for me to do this with him
            Charlie

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            • #7
              Re: What do I do now?

              I would let him send me all the work he wanted and I would say..."Thanks". Thats about as far as I would go with it.
              I dont pay for referals and just because you refer me doesn't mean I'ma refer you.

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              • #8
                Re: What do I do now?

                Originally posted by SewerRat View Post
                Ya, I know, you can't judge a book by its cover but you all know, you just kind of get a feeling one way or another about someone, right?
                If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck........

                The only way I handle these types is to tell them to have the
                customer call me if they want to use my services. I give and
                get referrals based solely on performance. Money should never
                be put above quality. Would you refer this guy to your customers?

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                • #9
                  Re: What do I do now?

                  Originally posted by SewerRat View Post
                  He wants to meet next week and talk turkey. What would you do?
                  you don't know this guy from adam

                  in order to even think about a situation like he's explained, you need to build a relationship with him. i don't think a phone call from a stranger qualifies as a relationship.

                  took me years to build relationships with others in the trade

                  just ask rookie

                  rick.
                  phoebe it is

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                  • #10
                    Re: What do I do now?

                    If a job came up that I couldn't do or wasn't in my plumbing realm then I would refer him but make it known that you haven't met him nor seen his work but he was recommended by a customer of yours for that type of work.

                    Then follow up. If they used him then ask to see his work or at least get a report on his attire, professionalism, rates, cleanliness etc.

                    As far as meeting with him next week. Nope. Be too busy.
                    "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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                    • #11
                      Re: What do I do now?

                      I only trust a small few to actually work with in my area, and I've known them all my life.

                      Reading this...made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

                      I would walk away, you're asking for trouble.

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                      • #12
                        Re: What do I do now?

                        Moer people get fired because of incompatibility than incompetence. I would walk.
                        Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                        • #13
                          Re: What do I do now?

                          Thanks for all the advice, guys. I have been gone all weekend so I couldn't participate in the discussion, but it sounds like the poll is 100% tuck and run.

                          Thanks again.

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