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What would you guys do?

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  • #16
    Re: What would you guys do?

    I had the same sort of scenario a few months back. We went out on a sewer line they believed to be busted up below slab. The customer had us out to pinpoint the leaks, he had several other plumbers out, but none could really tell him what was going on. We ran a test ball down the line, filled it up and it leaked like crazy. Ran the camera up under slab through clean out and found a major separation, Put blue tape on the floor. Ran a test ball up past the break, and it still leaked. We ran test balls up and down all of his lines. It is old Cast-iron, had bellies in it, and we could not get a 10 foot section to hold. The camera wasn't really showing much due to the lines holding water, and I tried to get him to look at it. I didn't see the reason to give hime a recording of it. He just wanted to know what to do. It is a real bad situation and all of the sewer will have to be replaced, and major foundation work. 3 months later....he calls up all Pissed off. It seems that some big shop that ends in kiln, has been out there and told him that because I didn't record the video and send it to him that I must be hiding something. He Threatened to turn me into the BBB. I said, wait a minute. I looked through the videos, I had, but had already deleted it. So, I decided to go out for free. When I got there, he had a handy neighbor there and they started grilling me. I told them to wait a minute, and I would show them piping as I recorded it. We started running the camera down the line, and just as I had remembered, most of the lines are holding water. He said, "well, I can't see anything". I showed him the break that you could clearly see in one section of the pipe, and he looked at me and said, "if you say so, I can't make heads or tails of it". So, I sit in my truck and add voice over to the video and email it to him (his request) and then leave. 3 hours later, he calls up pissed that he can't figure out how to open the email. WTF!!!!!! Now, I load all my videos up to Youtube and email the link out to the customer every time. That way anyone can go take a look. If you want to have a plumber in another part of the FREAKIN world bid on it, then there it is. It sucked dealing with this guy, and No I will not be doing the work, even if he wants me to. I think someone is going around and telling people that if the plumber didn't leave a video, then he is lying to you. This is one reason, that I built a way to record to SD card. I take the video home, add voice-over or zoom in on things or pause it, then YOUTUBE link it out.
    "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

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    • #17
      Re: What would you guys do?

      Did he pay you for the first two calls all ready... If so I would fire him as a customer. It's a rare thing but I love firing a$shole customers in this line of work every a$$ hole is a potential customer thou....

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      • #18
        Re: What would you guys do?

        Sounds like you got a bummer customer. BUT, to be able to give an honest opinion I think how much you charged him that er call needs to be known. And pro rated entire Job? 50 percent? Of a lot?
        To be honest, if you showed the guy separation mud etc, and didn't get the job. Then maybe you want more then he thinks is fair, (that's awfully subjective I know) or you need to be better at up selling plan B,,, or he is a cheap butt and it's him not you.
        When it hits the fan and I have to give a customer a big number I almost now never get that attitude of disdain from them anymore. And it's confidence, conviction and squarely looking them in the eye the entire time has helped me from keeping drama at bay. But it happens sometimes. Good luck.

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        • #19
          Re: What would you guys do?

          the way i see it and always have since doing sewer inspections since 1995. i don't inspect for free. and a video/ vhs/ dvd is under $1.00. the customers pays for my service. they paid for a video. 50% of the time, it's a video for another contractor.

          i get 1/2 my jobs from customers that had an inspection done with no video to show me. just got a call tonight from a new customer who needs an inspection because the person who came today didn't give them a video, but did give them a bill and an estimate for more work.

          i typically find that when they make no tape, they are hiding the truth. sure it's an interpretation of the condition of the line. but not too many have seen or performed as many inspections as me. plus i don't work on commission and i don't sell jobs. a customer pays for an inspection, they do get a recording and a written report.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #20
            Re: What would you guys do?

            for the future....the statement about the guy's sewer filling the basement....this is why you need a good quality shut off valve and the knowledge that sewer backs up, turn off all water to the house. Also look into pipe patch so you can provide options other then tell a customer you can't warranty the cleaning.

            Back to the call, this guy is high maintenance. Send and email(can be thought over and proofread) and explain how the service you provided was great...response time, right tools, etc....and you're sorry but he needs a new plumber. Once you send the email, do not respond to anything...he'll want to get the last word in....don't let him.

            Lastly.....read the book "the art of closing of sale" by Brian Tracey and it'll help avoid situations end up like this.
            Buy cheap, buy twice.

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            • #21
              Re: What would you guys do?

              Work is work and money is money. If you email and or explain further like gear says,, I say,,, If the guy responds with a change of heart and wants the work done, do it, and if he can't pay you right away do it anyway, give him some time to pay. (most of the time they pay all or quicker) IMHO a successful business owner should be able to do this. Whatever you do, don't let pride credit your bank account. I will bend and bend(not from price) to get the work. Sometimes people are just having a bad day, and if you stay the course( fixing plumbing for wages) you can win them over, not get harassed next time and referrals to boot. You are in business to make a living not a point.

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              • #22
                Re: What would you guys do?

                Originally posted by theplungerman View Post
                Work is work and money is money. If you email and or explain further like gear says,, I say,,, If the guy responds with a change of heart and wants the work done, do it, and if he can't pay you right away do it anyway, give him some time to pay. (most of the time they pay all or quicker) IMHO a successful business owner should be able to do this. Whatever you do, don't let pride credit your bank account. I will bend and bend(not from price) to get the work. Sometimes people are just having a bad day, and if you stay the course( fixing plumbing for wages) you can win them over, not get harassed next time and referrals to boot. You are in business to make a living not a point.
                Now that's great wisdom ! And I needed to hear this Now ! Have an ungrateful customer, I was ready to fire! I will now hang in there, But I still have Gas can N ladder !
                I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                • #23
                  Re: What would you guys do?

                  what i do is i charge for the video inspection and my services, say its 400 dols he has to paid for thoses services. its not your fault the sewer is broke. then you tell them you will take that 400 dols off the top of the bill for the new sewer line. so at lease you got paided for your services, and if he does not call you back you still got payed for that job....

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                  • #24
                    Re: What would you guys do?

                    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                    Buffalo, forget about it. You'll never win.

                    If you charged them to camera the line, then they derserve the video, dvd. If you didn't charge, but just did it for your own good, then they don't derserve a free video.

                    Now, the issue I still have is, where is my royality $$$ for using my rick reverse auger

                    Rick.

                    Hey Rick the checks in the mail!

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                    • #25
                      Re: What would you guys do?

                      Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                      for the future....the statement about the guy's sewer filling the basement....this is why you need a good quality shut off valve and the knowledge that sewer backs up, turn off all water to the house. Also look into pipe patch so you can provide options other then tell a customer you can't warranty the cleaning.

                      Back to the call, this guy is high maintenance. Send and email(can be thought over and proofread) and explain how the service you provided was great...response time, right tools, etc....and you're sorry but he needs a new plumber. Once you send the email, do not respond to anything...he'll want to get the last word in....don't let him.

                      Lastly.....read the book "the art of closing of sale" by Brian Tracey and it'll help avoid situations end up like this.
                      GREAT Advice ! You have become an Old Salt , Ben ! That's understood by a few out there.
                      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: What would you guys do?

                        Originally posted by theplungerman View Post
                        Work is work and money is money. If you email and or explain further like gear says,, I say,,, If the guy responds with a change of heart and wants the work done, do it, and if he can't pay you right away do it anyway, give him some time to pay. (most of the time they pay all or quicker) IMHO a successful business owner should be able to do this. Whatever you do, don't let pride credit your bank account. I will bend and bend(not from price) to get the work. Sometimes people are just having a bad day, and if you stay the course( fixing plumbing for wages) you can win them over, not get harassed next time and referrals to boot. You are in business to make a living not a point.
                        The moment your vehicle pulls up,to a job site, the focus needs to be on building value in your services. Buffalo sounds like he has given a lot away, once that path has started downhill, it's very hard to change direction. Everyone as a sob story, if you present yourself right and have the skills to back it up, they will find the money.

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                        • #27
                          Re: What would you guys do?

                          I try not to get my feelings hurt when a customer calls another company in especially on something I've worked on already but I would like to know the reasoning behind it. Whether my prices are too high or response time too slow. When they start balking at our repair prices I'll give them the option to dig it up themselves or hire it out to some day laborers. There's a lot of unknowns on underground sewer repairs so the contract price has that built in. Sometimes we'll just go to T&M and that often works out in the customers favor.

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                          • #28
                            Re: What would you guys do?

                            I would not want any further interaction with this customer. It has been unpleasant and will continue to be so. I have the luxury of being busy enough that I can afford to say no. If he paid for the camera, you owe him the information gathered with it. If your discount comp'ed him the camera charge, he's on his own.

                            As for reputation and future business, I want nothing to do with a jerk like this or any of his jerk friends; I've got plenty of people who pay gladly and say thank you. It hurts some of them to shell out as much as the jerk claims it hurts him. I'm doing those good customers a disservice, failing to honor their integrity and good will, when I let a jerk get anything of value by whining.
                            This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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