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  • What would you do?

    Doing work for neighbors....
    I replaced all the inside parts to a 1970's Delta single lever shower valve. The cap of course was water welded tight. Being careful not to twist the small copper supply tubes, I sprayed PB Blaster. It wouldn't give. I let it sit overnight. Came back used my pen torch to expand the cap and worked on it gently until the cap came off easily. I charged the Customer $125.00, which included parts. She called me back latter in the day and just gave me the riot act for the charge and wanted me to justify the cost. I tried to explain (as I did before I started the job) that these valves were notorious for giving plumbers/handymen/owners heartaches by breaking and that my expertise allowed me to do the job with little hitch. I feel terrible now and will likely cut the price down....What would you do?

  • #2
    Re: What would you do?

    Jeff

    Don't feel bad about the $125. Far too many plumbers would have busted it up, replaced the assembly and charged her far more $$$.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What would you do?

      Hi, I agree what you charged was more than fair. I no myself that I wouldn't have been able to have put the time in that you did and I would have just changed the shower valve, which would have been more money anyway. Most plumbing companys charge 65-95/hr and charge 1 1/2hr min plus parts.
      So good on ya just try explaining it to her, and possibly don't fix anything for her anymore. Nobody needs to take that.
      Tyler

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      • #4
        Re: What would you do?

        $125 oh my god!!!!!! man i will pay for your plane ticket and food, i have 2 toilets 3 sinks i want replaced and i am in the middle of upgrading the the waste line from 3"to 4" with a clean out in the yard. please name your price.
        man don't sweat you were at the very least 1/2 of what she would have paid elsewhere.
        9/11/01, never forget.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What would you do?

          Firstly, its impossible to please a tight arse.
          Secondly, some people try to bully you into dropping your price.
          Thirdly, refer her to a big expensive plumbing company if she has a problem.
          Four, when she calls for your reasonably priced expertise next time shes in trouble, see step 3.

          Congratulations on getting a difficult job done without incident.

          Yes, people like that really bug me.
          Last edited by Australian Plumber Josh; 02-03-2007, 05:50 AM. Reason: mis spelling

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What would you do?

            Originally posted by Australian Plumber Josh View Post
            Firstly, its impossible to please a tight arse.
            Secondly, some people try to bully you into dropping your price.
            Thirdly, refer her to a big expensive plumbing company if she has a problem.
            Four, when she calls for your reasonably priced expertise next time shes in trouble, see step 3.

            Congratulations on getting a difficult job done without incident.

            Yes, people like that really bug me.
            so true, brother, soooooooo true.

            steve
            In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What would you do?

              I totally agree with #3. Sometimes friends and neighbors think you will do everything for free then feel ripped off if you dont meet their expectations. let them get a quote from a plumber they dont know.

              Originally posted by Australian Plumber Josh View Post
              Firstly, its impossible to please a tight arse.
              Secondly, some people try to bully you into dropping your price.
              Thirdly, refer her to a big expensive plumbing company if she has a problem.
              Four, when she calls for your reasonably priced expertise next time shes in trouble, see step 3.

              Congratulations on getting a difficult job done without incident.

              Yes, people like that really bug me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What would you do?

                I've told customers that have complained about the price, to pay whatever they wish just do not call me next time you need service.

                I'm the third generation in my business. Many of our customers are long time customers or the children of previous customers. We do no advertising at this point. New customers are either people buying a house we have installed equipment in or recomended by someone who we have done work for. In general our customers are all very good to deal with. They understand I may be more expensive then my competition but my work is also much better. Occasionaly a new owner will buy a house cause me headaches.

                I'm more then willing to accept a loss in money rather spend time trying to collect it and take a chance wasting more of my time when some cheapass wants me to come help them out again.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What would you do?

                  If you are in the plumbing bussiness it should not be hard to justify the price . If your a handyman you will have problems, to justify the price. If the latter is true, reduce your price. Just make her happy and never ever do anymore work for her again. I would not have repair this for her, I would make an effort to but not to the extent you did. Had I been sucsessful at the repair with in the hour she be paying just shy 200 dollars and she would have been told that number before I started the job. Most often the customer will opt for a replaced valve. It would look pleasing to the eye new. They can't see new parts. Just my opinion

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What would you do?

                    You went low on her guy........thats a 1970's price for a 70's valve........I agree that if she ever calls again refer her to one of the "big" guys......they will never even get around to her

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What would you do?

                      you're right in the ballpark and you fixed it too. i actually have a very special tool that was made to grip the seratted teeth on the cap. this allows for the cap not to get damaged and the for the channelocks to get a good bite. you still need to make sure that the copper tubes that make up the valve don't tweak.

                      i would have explained all of this beforehand and my hourly charge. i also do the same prior to repairing an old widespread faucet. too many chances the faucet will trn and cause a leak between the stem and spout.

                      once again your price was right on. 1 hour is all that i would give on attempting to repair this valve. if the set screw in the handle doesn't come off, then i would explain the potential problem and ask if they want me to drill out the handle and screw. the cap would be the same conversation.

                      print out all of these post and give the owner a chance to read the comments if they still feel like they got taken. you saved the tile and all the other cost with your repair. you did very good.

                      in the future try to explain the potential problems and cost associated with old trim repairs. then there's no surprises.

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What would you do?

                        Rick hit it right on the head. This is all about communication. If you explain up front what and why the cost are as they are there is no confusion when it is time to be paid. At $125 you made two trips and fixed the problem without any ensuing damage. The homeowner got a bargain.

                        In today's world most shops would have not messed with the old valve and charged her $750 for a new valve which would not match the rest of her fixtures and left her with a wall to repair. Perhaps if the homeowner had practiced a little preventative maintenance she would not have had this problem to begin with.

                        Mark
                        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What would you do?

                          I don't do work for neighbors because I'd like to remain neighbors. Too many risks involved when you live right next door.
                          I don't think you charged too much at all. I usually explain options and price and let the customer decide.
                          A customer had some clogged galvanized water lines and asked about making the repairs. I quoted a price to replace sections of old line with copper and another quote to replace all lines. She opted for only replacing sections. I then got the 3rd degree from the daughter. She asked me if it were my mom, which option would I choose. I told her that I would replace all the lines. Then she asked why I wasn't changing out all lines. She also asked the contractor the same. I told her that it costs more due to material and labor and her mom opted to go with the partial job.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What would you do?

                            Jeff,
                            I've been in similar situations, FWIW, my No. 1 rule is I no longer do work for neighbors. (More about this later). It's just not worth it.
                            2. There are some people you will not want as customers. Period. Some you will know when you go to their house and see what the problem is, how the house looks, and how they behave. Trust your instincts. If they seem at first glance like they might be difficult to work for, tell them you're too busy right now but can recommend ABC Plumbing Contractor, or whoever. May seem harsh but it will save you your sanity.
                            Last year, I got a call from a neighbor whom I had done work for, long story short, I was routing out a drain line that had clogged. He had had a few drinks and started telling me about a guy he had hired a couple weeks before to come in and do painting. Raved about how cheap the guy was. I had done just about all their painting, interior and ext. up to that point and had not heard any complaints from them on quality or price. I was flabbergasted to say the least. I left, didn't charge him for the three hours I spent there on a Saturday night listening to him extoll the wonders of this other painter. I was pi!!ed big time, and felt put down too. About a month later, at night, he calls me up and says his water heater just sprung a leak. Can I come over with my wet/dry vac and bail him out and oh, by the way, can I get a replacement water heater and put it in for him. I could have been a Pri!! and told him go hire your wonderful painter guy, but I was cordial and simply told him I was sorry, just too busy to do it for him. I don't regret not taking the job. People who treat me or you like that aren't worth our time and our effort. Lot of others out there who will pay us and thank us for our help. Just my 2 cents worth
                            Jim Don

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