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  • #16
    Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

    In my eyes, there are some things you can haggle and others you dont.

    Recently, our 2 year contract with our satellite provider was fulfilled. We checked into another provider and received a quote which was significantly less than our current service. We called our current provider to cancel the service. After spending an hour on the phone and talking to 3 different people, we stayed with the same provider. Our monthly bills will be less than half of what they were for the last 2 years for the same programming, and we didnt have to sign a 2 year contract. We have the operators name, extension number, and an email quote stating everything she offered us.

    A tradesmans' wages should never be argued. If a customer doesnt like the price quoted, they should keep calling until they find someone in their price range.

    I was doing some gas station work for a "new american" a couple years ago. I replaced a t-stat, chattering contactor, filters, and cleaned an evaporator on a RTU for him. I finished the job and handed him the bill. He says, "No discount?" I raised my voice enough to make him uncomfortable and explained my hourly rate was extremely reasonable for commercial service and that I gave him the parts at cost. He reluctantly payed me. The next time he called me I fixed another RTU and marked the parts up 200%. I listed a $20 discount on the end of my bill and he was jumping for joy. He called me a couple more times for service but I told him I was too busy.

    Andy

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    • #17
      Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

      Sounds like you make the right call NIP. I think he would have tried to haggle after you got the job done too.

      Haggling with a tradesman is a sign of disrespect and I consider the person asking not to be a gentleman or a lady. People go about approaching tradesmen the wrong way all the time.

      When I go to get my vehicle worked on I talk to the mechanic and tell him what it's doing wrong, then before I leave I slip him 10.00. Works like a charm.

      I challenge any person who hires a tradesmen to do this. Offer them a cup of coffee and a donut when they arrive and see what happens. It will be the best 1.00 you ever spent. I've done some crazy stuff for a donut.
      Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

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      • #18
        Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

        Reading this thread makes me shake my head in wonder at how service plumbers have to battle to get just compensation for the specialized services they provide. Tyman's comments about how he treats his mechanic got me thinking that the next opportunity I get I'll call my mechanic and ask him how often he gets customers who want to negotiate his charges.
        Crazy as it may sound to you all, I'll stick with working for general contractors. My formula is simple: find an honest GC, take care of him and he'll reward you with his loyalty for years.

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        • #19
          Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

          good tip, tyman. common courtesy goes a long way. until i went into business for myself, i was a much less considerate price shopper. now, on the rare occasions i find it necessary to hire a tradesman, i will make sure he and i are on the same page regarding the scope of the work and what his price is. i will then ask him what his price would be for payment in cash. yes, i ask for a consession on price, but i don't ever demand it, and i believe it isn't offensive as i am offering a small benefit to the tradesman in return(cash). if the request is rebuffed, i then have to make a decision much as suggested by ruudacguy....either i hire the tradesman at his price or i shop further. i remind myself to never take any of this personally. it's just business.
          there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

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          • #20
            Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

            Originally posted by Tyman View Post
            Sounds like you make the right call NIP. I think he would have tried to haggle after you got the job done too.

            Haggling with a tradesman is a sign of disrespect and I consider the person asking not to be a gentleman or a lady. People go about approaching tradesmen the wrong way all the time.

            When I go to get my vehicle worked on I talk to the mechanic and tell him what it's doing wrong, then before I leave I slip him 10.00. Works like a charm.

            I challenge any person who hires a tradesmen to do this. Offer them a cup of coffee and a donut when they arrive and see what happens. It will be the best 1.00 you ever spent. I've done some crazy stuff for a donut.
            Mmmmmmmm.......donut...............arrrghhhhhh.... .droooooollll...

            But seriously, you are correct. You always get more flies with honey than vinegar. Had the mechanics one day throw the car in the air and it was just a loose bolt. They weren't gonna charge me, so I threw them some lunch money for the next day instead.

            Think I got some awesome service the next time I dropped by?
            I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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            • #21
              Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

              NIP; I'm about 98% with you on that one, you've got to go with your gut. Also, what are you going to do after you've driven 2 hours and put the hose bib in and then he starts in again? In the end you're going to take what you can get so the afternoon isn't a total write off and then get out of there.

              The other 2% is that, just out of shear boredom, I might drive a couple hours just to see what else might come out of the mouth of the man who called me a golden mouse. Bring a friend with a camcorder and tack an extra 50 cents onto what you quoted him just to see the steam lol. You don't get entertainment like that every day.
              This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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              • #22
                Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                Originally posted by Ruudacguy View Post
                A tradesmans' wages should never be argued. If a customer doesnt like the price quoted, they should keep calling until they find someone in their price range.
                Tradesman aren't special in that hey shouldn't have their wages negotiated. The rest of us do. I interviewed at three companies and told them all the same number. Two of the three agreed, Google offered 8% less than the number I started out with. I probably asked for two little if the other two agreed the first time, but probably not so terribly little that it is embarrassing because Google wouldn't budge. I didn't take it as an insult that Google offered less money than I wanted, I would prefer that than they just didn't offer me the job. I've asked for more money at previous jobs and been told less than I've asked for. Not an insult, just doing business. It might hurt more when you have to negotiate all the time rather than once a year (in my case now that I'm employed by a big company, there just is no negotiating after the fact it is take it or leave it).

                When I was working for a small company and we would try to get web development jobs, the customer would always negotiate on price or scope of work (expanding the scope of work or reducing the price is roughly the same).

                There is nothing wrong with you saying no to the customer if you don't want to negotiate, but just the act of negotiating isn't wrong.

                Also, why people don't try to negotiate at the supermarket is probably just because they know it won't work because there is no one with authority to negotiate on the prices. I negotiate with my heating oil dealer; when my dealer came back with a price for a headlight that was higher than an auto parts store I had no problem trying to get them to match it; when you go furniture shopping the salesmen have no problem haggling.

                When you haggle for a car, if you've already picked the car and dealer then you've lost the exchange. You've got to be willing to walk away and pick a different dealer or a different car if you don't get the price you want.

                BTW: I don't think NIP should have worked for this customer, because he was nasty on the phone and far away. If he is nasty on the phone, he probably isn't worth dealing with if he can get other calls. Also, it is never OK to try to renegotiate something after you've already agreed to something. You don't buy a car and then go back the next day and say you want it cheaper; even though the law might allow it (at least in NY you have a 3 day right of recission).

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                • #23
                  Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                  CPW, the whole issue was just that...would he pay when i was done? I have negotiated some work. Mainly water heaters and sump pumps when I can compare apples to apples. However I call it a discount...senior, veterans, cheap azz etc. I just reword it.

                  Also, it has been mentioned that if the calls are coming in, then I can choose? No way! That was the only call I had that day, I dont pimp myself out because I am slow...word might spread!

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                    Originally posted by cpw View Post
                    Tradesman aren't special in that hey shouldn't have their wages negotiated. The rest of us do. I interviewed at three companies and told them all the same number. Two of the three agreed, Google offered 8% less than the number I started out with. I probably asked for two little if the other two agreed the first time, but probably not so terribly little that it is embarrassing because Google wouldn't budge. I didn't take it as an insult that Google offered less money than I wanted, I would prefer that than they just didn't offer me the job. I've asked for more money at previous jobs and been told less than I've asked for. Not an insult, just doing business. It might hurt more when you have to negotiate all the time rather than once a year (in my case now that I'm employed by a big company, there just is no negotiating after the fact it is take it or leave it).

                    When I was working for a small company and we would try to get web development jobs, the customer would always negotiate on price or scope of work (expanding the scope of work or reducing the price is roughly the same).

                    There is nothing wrong with you saying no to the customer if you don't want to negotiate, but just the act of negotiating isn't wrong.

                    Also, why people don't try to negotiate at the supermarket is probably just because they know it won't work because there is no one with authority to negotiate on the prices. I negotiate with my heating oil dealer; when my dealer came back with a price for a headlight that was higher than an auto parts store I had no problem trying to get them to match it; when you go furniture shopping the salesmen have no problem haggling.

                    When you haggle for a car, if you've already picked the car and dealer then you've lost the exchange. You've got to be willing to walk away and pick a different dealer or a different car if you don't get the price you want.

                    BTW: I don't think NIP should have worked for this customer, because he was nasty on the phone and far away. If he is nasty on the phone, he probably isn't worth dealing with if he can get other calls. Also, it is never OK to try to renegotiate something after you've already agreed to something. You don't buy a car and then go back the next day and say you want it cheaper; even though the law might allow it (at least in NY you have a 3 day right of recission).
                    Your post really throws me. You say tradesmen aren't so special then justify it by comparing us to car or furniture salesman. You negotiate at the supermarket? Gimme a break.
                    Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                      Originally posted by Tyman View Post
                      Your post really throws me. You say tradesmen aren't so special then justify it by comparing us to car or furniture salesman. You negotiate at the supermarket? Gimme a break.
                      You'll notice I first compared you to myself! When I take a job I have to negotiate my wage.

                      I said I don't negotiate at the supermarket, because there is no one with authority to negotiate there. Car and furniture salesmen do have authority (just like the owner of a plumbing company), so people negotiate with them. A salesmen needs to feed his family too.

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                      • #26
                        Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                        Originally posted by cpw View Post
                        Tradesman aren't special in that hey shouldn't have their wages negotiated.
                        This is about the most degrading thing someone could say. If it wasnt for us, those 3 places you interviewed wouldnt have buildings to be interviewed in.

                        You know that american dream you hear about with the house and the white picket fence? We build that! We work outside in all types of weather to build peoples' dreams. We sacrifice our health, our bodies, time with our families for others. Its not just a job, we dedicate our lives to our trades. We build and protect what is most peoples biggest investment. What we do isnt taught in a book. We teach ourselves pride of workmanship. The statement in NHMasters avatar isnt just rhetoric. Plumbers do protect the health of the nation.

                        I know third and fourth generation plumbers and electricians. We'll both be dead before you can say that about your trade.

                        The only difference between us and doctors or surgeons is a $250,000 student loan. Yes thats right. The trades reach out to the poor young kids to give them a shot at their own american dream. If an education in the trades cost 250 grand, we would be earning just as much as the doctors and surgeons. Just because doctors and surgeons make more money than we do doesnt mean they are higher up on the food chain. We are all right below the American Soldier who makes significantly less than even us lowly tradespeople.

                        And yet even after all of this you think its ok to negotiate our already modest wages.

                        I like you CPW so dont take this *** chewing personally. to the trades.

                        Andy

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                        • #27
                          Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                          Originally posted by Ruudacguy View Post
                          This is about the most degrading thing someone could say. If it wasnt for us, those 3 places you interviewed wouldnt have buildings to be interviewed in.
                          And if it wasn't for engineers, the van you drive to that building wouldn't go; the traffic lights wouldn't work; the AC unit you install wouldn't have a control board; and the cell phone that you schedule your appointments on wouldn't work either. That doesn't mean a software engineer who writes the firmware or the hardware guy who designed the chips is more important than a plumber or vice versa; if our jobs didn't provide a useful service to people they wouldn't exist.

                          I know third and fourth generation plumbers and electricians. We'll both be dead before you can say that about your trade.
                          Not quite. I'm a second generation software engineer, so is my wife. In 20 years there is a decent chance that will be what my son or daughter is doing too. I'm not planning on being dead for another 50 years.

                          The only difference between us and doctors or surgeons is a $250,000 student loan. Yes thats right. The trades reach out to the poor young kids to give them a shot at their own american dream. If an education in the trades cost 250 grand, we would be earning just as much as the doctors and surgeons. Just because doctors and surgeons make more money than we do doesnt mean they are higher up on the food chain. We are all right below the American Soldier who makes significantly less than even us lowly tradespeople.

                          And yet even after all of this you think its ok to negotiate our already modest wages.
                          Just because your is important doesn't mean that you are above negotiating like the rest of us. Doctors which you hold out as an example have to negotiate with insurance companies too. Police and firemen pay unions to negotiate wages for them; and they help keep us safe too. Everyone has to do it.

                          I like you CPW so dont take this *** chewing personally. to the trades.
                          I've got a thick enough skin; otherwise I shouldn't be playing in your sandbox. If we agreed on everything life would be boring. I hope you don't take this personally either. Without proper training I can't do your job, and without proper training you can't do mine. But neither is inherently better than the other.

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                          • #28
                            Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                            Originally posted by cpw View Post
                            And if it wasn't for engineers, the van you drive to that building wouldn't go; the traffic lights wouldn't work; the AC unit you install wouldn't have a control board; and the cell phone that you schedule your appointments on wouldn't work either. That doesn't mean a software engineer who writes the firmware or the hardware guy who designed the chips is more important than a plumber or vice versa; if our jobs didn't provide a useful service to people they wouldn't exist.


                            Not quite. I'm a second generation software engineer, so is my wife. In 20 years there is a decent chance that will be what my son or daughter is doing too. I'm not planning on being dead for another 50 years.


                            Just because your is important doesn't mean that you are above negotiating like the rest of us. Doctors which you hold out as an example have to negotiate with insurance companies too. Police and firemen pay unions to negotiate wages for them; and they help keep us safe too. Everyone has to do it.


                            I've got a thick enough skin; otherwise I shouldn't be playing in your sandbox. If we agreed on everything life would be boring. I hope you don't take this personally either. Without proper training I can't do your job, and without proper training you can't do mine. But neither is inherently better than the other.
                            CPW, If I miss a point here let me know

                            Since some of us in the trades are our own bosses the rules are ours to make... If I choose not to negotiate it is my rule... I'm not obligated in any way to run or do business in any other way then how I do it...

                            If you as a software guy have your hand out to a company for a job you play by their rules...

                            In a nutshell I am different because I am the licensed boss of my own corporate entity.

                            None of your examples clarify this distinction so your comparisons are a bit apples and oranges.


                            You negotiate when you give someone the power over you to do so...


                            Just my 2 cents

                            Okie

                            "Pay Peanuts get Monkeys"

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                            • #29
                              Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                              Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                              Since some of us in the trades are our own bosses the rules are ours to make... If I choose not to negotiate it is my rule... I'm not obligated in any way to run or do business in any other way then how I do it...
                              I'm not saying that you are obligated to change your price, you can just say the price is take it or leave it. I am objecting to the attitude that the customer doesn't have the right to try; which is what Andy is saying.

                              If you as a software guy have your hand out to a company for a job you play by their rules...
                              When I was bidding jobs to clients either working for the company or when I was self-employed, I would negotiate the cost and scope of work. Edit: BTW, I will say that I object to the notion that I have my hand out to a company for a job (not taking it personally); I'm good at what I do, so there is another company to work for. Just like for you there is another customer if you can't come to terms.

                              In a nutshell I am different because I am the licensed boss of my own corporate entity.

                              None of your examples clarify this distinction so your comparisons are a bit apples and oranges.
                              I don't think there is much of a distinction. Your position is that "this is my rate" and take it or leave it. That is perfectly valid. I personally have generally moved a little, but there is a minimum that I would be willing to work for. But just because you have a particular job or a company doesn't make your initial offer of cost of the services you provide sacrosanct, and something that it is an insult to discuss.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                                I think I understand Charles.

                                You're rate is negotiable so you feel others should be as well. I do not take personal offense at an attempt at negotiations with me. I just don't do it.

                                Had someone ask recently and I was polite to them. Told them I don't negotiate this & I wouldn't be angry with them if they needed someone else to do the job. I got the job and paid.

                                I don't know if you are an independent contractor in your field or not. The aggravation from the tradesmen's end is that an attempt at negotiations is almost daily to lower our rate.

                                If you faced that 3 times a week over your paycheck with your company I think you would be less inclined toward the negotiation process.

                                Did I make any sense.

                                J.C.

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