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  • At first calm, then mean customer...

    I took a referral call from a handyman regarding a burst hose bib. The customer was extremely hard to understand, but I did understand that he was trying to get me to lower my price.

    Keep in mind that I would have at Least 2 hours travel time round trip, on icy roads. The job might take at most an hour. I quoted him a price, and he inclined to reduce it by $50. I said no. He then quoted the cheaper price. I said no. I them told him to shop around, as he can always find someone cheaper, but beware! After a couple minutes he agreed to my price. At this time the handyman called to mention the referral. He said he had no idea who the guy was.

    Ok, end of story for me! I politely told the customer we dont haggle our wage. I did not feel comfortable taking the call and gave him a number of another plumber.

    He would not stand for that! He began berating me, questioning my work ethics, and all the broken promises I made in the course of 5 minutes. I think he even called me the "golden mouse" or something to that affect.

    Long story short...I will not negotiate my wage. I understand he later agreed to my wage. However, I felt it was a possibilty that I may have to "re-negotiate" the wage when the job was finished.

    Everything ended when I hung up on him. He would not stop babbling.

    This was a customer who was "price shopping" for a plumber. Bad news. As a collegue recently related..."You dont haggle the price of a new car, until you picked the one you like." Thankfully I have very few of these types.

  • #2
    Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

    I don't understand this, are you saying that this man shouldn't be price shopping and he should never haggle a job that he has to pay for. I do believe that anyone has the rights for doing both of those. No disrespect towards you, you stated that you won't drop your price, but the man kept going on. I think he was just trying to be like the rest of us, we are all trying to save some money these days, but then again I don't know that guy.

    I do believe you most certainly did the right thing, with him being so far away. And I also think businesses should start thinking about how times are getting tough these days for most of us. So you just may find more and more people trying to haggle, because thats the American way.... I know I will be from now on, till times get better....
    Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

    http://www.contractorspub.com

    A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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    • #3
      Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

      I think this one is going to turn into a great conversation/debate. Really, will people be haggling more, because of our economy????
      Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

      http://www.contractorspub.com

      A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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      • #4
        Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

        Its funny no one walks into the supermarket and asks them to lower their price when they get to the register. Why must they always haggle with a service trade.

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        • #5
          Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

          I just got a call to fix a frozen water line about 5 miles from the shop. Guy didn't talk about price, nothing.

          It's in the 2-3 hundred dollar range unless I'm there only an hour.

          It's cold, dark, and it's overtime emergency wage time.


          Good way to polish off the day of frozen water line fiascos. Somebody quick! Give me an amen!
          Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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          • #6
            Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

            My Customer haggled me down for a drain cleaning job. From $90.00 to $70.00. It was an older couple, who I determined did not have solid financial means. A few days later, a neighbor of her's called me for virtually the same job. To tell you the truth after a few days and about 10 jobs later, I didn't catch on to the street name. I qouted her my normal price and she went off, accusing me of not being consistent with my pricing, being a shyster, so and so got a better deal, etc.

            Needless to say I felt terrible, because I take my Customer satisfaction to heart and yes, I'm sometimes sensitive to my Customers financial situations and will lower the price at the end of the day if I really think they are hurting financially. But crap, I don't want to be considered flaky & unscrupulous for doing so.

            Yes, I gave her the same price as the previous Customer Another lesson learned...Fair and consistent pricing is the better way to go.

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            • #7
              Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

              I'm all for a haggler in my business, just be one that's buying. Don't waste my time acting like you're a player and then bag out at the end. Money talks and bullsh!t walks as always.

              What I mean by that is that a guy who at least tries to beat down my price after I give it to him is a sign he's serious. The guy who takes the price and says no and doesn't play, that's a problem. Or the guy who takes the price and says he'll think about it. He's really saying no.

              Then again, people are crazy, and some will try and re-negotiate the price after a job is done. I would have probably done the same thing in the thread example, because the customer was unknown and difficult from the start of the conversation. I don't mess with people who are difficult from the beginning.

              If I have a hard time setting a sales appointment, what are the odds I'm going to sell them?

              Price is certainly important, but service and piece of mind is priceless. A lot of people don't realize that everybody wants to be appreciated and treated with respect for the service they provide. I

              I've had people tell me they'll never go back to my mechanic - they didn't like him, he does bad work, whatever. I've been going to him for years and he's always been great, got me in ahead of other customers, etc. Then again, I took the time when I first started going there to get to know him and the other guys by name. It's amazing what happens sometime when people are comfortable with you.

              Then again, I'm not saying to become their friend right off the bat. Heck, when I sit down with you, if I get too friendly I'll lose some edge in the negotiation. Let's sign the deal first and then we'll be buddies.

              Good times to negotiate right now, cash is king, there's some desperate stores and tradesman out there now.

              But cheap prices only get them through the door so long. The best guys always win in the end even if their price is higher. That's cause they can still keep the lights on after the cheap guys didn't have enough to keep the doors open.

              If your great at what you do, then the business will continue. You might want to in the future get a pre-authorization or work order signed up front before you commence the job. That way, there's no re-negotiation option. And if they don't agree to that, you know they're a bum before you get there.
              I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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              • #8
                Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                Originally posted by JeffH View Post
                My Customer haggled me down for a drain cleaning job. From $90.00 to $70.00. It was an older couple, who I determined did not have solid financial means. A few days later, a neighbor of her's called me for virtually the same job. To tell you the truth after a few days and about 10 jobs later, I didn't catch on to the street name. I qouted her my normal price and she went off, accusing me of not being consistent with my pricing, being a shyster, so and so got a better deal, etc.

                Needless to say I felt terrible, because I take my Customer satisfaction to heart and yes, I'm sometimes sensitive to my Customers financial situations and will lower the price at the end of the day if I really think they are hurting financially. But crap, I don't want to be considered flaky & unscrupulous for doing so.

                Yes, I gave her the same price as the previous Customer Another lesson learned...Fair and consistent pricing is the better way to go.
                You can certainly get burned this way. Then again, I'd have called her bluff and told her each job is different and the price is the price. Maybe the original customer just played you and had all kinds of money.

                Buyers are liars. It's been noted on this forum before that the worst people sometimes are the ones with money. I've had guys living in shacks with cupboards that looked like someone put them in with an axe. They buy and are great to deal with. Then you get some millionaire doctor that tries to squeeze every bit of profit from the deal.
                I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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                • #9
                  Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                  Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
                  I just got a call to fix a frozen water line about 5 miles from the shop. Guy didn't talk about price, nothing.

                  It's in the 2-3 hundred dollar range unless I'm there only an hour.

                  It's cold, dark, and it's overtime emergency wage time.


                  Good way to polish off the day of frozen water line fiascos. Somebody quick! Give me an amen!
                  See......there you go. Too many customers like this to dwell on the dummies that want to haggle you into the ground. This guy will pay you and shake your hand off like mad. He will see the VALUE and the SERVICE. Avoid the people who only see PRICE and can't stand to see anybody make a buck but themselves.
                  I'm on "The List" and I love it!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                    I never said the guy SHOULD not haggle. I stated my price, he declined twice, then agreed? I did not want to get ripped off. Then he gets mad because I would not come.

                    The next time I go into a Red Lobster, I will complain about the menu prices, then order, then try to negotiate the check. I know how far I would get!

                    I just went with my gut feeling...

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                    • #11
                      Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                      Originally posted by garager View Post
                      I don't understand this, are you saying that this man shouldn't be price shopping and he should never haggle a job that he has to pay for. I do believe that anyone has the rights for doing both of those. No disrespect towards you, you stated that you won't drop your price, but the man kept going on. I think he was just trying to be like the rest of us, we are all trying to save some money these days, but then again I don't know that guy.
                      Give an inch, they'll take a foot.

                      Lenny

                      Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

                      I know, it doesn't make sense.


                      http://www.hebertdraincare.com

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                      • #12
                        Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                        Originally posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
                        I never said the guy SHOULD not haggle. I stated my price, he declined twice, then agreed? I did not want to get ripped off. Then he gets mad because I would not come.

                        The next time I go into a Red Lobster, I will complain about the menu prices, then order, then try to negotiate the check. I know how far I would get!

                        I just went with my gut feeling...
                        I'm not trying to make you look bad, no way. You said and set a price and stood by this, which is fair, especially because of the guy distance from you. Maybe I tried to hijack your thread and turned it into a thread about, will we see more of haggling going on towards businesses. And not just the tradesmen business. Sorry dude, not trying to make a mountain from a mole hill with this one. You were fair and you did nothing wrong.....

                        What I should have done was started a different thread about this topic....
                        My bad...
                        Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                        http://www.contractorspub.com

                        A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                          I took nothing the wrong way, I see what you are saying. Thanks.

                          That would be a good subject. More people are shopping, thats for sure.

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                          • #14
                            Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                            Originally posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
                            I never said the guy SHOULD not haggle. I stated my price, he declined twice, then agreed? I did not want to get ripped off. Then he gets mad because I would not come.

                            The next time I go into a Red Lobster, I will complain about the menu prices, then order, then try to negotiate the check. I know how far I would get!

                            I just went with my gut feeling...




                            Oh man, I live for calls like this now.


                            I fire back twice as hard, twice as angry, twice as destructive. Give me opportunity and I'm there.

                            I've been answering phones for too long to take any lip service from someone I don't know squat about, and he's telling me my pricing? No, no no no.

                            I'm leaving that conversation with the other end not expecting the sharp attitude coming back.


                            And to JeffH,


                            You got yourself sucked into a pit on those 2 customers now, and they'll poke and prod you till they realize you're trying to make money, and dump you for the next cheaper version. It happens, I promise.
                            Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                            • #15
                              Re: At first calm, then mean customer...

                              Don't price shop at Red Lobster I do tons work there! Pay extra to support me! I would call that customer back and waste his time for at least 10 minutes, talking about everything but plumbing. Screw him.

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