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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    I understand your thoughts. But. Number one. 40 bucks is cheap. My charge would have been 120. Second. This guy is a jerk. No matter what. You did absolutely nothing wrong. Nothing at all. Zippo. And the minute you start letting the customers run you and your business, you'd better just close up shop, cause you just drew a line in the sand that says, "run me over". Standing your ground, taking payment was the only thing to do. But I am more concerned with the fact your asking a question about whether it was right or not. Please read on.

    About him telling his freinds. Think about this. Birds of a feather flock together. His freinds are a-holes too. So those customers are not needed in a moving forward business.

    I want to pick on you for a second. I mean this with all the respect in the world. So please, if it doesn't sound respectable, just know that it's not meant to hurt you.

    Here is an example of our industries troubles. We are allowing the respect of what we do, what were about, how we conduct ourselves to be driven solely by what the customer's actions seem to be. We collectively are bending over and being too accomadating to the general public at large. The fact you had to ask this question, and many questions like this that come up on here, tells me, that our heads are not screwed on straight and the owners and techs need some reality based dollars and sense and business classes.

    Example. Your cell phone. Whatever company. It has it's charges. It's rules of engagement. You make the calls and your time is tallied and then your billed. Unless of a unique circumstance, you have to pay the bill, or they cancel you, then your blacklisted also. They look at you as a bad customer, and they can not dick around with you. They focus in on who pays the bills and leave you hanging.

    Tell me why on earth we don't conduct ourselves the same way. I can tell you from my own hard knocks of learning this gem of leadership in my own small business. I never once lost out when I have fired customers from my business. It just has to be done. You can't fret over it. You just move on. Recently I had to make a very painful decision about a customer who was a large dollar amount to my business but has experienced bad times and their ability to pay has diminished. I have great relationships with the people at this account. And they were a little dismayed that I am unwilling to wait for their money any longer.

    Bottom line. I am like the cell phone company. I need paying customers. I run a business.
    Additionally, the lack of respect some customers display, that alone tells me that they don't pay well, so stay away from those types. And even if those types do pay well, you'll fight for ever dollar. That takes time most people don't have. It's not worth putting up with.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    S.W. Ontario,Canada
    Posts
    622
    Originally posted by Frank_G
    If you didn't charge him, it would happen again! As long as he thinks you'll respond for whatever stupid thing he does to sabatoge the system, he won't think twice about calling for service.

    Don't fret about it any longer.

    Frank
    Frank is right....the guy is mad at himself for being stupid. The same thing happened to me, the guy was mad at himself and said he didn't care about the charge, but said he would hear about this from his wife for ever. You did it right.
    If every a...... could do this,I wouldn't have a job...

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    in a house, Appomattox, Va.
    Posts
    3,318
    Dow beat me to it, but point number two is: Anyone around this guy for more than 5 minutes will figure out what you did, and his testamony on your co won't mean as much to them.
    Col 3:23


    questions asked, answers received, ignorance abated

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    9,932
    He's lucky he got you and not me after a tough day


  5. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Kathleen GA
    Posts
    236
    Go back and reread aznrgmgr's post. He is dead on target.

    - One annoyed customer tells about 40 people who tell others. It will cost your business money.

    - Unfortunately mistakes were made. The guy made one. You and the dispatcher are not 100% squeakly clean however. You helped install the unit. You knew it was a good install. You put in a good solid system and you did it right. So did you call and ask the customer for any details? Or did you just roll?

    This reminds me of the story about a person calling the computer help desk. After a few questions the help tech asks the caller to lean over and check to see if the cable is connected to the computer and the callers says he'll try but its hard to see. Tech ask if its because of the computer's postion and the caller say no, cause its dark. Turns out the power was out due to a storm. The Tech then tells the customer he needs to box up computer and send it back. The caller says okay but what do I tell folks about why I sent the computer back? The tech says "Tell them you are too stupid to have a computer."

    The tech was right but it gained no friends and pissed off a customer. Were you wrong? No. But, there was some oops everywhere.

    I agree with aznrgmgr - and as a small business owner I think I would have eaten this one with a stern warning. $39 vs cost of new system plus one pissed off customer who could have been a customer for life (and might still be one if aznrgmgr's approach is used) is small price. An advertising spot costs more than $39 and may not get any responses.

    As for the guy who says he would have charged 3x as much - its folks like him that give repairfolks a bad name.

    So, were you wrong? No. Was it the best solution? No - and you know it our you wouldn't have made your post and be worrying about it. I'd be happy to have you work for me because you ARE concerned that maybe you didn't make the best decision.

    Lastly, customer was wrong to speak to you in other than professional tone - even if he was pissed.

    That's my 2 cents (and too many words!!)

    Alex

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    I stand by every word I said and is basically in opposition of what your saying. Thats okay. Were both proffesionals. If I ran my self the way you just described, I would go bonkers. Thats just me. The fact that you find a different veiw and your own way of handling it is what this trade is all about. Diversity. But I am a competitive type of person. And I go to win. My philosphy is that I am willing to lose a few short fast races to win the long race. Your basically saying win the short races. Both ways work for the individual calling his own shots, but my long term thinking of this, the impact you say it would have is not what I have seen happen in my experiences.

    I was at a really neat party last night and was speaking to a very important and succesful service contractor. This dude is one of the best. Over a couple beers, we were sitting and talking shop and I was truly enjoying the wisdom of this fellow. His biggest point to me was. "Don't compete at the bottom".

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    2,652
    It turned it off and forgot to turin it on. It's his damn fault, screw it, you're in the right.
    There are 3 ways to do anything in life; Good, Fast, Slow: You can pick any 2.

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Kathleen GA
    Posts
    236
    I grew up in a small town. Make a few customers angry and suddenly you had no customers. Large cities you can make customers mad and get away with it because their are other customers.

    However this is a lose/lose/lose situation. The home owner lost and is angry. The tech lost because he questions what he did. The company lost a future customer and gained lots of ill will and bad advertising. All of this over stupidity and $39.

    What if your car was driving poorly and you took it to be fixed and the reason was the emergency brake was on but the light was out. They charge you $40. You would be outraged too. A little different situation here but same principle.

    Like you said, room for everyone. In this case I still think Jim had the best solution.

    Alex

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    9,932
    There was a time when I probably would have agreed with you guys about not charging him, but those days are gone for me. One day I sat down and began to realize how many people I was taking it easy on with warranties, callbacks that were something entirely different, people who whined about the cost, friends, relatives, favors, etc. I wasn't charging enough money to begin with and all of those freebies and discounted bills were just making things worse. Then I began to think of things with a little more perspective, like how much business have these people I'm doing all of this stuff for sent me? The small amount of things I do for less or free now are reserved for those who do things for me.

    The guy's such an butthead that he probably has no friends, and his relatives and neighbors probably don't listen to a word he says. You'll probably open the paper and read about him running amock in the neighborhood with an AK47 some day

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,053

    usaf hvac retired

    You were right 100%, that you deserved the service call. But was it worth the $40 to PO a new customer. My response would have been, " Quality customers like you, get one free-bee. Glad it was a small problem, but the next non-warranty call will be billed at my normal rate."

    JMO... what do I know, I just keep the beer cold, and a 99c bag of ice can do the same job.
    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    9,871
    Originally posted by usaf hvac retired
    About 3 months ago, I helped the install crew put in a Trane heat pump, and matching A/H. All went well, the finished job looked good, the customer was happy, paid his bill and Life is great. This afternoon just before quitting time the dispatcher calls me and wants to know if Ill run an after hours warranty call to the same customer. She says he has no cooling and was rude on the phone. So I get there, the guy is super nice, offers me a coke, and says the A/C has worked great until it just quit working about 3 hours ago. I graciously declined the coke and told him I would rather get right to work... OK, T-Stat has no power, I go to A/H and check Power...Nothing... I look over at the subpanel and see the circ. breakers for the cond unit, a/h and hot water heater all in the OFF position. What the hell???...I turn on the breakers and everything fires right up. Well the customer is standing behind me and says "Oh I guess I forgot to turn them on after I changed the filter THIS MORNING". "Sorry about having to call you out for that"... I tell him Im glad thats all that was wrong but I would still have to charge him a $39.95 trip charge... Of course he asks about warranty, and I told him if it was broke we would fix it , but it wasnt broke...only off... So he says "OK Ill pay you". When we get to the top of the stairs I hear him say "you need to take your A$$ outside" I thought he was talking to his dog , but I dont see a dog, so I say "excuse me " and then he says "Get the f&#% out of my house ,Ill bring a f&#%ing check out to you.. I go out, write a quick invoice, he hands me a check, refuses to sign the invoice or take a copy and slams the door.
    What do you all think ? Should I have given him a "freebie"? After all he did buy an entire system from us 3 months ago...Ive been doing this job for over 20 years, but I cant ever remember a customer turning on me like that...And it is bothering me or else I wouldnt have wrote this long post.
    Thanks for "listening" guys, I feel better now
    You are right. He is wrong. If it would have been me, I would have invited him into the street to discuss his language. Life is too short for a-holes like this.

    [Edited by rob10 on 06-20-2004 at 08:51 PM]

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    2,407
    It was broke when you got there, it worked when you left. Where's the question? You fixed it, you get paid!

    I have gone on several service calls to repair whatever and all I have had to do was plug in an appliance. I charged them a service call and minimun repair rate which usually came out to around $140 for 10 minutes work including the paperwork.


  13. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    9,932
    Had a ho call in the winter and say the furnace fan wouldn't shut off. I asked if the fan switch on the thermostat was in the on position, they said it was not. Got there and the fan was in the on position. I charged them.

    It's amazing to me sometimes how inconsiderate ho's can be. Like calling several repair companies at once. The first one who arrives gets the job. The others aren't called to cancel.

    Maybe they don't realize that the commodity we sell is our time. You use it, you pay for it. I don't mind losing customers who disagree with that concept. They do not own me. They rent me for x amount of time. One way or the other, we all work by the hour. We have x hours per day/week/year to make x number of dollars.

    I don't mind giving my time away for free, as long as it's *my* decision to do so. Like donating a tuneup to the American Cancer Society auction, but not to some butthead who just happens to think he's entitled to it.

    [Edited by midhvac on 06-21-2004 at 02:23 PM]

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