Another Clueless Customer

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Ohmy

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
Have saw a few that wanted prime rib for the price of balogna.
The customers that I find difficult are the ones that say "meat is meat." Its great that customers are looking for value cuz we've got it. When they start looking at electrical services as a commodity we're sunk.
 

zappy

Senior Member
Location
CA.
Who is more clueless?

The contractor who markets his services to the wrong people, or the people who take advantage of him because of it?
I bet a electrician in beverly hills makes more, than a electrician in compton.
 

jjsprott

Member
Location
Fruita, Colorado
I disagree with that statement I have found that people with MONEY are some of the nicest people to work for. It's the ones that THINK they have money that are the jerks.
I agree, I have customer that I've worked for a couple of years. But I havent seen in that long. She calls when somthings wrong, Leaves the door open and I come in and fix the problem. I leave a bill, and it's paid within a week. This is just one of my "MONEY" customers, but she refers us alot and I like our arrangement.
 

jjsprott

Member
Location
Fruita, Colorado
I will give a free verbal estimate, if they want it written down, it will cost money which can be deducted from the cost of the job when I recieve a signed contract, I have had too many of my competitors written estimates shown to me, and alot of people just want somthing to turn in to the isurance company and then hire a relative or do the work themselves.
I do this exact same thing and it works well for me. (We also do solar power so the bis are very involved.) Most of my customers, when they call me, have already called or had someone else do some work and they just want it fixed no matter what the cost.
 

CopperTone

Senior Member
Location
MetroWest, MA
gave a price for a small job today - very rich guy - has over a 6000 sq ft house and extremely well decorated inside.

my price $1355.00 - he calls me and says his wife got 2 other prices

$950 and $1025 - why am I so high? he asks. can I match the price?

my response - why are they so low? - I have done a few jobs for him in the past too. I told him some guys are starving for work so I am not surprised at the low prices - I tell him that I price jobs at a fair price and to stay in business - good luck I say - call me in the future if I can help you with something else.

We are very busy these days with work anyway so it really isn't a big deal - this happens every once in a while - they usually come calling 6-12 months later with a horror story about the guy they went with.

Lesson - don't sweat it - move on to the next job.

I email quotes all the time to people and they can't even aknowledge my email with a simple - thanks for your time we are going with another price. You really can't take it personal - just move on to the next job and keep going forward - you will be busy before you know it with all well paying properly priced jobs.
Do you really want to be booked for a month with jobs all 30-40% below proper pricing? send me your number if you are in mass then - I'll pass your name around to cheap skates I meet.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
gave a price for a small job today.

my price $1355.00 - he calls me and says his wife got 2 other prices

$950 and $1025 - why am I so high? he asks. can I match the price?

Here is where most homeowners a truely clueless. Most small residential jobs don't have a clearly defined scope of work so each contractor does a walk through with the customer and they can really end up with three totally different bids.

Most people will see the numbers $950,$1025 and $1350 and just assume that the $950 is the cheaper price and it may in fact be the highest. It really depends on what's included in the bid price.

CoppterTone is right this job is to small to worry about but if you did wish to compare prices to try and stay competitive then make sure you get a copy of the other bids and go over them line item by line item and make sure that the other bids contain the same things as yours does.

Many contractors are masters at the additional cost game so the cheap price a customer sees up front is just not what they end up with on the final bill.
 

220/221

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Respond to his Email with:

We are sorry that you were unsatisfied with the bid that was given to you.

Our company is licensed, bonded and insured and our pricing is very competitve with other electrical contractors. If you are able to find another electrician to do the work for less money, then we commend you on being a good consumer.

When choosing a contractor, we recommend you to err on the side of caution and check the company's credentials, licensing, and insurance.

Thank you -


why am I so high? he asks. can I match the price?
He is bluffing. If price was the only issue, he would have simply let the $950 guy do the work. This is a buyers market and some consumers don't think twice about asking for discounted services. How to respond is up to you. I never come down. It sets a bad precedent.
 
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Ohmy

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
Our company is licensed, bonded and insured and our pricing is very competitve with other electrical contractors. If you are able to find another electrician to do the work for less money, then we commend you on being a good consumer.
.
I agree but I will also add IMO that licensed and insured is a bare min standard. That is like saying the restaurant's is open, so they have good food. When you hire a barber, you don't look for a licensed barber, you look for a good barber. Plenty of good work is done by Journeyman, helpers, or guys that have worked for 20 years and never took the test. And, plenty of bad work is done by licensed folks. In a way, licensing has hurt the retail side of our industry. So much focus has been on whether or not the guy is licensed and not enough on the quality of work. Not that I don't support licensing.
 

wptski

Senior Member
Location
Warren, MI
I agree but I will also add IMO that licensed and insured is a bare min standard. That is like saying the restaurant's is open, so they have good food. When you hire a barber, you don't look for a licensed barber, you look for a good barber. Plenty of good work is done by Journeyman, helpers, or guys that have worked for 20 years and never took the test. And, plenty of bad work is done by licensed folks. In a way, licensing has hurt the retail side of our industry. So much focus has been on whether or not the guy is licensed and not enough on the quality of work. Not that I don't support licensing.
Not sure if the guy was licensed but as I remember the story, he had 20 years in the trade. He wired a attic fan in my father's home. It wasn't till the Fall of the year that it was noticed because it was getting noisy by that time. It never turned off! The thermostat wasn't even wired into the circuit!
 

Rewire

Senior Member
If someone calls me back and says can I match a lower bid I have a very good chance of getting the work at my price. I just have to sell them because when they call back they are saying "we want you" now I just have to close the deal.
 

The Iceman

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Yesterday I had a costumer call up and wanted me to install five ceiling fans in her house. The only day she was available was Labor Day. I tried to reschedule for any other day this year and she insisted it had to be done on Labor Day. I can?t believe some of the people I have had to deal with.
 

aline

Senior Member
Location
Utah
Yesterday I had a costumer call up and wanted me to install five ceiling fans in her house. The only day she was available was Labor Day. I tried to reschedule for any other day this year and she insisted it had to be done on Labor Day. I can?t believe some of the people I have had to deal with.
That's when I give them two prices.
One for installing them on a holiday weekend and one for installing them during normal working hours.
They'll usually choose the normal working hours.
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
The only day she was available was Labor Day. I tried to reschedule for any other day this year and she insisted it had to be done on Labor Day.

I do work on weekends and evenings for some commercial customers, but there is no way I would let a residential customer set my work schedule. if you really want the job, make sure you charge a premium for working on a holiday...
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
...........if you really want the job, make sure you charge a premium for working on a holiday...

I just ask people, "Do you have any idea how expensive cloning is just so I can have a copy of myself around to spend time with my family while I'm out working on a holiday?"
 

aline

Senior Member
Location
Utah
Not only do people want you to come out and give them a free estimate they also want you to come out and give that free estimate after 5pm or on a weekend so they don't have to miss work.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
Weekend and holidays are just another day.We are in a resort area so the vast majority of our clients are here on weekends.I count on the competition either not wanting to work weekends or not being able.
 

wawireguy

Senior Member
I wouldn't go out and give free estimates on little jobs. You'll go broke trying to bid one day jobs, driving here and there, burning gas and time. Try to sell it over the phone. A estimate is just that. Should be able to get a feel for a small job pretty fast on the phone and give a ball park labor estimate, inflated a little because nothing ever goes easily. I wouldn't get in a pissing match with customers over materials either. If they want to buy stuff let them. Just explain that any time you spend going to get materials to work on the job is going to be part of the bill. If you do this kinda work you should have most of the stuff with you anyways so it's mostly a annoyance factor. You're selling service and trying to make some money. If you need the work try to make the best sale you can and remember they are a customer. Now if they don't pay that's another matter..
 

Ohmy

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
Not sure if the guy was licensed but as I remember the story, he had 20 years in the trade. He wired a attic fan in my father's home. It wasn't till the Fall of the year that it was noticed because it was getting noisy by that time. It never turned off! The thermostat wasn't even wired into the circuit!
Nice....those t-stats are always going bad anyways:)
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
Plenty of good work is done by Journeyman, helpers, or guys that have worked for 20 years and never took the test. And, plenty of bad work is done by licensed folks. In a way, licensing has hurt the retail side of our industry. So much focus has been on whether or not the guy is licensed and not enough on the quality of work. Not that I don't support licensing.
All legitmate work in the Atlanta area is done by licensed electricians. Just because the individual electrician may not be licensed that work for a contractor doesn't matter. The journeyman or helpers that work for the licensed contractor are covered by his license and insurance. The contractor is ultimately responsible for all work done under his license.

Just how do you go about focusing on the quality of work without some form of tracking system ( which is what licenseing is about), just try to submit a complaint about poor quality work when all you have is the name John Smith and a cell number. If you hire a licensed contractor you should get his license number on all communications ( estimate & invoices). Now you have a way to focus on quality because you know who you are dealing with and you do have a way to file a complaint if you are ripped off or you receive sub-standard work.

How do you know that all this great work is being done by unlicensed electricians? They don't pull permits or get inspections so all you can do is take their word for it that they are doing code compliant work. The average homeowner is not going to know the difference.

Would you rather loan your car to a licensed driver with a long clean driving history or someone without a license that's just tells you what a great driver they are. If you hire an employee the first thing you do is check out driving history before letting him/her operate company vehicles.
A driver's license doesn't make him/her a better driver but it does allow you to check out what kind of driver they are.
 
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