Unexpected return trips to jobsite


Senior Member
Just wondering if this scenario is familiar to you: You do the wiring for a major remodeling project (kitchen, basement, etc.). You schedule an appointment to come back and do the final trim-out (install devices, fixtures, hookup appliances, etc.). The customer procrastinates in purchasing the lighting fixtures until the last minute, and then discovers that the store is out of stock on the fixtures they wanted. So now they have to order fixtures online and wait a week for them to arrive. You manage to install everything else when you're there, but now this means having to schedule another appointment to return to the jobsite just to hang a few light fixtures -- AND having to wait until then for final payment. What would you do?

Would you ask for final payment right then? Would you charge an extra fee to come back due to the customer not being ready?


Senior Member
Clark County, NV
It's one of those things you learn to anticipate and price accordingly, or specify in your agreement what happens when the customer causes delays and extra trips. Because you are right, and you deserve payment without delays and for extra trips caused by client, but unless he agreed ahead of time, good luck getting it. Some clients are quite reasonable and will pay most of their bill when you ask, and they realize they caused the delay.


Staff member
Along with the others advice I always made last minute contact (a day or two before) to make sure everything was there before I made the trip.



Senior Member
It happens with commercial and industrial customers too. They insist it’s an emergency and wasn’t you there at 6:30 AM. Of course night shift made zero progress and the part doesn’t arrive until tomorrow so they don’t actually start until the part arrives around 11 AM. Course you could go off site and do paperwork or sleep 5 minutes away but no...stay there. Eventually at 6:30 PM you’re expected to get it done ASAP and have everything you need. So then of course it gets patched together and runs barely but needs to be finished. Next day of course you are the scourge of the plant and it’s all your fault and you didn’t even finish. So then they do a back flip when they get a bill for emergency straight tune plus overtime on a 16+ hour day that was basically ridiculous and all customer driven, and they want a freebie to do the follow up work.

That’s as compared to say another one where we rescheduled twice, I had to bump the price from what we originally expected to three times that, and took 12 hours instead of 4. Then again they paid for 4 trips by the competitor that replaced every part that wasn’t actually defective, never fixed it, and told the customer they needed two complete new systems (why? So the color matches). We were able to find the problem and fix it in two trips (T/S and repair). I feel like we kind of failed to deliver but they were just thrilled we fixed it all and paid for it all within a couple days of billing.

The first customer is high maintenance. Charge accordingly. They whine but keep coming back. The second is a great customer. Both are worth keeping but bend over backwards for. the second customer.


Senior Member
That is the MOST aggravating scenario for us. As Roger stated, we always call ahead to make sure EVERYTHING is there for us to finish. The GC’s and Homeowners who we work for are all aware that we will not come unless everything is there. We provide 90% of finishes so we don’t really run into this problem as much as we do during the rough ins.


Electron manager
NE Nebraska
If there was a known deadline to meet such as final inspection, move in date, start up date, etc. and they didn't provide something they were responsible for it is not your fault. Might be fair you don't get final payment, might be fair final payment amount needs to increase for your additional trip, also might be fair you get some sort of partial payment to cover what is done.

If you have a contract and they were supposed to supply those fixtures, they are in breach of that contract. But I probably wouldn't try to go after them for breach of contract if the project went reasonably well otherwise, but rather come up with some compromise so I can collect a majority of the final payment at least with rest (plus any additional fees for the return trip) due when the job is completed.

Most clients I have had would be fine with this. If not the entire project likely was a disaster and that client will not get anymore service from me down the road.