The Crazy Things Home Owners Say To Contractors
Any contractor who has been in business even for a short time has probably had to shake his/her head at something a prospect or client has said during conversation. Often times the statement or question might be the result of the homeowner’s honest ignorance about how construction and contracting work. On the other hand sometimes it seems the logic behind their statements comes from left field or maybe even from some distant galaxy!
Here are a few that I have experienced and one recently shared with me by a contractor I work with. I thought it would be fun to share these and see if others would share some of their own experiences about what crazy clients and prospects have said to them. Remember, the purpose is to be fun and informative. Please be professional!
You pay your guys $75/hr!
When I owned my remodeling business I had one prospect question me about a quote I gave her for some repair work at her home. She asked me what I was charging her per hour for the carpenter who would be doing the work. I told her the hourly rate would be $75.00 per hour. To that she responded in a very dramatic tone; “You pay your guys $75.00 an hour?”
I was dumb founded and had no idea how to respond to that one. What does it say about our school systems and or the intelligence level of consumers when they think a business charges $75/hr for services rendered but then turns around and pays the person doing the work the full $75/hr? Did that woman think I started and ran a business just so I could collect money and then turn around and give it all away, no money to cover overhead costs, labor burdens and profit?
It’s your fault my basement is flooded
On another project my remodeling business was working on, a kitchen renovation, the client’s basement flooded during a heavy rain storm. Their gutters were packed with leaves and as a result the water on the roof just flowed over their gutters and right into the areaway for the basement access door. This all happened overnight after my employees had left for the day.
The customer called us first thing the next morning to complain and said it had never happened before and must be our fault because we were there doing work on their home. Of course we panicked thinking it was a broken pipe. When we got there and discovered the real reason for the flood the home owner actually told my carpenter she would not hold us responsible for the flood if we cleaned her gutters and pumped the water out of her basement for free!
The Angie’s List complaint tactic
One of my consulting/coaching clients told me one of his customers complained about a 1/32” gap in a miter joint on a built-in cabinet he built. The customer went on to make a big stink about it and made some threats. Then the customer told the contractor to forgive the final payment due or “ I will go to every place I can find you on the net and write a bad review”.
The contractor told me he did stand up for himself and called the customer's bluff. Eventually he was paid in full but said it was very stressful. I don’t know about you but I would call that blackmail or maybe even extortion! Think about that scenario. What would you do? Would you stand up for what’s right and demand your final payment? A bad write-up on Angie’s list could cost a business far more in bad PR than the balance of money due. Plus, it’s my understanding that businesses can’t be proactive about writing reviews about their clients at Angie’s List, they can only try to respond after a member customer has already posted a negative review. Just ask Chris Dietz about his experiences with the Law suit he is going through regarding a review posted by one of his customers on Angie’s List and Yelp.
"The Vendor Client Relationship - In Real World Situations"
What about you?
Have you experienced some crazy conversations and or comments from home owners during your years of experience as a contractor? Please share them with the rest of us so we can all shake our heads and have a few good laughs as well!