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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,
I'll cut to the chase. Customer wanted new gutters, I gave him a great price on ~180 linear foot. We did the take down 3 weeks ago, found massive wood rot. The disclaimer in our contract covers that, he knew it was going to be the case and was present when my guys were removing the old gutters. He directed them to remove all the gutters to expose ANY wood rot. They called me for approval, I called the customer to confirm. All good right?

Long story short we couldn't find ONE board that didn't have damage. I gave him a fair estimate, (180'ish feet of fascia, sub fascia and soffit using PVC, Treated and Hardi for around 3800. 18 days later I get this email,

Censored,
My wife and I have discussed our situation, and we have decided to use a different company for our gutter replacement.

There remains the issue of our $1000 pre-payment to you, which was intended to cover the full gutter replacement. The work that you and your subcontractors have completed is the removal of the old gutters. The removal required less than two hours of labor for two or three workers at our house.

By my reckoning, the gutter removal job represents about a third of the total cost of labor and materials that was included in your original quote. It would seem reasonable then for us to request a refund of the portion of our pre-paid amount that will not be utilized. We trust that this request reflects the normal and regular conduct of business at your firm.

Please let us know your thoughts on this subject at the earliest convenience.


My disclaimer reads as follows... PLEASE NOTE: We make every effort to anticipate unforeseen circumstances when estimating repairs. It can be very difficult to determine how deep or widespread water damage and wood rot is. An example would be finding rotten roof decking under a leaking flashing or removing fascia boards and finding termite damage on the sub fascia. If at any time during the time of repair we find additional damage you will be notified before work continues. We highly recommend your presence on the day of repairs. Please keep this in mind when scheduling.

How would you handle the refund?
 

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Accidental Painter
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What about a restocking fee? After all you DID use the deposit for materials correct?

What do YOU use a deposit for? Is that explained in writing?

A hidden problem cause does not guarantee that they HAVE to use you to repair. It just means those issues are extra. That's all it does.
 

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Contractor of the Month
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Send them a bill for a 20% restocking fee, 5 hours of labor and a cheque for the balance.
 

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Lol so he wants to give you $300 for sending over 3 guys to pull down his gutters and advise him on what's necessary for a decent repair so he can then get a hack over there to fix it on the cheap. That's very generous of him. also nice of him to consider just your guys time there and not one other of your business expenses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Driftweed said:
What about a restocking fee? After all you DID use the deposit for materials correct? What do YOU use a deposit for? Is that explained in writing?
It's still in the business account. I didn't use it for anything. And no, I tried to offer terms of 50% down and final on completion but the customer insisted on payment in full up front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
BCConstruction said:
Lol so he wants to give you $300 for sending over 3 guys to pull down his gutters and advise him on what's necessary for a decent repair so he can then get a hack over there to fix it on the cheap. That's very generous of him. also nice of him to consider just your guys time there and not one other of your business expenses.
Freaking EXACTLY! God bless you sir. My estimates are so detailed he knows how many linear foot of fascia he needs.
 

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Contractor of the Month
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I'd probably call him up and work something better out...why doesn't he want you to do it anymore?
 

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$1000 was the original cost of the whole job? In that case I think you should refund some of the money but make sure you still make profit.
 

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Talking Head
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So what is your total out-of-pocket? From the price I'd think that you were planning on finishing in one day so you probably can't refund any labor and can only refund 80% if the cost of materials. 100% if it's a stock item and you're a nice guy.

Giving him any refund is probably taking a loss on a job that small but going back there would be too. Offer him an amount that he might take and consider yourself lucky if he takes it rather than having to go back there for another day.

Seriously, $1k sounds crazy low. Is that really how cheap gutter is in NC?
 

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Fine Handcrafted Opinions
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By the time you add up pay for your guys, your time, overhead, profit, a wasted half day once you had to stop working, etc, seems like you'd be within spitting distance of $1000.

Tell him you won't charge him anything for hauling off the old gutters and call it square...
 

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What about a restocking fee? After all you DID use the deposit for materials correct?

What do YOU use a deposit for? Is that explained in writing?

A hidden problem cause does not guarantee that they HAVE to use you to repair. It just means those issues are extra. That's all it does.
thats a bunch of crap.

he is under a contract and extras for unforeseen damage are more than fair.

what is the purpose of a contract if someone can cancel it at any time> why does the state make us write on fi it mean is nothing or only serve the HO whim?

this is what you tell him.

you dont want us to do the repair? fine..have someone else fix the damage and we will install our gutters when they are done.

no longer is there a warranty as the repairs are not yours.
he paid you already so what do you have to lose?

3 guys for 2 -3 hours sounds like a $1000 bill all day any day.

he will write a bad review somewhere..big deal.

he can threaten small claims..big deal..it will be on him to prove you wrong and make the judge believe he is right.

the judge will not do this.its in your contract spelled out.
 

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water re-locater
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If the guy is complaining that it only took two hours to take down hell crap himself when he sees how quick new ones go up. We get paid by the job if it takes 2 hours or ten hours. Dont understand homeowners. They are hiring a professional service to perform a task they couldnt fathom ever doing not a by the hour handyman..Grab whatever you can from the guy so its not a total loss and move on..guy sounds like a douche
 

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water re-locater
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So what is your total out-of-pocket? From the price I'd think that you were planning on finishing in one day so you probably can't refund any labor and can only refund 80% if the cost of materials. 100% if it's a stock item and you're a nice guy.

Giving him any refund is probably taking a loss on a job that small but going back there would be too. Offer him an amount that he might take and consider yourself lucky if he takes it rather than having to go back there for another day.

Seriously, $1k sounds crazy low. Is that really how cheap gutter is in NC?
I live hour from NYC. $1000 is pretty much going rate for 5" with 2x3 leaders. I bet he could have had gutters down in hour with two guys
 

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Removal of debris 200, time for guys @ $60 an hour per guy. give him the difference. Tell him your being nice and not to push his luck.
 

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NYGUTTERGUY said:
I live hour from NYC. $1000 is pretty much going rate for 5" with 2x3 leaders. I bet he could have had gutters down in hour with two guys
Say what?!? I live an hour from Philadelphia... I would love to only pay 1k for 180 linear feet of gutters, with downs and removal...

I just paid 795 for 114 linear feet - new construction. He was lower than the next guy by 125 bucks.

Your prices are awesome, wanna drive south?
 

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Sophisticated Siding Guy.
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I'd bill him for cost of my labor and move on. Less than $1000 is peanuts and not worth a business owners time to argue over. Now if it's a custom color that you had to special order or something like that it might be a issue worth holding your ground.


I know it's the principle of it but give the guy what he wants and move on. It takes a couple thousand before my feathers get ruffled.
 

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water re-locater
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Say what?!? I live an hour from Philadelphia... I would love to only pay 1k for 180 linear feet of gutters, with downs and removal...

I just paid 795 for 114 linear feet - new construction. He was lower than the next guy by 125 bucks.

Your prices are awesome, wanna drive south?
did that include downspouts also? 7.00 a foot is about the max for 6" not 5"
 

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I can see the guy being upset. A $1000 job turns into an almost $5000 job. I would guess that he thought additional rot might double the cost at most. I'm not saying you price is wrong but 5 times the original quote is a big shock.
Perhaps for future work you should make people aware that the cost of replacing rotten wood could be more than the price of the gutters.
Back to the original question. As was said before - figure what you need to cover the removal and refund the balance. Tell him how sorry you are that it did not work out as planned and should he need you to install the gutters after someone else repairs the rot please call you. Let him know that you know he is probably having sticker shock but that the price you quoted him is for a solid job with no shortcuts.
Bill T
 
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