Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Crash Test Dummy
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to apologize to at least one in particular.

At first, I was cursing him for cut-throating me and stealing one of my major maintenance accounts a few months ago.

I just got off the phone with the property owner. The place is a mess. Judging from the crappy cell phone pics he sent me, I quoted him the equivalent of 2 1/2 months service to get the place restored, and gave him a new monthly price 10% higher than when he let me go.


So...CL hacks....keep doing what you're doing. You may have cost me a month's income on this particular account, but over the long haul, I'll make it up in spades.

And some food for thought for you CL hacks...in the short term, you give all contractors a bad name. But in the long haul? Well, lets just say you make us legit guys look like gods (not that we need your help in that department, but thanks anyway!):thumbsup::thumbup::clap:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,360 Posts
we do snow removal in winter. one customer had us do 3 - 24 hr c-store properties for him. all done tween hrs. of 2-4 a.m.....let us know last year, was getting it done for half price, and no longer in need of our services...after 2nd snowfall, i get a frantic call from him at 7 a.m. in the morning, none of his places were open, customers going to the ones across the street that were plowed...same scenario...yeah, we can put you back on the list, but did i tell you about our price increase? and you know now, that you've slid to the bottom of the "priority plow" list, right? he goes, just do it and send me the bill
 

·
I own stock in FotoMat!
Joined
·
13,096 Posts
I've had similar experiences. Builders always say they find someone who'se cheaper. Within a year, I'm back bidding their work again.

Seems all the low-ballers have gone on to other vocations in either the hospitality or food-service industries.
 

·
Crash Test Dummy
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's pretty much what happened with this place. It had not been touched in six weeks. Property owner lives out-of-state. Tenant finally called him to ask WTF?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
I would like to apologize to at least one in particular.

At first, I was cursing him for cut-throating me and stealing one of my major maintenance accounts a few months ago.

I just got off the phone with the property owner. The place is a mess. Judging from the crappy cell phone pics he sent me, I quoted him the equivalent of 2 1/2 months service to get the place restored, and gave him a new monthly price 10% higher than when he let me go.


So...CL hacks....keep doing what you're doing. You may have cost me a month's income on this particular account, but over the long haul, I'll make it up in spades.

And some food for thought for you CL hacks...in the short term, you give all contractors a bad name. But in the long haul? Well, lets just say you make us legit guys look like gods (not that we need your help in that department, but thanks anyway!):thumbsup::thumbup::clap:

:thumbsup: Gotta love when that happens!

Unfortunately in my business that's rare, unless the hack f it us so badly that it's unuseable or walks off the job, you rarely get called back since the customer isn't going to pay to start over. With something that is on-going like landscaping I can see how this could happen more often.

You might want to absorb this into your sales method if you haven't already. The old leave the door open policy for customers who stray.

I'm sure a lot of customer's ego and pride get in the way when they stray and keeps them from calling back their original provider and they end up firing the hack and calling a 3rd person. If you could lay the ground work for an easy way for them to come back I'm sure it would be a good thing.
 

·
Crash Test Dummy
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lawn maintenance and painting. From the outside looking in, it seems so simple. I tried to paint my own house. I ended up doing it a lot of it twice to get rid of the roller lines.

The account I speak of here is just a tad under three acres and meticulously maintained. I was spending about 12 hrs/month on the place. The hackass :)laughing:) most likely went in there with equipment from Sears or HD, found himself greatly overwhelmed and not clearing anything near what he thought he would income wise.
 

·
Pompass Ass
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
I had a guy want a window replaced, I told him how much it was and he said the other guy was going to do it for less, I said where is he at?

Client said, he never showed up.

Another prospect called up and asked me how much to hang a door slab, I told him $125 (it was a few years ago) he complained and said the other guy wanted $30 and he thought it was too much and that the door slab only cost him $30 to buy, I told him as soon as he heard a dial tone he should call the $30 hack and hire him.

When a prospective client I haven't worked before tells me that they had someone else quote them a cheaper price, I always tell them to hire the guy and when they screw it up, I can fix it but it will cost them more.

I gave a bid to a HO on a door replacement, he wanted State Farm to pay for it, I told him they wouldn't, they refused the claim but the adjuster told him my price was too high, I told the HO to get the name of some licensed contractor from the SF adjuster who would do it cheaper, the adjuster said he couldn't give out names, but I was too expensive, I told the HO I didn't care if I did the job or not and he could call someone else, even though I already ordered and paid for the new door, he had me do it, but I should have chnage dthe price or charged him a consulting fee for the extra BS and time that was wasted because of the adjuster.

Now when someone starts out complaining about price, i tell them to find someone else.
 

·
Crash Test Dummy
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You might want to absorb this into your sales method if you haven't already. The old leave the door open policy for customers who stray.
I do exactly that. I've actually prevented a couple losses when I knew it was a cl lowballer, and explained what to expect. One called me after a couple days, asked me to continue. One fired the guy after one visit and called me back. I'll usually say something along the lines of "if you found a legit company, I'm sure you'll be in good hands, but if you're going with CL or classified, just keep a close eye on the guy.

And I send a snail mail letter thanking them for the past business and inviting them to call me should they need my services again, and they get a refrigerator magnet busness card in that letter (more likely to keep my name in their face).

I had lost about 60% of my business from Jan-Mar 09. A lot of that was a halt in bigger projects outside of maintenance. I'm starting to get some of that back.

I lost a few accounts to tenants of rental/income properties I handle, as they were looking for discounted rent when they lost work. So far, I've regained about three quartes of the maintenance accounts i lost in that time.

I'm still down about 30% from where I was a year ago, but at least I'm not losing money now. I was ready to hang it all up in April.
 

·
I own stock in FotoMat!
Joined
·
13,096 Posts
I do exactly that. ...........
As do I.

"Just give me a call back when this guy goes out of business / can't provide warranty work for you / can't asnwer his phone because he's got a 9-5 job ...."
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
I do exactly that. I've actually prevented a couple losses when I knew it was a cl lowballer, and explained what to expect. One called me after a couple days, asked me to continue. One fired the guy after one visit and called me back. I'll usually say something along the lines of "if you found a legit company, I'm sure you'll be in good hands, but if you're going with CL or classified, just keep a close eye on the guy.

And I send a snail mail letter thanking them for the past business and inviting them to call me should they need my services again, and they get a refrigerator magnet busness card in that letter (more likely to keep my name in their face).
:thumbsup: Figured you had to be something!

How do you find these come backs? They've strayed and tasted the dark side and didn't like it, now they are yours...:batman:

Do you find them a little more... how would you say it? agreeable?
 

·
Crash Test Dummy
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
:thumbsup: Figured you had to be something!

How do you find these come backs? They've strayed and tasted the dark side and didn't like it, now they are yours...:batman:

Do you find them a little more... how would you say it? agreeable?
I think it's an enlightening (for lack of a better term) experience for them.

They learn that just because we're contractors, we're not shady or rip-offs. It enlightens them to the difference between pro and hack as well. They start to understand you get what you pay for.

The standard of service, the work ethic, the addressing of HO concerns...the lower the price, the less they get on those things. The HOs NOTICE. Sometimes it takes a trip to the dark side to see that. There is great truth in the saying "don't know what you got till it's gone".

Agreeable? They don't like the initial higher cost of fixing the problem, but they're always happy with the results. There's nothing like spending time in the abyss to make you realize how nice it is to NOT have to worry or babysit.

And I try to sympathize with them on the cost of the fix- "I'm sorry I have to hit you with these extra costs, but this is what it's going to take to fix it. And remember-you're not just paying for labor, you're paying for knowledge. If this guy knew what he was doing, he absolutely would have been saving you money."
 

·
Fentoozler
Joined
·
5,623 Posts
And I try to sympathize with them on the cost of the fix- "I'm sorry I have to hit you with these extra costs, but this is what it's going to take to fix it. And remember-you're not just paying for labor, you're paying for knowledge. If this guy knew what he was doing, he absolutely would have been saving you money."


True.

So very true.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
- "I'm sorry I have to hit you with these extra costs, but this is what it's going to take to fix it. And remember-you're not just paying for labor, you're paying for knowledge. If this guy knew what he was doing, he absolutely would have been saving you money."
LOL,

That reminds me about the old Texan who had been trying to retire for years. He'd been working as a engineer in the industrial machining field for 40 years had seen all the generations of machinery come and go, had a hand in creating some of them.

He was bored with it all and wanted to quit working for somebody else so he decided when the opportunity was right he would just quit and become a consultant.

A few months later he quit his job and relaxed, starting playing golf and decided he was liking this retirement thing.

One day he got a frantic phone call from a company that was having problems with their manufacturing line. One of their most important machines was down and it was costing them $2000 an hour for every hour it was down.

He negotiated a deal to come out and look at it. $5000 up front, 1st class ticket and pay his expenses and he could be on a plane that afternoon and be on the line by midnight that night.

The panicked executive agreed, just crying get this thing up and running, we don't have anybody here who has been able to figure this thing out and we need this thing running!

To make a long story short the engineer/consultant shows up at the plant, sniffs around the machine for a few hours and narrows down the problem. The executive says, "Well, what do we need to do?". The savvy old man says, it's gonna cost you $30,000 and I can have the machine up and running by 11:00 am next morning.

The executive says, done. The old engineer makes a phone call and gets a $200.00 part over nighted to the factory on schedule for a 9:00am delivery the next day.

By 10:30 the old engineer has the line up and running and he goes to the executives office to collect his check.

The executive is pissed, he says, WTF? All this took was a $200 part? We thought something drastic was wrong with the machine, how can you accept a $30,000.00 pay check for 1 nights worth of work?

The savvy old engineer hands him his invoice and says, don't worry, I broke it all out for you on my invoice so it would all make sense to you.

The executive looks at the invoice, it says

Parts $200.00
Knowledge to know which one was broken $29,800.00

The executive wrote him the check.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Charlie,
Good post! We have experienced similar CL frustrations, with our local economy being way down (we are just a couple of islands away). Undercutting price, advertising on CL with comments like "license available" (should be spelled "LIEcense") or falsely listing their general excise number as their contracting number.
When I have the initial meeting with a potential client, I hand them my resume, two pages of local references, two business cards and boldly point out my license number on the card.
A majority of the time, the calls I receive are referrals, so they have already been informed of the service I provide. I also make it known (if they don't already know from the refer-ee) that I am NOT the cheapest guy out there but that they WILL be happy with the end result.
Also, i mention that IF they are getting other bids, to get them from other LICENSED contractors to be sure that they are getting apples to apples comparisons. Then, I tell them if they choose to get a hack, I give them the Ahhhnold quote "I'll be back"-but it will cost you MORE.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
618 Posts
I can share a similiar story.... some hacks installed unused old sawd off another site fire sprinklers in a new fire sprinkler job. fire marshall caught on that. I got called in to correct the violation by cutting in and replacing the heads. Cost in material $1200 and labor $4200. 1 night's work!! 7 hours!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
538 Posts
I would like to apologize to at least one in particular.

At first, I was cursing him for cut-throating me and stealing one of my major maintenance accounts a few months ago.

I just got off the phone with the property owner. The place is a mess. Judging from the crappy cell phone pics he sent me, I quoted him the equivalent of 2 1/2 months service to get the place restored, and gave him a new monthly price 10% higher than when he let me go.


So...CL hacks....keep doing what you're doing. You may have cost me a month's income on this particular account, but over the long haul, I'll make it up in spades.

And some food for thought for you CL hacks...in the short term, you give all contractors a bad name. But in the long haul? Well, lets just say you make us legit guys look like gods (not that we need your help in that department, but thanks anyway!):thumbsup::thumbup::clap:
thats awesome, glad you got your account back.:thumbsup:
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top