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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am dealing with a customer that can't be satisfied. We tore off his roof, built out his overhangs, capped the overhangs with aluminum fascia and soffit and then installed gutters. We also rebuilt his two chimneys.

Complaint #1... some garbage was left behind when the dumpseter was removed. Some aluminum bits were left behind after the clean up. There are gaps where the old gable soffit meets the new drip edge soffit. Pitch pans on the flat roof were installed in the wrong locations and incorrect sizes.

Resolutions #1... we sent a crew to clean the remaining garbage which fell off the dumpster when the company was removing it. My boss and I both cleaned the entire backyard looking for any bit of garbage. We replaced some wood at the imaginary gaps from new to old soffit. We removed all 14 pitch pans and installed new pitch pans in the proper locations and proper sizes.

Complaint #2... There is still garbage left behind. Tiny bits of aluminum everywhere. A pallet, which isn't ours, is left behind.

There is no humanly possible way to clean the yard further than it has already been cleaned. What to do?
 

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I would ask, "how exactly can we satisfy you?" Sometimes people have unusuall expectations, and if thats the case, they need to be told so. This may not prevent litigation, but at least its a straight up question.
If he wants every little bit of tiny molecules picked up before he is satisfied, and it is industry standard, that its ok to have some bits left after install, then he needs to be told that. Stick to your guns unless you want to go out of your way, and you just may want to. Thats where this question comes in handy. When you find out EXACTLY what he wants you to do, and you feel its inconvinient, but possible, you must contimplate weather or not it is in your best interest to just satisfy this dude and move on. Sometimes they need to be asked "how exactly do you think we should go about cleaning this up to your expectations, because honestly, I dont see how we can do better". Put the ball in his court.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He's with holding my money... Well over $10,000.

We usually clean better than all of our competitors and we pride ourselves on our super clean job sites. The site has been cleaned 3 or more times. There is no way to clean any better than it has been cleaned.

I am going to ask him what you said "how exactly do you think we should go about cleaning this up to your expectations, because honestly, I dont see how we can do better".

My problem is I sometimes lose my temper when I feel as if I am being taken advantage of. If it is a valid complaint as the gaps in the soffit were, I want to truly help. This guy is just an a-hole.
 

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Grumpy said:
My problem is I sometimes lose my temper when I feel as if I am being taken advantage of. If it is a valid complaint as the gaps in the soffit were, I want to truly help. This guy is just an a-hole.

I can tell by your screen name you may have some issues with temper :)
We have all been there at one time or another with clients, thats why we change fine print on contracts everytime we run into such occurances.
I have also found in your previous replies, that you want to start your own business, and this is a good start on how to deal with such stuff. When I first started in this business, I was a real pushover, and it cost me money, then I started getting too agressive and it cost me money. You have to know when to hold em and when to fold em, sometimes going the extra mile to satisfy will help get the situation resolved (and get paid) and you can adjust to avoid a similiar problem. All a part of learning I guess.
Speaking point blank to a customer will not make you lose future business, and if your a pushover, you wont speak point blank, you have to have a touch of aggressiveness to get your point across, but you also have to have empathy. Sounds like your on the right track, and when you find that HAPPY medium of agressive and empathy, you will find more stuff goes your way, or at least, you will get paid which is a plus.
The key is knowing what is standard and not standard and feeling you have done the best (sounds like your there)
the next key is finding out what will cost more to deal with, litigation, or moving a pallet and renting a metal detector to find pieces.
then find out how to avoid this in the future...
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
On a more happy note, if anyone has seen Lord of the RIngs and seen that dwarf looking character that they travel with. I do believe this guy is his brother. The only difference is my customer doesn't wear a horned helmet.

Thanks for all the advice. My assistant maganed to reach him on the phone and we are meeting thursday. If he doesnt put a check in my hand I'm calling our lawyer. Then again our lawyer is lazy, I am calling a new lawyer and telling my boss to deal with it.
 

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Some people do this with the sole intent of not paying the full amount owed. My boss got ripped for $5000 because the loser said we held up other contractors. $5000! Regardless of the fact that he built the house himself and it sat idle for weeks at a time.
This from a guy we considered a "friend" and co-contractor. He is a computer guy who we did several jobs with, us doing the field wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How would $5000 have anything to do with holding up other work? How could he even draw the conclusion that $5000 is a valid penalty unless it was spelled out in the contract?

I agree with you though, and nothing pisses me off more than someone who tries to negotiate their invoice. The negotiation is for the proposal, not invoice.

I got ripped for $5,500 by installing a roof for someone who was a best friend, I even lived with for a few years when I was in my young twenties. He hired us as a sub then stopped answering my calls once we finished the roof. As it turns out the home owner paid him and gave himm a $3,500 down payment for some masonry work that never got done. Poor home owner had to pay us so we wouldn't lien his property. :( The home owner is a real nice guy though and hired us to do some window work for him... Oh yeah don;t let me forget. This home owner that hired my *friend* to do the work is a life long friend with my *friend's* uncle. Who rips off the friends of their family or their own friends for that matter? Jeez this paragraph deserves it's own horror story.
 

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First, do you have a picture showing the remaining mess? Second, how is it that you are due $10,000? You are playing with fire if you let jobs get that far out ahead of payment. Almost all issues can be resolved by improving communication.
 

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First, do you have a picture showing the remaining mess? Second, how is it that you are due $10,000? You are playing with fire if you let jobs get that far out ahead of payment. Almost all issues can be resolved by improving communication.
Grumpy doesn't come here any more...:mad:
 

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I am dealing with a customer that can't be satisfied. We tore off his roof, built out his overhangs, capped the overhangs with aluminum fascia and soffit and then installed gutters. We also rebuilt his two chimneys.

Complaint #1... some garbage was left behind when the dumpseter was removed. Some aluminum bits were left behind after the clean up. There are gaps where the old gable soffit meets the new drip edge soffit. Pitch pans on the flat roof were installed in the wrong locations and incorrect sizes.

Resolutions #1... we sent a crew to clean the remaining garbage which fell off the dumpster when the company was removing it. My boss and I both cleaned the entire backyard looking for any bit of garbage. We replaced some wood at the imaginary gaps from new to old soffit. We removed all 14 pitch pans and installed new pitch pans in the proper locations and proper sizes.

Complaint #2... There is still garbage left behind. Tiny bits of aluminum everywhere. A pallet, which isn't ours, is left behind.

There is no humanly possible way to clean the yard further than it has already been cleaned. What to do?

Some people are hard to please. You should take picture of the area as proof that everything has been cleaned up.
 
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