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Old 11-16-2009, 11:54 PM   #1
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Hey guys,

My father owns the company and fell ill so I have had to take over for him to keep things going. I have a decent business sense and have been doing well for about a year now, but this is something I have just not been able to figure out how to deal with.

I'm sure you've heard it, right when you are invoicing the customer and trying to get paid for your hard work and great job "my ________ is broken, it wasn't like that before."

Sometimes it is obvious your guys did it, but other times it is just absurd and you know the people are just trying to cash in. What do you do? You can't prove it, but neither can they. My most recent is my guy was painting some wood trim around a garage door, that is all. The customer does not want to pay because she said we broke a paver. Huh? It is obvious we did not break this paver. It was a small job with a few other things on the inside, I even threw in an extra for free (those always seem to be the ones that screw you).

What do you do?
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:57 PM   #2
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I have never had that situation come up. I have had the you got paint on this thing before. Even when the paint is a total different color than what I was working in.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:21 AM   #3
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Take before and after pics. Note any damaged areas. You won't catch it all, but how often does it really happen? 2.00 paver enough to leave a bad impression?
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:37 AM   #4
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A pre job assessment prior to the job, can help identify existing paint splatter, fragiles, and damaged items. But like RCP says, you can't catch it all.

187 to go, so's I can roll wit da big Dawgs. Based on my average, that'll be sometime in 2012!
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:12 PM   #5
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What do you do?
You fix it. 100% of the time. It doesn't matter who is right. I learned that the hard way this year.

If there is an issue such as pre existing paint splatter on a mahogany piece of furniture, you find that and point it out before you start.
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:35 PM   #6
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After I walk the jobsite, I bring the homeowner with me on the second trip and point out all the items in question before hand and have them sign off on such things. One time I gave the estimate and then walked the homeowner around. They were going to sign, but I told them that I was not responsible for pre existing contractor/homeowner issues. This person thought they were going to get it signed, let me do the work, blame me when done, do not pay and take me to court. Well, as soon as I gave my disclaimer they said they would be in touch. I said I thought you want the work done and were adament about me starting? They shrugged their shoulders and i said you thought you had a amatuer didnt you Son. I left to their serenade of curse words all the while I chuckeld to my van.

Do not have the conspiracy angle in your mind, but do not rule it out though...
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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I walk the jobsite, I bring the homeowner with me on the second trip and point out all the items in question... I told them that I was not responsible for pre existing contractor/homeowner issues... I gave my disclaimer they said they would be in touch. I said I thought you want the work done and were adament about me starting? They shrugged their shoulders and i said you thought you had a amatuer didnt you Son. I left to their serenade of curse words all the while I chuckeld to my van.
Hahaha!!!
Good on yer 4thGen
That is class
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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After I walk the jobsite, I bring the homeowner with me on the second trip and point out all the items in question before hand and have them sign off on such things. One time I gave the estimate and then walked the homeowner around. They were going to sign, but I told them that I was not responsible for pre existing contractor/homeowner issues. This person thought they were going to get it signed, let me do the work, blame me when done, do not pay and take me to court. Well, as soon as I gave my disclaimer they said they would be in touch. I said I thought you want the work done and were adament about me starting? They shrugged their shoulders and i said you thought you had a amatuer didnt you Son. I left to their serenade of curse words all the while I chuckeld to my van.

Do not have the conspiracy angle in your mind, but do not rule it out though...
That's awesome . . . I'm in no mood for wierd homeowners these days and love hearing a success story like yours. Though I've never really had the "you broke this" issue, one or two wierdos are enough to put you on alert moving forward. My issues with homeowners these days revolve more around the fact that everybody thinks "it's a great time to buy" which, when translated means "a great time to try to get people to work for free."
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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Take a form filled out that states they will take a pay cut also because in fact "There are tons of out of work people looking for work" My guess is that they will not go for that will they? Funny how it is always trades like ours that seems make sense for people to get a cheap rate. Now at the same time they want you to be bonded, insured and licensed. They want you to have an adequate number of employees as well as all the equipment needed to finish their job on time and with top notch quality. That equates to $50 per room in their lolly pops and Sunshine world as Glenn Beck tells the story.
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Old 11-18-2009, 06:01 AM   #10
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Before any job is started, we always take pics of any questionable pre-existing conditions in areas where we are working or have to transport materials and equipment through. We bring it to the attention of the HO and have them sign off on it.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:38 AM   #11
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My issues with homeowners these days revolve more around the fact that everybody thinks "it's a great time to buy" which, when translated means "a great time to try to get people to work for free."
Exactly what I am seeing...I won't do it...I'll flip burgers before I give it away..
On topic...I have never been strong-armed by a client....I think they know better than to try it...If I broke/damaged something, I'd make it right.
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:23 AM   #12
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This happens quite a bit doing insurance resto work. They figure the insurance co is paying for it, so what the heck. The first 6 mos. of doing this type work caused me alot of extra work. I sat down with a few adjusters and they said pictures were the best "insurance and assurance" to protect one's self. Thank god for digital cameras.

I do a very thorough inspection of the jobs now, and have no problem what so ever in bringing the "facts" to the customer.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:32 PM   #13
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Thanks guys. I have been doing the photos thing and pre-job inspections. I of course paid for the paver and stuff, it was just the principle of the matter that had me frustrated.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:11 PM   #14
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Photos are great, as well as the pre-walk. You have to get used to looking for the previous 'oops' left by other crews before you start getting your hands dirty.

Here's a situation I ran into about 3 years ago. New construction home with 5 french doors. Typical pre-primed doors with the plastic already on the glass from the factory. We finish the house as usual and i send 1 guy to clean up, hang doors, etc on the final day. About a week later I get a call from the builder saying the glass is scratched all to hell on all the doors. According to the builder the owner saw my employee 'scraping' the plastic off the glass with a mud knife. The guy i sent to clean up has been with me for 6 years and has many new french-door-plastic-removals under his belt. But what could i do? I argued until I was blue in the face but I have the builder and the home owner blaming me. I ended up eating the cost of 5 french doors + refinishing them + $400 for the trimmer to replace them (3 of the doors were stationary wall separators).
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:07 PM   #15
 
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I had broke an outdoor egg looking thing, and the customer freaked out and told me it was an irreplacible item and it was a 100$ ...........Thank god the sticker in the bottom said 19.99 walmart..................she was pissed but she paid
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Old 12-04-2009, 03:36 PM   #16
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I had broke an outdoor egg looking thing, and the customer freaked out and told me it was an irreplacible item and it was a 100$ ...........Thank god the sticker in the bottom said 19.99 walmart..................she was pissed but she paid
Anything that is a 100 dollars is replaceable IMO

funny story.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:14 PM   #17
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I had broke an outdoor egg looking thing, and the customer freaked out and told me it was an irreplacible item and it was a 100$ ...........Thank god the sticker in the bottom said 19.99 walmart..................she was pissed but she paid
That story belongs in the old Saturday Evening Post's "the perfect squelch"

It's amazing what people try to pull over on us. Sure, it ain't good to break anything, put pleeeeease. How can you respect a person who lies like that.



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Old 12-05-2009, 02:49 AM   #18
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That story belongs in the old Saturday Evening Post's "the perfect squelch"

It's amazing what people try to pull over on us. Sure, it ain't good to break anything, put pleeeeease. How can you respect a person who lies like that.
You can't. Accidents sometimes do happen, and if anything is damaged we fess up to it and offer to repair, replace, or reimburse. If I have to question a homeowners purported said value, I have no problem in asking for a purchase receipt or where the item was purchased if they dont have a receipt. If they can remember a purchase price I feel they can remember where it was purchased. It's happened a couple of times where the owner claimed some outlandish price, no receipt, but claimed some high end store where it was puchased. Took the damaged item to the store only to find out they have never carried nor sold said item. I have no respect or patience for those type of people.
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