[Q&A] Customer Haggling Over Price

Question:

Hi Travis,

Ok,.. a question. I recently had a customer who at the end of the day wanted to haggle over our agreed on price. I was firm on the price, but then he balked at the materials I bought(not marked up) and didn’t think we needed them. We came to an agreement, but he wanted to pay me at a later date for them. I said no, I need to be compensated for my labor and materials. I realized after I left that he shorted me a little on both labor and materials.

He added on some things to the job that I’m scheduled to return for, but on reflection, I don’t want to work for him again. I’m not even sure he’ll pay me once I finish. I may go back and take a chance on getting paid. I’ll need to get him to sign an agreement this time. Or I could call him and tell him to find someone else. This is what I’m leaning towards.

My question: How would you handle it?

Answer:

I would not work for him again. You’ll probably go through the same thing the next time around. Take it as a learning experience. I haven’t had too many things like that happen but I have all my customers sign off on the estimate before starting any work. I just wouldn’t deal with this guy again. If he calls back, you can be honest with him. Tell him that you don’t feel that your last experience was very good with him and that you’ll have to decline the job. Hopefully he’ll learn something and won’t treat the next guy that way. Good luck!

P.S. If people pay cash, don’t be embarrassed to count it in front of them. I’ve counted cash in front of people only to find out they accidentally shorted me. It’s much better to do that in front of them rather than come back to them and tell them that they shorted you.

Comments

  1. Steve Kelly says

    In this world you are only as good as your word. I always try to do the very best job I can for someone. I always look them in the eye when the job is done and ask if eveything was completed to their satisfaction. If they hesitate at all I ask what I need to go back and take a second look at. This rarely ever happends. They will however ask me to do one last litte item before I leave. This is one reason I do this before asking for payment. If after saying the job is to their satifaction they question the agreed upon price I refer them back to the agreement and their satisfaction. If they pay immediately and with a smile I will galdly work with them again. Any other reaction will get them fired as one of my clients, no exceptions. There are plenty of people out there who are looking for a quality Handyman to spend time on people who dishonestly want to haggle after the fact.

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