Colateral damage

Guys,
I've been doing various odd jobs for people to try to get some plumbing experience. A job last night was just to put some sludge remover in a system. I thought rather than put it in the cistern I'd put it directly into a radiator, as I didn't have a hose with me I couldn't drain a bit off easily. So put container below radiator, opened nuts to rad after closing rad valves and drained a litre off. As I put sludge remover in I noticed a leak directly below the valve at the T-junction that also housed a drain cock. It was leaking at the drain cock joint to the soldered T junction. It was quite a bad leak - a drop every second. What baffles me is how this could have happened as there was definately no sign of a leak before and I only jostled it slightly.
As I did it for a friend I can't charge for draining off and replacing the T junction as I did this morning, but supposing I was trying to run a business (which hopefully I will one day) and this happened- do you build it into your prices so everyone subsidises grey areas or would you charge the unhappy customer who's unfairly pointing his finger at you?!
The pipework is around 20 years old with grotty blue stains around the rad valves and on the dodgy T junction. At least it's made me think about doing jobs for next to nothing now!
Thanks in advance for any opinions.
Jon
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
[71 lines snipped]

s/often/nearly always/
--
"The road to Paradise is through Intercourse."
The uk.transport FAQ; http://www.huge.org.uk/transport/FAQ.html
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
IIRC (main agent) vehicle servicing costs are calculated by the manufacturer and quoted in 'units' and thus you pay the same for the job however long or short the time taken. This is to protect the punter from the unscrupulous servicing agent taking ages over a job. However this can have unforseen consequences if your main dealer has an unsophisticated rate book. My particular experience relates to replacing clutch and engine mounts (3) on a Fiat 128 3P about 20 years ago (I haven't taken a car of mine to a main agent since): I reckoned that as the engine was out to do the clutch it made sense to save the expense of removing the engine on another day to change the mounts at the same time. Wrong! The dealer charged me for 2 separate jobs. Oh and broke the reversing light switch as well.
I guess, for whatever value my opinion amounts to, that the answer is to quote for what you expect to encounter but explain that possible escalations in complexity, like no means of switching off the water supply or replacement of a water tank revealing a rotten floor, will increase the cost.
Richard
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Huge wrote:

s/nearly//
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

For 'small' jobs like this I charge by the hour. I [try to] always make clear to the customer what my rates are. I generally give an indication of how long I think a job will take, and if it takes much longer I'll explain what the unexpected problems were. If I lose much time through not having a part or tool I should have I won't charge for that time. Apart from that, however, I'll bill for the time (and materials) the job takes. I think if you've been clear about your T&Cs and stuck to them then the customer may not be happy with the bill, but if they trust that you're not a cowboy ripping them off then they'll accept it, and if they don't trust you then you don't want your relationship with them to proceed to the big expensive job because they'll distrust you on a much bigger scale resulting in bigger problems!
(On 'big' jobs I try to be clear about what's included in a quote and what may be extra. I don't always get it right but I stick with what I've agreed with them, even though it sometimes hurts.)

Depends on your friends, and if you're clear with them it should be OK. I've have friends I have met as customers.
-- John Stumbles -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ -+ The most dangerous component in a car is the nut that holds the steering wheel
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for your replies. For me decisions on these grey areas are the make or break of a business. PoP's post had me in stitches but personally I would have asked for a bit more money after completing the job. If the customer refused then he's not the type I would want, but there again I don't run a business!
Cheers
Jon
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 23:43:32 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Curtis"

Actually there's a little more information which I didn't supply in my original post. The chap I did the work for belongs to the same business referrals group that I do, and is hence disposed towards giving me leads for work. He wouldn't be someone I would naturally choose to alienate :)
PoP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.