I've been asked to replace a couple locks. I went to the
store, looked the job over. Provided three levels of
estimate, based on three brands of locks. The referral
company that send me out offered to provide the locks. She
said she could "get those locks" through the company's
supplier. I gave an estimate based on using the same brand
of locks, so it would be a simple in and out job. The
package arrived, they shipped a cheap after market lock,
which may turn out to be a pain to retrofit.
Does anyone charge a fee for customer provided parts?
Appliance repair, or automotive, or any other trade?
"No Warranty on Customer Provided Parts"...
Now ask them to provide doors on which those locks
they supplied you will fit onto using only a screwdriver
If the referral company you are doing jobs for is making
so little margin on the jobs they pass off to you that you
can not provide your own parts (which you can stand
behind and source locally) and they want to provide the
cheapest "equivalent part" sourced internationally
(which won't be the same lock today that it will be a
few months from now) then you either need to be more
firm on your estimates and decline the jobs where they
seem totally insistent on providing you parts for OR
have them supply all the parts for every job you accept
through them AND back those parts up with their own
warranty that has nothing to do with your install labor...
Most appliance techs and mechanics that I know in
my area won't use or install customer provided parts;
they will gladly point you in the direction of a butcher
or backyard mechanic who does such work on the
side and doesn't have to worry about maintaining a
business license, proper insurance and a reputation
by providing quality services like they do...
On Sat, 22 Oct 2011 07:32:00 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"
Never charged an extra fee. I've walked away from such jobs though.
The people that are out to save every penny will screw you one way or
another in the end and are not worth doing business with, as you can
If they are a cheap lock, you will be blamed when they break, you will
be called for service and free warranty work. Walk away while you
Anybody I've ever seen certainly either does or refuses to deal with it.
A local plumber I know adds a 50% surcharge on his labor to install,
say, a toilet the customer brungs home from the BORG. Since he's not
cheap to begin with, it's a pretty pricey toilet in the end.
But, otherwise, he's losing on the fee he normally makes on supplying
the parts...I'd surely assume you're operating under some similar model
if you're actually in business rather than just moonlighting a little
free time on nights/weekends; I've never figured out that for certain.
I am going to go against the majority here and side with "the customer is
always right". If she wants to get locks through her own supplier,
that's her business. She lives (works?) there, not you. Maybe it's to
save money, maybe the business has limitations on where they get
supplies, or maybe she prefers a specific brand. You can certainly
educate her as to the problems with her locks, and charge an additional
fee if it will take more labor to install than the locks you would
supply. Obviously, you would have to make it clear you offer no warranty
on parts she supplies.
Yes, you will lose any markup you may get from supplying your own parts,
but it's a paycheck. If you choose not to do the job because the user
supplied their own parts, someone else will get the job. That's money in
their pocket, not yours. Do you want to lose 50% or 100%?
Back when I used to work on appliances, I would occasionally get
customers who wanted me to use their own parts, I even had a guy who
wanted me to use his crimping tool instead of mine. Who cares, if it
makes them feel more comfortable, what does it matter to me. I got paid
either way. They were happy with my service and referred other customers
in the future.
Yes, there were a couple of times when the customer would supply
completely junk parts. 9 times out of 10 I would simply show them my part
and explain why it was better than what they had, and they would choose
mine. Then again, sometimes the customers part was better quality than I
could get myself. It happens.
From a customer viewpoint, there are many reasons I have supplied my own
Automotive: On a few occasions I have bought tires elsewhere
(tirerack.com for instance) and had them installed locally. I didn't do
it to save money (it actually cost more), but my tire store couldn't get
the brand and size I wanted. I could have gone to another store (if they
had them), but I like the store I work with. I supplied my own tires,
they got my business, and more importantly I keep coming back.
There have been other instances where a shop wanted to supply off brand
parts, and I wanted genuine parts for my car. I bought the parts, they
installed them, I was happy, they got my business.
Plumbing/Lighting: More times than I can count, I have bought items
online because local suppliers couldn't get the brand, color, style, or
whatever that I wanted.
One of the main reasons I choose to do work myself instead of hiring it
out is because of silly restrictions on parts or how the job is done.
It's MY stuff, if I can't have it the way I want it, I'll do it myself or
find someone who will do it the way I want it done.
Just my opinion...
Hey Anthony. The customer wasn't supplying the lock, the referral
company was supplying it. Big difference. They supplied a crap
lock. For a customer. Right there that should tell you something
about the referral company - they're willing to sacrifice a customer
to make (note I did not say earn) a few extra bucks.
We're talking about a commonly available standard item, not hard to
get tires or products. Another big difference.
And your part about losing 50% or 100% is an odd viewpoint. Say the
OP does install the lock, and there's a problem. The customer won't
care who supplied the lock, they just want a working lock. The
referral company, already established as cheapskates, won't be looking
to pay out more money, and will be pressuring to have the repair/
replacement work done for free or the OP won't see anymore jobs from
One last thing - the customer is not always right, and in this case
the customer isn't the customer. The cheapskate referral company,
that lied about providing a standard quality lock to make a few extra
bucks at the real customer's expense, is the customer. You're
basically advising the OP to take a hit in his profits so he can have
the pleasure of working for a company that scams its customers.
If that doesn't scream out to you BAIL OUT NOW!, I don't know what
My bad, I missed the part about a third party supplying the lock.
That's a no win situation. I wouldn't feel comfortable installing it, and
the customer wouldn't be happy with it. That's probably a situation you
would want to opt out of if the referral company isn't willing to supply a
Sheepishly ducking... :)
I learned that at age 16 while working in a luncheonette.
Almost 50 years later and it's still true.
Even when they are wrong, never act like they are.
If you remember the other old adage about not burning bridges,
if you do find you have to turn the job down, do it gently.
The sign of a professional.
My automobile dealership is happy to use the parts I supply. It seems that
the service bucket is not connected to the parts bucket. The service
department is happy to get the job*.
Now if the user-supplied parts don't fit - your case - the labor charge
necessarily has to go up. Point out to the customer that the supplied locks
don't fit and it will be some effort to MAKE them fit. The money they saved
on the crappy locks will be more than eaten up by added labor charges.
They'll end up with marginally functional locks, although installed
Personally, I'd pass on the job. As an alternative, notify the customer that
if they supplied you with any of the three locks you recommended, you'd be
happy to do the work for just the labor charge. If the locks ever do fail,
you'll get blamed.
I bought an A/C compressor online for $240. The dealership wanted ~$675.00.
Obviously a big saving. The dealership installed the new compressor, belt, a
You asked about automotive so I'll tell you about automotive.
A repair shop wanted $2200 to replace the front Y pipe (which includes
2 catalytic converters) on my wife's Taurus. The part he was going to
order is $1900 on the Ford on-line parts website. I looked it up, that
is indeed the list price. The guy said that that at that price he
wouldn't even mark it up, just install it for $300.
My son knows a guy that owns his own shop. When I mentioned the price
to him, he took me behind the counter, we logged into eBay Motors
where he found the part for $300, 5 year manufacturer's warranty. He
had me buy it with my credit card so there would be no mark up and it
wouldn't go through his paperwork.
He charged me $250 to install it. He warrantied his work, the
manufacturer warrantied the part. The part could go bad 6 times with
him him charging me $250 each time to install it before I'd approach
the $2200 the other guy wanted to charge me.
Customer supplied part, his labor to install, one happy customer.
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