Sure, no problem with following your instincts, but at least let the
customer know up front, and don't tell them you're coming back when you
aren't, and definitely don't start something and then just leave
whatever it is you're doing torn apart and unfinished.
Good tradesmen are to be treasured. Over the years, we find it best to
work with a business that has several plumbers although we may request
If they have problems, they can bring in helpers.
May cost a little more, but we can rely on them. Neighbor uses one of
these jack-of-all-trades individuals, who will come back, but he is
often left hanging for several days while jack gets his act together on
a job a little complex for him.
I have ditched a few customers over the years because I didn't like them or
their house was gross. I never left in the middle of a repair, although I
may not have finished their list of repairs. I also never got paid for those
jobs. No regrets.
I don't blame you, although it would probably be good to explain why you're
leaving. My dentist said he occasionally gets a patient who doesn't brush
their teeth before coming to his office. Their logic is "Hey...I'm here for
cleaning anyway". Wrong. Probably the same kinds of people who don't clean
under the kitchen sink before they expect a plumber to work under there.
I agree with you. I had an experience with my sister-in-law. Got an
emergency call, she had hired a painter to paint her apartment. He left 2
weeks ago and never came back half way through the job. Would I please help
To keep the wife happy, I agreed. When I got there, I saw why he never came
back. She had done NOTHING to the place in preparation for the painter, and
she had lots of glass and china junk all over the place. I said I would
finish painting but she would have to do some work.
I did the painting, and some repairs and other things to make her apartment
nice. But, it took both myself and my wife constant haggling with her to get
her backside out of her chair. I went to move the fridge, and asked her to
empty it. She didn't do anything and said it wasn't necessary as it would
move OK. So I lifted it on the 2 wheeled cart and tilted it back to move it
through the door and everything spilled out onto the floor, eggs, drinks and
whatnot all over the place. I parked the fridge and made her clean up. To
move a bookshelf, she whined and grumbled about moving the books. I passed
them to her to take to the finished bedroom, when I turned around she had
only walked 5 feet and put them on a table that was also to be moved. The
grumbling changed to bitching when I insisted she move them out of the room
that I was about to paint. This went on for weeks, the job took over twice
as long because we had to browbeat her everyday to do her share of looking
after her stuff.
When it was all over, I think she hated me, and certainly complained of
everything including the paint splatter on her dishes that she was too lazy
to move from the cabinet that I painted.
I see why the painter walked out on her, I would have also if she wasn't my
wife's sister. I am sure that is why many tradespeople will refuse to return
to some jobs.
I agree with the "troublesome customer don't bother to show up" thing.
Some people are *never* satisfied with your work and will complain about
anything and everything. They want you to do the work for below cost, then
expect perfection and top quality.
I know a couple of women that I will never do any work for. I have seen
these people complain about every single bit of work *anyone* has ever done
If I have to do any work in these situations, the price goes WAY up!
(Additional stress and grief fees!)
The opposite is true. If someone is nice to me, offers me water/soda, use of
their bathroom, maybe a snack, the price goes down. With some of these
people, they get free or reduced price service.
Another situation I will avoid is doing any work on manufactured houses.
Always a royal pain. So I am too busy when anyone wants work on their
manufactured home done.
If a repair person wipes their feet in sloppy weather AND does good work, I
send a letter to their boss. If they teach me something about maintenance
and can (and should) do myself, I try and nominate them for sainthood. I've
never managed to find the right web link for doing that, though. Otherwise,
there would be a Saint Bud, from the HVAC company I've had for 20+ years.
Then, there was Saint Sonny, the garbage man. When my son was 3, he had a
brief fascination with how garbage trucks worked. When he heard the truck
coming, he'd tear through the house to the front window to watch. One day,
he wanted to see more detail. We went out. Sonny told the driver he needed
to do a demo, told my son to cover his ears against the noise, and threw
some stuff in. He was there a good 5 minutes, answering kid questions. :-)
Have you actually worked for someone who WON'T allow you the use of the
facilities? Isn't that just basic human kindness? I'd be mortified to
learn of a repairman not asking me to get him something for fear of me
turning him down.
If it's an all-day job I offer lunch and a beer while they're
cleaning up at the end of the day. We did that with two ends of a
move some years back. We got some service! What's a pizza or a
couple of subs some soda and a can of beer cost?
Manufactured ,as in mobile home or as in factory built (to the same
code as a stick built)? A friend had a lower-end factory built
house. While there were certainly things about the house I didn't
like (popcorn ceilings, etc.), all of the infrastructure looked
Aaaaaaack! It must be a trend! A few years back, a female acquaintance began
offering to play frequent rounds of hide the salami with me. Two weeks
later, she announced she was moving to a new apartment in a week, and asked
if I would help. I agreed, but noticing the unbelievable amount of crap she
owned, I suggested that she go get boxes immediately, and start packing. She
said that could wait because she had a dozen friends who'd also agreed to
help on the day of the move. I pointed out that this was less than ideal,
but she was unmoved.
The morning of the event, I got there about the same time as her other
friends. She had done absolutely NOTHING. She hadn't even washed the dishes
that needed to be packed. She assigned someone to go get the U-Haul truck
and boxes, but that didn't fly because she didn't have cash to cover their
credit card charges, and nobody trusted that she actually had the money in
the bank. It was 90 degrees outside, no breeze, and the house was even
worse. She had nothing for people to drink. Several people suggested that
she stop at a store after getting the u-haul truck, and pick up at least a
gallon of water and/or juice per person, and a shitload of cups. She did
neither. Things did not go well. Around early afternoon, she also pointed
out that she was expected to clean the place before vacating, and "if
someone could help with that, it would be great". Too bad she'd packed all
the sponges & cleaning products. I left around that time, along with about
half the other people. No salami game is worth that kind of inconsideration.
I had a similar problem with my mother-in-law over painting the
interior of her house. It was October of '77 and a group of us
who played baseball together were going to help paint each other's
houses. Mine had been painted two years ago and my mil's hadn't
been painted in 20 years.
Two of us sat down with her on a Sunday to explain what she needed
to do to be ready for us. Upon her first argument how something
was unnecessary, my friend told her she was getting free labor and
if she did not do what she was asked to do, the house would not be
painted. She stared at me and asked if I was going to allow him
to talk to her like that. My response was that I was so grateful
that he had that I was going to split a bottle of brandy with him.
While we were finishing the last of the four houses, I told my
now ex-wife that if her mother didn't make her house ready for
painting, we were going to paint some apartments in a "project"
in the inner-city for my share of the work. [I know how to jack
up bigots! LoL] All of a sudden it was ready. Then we added
that she could not be there while we painted.
The other houses took a Sat/Sun for cleaning/painting walls &
ceilings and part of a Sat for the trim. We put in a 12 hour
Saturday and an 8 hour Sunday so we would not have to come
One of my friends after meeting my mil said "Next time - we do
had a similar experience recently; an artist who i've done repair jobs
for asked me to paint her living room.i told her previously that i
don't paint but i have a friend who does.he gives her an estimate for
the entire condo but i guess it was too high.she gets other estimates
and then calls me to just paint the ceiling and trim.ok i'll do it
because your a good customer.i get down there and unloaded all my stuff
and she asks "how much do you think this will cost?"i look and say at
least $400.mind you there's paintings all over the place that are
selling for big dollars.well before i can paint i tell her they will
have to be moved because i'm not taking the chance of splattering paint
on them.then she says she had a quote for $600 that included painting
the entire room ceiling,walls and trim and could i give her a break and
do it cheaper than $400.i looked at her and said i think i'll pass on
this job.i didn't want to do it in the first place.best decision i've
made in a while and i think i'll be booked up next time she calls.
I contracted with Lowes to install a kitchen sink. They quoted a "flat-fee"
"normal installation". Knowing that the salesman was not clairvoyant,nor a
plumber, I paid ($50) to have an on site estimate done by their contract
He produced a figure that was about $250 higher than Lowes "flat-rate".
I agreed to the price but he never showed back up.
Called a local plumber who came and charged $50 less because
they were in the neighborhood.
I figured Lowes guy was a "flat-rate" plumber and saw the job as
over his head.
Translation: He wasn't a plumber. :-) He was more like me. I can handle
*almost* any home repair. But, I know trouble when I see it. I know that
some projects may involve a dozen trips to the hardware store for questions,
parts, and a shoulder to cry on. I've never told anyone I was a plumber.
"A man's got to know his limitations".
Sadly I must admit my wife has a sharp pointy finger, but no interest
in helping with the work, and complains about the quality
etc.....typical lazy customer
I ripped up nearly all the urine soaked carpets gross nasty work....
urine courtesy of a old dog she adopted, nice old dog that has onew
major problem, it presers peeiong in house, even with 2 dogie doors
always open at all times
carpet has been replaced by cheap sheet vinyl as a temporary fix to
protect the hardwood floors
she complained I asked her to help pull staples which I hate doing.....
she REFUSED to ove stuff or prep area, I pushed everything into whats
now known as the junk room. working on that today:(
If she had helped in ADVANCE things would of been much easier.........
I am SICK AND TIRED OF HER ATTITUDE.........
she almost never cleans does laundry etc.
Wonder how to get her stepforded?
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