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difficult customers

Difficult Customers

Contrary to popular myth, the customer is not always right. Some people that contact plumbers to have work done are just as devious as some shyster plumbers are. I cannot tell you how many times I have been contacted to do plumbing work for people, mostly managers running businesses  that I know for a fact just wanted their plumbing emergency taken care of and planned on paying very slowly or not at all. Many of these businesses go out of business because they can no longer get service people to fix their problems.

I had a restaurant in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas  that had silverware so packed into their  floor sinks they could barely get water through them. Essentially they were out of business. I was referred to them by a friend of mine, went there and gave then an estimate to take apart their pipes  under the floor, and clean them out, replacing what material needed replacement. Their manager accepted the price and began pestering me to do the job. I told him I needed my estimate signed by corporate before I did the work. Finally their regional manager called me and asked me if I would accept a verbal contract from him. I said no, of course, I had to have it in writing. He became angry and told me that their company owned 10 restaurants in Vegas and they pay their bills and on and on. I told him he may have 10 restaurants in Vegas and he may pay his bills fast but I had never worked for them before, and I had to have the work order signed before I did the work. End of story. Get another plumber to fix your problem.

He faxed me the signed work order and I did the work.

3 weeks later I had not received payment, which was fine because we work on 30 day billing with corporations like this, they pay their vendors on 30 day rotations. I then sent them a notice of intent to lien, which must be done within 30 days of doing the work lest you lose your right to lien the job. It is done on every job.

I received a torrent of angry e mails and phone calls from them saying things like how dare you lien our property, you will never work for us again and so forth. I explained that it was standard procedure, nothing personal, just business. It was not a lien, merely a notice of INTENT to lien. Big difference.

They cut the check a couple of days later. There point of my story is this:

They would have had no trouble finding a plumber willing to do this work with no written contract. Perhaps a plumber that was slow, and naive enough to think that if  he did this job for them they would get all of their repair work in the future so don’t make them sign anything. I know these plumbers. I have made that mistake. Many people  prey on service people like this, they are like sharks,they  look for weakness. They figure if they don’t pay you, you will not have the cash to sue them.  My father used to say he would never work for a guy like Donald Trump. He has too much money, he can tie you up in court forever. And they do.

Don’t be willing to do work for everyone who calls.

And get it in writing.

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