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So I got a call from the secretary of this GC I work for asking how much I would charge for an electrical inspection for a commercial property they are looking to buy. I told her I'd charge $300 or less depending on how much work was involved. So I did the inspection and didn't find too much wrong except the fact that the place was a auto dealership and they are looking to sub divide it into individual spaces so nothing was going to be useable. The 240 volt three phase bastard leg service also was going to be a waste and needs to be a 208 volt service with 6 separate meters. All in all I advised the owner of how to properly go about this building if he did purchase and he totally agreed. I sent him a invoice for $150 for my hour. He sent me a email stating I forgot to tel him that he was going to be charged. I replied that his secretary forgot to inform him that I told her there was going to be a fee for my service. Obviously he feels this should be free. I might get a nice job out of this but it's a coin toss. Not sure how I should respond. What would you do?
 

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Expect my payment and if he comes to me with more work, I'll inflate that price knowing he's going to want a discount anyway.

Everyone gets paid, to think you don't get paid for your work is a joke. Of course he knows you get paid, he's just trying to screw with you and save $150.
 

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We had a similar call yesterday from someone who just bought a building. They wanted us to come out and do an inspection to see what exterior lighting and electrical was working or not and an estimate to make any repairs.
When we explained that there would be a charge for this service they were outraged that we wanted to charge them to come out for an "estimate".
Guess like your customer they don't think our time or services have any value.

I say, give the guy an estimate (and add on for your time) and tell him that you'll include the cost of the inspection if he does the work.

Some people really kill me.
 

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It's absolutely amazing what people try to pull. I try to give everyone best intentions until they act like what we do is not a big deal. If they don't want to pay don't call or expect someone to come out. We wouldn't expect those people to offer a service for free that they normally charge for.
 

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Honestly I think we do it to ourselves.
I was looking up electrician ads on line and the ads are loaded with :

"Free estimates"
"No call out charges"
"Free Service call"
"Lowest prices"
"Free diagnostic" etc etc.

When we get calls from people who lead with "Do you give free estimates?" I know we are dealing with someone who does not value our time. I feel like asking, "why? are you looking for free work or are you calling (wasting the time of) 15 different people to see who will give you the cheapest price?

We also find that businesses are the worst about expecting us to come out for free.

Again and again and again, we find that people who don't value our time and service enough to be willing to pay a small fee (which is 100% applicable to the work) to come out to their home or place of business are not going to be willing to pay a fair rate either.

Who in the world expects people to get in a truck and drive out somewhere, diagnose a problem or inspect something and not charge for the time or expertise? I cannot IMAGINE calling up anyone and expecting them to come to us and provide their services for free.

Why would anyone expect that of us?
What other trades give away their services for free? Why do people expect it? Well, because so many in this trade seem to be willing to do it.

Do plumbers come out for free? NO
Locksmiths? No
Hvac repair? No
Appliance repair? No
Garage door repair? No
Sprinkler repair? No
Spa repair? No
Pool repair? No
Roof repair? No
Home inspection? No
Even the cable company charges unless it is their fault.

Many salespeople yes but not all. Call for any repair or service and you can expect to pay. (unless you are calling an electrician it seems)
 

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Tell them you'll discount it from the job upon final payment if they go through with it.
 

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Estwing magic
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I can't think of a good GC who wouldn't pay it. I can think of a few GC's I do small favors for in the interest of goodwill but they are the good ones and I still invoice them for the small stuff regularly to remind them that I am the one who decides on the freebies.
 

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I had a gc call me on a friday b itching that i needed to get a fan rehung for a customer right now. We had hung the fan to early, because he insisted it got hung, they took it down and broke it. I told him i just got the parts from his partner the previous day i would be there monday. Showed up monday and none of the usable parts from the fan were there, they insisted everything will be sitting out, i waited for them and we looked for an hour and half, still nothing. I left and billed them $150 and they bitched and still havent paid.
 

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yrman said:
We had a similar call yesterday from someone who just bought a building. They wanted us to come out and do an inspection to see what exterior lighting and electrical was working or not and an estimate to make any repairs. When we explained that there would be a charge for this service they were outraged that we wanted to charge them to come out for an "estimate". Guess like your customer they don't think our time or services have any value. I say, give the guy an estimate (and add on for your time) and tell him that you'll include the cost of the inspection if he does the work. Some people really kill me.
I probably have this once a week, a customer arguing because I say free local estimates, I have to explain that an estimate is for things you want to change or upgrade, not for times when you have smoke boiling out of you zinsco panel.
 

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the problem you have is that your price was too low. You should have sent him an invoice for $500.00. when he called, you explain (as you did), that you gave that info to his secretary. You explain that this is your standard flat fee for that type of inspection. After he finishes bitching and moaning, you tell him, look, you pulled off paying work to fulfill his request, you gave his girl the information, but just this once you will drop it down to $300, if he promises to throw some work your way.
 
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Do plumbers come out for free? NO
Locksmiths? No
Hvac repair? No
Appliance repair? No
Garage door repair? No
Sprinkler repair? No
Spa repair? No
Pool repair? No
Roof repair? No
Home inspection? No
All of these trades do 'free estimates'

In fact, the quickest one to the customers door to do so usually gets the job

This is simply a cost one needs to learn to pass on

~CS~
 

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So I got a call from the secretary of this GC I work for asking how much I would charge for an electrical inspection for a commercial property they are looking to buy. I told her I'd charge $300 or less depending on how much work was involved. So I did the inspection and didn't find too much wrong except the fact that the place was a auto dealership and they are looking to sub divide it into individual spaces so nothing was going to be useable. The 240 volt three phase bastard leg service also was going to be a waste and needs to be a 208 volt service with 6 separate meters. All in all I advised the owner of how to properly go about this building if he did purchase and he totally agreed. I sent him a invoice for $150 for my hour. He sent me a email stating I forgot to tel him that he was going to be charged. I replied that his secretary forgot to inform him that I told her there was going to be a fee for my service. Obviously he feels this should be free. I might get a nice job out of this but it's a coin toss. Not sure how I should respond. What would you do?
Your only fault is going through a 3rd party here

You should have asked that secretary for #'s , and dealt with the customer directly if in fact said secretary was not empowered to hire you

~CS~
 

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Party A sent you off to work for Party B Dkes

which resulted in this>

He sent me a email stating I forgot to tel him that he was going to be charged. I replied that his secretary forgot to inform him that I told her there was going to be a fee for my service
You went to work for party B (the GC) on assumption

Party B is obviously using party A as a shield

Next time ask Party A for Party B's (the GC') direct contact info , & cut your own deal




~CS~
 

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There are many threads about red flags and they vary depending on your business. We do residential service and a GC is a red flag for us. We always quote a service charge and may discount it if work is performed, but if the van is dispatched it is not free. Doing the basics like getting a signed work order is your easiest solution IMO. If the GC didn't intend to pay he probably wouldn't have signed a work order.

I had a recent call from an out-of-state landlord on a local rental, also a red flag for us. I got all the information then asked for a credit card number. We don't do this type of call without the service charge before the van is dispatched. Asking for the credit card info was the end of the conversation and that is OK with me. I don't want to take care of a call and then have a collection problem as you are.
 
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