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Al Letellier_9
Al Letellier_9 Member Posts: 929
How much do you value this account? Is it worth the effort to keep it? Had a customer like this many years ago. Finally I got tired of all the time I spent figuring and pricing work for them so I started charging for my time, with the understanding that it would be credited if we were awarded the work, but not if someone else did it and we had to come back and fix it. We always provided a complete list of specifications for the job and told them to be free to use it to get other bids, after all, they paid for the specs. I only got outbid once and still got the job. They just had to be taught the value of my time.


  • Keith_8
    Keith_8 Member Posts: 399
    confused customers

    There is one account that continues to confuse me.

    They are the biggest penny pinchers and it ALWAYS comes back to haunt them.

    They ask your advise, you quote it and they go elsewhere. When there excursion goes off in another direction they usually end up back with us to clean up the mess. Don't get me wrong, they pay there bills and are nice enough to deal with but they are an example of a customer that just doesn't get it.

    I can see if we are a new contractor to the facility but we have been doing business with them for about 8 years. In that 8 years we have always been fair and given them a great responce time for service work,(maybe that's the problem).

    Today was another example. Last week the AC for their server room blew a compressor. The unit is undersized, it's run flat out for the last 7 years, 12 months a year. I suggested a larger unit....too much money. Besides the fan they put in the server room is working pretty good.


    Oh Well, some get it and some don't. History has a habit of repeating itself.

  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    I would want you on my jobs, Keith

    Looking out for your customers like that counts for a lot.

    I suppose some people are like that and do not learn from repeated mistakes. I for one can never figure them out. I suppose the best you could do is to run the numbers for them over a cup of coffee, saying, for this job we did, if you did "X" as we suggested, you would have saved "Y". Instead, you paid "Z" not to mention aggravation and down-time potential.

    They seem to see the price of everything but the value of nothing, as someone quite pithy once said...

    I sure hope that they appreciate you regardless.
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
    Oh Yeah

    Had the same thing with a large commercial account in Stamford CT. Everyone knew we would do the best job. THe facilities manager pushed to give us the job, but the bean counters had the last say so it went to the low bid. We warned them.

    When the low bidder was done, we came in and did a ton of work to fix all their mistakes. Forget whether it was cheaper this way, they never count in lost productivity due to a system that doesn't work right.
  • Keith_8
    Keith_8 Member Posts: 399

    My guess is that if they did appreciate us they would also trust that we are giving them good advice.

    My guess is that their price objection responce is an automatic reflex reaction. Just once I would like to quote something below cost to see what they say. But I'm not the gambling type.

    This is a customer that is not interested in building relationships. Just a cry for service when ever the you know what hits the fan.

    It's their dime, they can spend it how they choose.

  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931
    that's why

    You've got to make sure your getting ALL THE MONEY for service. i frequently hear guys say it's ok to loose on service as hopefully you get the replacement work. Unfortunately as K is seeing this typically isn't the case.

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  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981

    Isn't life wonderful?

    You could explain this over and over again...but it wouldn't matter. I work for a couple of contractors that operate the same way....There's NEVER time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over. I've given up. I do just as they ask. Sometimes I'll give them an early out....but seldom will they take it.

    I hate to say I told you so....Learn it, Live it, Love it! You've done your part...charge them accordingly and move to the next job. Chris
  • Keith_8
    Keith_8 Member Posts: 399
    No time to dwell

    One of the things that I enjoy about sales is that you cannot afford to dwell on success or failure. I try and learn from the experience and move on.

    My interest is in trying to understand what shapes peoples buying decisions. Everyone brings a different set of experiences to the table.

    Al, Thanks for the suggestion on charging for the proposals. Personally, the service work is profitable. If they want to contract another company for the installs, be my guest. No hard feelings, not a ton of time wasted on the proposals, part of doing business.

    Example: They have a 40 year old fire tube boiler. We could cut their fuel use in half with new equipment. We have quoted new heating equipment 2 times in the last 5 years. Why? Once because we told them it would save them a considerable amount in their fuel oil consumption. The 2nd time it was for the new landlord as a capitol improvement. At the price of heating oil today it's a no brainer. Will I bring it up again? No! Why bother? When it gives up the ghost we will talk again. Most likely someone else will sell them on 30 year old technology at 1/2 the price. They will still burn a ton of fuel.

    No problem, we sell them their fuel oil. No time to dwell, it's their dime!


  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,103
    Fire them!

    is it worth the stress and hassle?

    Sounds like it bothers you if you came here to talk?

    If you have enough good paying appreciative customers, why bother with the "pinchers"?

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream

  • I've been in business for myself about a year now. I am hating GC's. They want you to do the work for your quality but at the same time want to compare you to the hack that way underbids. Then they have the nerve to cry to you when things aren't going right with the other person.
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