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Just because

DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
Have you ever decided not to charge the customer after you finished the job? If so, what made you do that?
Retired and loving it.


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
    That's beautiful, Steve. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Retired and loving it.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,614
    I have done many freebies. Most of the time it is not charging all the hours the job took (sometime because I screwed up), sometimes because I knew they couldn't afford it. No matter how many troubles you think you have there are many in a much worse condition.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,331
    Hi, I think my very most fun freebie was this job: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/160828/help-a-nurse-out-please-heart-surgery-is-easier-than-this#latest ! I had to drive a bit over 100 miles to her place, but after all the grief she suffered at the hands of others, I felt she had earned a break. It was all about the generosity of people here that made things right for her.

    Yours, Larry
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 888
    I have a soft spot for single moms. I typically lose on those jobs. Must be a reflection on my own single Mom, she got stuck with 3 energetic boys! At times single moms dont have someone to guide them on mechanical decisions and because of that get taken advantage of.
    Montpelier Vt
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
    What everyone else has said.
    I am pretty sure this is why we struggle financially, but I sleep ok for doing it.
    I believe it is because of jobs like these that I am still working. People realize you are being as fair as you can be, and they will give your name out to others as a referral.
    Some times I wish I was not born such a softy. I would be financially better off, but would not enjoy life as much.
  • woodrow
    woodrow Member Posts: 40
    Yes many times mostly older or people in need sometimes a warranty that only covers the part with no labor its hard to charge sometimes when you change out a system that gave 30 yrs of service and the new one cant make 2 . I would bet most guys on this forum do because there here giving advice and knowledge to help others
  • Jellis
    Jellis Member Posts: 228
    edited May 2020
    It feels great to help people so I try to whenever i can.

    One that I remember well was a family of 5,
    the call was to replace a faucet, however when I got there the lady of the house said that they had no heat upstairs and asked if i could look at that instead.

    Turns out her and her husband had been saving up to have the faucet replaced and they would not have enough to repair the heat and faucet.

    She told me to fix the heat and leave the faucet broken, while I was packing up my tools I couldn't help but notice her try to wash some dishes with the broken sink. Water was getting everywhere... I had seen enough, I installed the new faucet, billed her for the faucet and "forgot" to bill for the labor and heat system repair.

    the 4 year old that "helped" me while I was under the sink told me I was a superhero since I wore a costume and helped people :)
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 494
    edited May 2020
    I started volunteering for habitat for humanity projects early in my career so I could work along side contractors who were successful. I learned a lot from them including the satisfaction that comes from volunteering. The less fortunate are almost always the most sincerely grateful.
    I've had people resist gratis work or materials even though they could not afford the real costs; they were willing to do without rather than except a " handout ". I would tell them the faucet or replacement parts were so new that the manufacturer provided them for a free trial and there would be no charge......
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    Many years ago I had an old couple for a customer. They were Italian and spoke poor English. I received a call for no heat Dec. 24. 3 PM. got to the job 6 Pm and found a broken circ pump on the hw heating system.

    I had a friend that worked for David and Warsaw plumbing supply, called him at home, he came out and opened up the supply house at 7 P.M. I installed the pump and finished the job at 10 P.M.

    I did not get a chance to write the service ticket when the the old lady came to me with a stack of one dollar bills and her hands were shaking.

    I took all the money and counted a $101.00. I was flabergasted so Took $100.00 and told the lady she gave me to much money and I kept $1.00.

    Told the old couple have a MERRY XMAS and I left.

    That kindness got me many new customers.

  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
    I never sweat the small stuff but I run into a lot of older couples who are usually being taken advantage of in one of two ways one being overcharged and or just garbage workmanship . It really makes me sick to see some of the greatest generation being taken advantage of by the worst generation . I also have to make a living but there’s always a difference between doing a job n just plain taking advantage of some one and doing the min. I guess that’s just the human nature of some . I m a do it like it’s yours and you ll be looking at it every day it really puts things like crappy workmanship in perspective unless you truely just about the money then toss in as you drive by ,I call that type of job a drive by toss in . The worse install jobs are usually by flat rate type businesses you know big ads on both radio ,tv and flyers I guess they gotta make money some where to pay for all that advertising . Buddy looked at one yesterday 2 coupling that’s it 10 g not even new prv backflow ,flue nothing just 2 coupling they called him cause of a leak and non working zone . Weird world racing to the lower road in a hurry . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,185
    I've done this quite a few times for elderly customers on a fixed income. I definitely have a weakness for struggling single moms since I was raised by one.
    It feels good to make money for the company but sometimes it feels like the right thing to do is to help out someone who desperately needs it. I had one lady actually start crying because she was so grateful for what I did.
    Recently I changed a repair to a no charge call for a woman who's husband died from covid-19.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
    God bless you all... one of the main reasons I truly love The Wall is the good people like you who are on it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,325

    God bless you all... one of the main reasons I truly love The Wall is the good people like you who are on it.

    Well said, @Jamie Hall. I agree. :)


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
    What Jamie said. Bless you all.
    Retired and loving it.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    Thats the way to say it, not God Bless You but God bless us all.
    Had a very old lady who had a service contract with a Co. I worked for. She had about a dozen empty coffee cans stacked up near the basement door on a chair to act as a burglar alarm.
    She had a clogged tap - o- line valve which I took apart and cleaned and told her there was no charge since she had a contract. She said that never happen before and was very thankful. Got chewed out by the boss. One of the many reasons to start your own company. I was there less then 1/2 hour. People do not realize that a ounce of goodwill gives back pounds of referrals. And who doesn't need some NRBQ and Joey Spampinato.

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,103
    Two maxims always guided me. 1) Do the right job. 2) Do the right thing. You usually can tell who's hurtin' and can use a break. I've done it many times and never regretted it. Mad Dog
  • Joe_Dunham
    Joe_Dunham Member Posts: 55
    Sometimes we have a customer that gave us a nice job and then they want something a little extra or they need something they are not aware of like a better sump pump in a pump pit that will protect their investment (but they think were just trying to sell something) and we'll just do it, but we always let the manager know we did it.
    Alan Welch
  • hvacr
    hvacr Member Posts: 5
    Done a number at reduced or no charge due to customers attitude or situation.
    Funny one- elderly customer called wanting estimate to "add ac to other end of duct" because not cooling house. No air flow at return, minimal at outlets, 20+ yr old package. Opened craw space door, wiped out spider webs, crawled a few feet under and felt skin crawling with fleas. Backed out was covered in fleas and had possum feces on my pants from knees down. Told customer the problem and that I or anyone else would not go under there until extermination. He was so nice though that I pulled the top off the package to inspect, return flex duct was torn off and possums had nested in the return duct. Coil and blower wheel had a 1/4" blanket of dust, dirt, and hair. Cleaned the coil and blower, told customer he could repair the duct or call back after pest removal. Went to truck and was making out a ticket for $25 to cover cost when he comes out with 2 gallons of frozen shrimp. Threw by bill on the truck floorboard and went home to shower, change clothes and put my shrimp in the freezer
  • Jackmartin
    Jackmartin Member Posts: 196
    Read your comments and I am almost liking the human race again,almost. I have done jobs for nothing because I remember when we bought our first house ate enough hot dogs to turn into one. We could starve or pay the mortgage; things are just fine now two excellent sons and been married for 44 years. I am ashamed of a lot of the service contractors and their overwhelming need to make an excessive buck for simple work. A women my wife works with had her lousy husband walk out will not grant her a devorce because he doesn't want to pay child support. Where in the world are these pieces of manure made? My wife tells me her HWT went and she was getting quotes for 1400 for a lousy tank install. In my city Winnipeg this HWT crap has become a total scam. I got her the tank for cost I stalled it for nothing. I just hope those lousey scam artists have to go to the dentist one day and he charges the same markup they are for single moms. Now you know why I hate the human race. Stay Well and Be Blessed by whatever higher power you believe in, God is only one Jack
  • bill_brooks
    bill_brooks Member Posts: 50
    i have a sickly sugar maple that my late wife and i saved from under a hedge. this spring (after previous yrs. locust attacks) it
    looked mighty poor and i felt the reaper was near.
    i was talking to my elderly (94yo) neighbor i may have to whack it
    and while i was at it, should i whack the dead ornamental in her yard.
    she said yes. so......
    i decided to severely prune back my sugar and see what happens. its got new leaves!
    i cut down her ornamental at the ground so her lawn guy
    wouldn't hit the stump.
    2 days later i get this very nice thankyou letter with a sawbuck
    in the envelop.
    i called her up to say i couldn't accept the money. she quickly
    flipped back "you'd better , i won't hear of it".
    "i've been trying to get someone for a year to cut it". you're
    the only one who's offered.
    she said" good neighbors are hard to come by". " i don't want to
    loose you"!
    can't argue with that.
    STEVEusaPAAlan (California Radiant) Forbesluketheplumber
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 655
    These stories are so heart warming. I think it reinforces the reason I/ we are in this in the first place. I got into this trade because it turns out I'm good at it and I enjoy it. It's in interesting trade with plenty of challenges but I think what I enjoy the most is helping people out. I'll never get any richer than I am already.
    Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker
  • fixitguy
    fixitguy Member Posts: 92
    Glad to read this, for 25 years, I've been telling everyone what a bad businessman I am. Guess I'm not the only one.
  • BillyO
    BillyO Member Posts: 277
    Sometimes its just a gut feeling and an instinct that makes that decision for you, Many a times I said don't worry about it. Bad business? not even close. Sometimes that's the emotional hug we all need. Contractor and customer alike
    Grallertdelta T