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Thread: Unhappy customer (fuel charges)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Olathe, Kansas
    Thanked 135 Times in 72 Posts

    Default Unhappy customer (fuel charges)

    So I have a customer who is a property owner, house flipper, and property manager for other owners. I have done about 17 jobs for him over the last year and a half. Most of his places are right on the edge of the buisness area I will service within my regular rate and the last few jobs he has sent me have been at residences outside of that service area in which case I charge an extra $20 for fuel.
    The customer has not been happy with this and is questioning why I am charging this when these new properties are not all that far from the ones I have been doing for my normal fee over the last 18 months. My answer is that I have always charged that much to go that far. In other words, Kansas city,MO is within my normal operating area, Grandview and Raytown MO ( the bordering suburbs) are not, and I charge $20 more to travel there and back.
    Should I give the guy a break because he is a regular customer? I feel at odds about this because at times I have given discounts for doing secondary drains and other little odds and ends when I didnt have too, although I know I didnt have to do that and by giving I shouldnt expect in return.
    any thoughs r appreciated as always. Thanx!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    NE Missouri
    Thanked 184 Times in 101 Posts


    Drainit, I charge $3.00 a mile for outside my area. I have not had any complaints about this. I look at it this way, everywhere I go or what I buy I have to pay there price. Nobody give me any discounts on anything. My parts and equipment I have to buy and maintain at my cost. If I start doing favors word gets around and everybody wants one. That is why I have a minimum on sewers and drains. That way everybody pays the same price. I use to cut cost if there was a C/O outside and I didn't have to drag it in a basement or down stairs. Then it happened, I did a house (downstairs) and then a week later done the neighbor next door with a C/O in the drive. I got a call from the 1st one mad that I had charged the neighbor less. So from that point I started charging a minimum on a job, and add what needs be. Been here 62 years so guess it is working.
    Wilson's Roto-Rooter
    Hannibal, Mo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    New York City
    Thanked 428 Times in 260 Posts


    I would explain to him that the previous work you performed was already pushing the limits of your boundaries, and this new work is outside of your coverage area. I would then tell him that you are more than happy to service these new properties but unfortunately due to rising fuel costs, you have no choice but to add the fuel surcharge. He's obviously happy with your work since he continues to call you, and a 20 dollar charge is a bargain to deal with a reliable and competent serviceman, which you appear to be. On a side note, it's a good idea to give little breaks here and there like you've been doing. But keep in mind, with some people, the more you give the more they expect. Always be fair, and being fair is a two way street.
    Last edited by NYC drain guy; 03-29-2014 at 09:32 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Thanked 4,019 Times in 2,351 Posts


    One thing I've noticed over the years is the more lines and numbers on a bill the more the customer want to pick the bill apart...
    Fortunately flat rating takes care of a lot of that...
    They sign and agree to go ahead before and work is done
    Keeps things nice and simple...

    Flat Rate Labor $###.## <---You don't want to pay me? Perhaps I should do it for free or pay you for the honor of working for you?
    Parts $###.## <--- Don't like that? Well you needed parts what can I do about that?
    Tax $##.## <---Vote! I have to pay taxes and so do you it's the law...
    Total $###.### <--- Simple math! That's what it is and it is also the amount you agreed to. Pay the bill...

    Adding additional lines like Fuel Charges, Equipment Charges, give the customer reason to question, How far did you drive? What kind of fuel mileage do you get? What equipment did you use? Include it in your Flat Rate Labor and keep it simple...
    "99% of Being Smart...
    Is Knowing What You're Dumb At"

    411 Plumb | Click Here For A Free Internet Plumbing Directory Listing | Plumb 411

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Redwood For This Useful Post:

    AssTyme (03-30-2014)

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Thanked 2,084 Times in 1,321 Posts


    What Red said, people don't like all the bullchit charges. Just up your rodding charge and it will all even out.

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