Trip Charges


#1

In my contract I have it written that if you call us because of something you think we did that is causing a problem or needs fixing, we will fix it free of charge if it was a problem created by us. I am sure we all have something along the same lines written and if anyone says they have never had a call back its because they constantly change their phone numbers and business names.

Anyways, recently a lady had contacted me saying her roof was leaking right above her back patio door. This was a roof with a slight 1/12 pitch. We used GAF liberty cap and base sheet since she did not want to pay rubber. Anyways, there was no gutter on this area when we did it but the previous roofers but down Drip Edge along the rake in order to make it more appealing. Anyways, when we arrived we had noticied the had a gutter installed and instead of putting the gutter under the Drip Edge, or even better just replacing it with gutter apron they hung it below the Drip Edge.

Basically the water was running off the roof and BEHIND the gutter instead of into the gutter. I had my break and the metal with me and told them since it was nothing we did, we will have to charge for the trip charge and material. They refused to pay the fee so I left.

When I got into the office I then sent them an invoice for the price of the trip charge. Would you guys have handled the situation the same way? I think they were looking for free work and were trying to pull one over on someone who actually knows what they were doing.

Any thoughts on how this couldve been handled differently or if I did it right? I am always looking for ways to become a better business man and company owner. Thanks for the input.


#2

a trip charge to tell them you arent fixing it for free?

no sir. just like i dont charge someone to come look at their roof, i wouldnt charge them to tell them that im not fixing it for free.

ESPECIALLY if it was an existing customer.

if i was that customer, you wouldnt ever get a referral from me.


#3

First off A-Gape, I think you misunderstood but anyways.

No, A trip charge because as it is written in my contract… if you call to have me come out to look at a problem you are having and the problem happens to be because of something we did not do, there is a charge. This is even told to them while on the phone to make them fully aware. Then when the actual problem is diagnosed and it is understood and proven we have nothing to do with the problem, they are charged a fee if we are not hired to correct the problem. Just like is says in the contract. There would be no trip charge if they had paid us to fix the problem. They did not want to pay us to have the problem fixed another contractor caused. Thus, because I diagnosed the problem, a trip charge is sent. I run a business. I am not out here to do things for free or to give charity. Why would I fix something for free if I did not do it? Would you come and roof my house for free because the people who did it before did not do it right?

These people also live on a cul-de-sac. They referred us to 2 of their neighbors who had roofs done by us.

HAve you had a plumber come look at anything in your house? What does he charge you even if you go with something else? I still dont understand why so many put roofing in a different category.


#4

well, i didnt understand that you told her ahead of time before you went out there. so if she understood it, and will likely pay it, whats the issue?

do you feel bad? i guess so if you made a thread about it.

how far did you have to drive?

im NOT saying i would have done the work for free, im saying i would have looked at it for free, no problem, and i would never consider charging them unless they lived REAL far away.

not one of my customers? thats different. but she paid you for a roof, you made a profit from her job, then got TWO other jobs from her?

i would be taking her to dinner, and treating her like she was made of gold.


#5

It is not that I feel bad about it but I just wanted to know what people think. I have had the same place do all the work on all my company vehicles and they charge me every single time although I am a past customer and have spent thousands of dollars with them.

I did go look at the problem for free because at first she claimed it was work that was done by my guys. By the way, this roof was done two years ago. It turns out the problem was done by another contractor after I had the job completed. She refused to pay to have us fix it. It wouldve cost nearly the same for us to fix it as the trip charge and she knew that but she felt it was unfair but that is why I have a contract. She did recieve compensation for the two referrals.

The reason I brought this up is because I was wondering what you guys would do in this same situation. I feel like I am running a business and I don’t understand why you happen to see things differently. Im in it to make money, otherwise I would not be doing what I do. Like I said, I have finished doing charity work. The people I have the most problems with are the ones who I have given discounts to and that is why I have changed my policys.

If you can sit there and tell me that you will go pay a guy to run out to a ladys house to fix a problem that was not caused by any of your workers and you would not charge her because she was a past customer, then my friend, I believe you are losing money.


#6

After reading my first post I did not mean to say I would have to charge for the trip charge and material. I meant material and normally hour rate.


#7

ok, that makes more sense.

i would do the same.

lady seems silly to pay the trip charge but not the repair bill if they are the same. lol


#8

Thanks Agape. Im glad I finally explained it well enough. I even told her she might as well just have us fix it because I had everything with me to do it right there but she refused for whatever reason. I cant pay out of my pocket for the material and labor to fix some other companys error and that was what she seemed persistent on having us do. That is why I sent for the trip charge. Business is Business :slight_smile:


#9

right , business is business…
and two years ago, you might have been
busier than a one armed paper hanger… but goodwill is priceless and to ask someone who hasn’t been busy for a very long time and has nothing better to do than evaluate what they’ve done wrong, and what the could do to create more good will…and get more business, especially if they are a good referral seems counter pro-ductive. The guy that you refer to that fixes your vehicle probably gets your work because your vehicles are under warranty, and any deviation from your
warranty agreements voids their responsibility, and your warranty. Of course, when I hear in here that
minimum service charges vary from $250- 400/ per service, I can see your position. For a small closed shop working locally…good referrals travel fast…bad referrals travel faster. I also might question the customers choice of re-using existing drip edge in your application, and point out to her that the gutter choice is what made your product
potentially part of the problem. Now your fixing the other guys work, which, according to your contract…your justified in charging for and expecting.


#10

In these most desperate of days in this morass of economic recession or despair-Customer Service is the two key words to focus one’s business efforts on and towards the very best, not chocolate like Nestles, but the very best in customer service. I would have done it for free by installing either some new gutter edge metal that would have made the gutter back behind your edge metal or I would have removed the gutter and reinstalled it behind your edge metal piece. FOR FREE. “Free is a very good price!”