Client Claiming "Pain and Suffering"

We got some rain during a roof job and got a leak. It amounted to half gallon of water dripping out of a can light. We finished the roof and repainted the ceiling but the owner wants money taken off the final bill for the inconvenience.
Is this right or wrong and what should I do?

He has been made whole. Tell him you got a sliver and a blister while doing his roof, therefore the price has doubled due to your agony… Option #2 Take him out back and teach him what “pain and suffering” really is! : D


While I agree he has been made whole… is it really worth the fight? Give the guy a couple hundred off and move on to the next one.

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That’s ridiculous. Send them your invoice and politely but firmly tell them you need to be paid in full. Apply a lien if necessary and add the cost of filing the lien to the bill. Next they will threaten you with had reviews on social media. Grow a set and demand your money.


To paraphrase a quote from someone much smarter than me; “Judge a person not by what they do right but rather what they do when things go wrong”.

There was a leak, you accepted responsibility, you fixed it and made them whole. Sounds good to me!

Next step, acknowledge the inconvenience, offer to compensate in exchange for recognition. In other words, here are few bucks if you give me a positive review detailing how we handled our mistake. Communicate that it would be as wrong for you to overlook the “hardship” they experienced as it would be for them to be seen as someone who “shakes down” a contractor who tried to make things right. It’s a fair exchange and a marketing opportunity if handled correctly!

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And maybe you might read a book?

Spoken like a true salesman. My education pertaining to the roofing trade has been earned the hard way. I have 20 employees and have spent the last few days, and decades, cutting and installing tile. You? I bid, sell, supervise and install. You? I’ll try to mix in some books someday.


Sounds like you have a going concern and as long as you enjoy it, all the power to you. I on the other hand see little need to validate myself to you as I did not come here to seek your approval or acceptance. I’m comfortable in my strengths, aware of my limitations, and content in my chosen career. All I expect, as should everyone here, is that while we are contributing to this forum, we refrain from making damaging comments towards others and govern our unfounded, and mostly incorrect, assumptions of each other’s situation. We should only be judged by our conduct and they way we choose to interact with the other participants.

Yes, I took a swipe at a web entity of whom I perceived to be a bully and for that I will never apologize. If you choose to defend that entity, that is your prerogative. If your defense of that behaviour is to take a swipe at me, don’t be surprised if you get it back.

Lastly, it would be reasonable for you to consider examining your own blind prejudice toward “Salesmen” when your own words (I bid, sell, supervise and install) imply you function as one yourself.

I think it would be more appropriate to call it a reach around. Tileman, you know, great sales people don’t earn the great title by giving shit away. Thank you for the laugh.


Always respect for you and if I can conjure up a laugh from my cohorts I’m good to go! I guess that’s why I didn’t do well in school and ended up a roofer!

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I dont think its fair to treat ivoman in that way.
I, myself have appreciated his words on this forum.
He has made me think.
How to write better.
How to express myself better.
I want to hear more of it.

Ive never had a customer ask for money after fixing a leak that was seemingly our fault.
I have been successful in humbling myself
And doing every nasty duty of a roofer in front of the homeowner.
I think that is where the roofer really failed.
They didnt make the homeowner feel whole
And certainly is Not in love with you anymore.
That is the true failure.
You must have your customers love you at the end of the job.
They will help push you to the next customer
Or they will ruin you…

I also have a policy of never telling the customer NO about certain things.
Saying No about something is ultimately refusing yourself to sell the job or the final satisfaction of that job.
The goal is for them to sing your praises to everyone they know and
Not to try to go out of their way to try to ruin you.
Which isnt that hard.

Once the homeowner feels disrespected,
Not made whole, that they would actually have the audacity to ask for money back???
You have lost the battle.
They secretly hate your guts.

Ivomans thoughts were not unreasonable.

In fact, if i ever was put in this position,
The position of complete defeat and dishonor.
The customer didnt think that i went over and beyond on every detail.
I would hope i had the tenacity to turn it all around and use words and actions
To make them support me again.

Make the customer fall in love with you.
And if a mistake happens, they forgive you.

In my mind its all a failure if i dont get this customer to sell the next job for me.

Wouldnt it be nice not to pay for advertizing??
If all your past customers sung your praises,
You wouldnt need it.

You have total respect before they even see your face.
They want you before you even arrive and give them the price.
They are thinking, if their reasonable, i am going with them.

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Many overlook the vital importance of ensuring a clear path forward after each job and not leaving emotional debris behind … in your dealings with today’s customer. It was far far far more forgiving years ago than it is today. Today we have … THE INTERNET!

We used to share “satisfied customer names”, detailed reference lists with phone numbers, encourage people to drop by and knock the door of completed projects. It was far more personal and more difficult but there was also a key benefit … anonymity! This offered protection to all contractors who experienced the inevitable “bad job” by limiting the reach of bad feelings. A reckless contractor could literally sweep through an area leaving a path of destruction and the next community would have no clue.

Having a customer lead toward “pain and suffering” compensation has far less to do with money and more to do with, “I still feel I was treated unfair”. They don’t want any more trouble but it’s their last stab, the last word in an argument, the last “eff you” that signals a sustained war if you don’t address it directly and creatively. Don’t let your ego get in the way of protecting your business!

Now remember what I said earlier about "years ago. Today, if you leave a customer in a bad state, they will dox you. They will leave horrible and LINGERING reviews and they will try to hurt you and … take pleasure in watching it happen! Their online buddies will “High Five” that you owned them because that’s what you do. Why is that, it’s because they can and they will, it’s so simple because every “cool kid” on Youtube and the forums will teach them how!

I place incredible value and priority on our customer reviews and do everything possible to ensure a clear path forward for my organization. And the “Reach around” snicker Authentic Dad coyly implied is the way to do it, yes I said it! For him it may refer to genitals, for me it refers to making a contract of mutual understanding. If I agree to recognize your suffering through financial compensation, will you agree to recognize my efforts by proclaiming on the “Internet” that my organization stands up to it’s promises? If so, here is your cash and in return, you give me a review. Opportunists will always take the cash and if all it takes is a review … hell yeah … that’s easy!

The review is a verifiable public contract proclaiming the customer agrees not to initiate further harm. Everyone is left whole and you have secured a clear path forward and tidied up the emotional debris from the transaction.

That is what this intelligent “Salesman/Business owner/Roofer” thinks!

“roof_Lover”, thanks for taking the time to understand my posts.


Once again I will say spoken like a true salesman and you are perfectly justified in your approach. Some of us, me for sure, refuse to be bullied by worrying about what someone can do to us online and I absolutely WILL let my bullheaded nature get in the way. I would handle that same customer in a firm but reasonable way and point out the excellent job we did for him, on budget, perfectly scheduled and executed with a great cleanup and polite crews. I would apologize for our mistake, make it right and move on.If that wasn’t enough I would leave it there and never “compensate him for a good review “. Our 25 years in business along with community involvement has resulted in overwhelming positive reviews which would crush his puny online strike. Our nature makes us who we are and my nature does not allow me to respond to threats. Too old to change now. I can control every aspect of the job to ensure a high quality product and stroking someone never enters my equation. I have been called out by customers for not bowing to them when they were wrong about something and even been labeled confrontational. If we make a mistake I own it, pay for it and make it right but if a customer is being a slime ball I will not play along. One abrasive customer asked me “what happened to the customer always being right?” I told him he had me mistaken for someone else. Amazingly those same customers usually refer us and use our company again, if we decide they are worth working with again.


Well it all worked out. Everybody loves the guys on my crew. We’re all pretty young relatively. I’m 39 and the rest of the crew is like 27. I feel like some of our clients are really rooting for us. The client just magically got over it. Really unpredictable. I guess having a roof replaced in the rain can be a bit stressful Fortuna the customer.
Thanks for all the advise. Now I just have to remember it and act on it which is nearly impossible when i just want to explode. Hahaha