Don't Rush When Settling Up on Services Performed

While I was back home getting my HVAC repaired I also had a chimney guy out for the 3rd time trying to get a damper installed in the fireplace.

This transaction was off to a good start when the person came out and gave me an attractive estimate to install a new damper and didn't charge me for the chimney inspection while I was purchasing the property.

However the guy lost his notes and estimate from his visit and when I scheduled him to come out to install the damper all he did was come back out and remeasure my fireplace. The second time out he and the company owner came out and I felt like a fool calling the guy by the wrong name.

They quickly installed the new damper and the owner was ready to settle up. I had been scrambling all morning and hadn't really mentally prepared myself to play hardball since I had a written estimate from the 1st visit. The owner initially said they hadn't charged me for the original inspection and needed to add that to the bill - he pointed to a $85 charge on the estimate (which was actually the estimate for a new animal guard I realized after he left). I said no problem, not really thinking it through since I was feeling like I was getting a good deal.

However, when I asked him how to make the check out, instead of giving me the company name, he said to put it in his name. In retrospect if I had given myself a second to think about it, this would have been a perfect opportunity to ask for a discount.

After all he was probably getting a break - I suspect he was planning to funnel this money into his pocket rather than through the company books. Seeing how he had just prior tacked on an extra fee, I'm sure this guy would have negotiated a bit. Lesson learned.

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Comments (6)

Anytime a service person comes over its always a good idea to have cash on you. Then when the time comes to pay ask if they have a "cash discount" and in my experience about 90% of the times they will knock about 10% off the price.

Thats a great point I hadn't thought about dangling the cash when settling up.

paying cash for discount is great but get a receipt.

however, if paying someone instead of the company "off the books", what happens when there's a little problem like needing an adjustment or a big problem for liability / negligence.

There's a time and place for cash prices but you're dead on the money when you say get a reciept, especially for service work that might need to be adjusted.

This is good advice, I think people are often looking for subtle ways to screw you out of a bit of extra cash. Now I just wish it was easier to negotiate when the opportunity presents itself! Easier said than done.


These people are too disorganized.
Upon their losing the notes, I would seriosly have considered using another vendor.
A damper is a minor thing, but their behavior smacks of unreliability.
Actually, I think it's a good idea that you wrote a check to him, if you had paid cash it would have been more difficult to assert your warrantee.

I am actually very skeptical about cash discounts - technically they never occurred. As a landlor, business operator and consumer, I would prefer a slightly higher price in exchange for a warrantee.


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