Ethics vs referral fee

Jimmy Hitt

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So I get a call from a plumber wanting me to clean some stone in a house for his client, that he intended to topical seal after. I meet him at the job to take a look, and it just so happens to be beside my wife's parents house (neighbors for 40yrs). He tells me don't give her a price, to give it to him. Immediately it felt shady. So after I measure the little old lady asks how much. I said hold on lemme get my calculator out of the truck.

So I go to van & the plumber follows. Says now he wants me to seal it instead. So I price it at $1.25/sqft=$350. He tells me to charge her $500 and give him $150. I was uncomfortable about this right off cuz its the sweetest old lady & that's not how I roll.

So we go back inside, give her the price, she booked it for today. Told my wife, she's furious. I'm in a tight spot because I already gave her the price. The whole home is crab orchard stone & she said if she had more money in her account at the moment she'd have it all done right now. Made me think she's not as well off as they think. She's a widow whose husband was a professor at Vanderbilt before dementia took over.

I sent plumber a text telling him I'm not comfortable with this and he said its for the random things he's done for her that he hasn't charged her for. So I told him that he should've billed her rather than her thinking he did it out of the goodness of his heart.

Honestly I think its all BS, and want to put dude on blast but I don't want to start a mess. He also mentioned on 1st visit that he & two other contractors try to "look out" for her. I think they try to keep her to themselves to milk her like a cow. Just feels ethically wrong. If dude wants 10% that's cool...but that's almost 40% markup.

What should I do guys? I'll be here another hour and would like your feedback.
 
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Tough situation but it got harder to deal with because you didn't address it with the plumber immediately and gave the lady the price.
Would you feel different if you didn't know who the lady was or anything about her?
 

Jimmy Hitt

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Oh and before anyone says it, I wasn't counting on this guy for future referrals so that's not an issue. His an o/o in a small town so I'm not worried about that. He text me n said to handle it however I feels best. I told him I didn't wanna blast him n tell her but didn't know what to do at this point.
 

Jimmy Hitt

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Tough situation but it got harder to deal with because you didn't address it with the plumber immediately and gave the lady the price.
Would you feel different if you didn't know who the lady was or anything about her?
I thought about that Jason & no I wouldn't. I've never met her, wife barely knew her cuz they live back in the woods. If it was some filthy rich folks, maybe. If if wasn't an elderly lady, maybe.

Also the plumber was beside me when I gave price so I was taken aback by the situation. I just feel bad & this isn't how I do business.
 

Gasoline

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Referrals are normally 10% or so. I know she's paying it. But really it's coming from you. At least in the future, they will.

Maybe you can do a little extra for the lady so you won't feel so bad charging her the $500. And in the future, you could set up a referral system with the dude for 10%.
 
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Red green

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I would have never agreed to such a thing in the first place.
You should have agreed to a referral price beforehand and not let him dictate what you charge, after all it's your business.

Now that you're in the position I would be honest, explain to all that you're not comfortable with charging her more than you normally would and that you made a mistake by not coming to an agreement with him.

I never up charge the customer, I charge my same rate for all and if referred I take a portion of my profit and share with them.
 

earl804

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i think you do the job, charge 350 and give him his 150 out of it. yes you make 200 bucks, but your wife won't be pissed, and you dont start a war with this guy.

chalk it up to the cost of being on the right side of karma.

that's what i would do anyway (provided that i could afford the 150 hit)
 
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Jimmy Hitt

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I would have never agreed to such a thing in the first place.
You should have agreed to a referral price beforehand and not let him dictate what you charge, after all it's your business.

Now that you're in the position I would be honest, explain to all that you're not comfortable with charging her more than you normally would and that you made a mistake by not coming to an agreement with him.

I never up charge the customer, I charge my same rate for all and if referred I take a portion of my profit and share with them.
First & only time red. I was caught off guard & kind of clammed up. Honestly I don't know wth I was thinking. I've been kicking myself for a week because of it. I don't pay for advertising, much less this jerk off trying to get over on an old lady.

I just need to come up with a way to explain it to her without making both parties look bad. Super sweet lady & I feel horrible about it.

@Gasoline, I already did an extra hall area for "free" but that obviously didn't make me feel any better about the situation. This will never happen again!!
 

Jimmy Hitt

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i think you do the job, charge 350 and give him his 150 out of it. yes you make 200 bucks, but your wife won't be pissed, and you dont start a war with this guy.

chalk it up to the cost of being on the right side of karma.

that's what i would do anyway (provided that i could afford the 150 hit)
Thanks for the input, but I've been here 2.5hrs already & still have to seal it...so that probably ain't happnin. I'd rather piss the plumber off than lose $150. So I'll have over 3hrs in it for $200...not gonna work. I've already had to clean it 3 times. Its 40 year old stone & never properly cleaned. And knowing this lady, she's so nice she'd probably give me $500 & him $150.
 

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aloha one

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Thanks for the input, but I've been here 2.5hrs already & still have to seal it...so that probably ain't happnin. I'd rather piss the plumber off than lose $150. So I'll have over 3hrs in it for $200...not gonna work. I've already had to clean it 3 times. Its 40 year old stone & never properly cleaned. And knowing this lady, she's so nice she'd probably give me $500 & him $150.

Sometimes we just gotta' take the 'HITT'...Jimmy!
 

aloha one

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Thanks for the input, but I've been here 2.5hrs already & still have to seal it...so that probably ain't happnin. I'd rather piss the plumber off than lose $150. So I'll have over 3hrs in it for $200...not gonna work. I've already had to clean it 3 times. Its 40 year old stone & never properly cleaned. And knowing this lady, she's so nice she'd probably give me $500 & him $150.

Really looking good brother..did it have a urethane or? on it or just years of neglect?
 

Jimmy Hitt

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Just got off phone with the plumber. He asked if we could let it slide just this time & I said I don't feel comfortable with that because I have to sleep at night. I explained that's not how I do business & if there are services that he did, then he needs to charge her for them. That's the thing, he's saying its for little stuff he does for her & that's what's pissing me off. Cuz if that's true, then he should bill her. Not tack it on mine & make me look overly expensive.

He said charge her whatever & he'll explain it to her later. He said contractors do this all the time....child please...I've never dealt with one that asked me to tack on 40% for themselves. Honestly guys, he's just trying to get over on her & I'm about to blow that $hit up. I don't care about the repercussions from him because to my business, he is nothing. He's not in my target market, this job was a fluke. So some of y'all may disagree but I'll feel a lot better about coming clean to her & charging what I intended....even though in hindsight it was a little low at $1.25/sqft. This thing was nasty but I'm really happy with the results.
 

Jimmy Hitt

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Really looking good brother..did it have a urethane or? on it or just years of neglect?
Years of neglect. Shes had 6 dogs in 40years, first 5 were all named Dan... Now she has a female dog named Lilly.

This is my brother Darrel... And my other brother Darrel. Haha is all I could think when the wife told me that.
 

Jimmy Hitt

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If it was a management company then yes. But not for a guy, I would still give him 20% for the referral.
Man this guy shows his shady side every text. He just sent me a text saying he'd just bill her for everything & he'd pay me when that check comes in. Bahahaha oh & he also pulled the old "I send more work your way". Bahahaha. For starters, I don't need his work. Secondly, I don't want to ever do business with this guy again.

But I guarantee I'll be back to this lady's house doing the other stone she has, about 1000sqft more. Every room has this crab orchard stone. Its pretty cool.
 

earl804

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Thanks for the input, but I've been here 2.5hrs already & still have to seal it...so that probably ain't happnin. I'd rather piss the plumber off than lose $150. So I'll have over 3hrs in it for $200...not gonna work. I've already had to clean it 3 times. Its 40 year old stone & never properly cleaned. And knowing this lady, she's so nice she'd probably give me $500 & him $150.

damn finished product looks great! well good luck regardless of how you go
 

Jimmy Hitt

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damn finished product looks great! well good luck regardless of how you go
Thanks, I told the lady everything. Apologized but she said no need, glad I was honest with her.

Plumber told me a few things he did that she supposedly didn't pay him for...well she did...and the gate he worked on, he didn't actually fix but she paid him anyways. And then paid someone else to fix it.

Dudes a scammer & I'm glad I'm not giving him any money. I collected the original $350 I was owed for the job.
 
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Thanks, I told the lady everything. Apologized but she said no need, glad I was honest with her.

Plumber told me a few things he did that she supposedly didn't pay him for...well she did...and the gate he worked on, he didn't actually fix but she paid him anyways. And then paid someone else to fix it.

Dudes a scammer & I'm glad I'm not giving him any money. I collected the original $350 I was owed for the job.
Glad it worked out for you and the customer, take it as a learning lesson and move on.
 
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Decker

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That
Just got off phone with the plumber. He asked if we could let it slide just this time & I said I don't feel comfortable with that because I have to sleep at night. I explained that's not how I do business & if there are services that he did, then he needs to charge her for them. That's the thing, he's saying its for little stuff he does for her & that's what's pissing me off. Cuz if that's true, then he should bill her. Not tack it on mine & make me look overly expensive.

He said charge her whatever & he'll explain it to her later. He said contractors do this all the time....child please...I've never dealt with one that asked me to tack on 40% for themselves. Honestly guys, he's just trying to get over on her & I'm about to blow that $hit up. I don't care about the repercussions from him because to my business, he is nothing. He's not in my target market, this job was a fluke. So some of y'all may disagree but I'll feel a lot better about coming clean to her & charging what I intended....even though in hindsight it was a little low at $1.25/sqft. This thing was nasty but I'm really happy with the results.

yeah, Jimmy. The more I read this the more I think this plumber is a jerk-off. Who rips off old ladies and makes it look like someone else is doing it? Tell him to stuff it.

If he wants to make up his lost $ from her, have him refer more work and give a 10% or so. Over time he will make it up just by referring you.

Don't trade your morals for money... you already hate yourself and you haven't collected yet.
 
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