When do you charge and how do you decide?

An elderly regular client rang yesterday.."oh Adam you have to.come asap a tree has blown down over the garden"I rearrange my Wednesday and turn up with the necessary tools....there are some big trees overhanging the gardening.An orange blossom Bush has lost a branch, 3 clips of the lopers and it is in her green bin - about 10 mins + a 30 minute drive..The real pain is I postponed a £60 visit for this....which is now at least 30 mins away.....I can't really charge her anything, can I?

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  • PRO
    Yes you can! Charge her £50 and if she asks why tell her it's because you wasted her time!
    • PRO
      That doesn't even make sense!
      What I meant was tell her she's wasted your time!
  • PRO

    add another few minor jobs onto the list and add a call out charge on ?

    -- an emergency call out charge is standard across most industries --  she did make it sound like an emergency and did demand your prompt attention. 

    half way house ? -- do a few extra minor jobs and charge to over cover your time and expenses 

  • PRO
    Why did you not 'qualify' it and then schedule accordingly ?

    Have charges to hand, be upfront and leave decision with client as to importance and what they want to pay.

    A nice client is just that if they don't value your time or understand there is a cost associated with attending.

    You/we have to start valuing our time, experience and abilities.....
    • PRO
      We agree again! (I think) Something in the water at the moment:)
      I think they are not nice clients if they don't value your time as they would theirs and I think that's what you are getting at:)
  • PRO
    Personally yes I would charge her a minimum charge, I always try to make this known from the outset that regardless there will be a minimum Charge, as Gary says it's up to them if they choose to proceed and get you to come out of to them. However in this case it sounds like your the one possibly not valuing your time rather than your client, I can't see anywhere in the post that states your client is unwilling/unhappy with paying?
  • PRO Supplier

    I sympathise Adam - I assume you feel bad charging an elderley person that you know well ? Some people are really far removed from the real cost of running a business.. 

    If it had been a new client I don't think there is any doubt you would charge accordingly...maybe chalk it to experience but let her know 'normally' call outs are charged more... 

  • I think a bit of clarification over the phone would have been in order before committing yourself to a 30min drive Adam. I'm afraid as clients get older, the do change, what is a small problem to us can become large to them. I certainly wouldn't hit her with a big bill, I'd put it down to experience and think 'oh well she has put £xxxx's in my pocket over the years'. Every now and then a little sit down chat can work wonders.  We had a customer last week ask one of my lads if he could run him down the garden centre so he could spend a voucher!

  • PRO

    Well that harvested a good few views :)

    I am charging her an hour.

    Re qualification we had a 5 minute chat (at least) yesterday, she said I would need "tree cutting equipment" and was querying whether I wanted the wood, or could find  a home for it

    Now back at base you can see the photo of this branch that would require "tree cutting equipment" - and calculate for yourself how many seconds it would keep you warm for in the winter.

    She is an old lonely lady, and normally a good customer - so I'm not going to ruin that relationship... but I was a bit cross when I posted this from her drive this morning

    • PRO
      I would of been annoyed too! I was irritated myself when you posted (due to one of my good paying idiot customers!) so you got my irritation in my reply!

      To add that's the kind of thing I'd probably do for free if it were round the corner for a regular client
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