I’m a contractor and I’ve lost thousands of customers who refuse to pay – people call us cowboys but customers are worse
A FARMER wants to emphasize that not everyone is a cowboy in their trade.
In fact, Danny Madden posits that clients can be a lot worse.
The roofer claims he’s lost thousands of pounds from clients who don’t cough at the end of a job.
One of the most frustrating losses came after he repaired a leak in the roof of a pensioner’s £10million mansion in north London.
After working all day – even replacing the old broken tiles and clearing the gutters – the woman refused to pay.
Despite accepting Danny’s offer of £1,800 before work began, she later threatened to call his team’s police for doing “nothing”.
Danny, who runs Madden Builders, said: “I did everything I could to make her comfortable before I started.
“I made her fully aware of what we were doing and asked if she would like to include a younger family. She declined and we got to work.
“I took a ladder and climbed onto the roof where I fixed the leak and did all the work – and even thought I’d do a little extra and sort out the tiles so they were fine for the inclement weather.
“When I came down I said to her, ‘Don’t worry about paying it today, we’ll send the bill for the work,’ and she replied, ‘What work?’
“I said, ‘Well, we just went up there and fixed your roof’.
“She told us we were rogue traders and she would call the police and not pay.
“I was shocked at how she turned. It was such a change because all day long when we were working she was as good as gold making us tea and all.”
After a heated back-and-forth, Danny admitted his defeat for fear of a poor rating that left him mostly out of his own pocket.
Not only did he miss the £1,800 he was owed, he also had to pay his team their daily rates.
“I just had to write it off and take the hit,” said the 41-year-old.
“I was so disappointed. It’s my father’s business and we worked but the wife refused to pay just because she didn’t want to.
“I’ve considered taking it to small claims court but you have to weigh up whether it’s time well spent as you’re losing more money and time there.
“You always hear about cowboy farmers, but there are so many cowboy customers.
“From a retailer’s perspective, a bad review can lower your rating and really hurt your business.
“If that older woman said we were menacing, it could have been really bad for my reputation.”
Danny has learned from the experience and now requires a deposit before beginning work.
But it wasn’t time to save him from a mega-loss of £5,000 when a customer withheld the last installment for an extension.
London-based Danny told the Times: “She said, ‘Well, I think you’ve made enough money from my job.’
“I said to her, ‘But are you dissatisfied with the job?’ and she said, ‘It’s amazing, I just don’t think I need to pay you any more’.”
A third of handymen say they’ve lost more than £1,000 because clients didn’t pay for the work they did, a study by Fix Radio shows.
How to avoid becoming a “cowboy customer” – and how to spot a cowboy builder
To avoid becoming a “cowboy customer,” homeowners should avoid:
- Request a quote if you don’t intend to hire the handyman.
- Forgetting an appointment.
- Unfair criticism to get a discount.
- make payments late.
- Try to negotiate a lower price if you already have a good deal.
And if you’re looking for a builder, you’ll spot a shady one:
- Missing customers and references
- A very cheap offer
- No license or address
- Only accept cash payments
- No clear schedule or deadline
- Don’t explain the work
- Refusal to sign a contract
https://www.thesun.ie/money/9975495/builder-cowboy-customers-lost-thousands-pounds/ I’m a contractor and I’ve lost thousands of customers who refuse to pay – people call us cowboys but customers are worse