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tricky situation, what would you do?

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johnelliott

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One side of my business is to replace the doors and drawer fronts on existing kitchens. Not my favourite work but worthwhile financially

The other day I got a call from someone and I arrnaged to go and see their kitchen

The potential customer turned out to be a quite elderly gentleman. His kitchen, well to say it could do with a good clean would be something of an understatement
There was no way I was going to work on his kitchen, it was a real 'rubber gloves' job. I tried to find ways of putting him off, pointed out various problems and quoted a higher than normal price. He said he would think about it and I made my escape

Needless to say he rang back today saying he wanted to go ahead. I said I would work something out and ring him back

I know that elderly people are often unaware of the state of their houses, and I sympathise with his situation. There is no way I am working in his kitchen though, so any suggestions as to a polite way to turn him down?
John
 

Steve Maskery

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John

That is indeed a difficult situation.

If you have quoted him higher than normal price, is there enough in there to hire a cleaner for a few hours? A good blitzing could make the environment at least reasonably healthy to work in. Not nice for the cleaner, of course, but everyone has his/her price, wouldn't you say?

All the best with it. let us know what you decide.

Steve
 

wizer

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I know it is harsh, but I would turn the work away if it's financially viable. If the money is well needed then as Steve says, either pay a cleaner or do the cleaning yourself.

BTW I would try to work out an arrangement where the elderly guy pays you in stages. A guy I know did a job for an elderly gentleman a few years back and at the end of the job it transpired the customer didnt have any money. I'm not saying old people are con artists, but it's funny what old age does to the mind.
 

beejay

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Hi John,
There but for the grace of god, springs to mind here. I know this must present you with a real dilema here but i get the feeling that you are doing a bit of soul seraching with this. I would bite the bullet and do it in the knowledge that ive helped someone who through no fault of their own is unable to do it himself. I think it would make me feel as if i had done something,,, well, nice.
I would also charge the going rate as he is probably not too flush anyway. Also, you have tendered for the work and your quote has been accepted so dont you feel at least morally obliged to carry out the work?
Not being critical here john this is what I would do in this instance but only you can make the decision.
beejay
 

devonwoody

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A lesson for the future might be when putting in a quote:- might be "subject to a charge for cleaning if a cleaner can be found".
 

Aragorn

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If the site was really too grim to clean myself, I'd factor in the price of getting in a cleaner, just as I would factor in the price of any other tradesperson for a job: plumber, electrician, decorator etc.

When doing kitchens, I find that they almost always need a clean, because in doing the revamp, you uncover parts that are not easily accessible. I just get on with it as part of the job, but in this case John, I'd probably get someone in to clean from the outset.

Generally, I have found that it is best to tell people you are not interested in the job than to try to price them out of it. It means people know where they stand and are able to compare like-for-like quotes. I have never come across annoyance at this attitude - if anything it earns respect that I am being honest.

My feeling is, you quoted for the job, and it's been accepted. End of story.
Just MHO.
 

devonwoody

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Talking about cleaning kitchens. Have you ever had a look at your own kitchen, I'm frightened everytime I have had to stand on the kitchen worksurface and have a look on the top of the kitchen cupboards.
I keep putting it off :oops: :roll: :roll:
I cant make up my mind whether to go and get the scraper or try a cleaning agent.
So what would you use?

Anyway when its done I'm going to lay lengths of old wall paper along the tops and then I can throw them out regularly.
 
A

Anonymous

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John

I think that you need to think about your reputation.

By saying that you'll work something out and ring him back after he accepted your quote, haven't you already accepted the job?

I would either get in there and clean it in a blitz or pay for a cleaner

To be honest, I have experience of this, about 15 years ago I was made redundant and my brother-in-law gave me work clearing out repossessed houses (surprisingly lucrative :wink: ). Some were unimaginable with rooms that had had dogs or cats in night and day - if you've seen 'life of grime' you'll get the picture.
After 2-3 hours of graft the difference is amazing Overalls, gloves and mask.

If you do this for the old guy, you'll feel good and your reputation will grow. If you let hom down after appearing to accept the work then who knows what damage may result to your reputation?
 

frank

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john go and do the job get a cleaner or clean it yourself and ask for intrime payments if he refuses then you dont do the job ,its not only the old who dont or wont clean . been there and done that but hey thats the joys of being self employed .
 

Woodythepecker

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My dad was a carpenter (thats where i got the bug) and when i was a kid he used to take me to work with him in the school holidays.

He was the sort of man that liked to give a bit back by helping the old folk and so he often took on work from Age Concern at very cheap rates. This sort of work really opened my eyes as to how some of these old aged pensioners lived. Some of the places were really dirty and the old boy/girl did not look much better.
The thing is, a lot of these people (mainly men) only got to this state after their partner died. They seemed to sort of give up hope and couldn't be bothered, and many of them were to proud to ask for/or accept help.
Even in this day and age, there are those that have no family or friends and so no one knows (or in some cases cares) about them.

The sad thing is that many of these old age pensioners fought in WW2 and if it wasn't for them our national anthem might have been "Heil Hitler"

I think Tony has hit the nail on the head.
Couldn't you give Age Concern a ring and explain the situation, because they might get him a home help? That way the kitchen will be nice and clean for you to work in.

Of course i could be completely off track here and none of this relates to your situation.

One thing i would remind you of is the "Hells Granny" that ripped me off a couple of grand.

Good luck with whatever decision you make.

Regards

Woody
 

devonwoody

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I had a hells granny once :D , she was 98 years of age and was very wealthy. (had a housekeeper that was suffering terrible stress :lol: )
Her son who was in his sixties lived next door (High class appartments).
Anyway my bill came to around £600 and she said she couldn't pay me that day. At her age she most probably thought that she might pop off before payment .
So I went next door and said to the son, "your mother won't pay me", he said "don't talk to me about mother and money".
So I went back to the crafty old lady and said "your son as told me to tell you that you have got to pay me"

It worked. :D :D :D :D
 
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