After we covered this topic in the April/May 2016 issue, we asked our readers for their feedback on how they know a customer will be trouble. Here are some of their responses:
When they ask, "Do you give free estimates?" It says a lot about their budget, expectations and other bids.
Surgeons and lawyers.
They show you stuff on Pinterest.
The ones that complain about prices before you have even given a price and tell you they are picky but have no idea what they are being picky about.
When they are sitting on the laptop in front of you asking you questions word for word from some genius website!
"How long is this going to take? Because you'll already be a nuisance in our lives."
When they flat-out tell you they've gotten bids from 25 other companies. Usually they're the same ones that find anything and everything at the end to complain about to try and get you even lower on price. "There is a spec of dust in the finish in the back closet behind the door you can see when the light hits it juuuuust right."
When during the initial bid they say, "I'm really super easy to work with." Six times...
They used the internet to find answers.
When they walk in the store with a clipboard under their arm and the minute they start talking, you realize they have spent hours researching and they know the product(s) better than you.
They need your help and will pay anything because the other contractor(s) left.
When they tell you (a flooring professional with 20-plus years in the trade) how to install flooring. I don't even write up bids; I just tell them to have at it.
Nancy Latham Hooper
The ones who will beat you up over price before they have the floor picked out. And then they threaten to go elsewhere after you give them a price. I usually hold the door for them.
Marco De La Peza
When they say, "I'm not picky," I start to worry. These are the most picky people!
When the customer buys the materials and wants it done yesterday.
Jon Weeks Jr.
When they use the word "varnish."
When they ask what grit I'm going to use!
People that call and, before introducing themselves, ask my square-footage price, even in a phone message.
Read what longtime wood flooring contractor and distributor Don Bollinger had to say on this topic in his 2007 article, Fair Warning.