Time and Material

dockside_gwMay 2, 2012

I need people's input here. The pump in our pond stopped workng and I called a company, located in a town about 15 miles from where we live (we live in a city of about 33,000) on the recommendation of a tradesperson who works in the same type of business. The man answering the phone said they worked on time and material, but not to worry because their employee was very good and a fast worker. I said fine, send him out.

He arrived this morning at 8:15 (didn't call first and DH wasn't home to tell him what was wrong). DH came home about 5 minutes later. He looked at the pump, said we needed a new one, and had to drive to another town, about 8 miles away to get it. Came back and installed it. At 10 a.m. he gave me a bill, charging 3 hours for labor, plus the pump. I objected, saying he had been at our house for less than 2 hours (actually only worked for less than an hour). He said that he showed up at his place of work at 7 a.m., checked the sheet for where he was supposed to go, gathered his tools, etc., and drove to our house (about a 20 minute drive). I said that, had I been told that I would be charged for time he spent at the shop, checking in and getting ready to come to our house (and who knows what other places after he left us) and driving to and from the place where his shop was located, I would have called someone else.

He took an hour off his bill to make me happy. (And, to make matters worse, he called this pump supply place before going to get it to make sure they had it and told DH that it would be about $40 less than he actually charged us for it).

I can maybe understand him charging for the time he drove to get the pump but that first hour really rankles me. Is this usual? Or, was I out of line? I don't pay appliance repairmen for time they spend in their shop. I am just billed for the time they spend in my home, repairing an appliance.

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When I called about getting an appliance repaired, I was told he charged "from door to door" : from the moment he left the door of his office to the time he walked back through it after the job.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Call the better business bureau and see what they say. My service men only charge for the time they are in my home. So far they have what they needed on their truck, so don't know about trip charge for picking up a part. I would have asked for reciept for the pump. You probably need it for the warranty.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Mine charges a flat fee for a home visit. It's not cheap.

Parts have usually been on the truck, but if not, I'm not charged for a return visit. That's, of course, why the initial visit isn't cheap.

I would never agree to a time and materials charge for appliance repair.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:25PM
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My DH (a plumber) usually includes 1/2 hour travel time to the job, but not when he leaves. This has always been a standard practice at all the companies he worked at.

He always explains it to first time customer's as $$ for the first half hour and the same $$ per hour after that billed at 15 minutes increments.

He has never billed a customer for time loading his truck, are rarely time to go pick up materials. Only in very special occasions if it was the customer's fault or request.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:28PM
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Thanks, everyone. I will call and ask for a receipt for the pump for warranty purposes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the cost was much less than what we were charged.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:26AM
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I doubt they will give you a receipt from the store.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:54AM
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You should have a receipt to make sure it was paid for and it was new and it did come with a guarantee and it was the right one for your pond.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 10:55PM
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