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DarkServices
09-12-2011, 05:04 PM
Hello Everyone,

I have never really ventured further than my comfort zone of 15 miles to do an in home repair. But, I am finding that there is a huge market in traveling a little bit further to service areas that do no have a reliable computer repair business in their area. Then again, most of my repairs were always walk ins. So, I want to ask how you guys deal with a situation such as this:

I had an appointment with a customer last Friday who live roughly 35 miles away. This was my first longer distance appointment in a long while. I called the customer roughly 15 minutes before hitting the road to let him know that I was going to be on my way, and that I would arrive in roughly 30-45min. He said he would be around all day, and there was no problem. So I hit the road and drove there. When I got thee, I must have rang the doorbell at least 10 time, with no answer. I was furious, that I just easily wasted 4 gallons to go to this guys house and back home. I kept calling his cell phone, no answer.

When I returned home, later in the day I attempted to call him again, and got no answer, and never got a call back even now.

I feel that I really should charge a no-show fee, but I think I could only charge this if the customer called me back and apologized, and asked me to come back. I feel like I should ask for a monetary deposit before I drive that far again. Of course that money would go towards the repair if they were there, but if not, at least I didn't waste my time.


Any ideas?

Cambridge PC Support
09-12-2011, 05:16 PM
In eight years I've only had that happen to me twice.

You can try sending an invoice to the address for your call-out fee but I doubt if you'll get anything from and you'll just have to put it down to experience.

MobileTechie
09-12-2011, 05:16 PM
I wouldn't go back full stop. He's clearly let you down and avoided your attempts to contact him. He's a bad customer. You can do without them.

Xander
09-12-2011, 05:20 PM
I've only had a complete No-Show once but that was 10mins from home. I left my card on their door as proof that I'd been there and wrote the time on it. Same as you -- called on the doorstep, called later... nothing.

As for a fee, the problem is the mentality of a lot of people think that if you didn't didn't do the repair, they don't think they need to pay. Some people don't realize the time spent and gas expense, etc. They're just oblivious.

I thought about using an email confirmation system where they'd need to reply before it would go on the calendar; the email would be brief but have a clause showing that if they cancelled or were a no-show, there'd be a $__ charge. BUT if their computer isn't working at all ... good luck with that.

If you're going to be booking out-of-area, you might look into some form of pre-authorized payment on their credit card to guarantee your minimum fees are paid.

ATTech
09-12-2011, 07:16 PM
I've only had that happen once in all the time I've been doing repairs, and I didn't call to confirm beforehand, and should have gone with my instincts (customer was pretty flaky).

You could take a deposit on every one, but then you have to weigh how that affects every one of your appointments versus the few like this. Is it really worth inconveniencing all of your clients for something that should rarely happen? I would think this is similar to a bounced check. If you got one every 200 appointments, would you refuse checks from the other 199 because of that one person? Personally, I would only make that one person put a deposit down and have the first time be enough to cover time/gas for the previous visit and the upcoming one. If they're reasonable, they'll understand why you're doing this and will still have you do the work. If they're not reasonable, they'll refuse and that's fine, because you don't want them as your customer anyway.

I think this problem would parallel bounced checks. I've gotten one before, but haven't started refusing checks from everyone, just her.

Steve202
09-12-2011, 07:19 PM
Personally I wouldn't go back there.

If your going out of your area, maybe you could do the work remotely?

joydivision
09-12-2011, 07:25 PM
Put it down to experience and forget them. I once got to a house and she the woman sounded like a bimbo when I phoned her up to ask why she wasn't there, her reply was "I decided to go to pub after work, can you come back in an hour" I simply said no as I far as too busy and that was the end of it. A wasted trip, but I think it is has happened no more than twice since starting this business so it is not a really a problem.

It depends on culture and the area too. I find I get messed about more in poorer areas.

16k_zx81
09-12-2011, 11:11 PM
Any ideas?

This happened to me ONCE and after that built it into my T&C which are now sent to EVERY customer before service is provided.

An aside: recent legislative changes here in Australia mean that anyone who services computers is wide open to a substantial fine if they dont provide information regarding the possibility of data loss to customers prior to services being provided.

So: Its on my website and emailed as soon as I get off the phone to customers booking a job (Via PCRT).

So the short answer is that they are charged a callout fee of $80 if they are no-show. Have not had one since. Im sure it will happen at some stage, but at least the expectations are clear, and these are probably a disincentive for people to piss me about.

Also, I would NEVER go to any callout without making a phone call confirming that the customer is in attendance first. Its just basic business practice to confirm every appointment so no one's time is wasted IMO

[edit]

Someone just pm'd me asking how to do this. As I upped the info for him I thought it would be worth putting it here also in case anyone is interested

Code:
http://pastebucket.com/666

Result:
http://www.filesonic.com/file/1969773024