Sunday, August 09, 2015

Was My Neighbor Entitled to a Referral Discount?

My husband recently received an estimate from a tree service contractor to remove a dead tree from our yard.  Apprehensive of the low quote, he asked for local references.  The contractor had plenty; not only had he removed and pruned trees for one of our neighbors, but a second neighbor had hired him after observing his work.

There was a minor glitch to this story:

After the first neighbor* witnessed the contractor working on the second neighbor’s property he demanded a huge referral discount be applied to his bill.  The contractor refused stating the discount was too deep and he’d lose money on the job. Our neighbor then withheld payment for three months until the contractor finally agreed to a discount – not as much as the neighbor initially asked for, but still excessive according to the contractor.         

Did my neighbor deserve a referral discount?

I’m going to side with the contractor on this one.  My neighbor never actually did anything other than hire the contractor to work on his own property.  He didn’t give the second neighbor the contractor’s name or provide a reference.  The second neighbor approached the contractor while observing his work on the first neighbor’s property.  In my opinion, I don't think he deserved a discount.

My husband thinks the contractor should have demanded payment immediately upon completion of the work rather than giving our neighbor terms. After receiving payment, he should have told him he was going to be working for his neighbor and handed him a token $10 Starbucks or Home Depot gift card as a courtesy. 

*On a side note, this isn’t the first story I've heard about this neighbor refusing to pay a bill.

How about you – do you think my neighbor deserved a referral discount?  Have you ever received a referral discount or finder's fee? If so, what was the situation?


  1. Absolutely NOT! That is ridiculous. Sounds like a jerk who's happy to rip off honest working people. If you don't use Angie list, most of us find home workmen by asking our friends and neighbors. It's what people do.

  2. Well - here is hoping that there is such a thing as karma. Don't agree with what your neighbour did. I am all for trying to earn a discount but frugal ends when it harms others.

  3. I don't think your neighbor deserved a referral discount. I'm surprised the contractor gave in.

  4. Your neighbor is being ridiculous. He didn't do anything as far as a referral goes. Plus, unless the contractor has a referral program, customers can't make one up for him!

  5. I think your neighbor is an asshole! As someone who works specifically off referrals, I can say with 100% certainty that I do not offer any discounts as my prices are truly reflective of the work I put into the job. I would've passed the client by and told him/her to seek out another professional.

    There are people you jerk around for discounts and savings - they are are the people who work for huge corporate conglomerations that have all the sneaky, hidden ways around the red tape - like Sears or Home Depot. And then there are the self-employed craftsmen and women who just want to get paid for a job well done.

  6. I think your neighbor is an operator and somewhat of a con man. Shame on him.