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?