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  1. #1

    Question Cancellation Policy?

    Cancelations happen. If they happen a few days out where I can still fill the time slot, GREAT.

    My complaint is when people beg for a special time slot, like Saturday, and then cancel with less than 3-hours to go to the inspection.

    I am thinking about instituting a non-refundable deposit on Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays... and maybe something about less than 12hr cancelations.

    Note: in my area we don't have the clients full billing info yet, they often pay with checks on-site, and may not have even signed the contract yet, again about 40% do the contract on-site.

    We are moving to an online service and I think we are going to start getting at least deposits...

    QUESTION: What is your policy on short notice cancelations and how do you collect the fee if the client hasn't signed anything yet?

    Customer just bailed on a medium sized Saturday inspection. I had re-arranged my Saturday so I could do the inspection, can't re-re-arrange it now that it IS Saturday..oh well the grass still needs mowing...

    Similar Threads:
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    These last minute cancellations used to get me really annoyed but now I just happily take the unexpected day off and enjoy it. I don't give myself enough days off as it is.

    I think trying to collect on a canceled inspection will be an exercise in futility and will only give your company a bad reputation.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 07-11-2015 at 05:37 PM.
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    As I wrote, the occasional cancelation is OK, but after I had re-arranged my Saturday on Friday Nite for their panic last minute inspection, canceled some personal things, they call Saturday morning and cancel...and it is too late for me to reschedule my day... Just irked me a bit more than usual...


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    As I wrote, the occasional cancelation is OK, but after I had re-arranged my Saturday on Friday Nite for their panic last minute inspection, canceled some personal things, they call Saturday morning and cancel...and it is too late for me to reschedule my day... Just irked me a bit more than usual...
    I hear ya Bob. I've been there too. That would get my hackles up as well.

    Anymore, I don't rearrange MY personal schedule to suit buyers. Here are the days and times I have available. If it works out and they book with me, great. If not, oh well.

    My favorite is when somebody says "we work Monday through Friday so we need a Saturday inspection". Well what the hell do they think I'm doing Monday through Friday? I have no patience anymore for people who want me to sacrifice a day out of my weekend because the inspection has to fit within their small little 3 hour window of time when they don't have to burn any vacation or PTO time at work.

    I worked this morning (Saturday) and while at the local mini-mart getting gas and coffee, I looked at everybody in the parking lot filling their coolers with ice, beach chairs strapped to the top of the car, and obviously having more fun than me. I typically have one of these "moment of clarity" Saturdays every summer and today was that one for the year. I'm done with Saturdays for a couple months at least. Time for Nick to enjoy the summer.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Have you considered charging a higher price for weekends? Seems to me an additional 50% is not unreasonable.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Have you considered charging a higher price for weekends? Seems to me an additional 50% is not unreasonable.
    Really? So if your M-F fee was $400, a Saturday inspection would be $600? Not that I wouldn't accept it if people were willing to pay it but I know how buyers are around here.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    We add a $50 surcharge for Saturday and $100 for Sunday. We haven't done holidays, but I think those would be expensive...depending on the Holiday...

    People don't flinch, too much. A lot (most) of the (good) inspectors in my area won't do Sat/Sun at all...

    I was thinking of making the Surcharge an upfront deposit that is non-refundable on cancelation so people don't yank us around on Friday nite and then cancel at 8am Saturday morning...


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Why even do inspections on the weekend! I have been at this gig for over 20 years and have worked M-F doing two a day with out any problems… Sure I have folks ask me to work on Saturdays, and I simply tell them I work M-F. That is normally the end of the discussion and they book for one of my weekday time slots.

    As for a cancelation policy, I do not have one…. I actually enjoy a cancelation every now and then. I had one last week and I got my Jeeps tires rotated and the oil changed!

    If you are working weekends, I hope you are charging a premium price for those time slots.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Have you considered charging a higher price for weekends? Seems to me an additional 50% is not unreasonable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Really? So if your M-F fee was $400, a Saturday inspection would be $600? Not that I wouldn't accept it if people were willing to pay it but I know how buyers are around here.
    You will never find out what they are willing to pay until you present it to them - sure, inspection for Saturday, the cost is ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    If you are working weekends, I hope you are charging a premium price for those time slots.
    ... This is twice what the fee is M-F ... shall we book it ... or would you rather schedule the inspection next week M-F and - by the way - M to Thurs are already full ...

    Once you find some who will take the higher fee, make it worth their higher cost and you are now on the way to raising your M-F fees as well.

    I have said this for years and years ... build it ... they will come.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Really? So if your M-F fee was $400, a Saturday inspection would be $600? Not that I wouldn't accept it if people were willing to pay it but I know how buyers are around here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You will never find out what they are willing to pay until you present it to them - sure, inspection for Saturday, the cost is ...

    ... This is twice what the fee is M-F ... shall we book it ... or would you rather schedule the inspection next week M-F and - by the way - M to Thurs are already full ...

    Once you find some who will take the higher fee, make it worth their higher cost and you are now on the way to raising your M-F fees as well.

    I have said this for years and years ... build it ... they will come.
    Exactly. There are three options here:

    1) Don't work weekends.
    2) Work weekends at the regular rate.
    3) Work weekends at a higher rate.

    If you are willing to work weekends, are you also willing to work weekends at overtime rates? Unions would charge that. Is it unreasonable to charge more to give up your weekend? Your client makes a decision to save money and use a vacation day or to pay a premium and keep the vacation day. I see nothing wrong with that.

    Years ago, when my kids were younger, I didn't want to work weekends (too important for me to be around when I could), so I added 25% to my fees for Saturday and I still got bookings. So, I added 50%, then 75%. I finally said "I don't work weekends". Now that my kids are grown, I'm thinking about going back to working weekends. But, at a premium. If I don't book it, that's ok. If I do, that's ok too.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    ..................

    I worked this morning (Saturday) and while at the local mini-mart getting gas and coffee, I looked at everybody in the parking lot filling their coolers with ice, beach chairs strapped to the top of the car, and obviously having more fun than me. I typically have one of these "moment of clarity" Saturdays every summer and today was that one for the year. I'm done with Saturdays for a couple months at least. Time for Nick to enjoy the summer.
    Interesting that you only see yourself looking at those buying ice. You seem not to see the people at the mini-mart that are working weekends and others like the police that will respond to your call should you need them.

    Just a thought..


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Interesting that you only see yourself looking at those buying ice. You seem not to see the people at the mini-mart that are working weekends and others like the police that will respond to your call should you need them.

    Just a thought..
    Garry,

    That was my first thought too, strange isn't it?

    Then I continued on with my thinking with the understanding that this question was about choice.

    The people behind the counter likely do not have a choice.

    The police officers, firefighters, etc have a choice.

    Home inspectors, plumbers, lawyers, school teachers also have a choice.

    The first choice is in the job/profession/work one chooses ... provided one has a choice there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    The difference with all the people and lines of work both Gary and Jerry mentioned is that they most likely don't have the choice and do have to work. Most of them are hired knowing they will have a set schedule to work that includes weekends or they are required to work so many weekends. That is part of their job. I however am in full control of my schedule and chose to work and that is on me. All I was saying is that I chose to work over spending time doing something with my family or something fun.

    Not sure what you guys find interesting about my statement but please feel free to expand on that. I hear a lecture coming.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    The difference with all the people and lines of work both Gary and Jerry mentioned is that they most likely don't have the choice and do have to work. Most of them are hired knowing they will have a set schedule to work that includes weekends or they are required to work so many weekends. That is part of their job.
    "That is part of their job. "

    That is why I included police, etc in the choice part - they KNOW that is part of the job before they even apply for the job. It is their choice.

    The people behind the counter ... they likely don't have that choice.

    As Nick pointed out - Home Inspectors have the choice to work or not work weekends, to charge more or not charge more to work weekends, they even have the choice to only work weekends if they so choose, etc ... the choice is theirs.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    .....

    My favorite is when somebody says "we work Monday through Friday so we need a Saturday inspection". Well what the hell do they think I'm doing Monday through Friday? I have no patience anymore for people who want me to sacrifice a day out of my weekend because the inspection has to fit within their small little 3 hour window of time when they don't have to burn any vacation or PTO time at work.

    I worked this morning (Saturday) and while at the local mini-mart getting gas and coffee, ............
    An explanation::::::-)
    Not a lecture, just that I heard a little whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiining in your post. Maybe it is that I know what it is like to work nights and weekends. To go onto a job at 9pm and leave at 6am so that the business would not be disturbed with the work. I danced to the tune of the customer that I was providing the service to, if I wanted the work. Then also I made my schedule and I was the only one responsible for digging the hole that I put myself in. The joys of being self-employed.

    Have you ever had a contractor out to your house to get an estimate for work. Did you pay for that estimate? Did you schedule it to your schedule for convenience, night or weekend? Did you ever cancel that type of apt to reschedule. Had a doctors apt that you canceled a day or two before? The list goes on...

    Ever thought about the the waiter/waitress that is sent home early because business is slow. They came to work an full shift, planned to be there for the full shift, would have been fired if they did not show up for the entire shift and yet are told to go home and are not paid for the hours/tips that they are not allowed to work.

    Again, not a lecture. Just as I said a thought, many only see the world some what myopically.

    Point being that there are certain parts of business that are considered the cost of doing business. Cancellations are just a part (factor to cost in) of that business. If you schedule something it is your choice.

    Not to say that that I have never been on a job and said to my self "What in the hell am I doing here, I want to be sailing". Then to come back to reality that I put myself in that position, my choice. But, there are many people that do not have the luxury to choose their employment benefactor. They do the work that they can get.

    Sorry a little long winded...... BUT---NOT A LECTURE!!!!!!

    Cost (average) the lost earnings form cancellations back into your general charges.
    That way you are being paid for the time off.


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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Cost (average) the lost earnings form cancellations back into your general charges.
    That way you are being paid for the time off.
    Better yet, factor in your true cost of doing business, making a profit, setting some aside for rainy days and slow times, setting some more aside for retirement, then some more aside for whatever else ...

    ... you will find that most HI's prices don't even come close to covering what is needed for the above.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Better yet, factor in your true cost of doing business, making a profit, setting some aside for rainy days and slow times, setting some more aside for retirement, then some more aside for whatever else ...

    ... you will find that most HI's prices don't even come close to covering what is needed for the above.
    Then add in the cost of a college education if you have children. Recently told a daughter that they will need at least $500,000 for each child in 18yrs and I think that is underestimated.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Then add in the cost of a college education if you have children. Recently told a daughter that they will need at least $500,000 for each child in 18yrs and I think that is underestimated.
    Correct.

    That was one of my 'other items'.

    The amount also depends on where you live and if you have access to a pre-paid college plan.

    We had a pre-paid college plan for two daughters and now have one for a grandaughter - they can't be beat.

    One daughter is an attorney now (has been for about 7 years) and her total student loans are only a little over $100k at this time - sure, it is like having two mortgages to pay, but it sure beats $300K-400k+ if not for the pre-paid plan (we also paid the interest while she was in school so that the interest did not add up, just expenses not covered by the tuition plan).

    Another daughter has a BSN and is working on her Masters Science Nursing (MSN).

    My oldest daughter has an MSN, MBA, and MIT (Master of Information Technology - at least I think that is what they call it ... could be MS-IT, Master Science, Information Technology ... I don't know)

    She now travels around the Southeast for a major hospital corporation and keeps their nurses and doctors up on IT and meeting all the new requirements for computerized records at all the different hospitals. The hospital paid for everything after her BSN as they kept promoting her and adding on additional educational requirement for her to meet for her next promotion - get paid for working and get paid for going to school for graduate degrees ... hard to beat that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Just because I made the decision to work a Saturday doesn't mean I can't blow off some steam when I decide I've had enough of them for a while. Isn't that what this forum is for? Blow off steam and commiserate? I've worked plenty of Saturdays and know I will work some more and when I do that is my choice. I just get to a point of the year where I say "I've had enough". And at this time of the year after working many 6 day weeks, I've had enough. Blowing off steam. Nothing more, nothing less.

    You can say all you want it's not a lecture. But, it sure sounds like a lecture to me. If you want to work 9pm -6am, have at it. If you want to come on here and grouse about working such a schedule, I won't give you static. I'd see it for what it is which is somebody blowing off steam and I'd probably say "that sucks, maybe it's time to make some time for yourself and enjoy a weekend without work".

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 07-14-2015 at 09:45 PM.
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    Nick,
    I think many empathize with posts that include a little release of frustration or pressure. Yes, this forum has the "blow off some steam" function incorporated within its sub-purposes, somewhat like a therapy group. Often we say things that have underlying unintended disclosures of our views on many things. Most often not bad just interesting for discussion which is what we do here as we veer off topic.

    This site/forum is one of the very few that the members can have a truthful discussion without spiraling into a personal integrity attacks. Yep, it does degenerate on a rare occasion and it is addressed and corrected. We do have some sarcastic comments at times though it is almost always in jest and is not a negative personal attack, only a little side humor.

    At times we respond to a post that yields unintended scrutiny or a too literal interpenetration. Our comments may seem harsh at times but most often they are not a lecture just an observation. As was my "thought" and the subsequent "explanation". Sorry if it came across as a lecture. I will admit that I am capable of giving a lecture and have in the past. Though I hope the when a lecture is read it is taken as truthful and fact based leading to a positive outcome or benefit.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Cancellation Policy?

    I try to make a strong statement up front and have very few cancellations. Here is some of my wording (2nd paragraph specific to new construction):

    Please reply to this email in order to confirm/reserve our appointment. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to inspect your home. We are scheduled for Xday the Xth at approximately 1:00 for the home located at XXXX. If you need to change the appointment day, please do so with at least 3 business days' notice. I do not double-book appointments and last-minute changes can cause a loss of inspections and revenue.

    ....**** IMPORTANT: Experience has shown that new construction is not ready for inspection on the date the listing agent/builder/foreman initially tells you it will be. We have been told they often inform clients a day or two prior to the inspection that something significant is not ready (ie, the house does not have power, or the HVAC system is not operational). We suggest you inform your new construction contact that they if they need to move the inspection date, they must do so with at least 3 BUSINESS days' notice. Due to having lost thousands of dollars over the years because of new construction appointment cancellations, once we get within 3 BUSINESS days' of the scheduled inspection, we will keep the appointment and inspect what we can. If we need to return to the home to inspect items they did not have ready, a $150 fee will be collected prior to our return to the home. We suggest you request the listing agent/builder/foreman pay this fee.****

    - - - Updated - - -


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