Doing it Wrong: Taking Advantage

As a freelance writer, I have a skill not everybody has — and not everybody knows enough about to gauge what it’s worth. This means I could choose to gouge clients who don’t know any better.

Like the plumbing franchise Rescue Rooter.

Our toilet rebelled the other day. Started leaking from a crack in the porcelain. The handle broke off. Generally acted like a juvenile delinquent with its crappy attitude and carrying on.

Rescue Rooter comes in. They recommend replacing the unit, and say they’ll do it — new toilet included — for just under $1,100. That broke down to $860 for the new toilet and about $240 for the installation.

This seemed high to me. I hopped onto HomeDepot.com and found the identical model for $141. I chased the Rescue Rooter rep out of my residence.

The final result? Home Depot was running an installation deal where they installed my $141 toilet for $69. My city is running a tax credit for water-efficient plumbing, reducing the cost of my toilet to $78. Total price: $147.

Two morals to this story.

1. Don’t abuse your customers. Even if you don’t get caught and make a killing, it’s bad karma. Do good work for a fair price, and the referrals will make you plenty of money.

2. Don’t do business with Rescue Rooter. Seriously, those guys are pirates.

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