Am I a jerk for this?
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Thread: Am I a jerk for this?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Display Name: Dominic Rutledge

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    New Richmond, WI
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    Am I a jerk for this?

    Mods move if this is wrong place.

    Two years ago a neighbor stopped in and dropped off 6 blades to have sharpened. I was working on some mowers so I told him they would be done in a few hours. He said they wanted 12.00 each in town and he thought that was a lot. While I was working on changing a tire he was asking me questions about his 316 and the pto. It was kicking out and causing the engine to almost die. I explained how to check and set the gap on his PTO and lent him a wrench and feeler gauge to do it. He had the Deere dealer set to pick it up the following week for 150.00 and work on it.

    He was gone about an hour and I had the blades sharp when he returned. He was thanking me for saving him the trouble of going to town to get the blades sharp and for the fix of his electric PTO. Then he asked, " What do I owe you" I replied, "Whatever you think is fair." He pulled out a bunch of bills and handed the 'wad' of cash to me which I stuffed into my pocket. I waited to look at it until after he left. 10 ones! Then I felt like I just got the shaft.

    Well, the next spring he stops in with the same 6 blades to have sharpened. I told him to come back in an hour, which he did. This time, he asked "What do I owe you"
    I replied that last year we did what he thought was fair so this time we will do what I think is fair and I said $120.00. He looked at me funny and said he didn't have that much on him. I told him to go home and get it and took the blades back in the garage. He left for a bit and came back with the cash.

    I still feel a little guilty about it. What do you all think? Should I?

    I don't think I'll see him this spring.

    Last edited by inspired_metal; 03-20-2017 at 09:05 PM. Reason: wrong forum
    84-420 with 60" deck, 85 316, 5-212's, STX38, 3 REAR ENGINE DEERES, 140 H1 basket case, 50 cart, 43 front blade, 43 center blade, 2-31 tillers
    Brinly disc and 3 - 10" sleeve hitch plows, 2 sleeve hitches, 3 set's rear weights, front weights, 4' rear sleeve hitch blade, 5 - 37A blowers
    and more Garden Mark, MTD and Yardman mowers/tractors

    In the shed.... 5 Artic Cat ATV's , 2 Polaris ATV's. Ford 871 and Ford 8N, plow, blade, disc and brush hog.

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  3. #2
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    Display Name: Isaac Halverson
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    if he had taken them in to town, it would have only cost him $72 LOL, id sharpen blades all day if i knew i could make that kind of money
    i supose you saved him some money for telling him how to adjust the air gap on his PTO though!
    John Deere 317- 416a haban sickle-mo, 49" snowblower, 48" decks, sleeve hitch/ plow
    John Deere 210- 38" deck, 5B Sprayer
    John Deere 112 Patio- 37a Patio snowblower, 38" deck
    John Deere 110- 38" deck

  4. #3
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    Display Name: John Johnson
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    I don't think so.
    Some people don't realize or care that they are taking advantage of you.
    I also got neighbors like that, and sort of did same thing like you did. Haven't heard from them in awhile.
    John J.

    '69 112H-project waiting to happen
    '72 110 - daily worker w/ 39 deck, 43 blade, 37A blower
    bunch of off color GTs also

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  6. #4
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    Display Name: Titleist
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    An education costs money. Last year you got educated and this year he got educated. If he comes back next year I would settle on a price before taking the blades from his hand or loaning out tools.
    The Smokers....
    430 w/ 44 FEL,3 pt, rear rake, rear blade, snow blade
    332 w/ 50" deck

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  8. #5
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    Display Name: Jim Hileman
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    Hey I think you are fine! $72×2=$144. And you saved him the coin from dealer visit so all in all bill was less than just blades sharpened if he went to town. I understand that we all do not have the same capabilities, but if he can figure out to set the air gap with some instruction, I'm sure he can sharpen blades. There is a price for choices, hence my wife often jabs about time in shop/ garage but it's way cheaper to perform service myself than pay someone else, and with the Internet there isn't much that you can't find a video of or information. Remember information can come in many forms,but knowledge is priceless!!!

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  10. #6
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    Display Name: Kelvin Gebhard
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    Dom, similar situation.

    I like to keep my money local. Likewise, if these businesses don't want my money I tell them I have no problem giving it to someone else.

    I took some parts to local business (father/son business) for sandblast, weld repair, and paint last October. I just got the parts back about a month ago and they were not painted. When I take restoration parts in to have them "restored" I tell these people I do not schedule their work so I will be satisfied for when they are complete. Three months and still not completed is unsatisfactory. I now ask for an estimate on completion. If unsatisfactory I go elsewhere. Just did that with a powdercoat business that said 4 weeks before they could start on the parts. I took them to another shop. About a week and a half later the first business called me and said they could start on the parts. I had parts back from second buisness by then.

    No, you are not a jerk. There are two factors here. First is your neighbor has no idea what it takes to sharpen blades. Since he changes the blades himself the second applies. He is a cheapskate who is using you for cheap labor.

    Solution: post a sign in your garage that states your labor rate is $60/hr. Minimum charge is 1/2 an hour. That is the way businesses work.

    Either that or I would have told the neighbor you are not a repair shop.

    Currently in my garages/sheds: 1977 JD 300 ... 1978 JD 316K ... 1979 JD 216 ... 1979 JD 314
    1979 JD 317K ... 1986 JD 318 ... 1987 JD 332 ... 1990 JD 318 ... 2011 JD TX Gator ... 19XX Zennoh 7001B
    2003 HD Anniversary Heritage Softail ... 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 ... 2011 Chevy Impala

    Deerely Departed : 1965 JD 110 ... 1967 JD 110 ... 1987 JD 175 ... 1987 JD 185 ... 2007 JD X300
    2015 Z930M ZTR ... 19XX MF 7 ... 1970 Harley FLH ... 1979 Harley Superglide (moved to Son's garage)

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  12. #7
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    Display Name: MiniHomesteader
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    I second Gabby's motion, just add to your labor rate sign "$90 per hour if you help"
    Ive had customers stop in to help, when it just seems like they are picking your brain and borrowing your tools/supplies.

  13. #8
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    Display Name: Douglas (Doug) Hager
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    I second MiniHomesteader addition to Gabby's post. It is more than fair in my experience.
    "Everybody is a genius.
    But if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."
    Albert Einstein

  14. #9
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    Display Name: KnottyRope
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    neah Bahstun
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    my neighbor has helped me with my ex's house over the years with replace sill, start hard wood floor runs, and welded me a pulley.
    I did his drive way during winter many times and when I thought I had paid him back enough I said 20 per storm after I lost a drive shaft and no neighbor offered to help pay. the following year he offered me honey from his new hives and firewood since he switched to pellets and I said keep the money for now.

    the other neighbor I helped with snow did my driveway once. then I stopped doing theirs cept for a bad storm when he was travelling I removed their foot of snow since his wife didn't know how to. we got 2 nice dressers for the kids from them.

    other neighbor bought me some nice steaks and paid a plow once.

    I wonder how things are going to go at the new place but my new neighbor across the street let me drive over his lawn to get my trailer backed up at my new place.

    I did have a friend that never paid me for a bike I sold to him. I heard he had some bad luck with it.
    1st 69 140 H3 with 49 thrower, wheel weights tri ribs, Firestone Turfs and can borrow my dads attachments
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    84 420 with turfs, chains, 46 thrower, wheel weights and rear weight bracket - my winter warrior
    91 430 with turfs on front, Firestone 23 on rear, 50 in deck and MCS 2 bagger - my summer fuel sipper
    95 F350 XLT 4x4 CrewCab 7.3 Diesel

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  15. #10
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    Display Name: Steve Christians

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    Dunkerton Iowa
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    I love it, he learned a valuable lesson. Hopefully.

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