I go through 2 guys who cannot seem to show up when they say they will (one called me today, a week after he was supposed to show) and start calling various glass and handyman services. Most of the places I talk to only dealt in new vinyl windows and eventually I got a handyman referral service to come out and do it. I gave the dispatcher (Chris) all the details and we set up a time to meet at 2pm, and I gear up to leave work at 1:40 so I can get there in time.
I get a call at 1:31 that the guy is there and wondering where I am - I mention to him that we were not supposed to meet until 2 o'clock and that I am at work, but I will drop what I am doing and be out there in 20 minutes. He tells me he is never late, and that he gets there early so that he will never miss an appointment. I jump on my motorcycle and haul ass to get back there still wondering why this guy is so early.
I get to the house and show him the window - he looks at it very closely, as in examining every inch of the wood where the window popped out. This takes him about 2 minutes, which I thought was very strange as the wood was very obviously perfect to the eye, and to the touch. He then measures the thing, asks me where the glass is, I tell him it's broken (point to the broken glass he is standing on) and I need a new piece and he says he doesn't have any glass. I say I figured that he didn't, but as I said to Chris, the window is broken and it needs a new pane of glass.
He measures the thing again (it's 3 feet by 1 foot 2.5 inches btw), writes down some numbers and says he has to call up his office to get a price quote on the thing. I say ok, and wait as he keeps telling whoever is on the other line that this is a code "E" - he must have repeated that 11 times as I heard the words "elephant", "echo" and "ebay" at least twice.
He writes the thing down and tells me that labor to fix the pane of glass is going to be $340 and that does not include the price of glass.
I ask him if he's joking as it's a 20 minute job.
He said that he was not joking and that the company has strict policies on what they charge and that was in line with what other people would charge.
I tell him that I have just had 5 new vinyl windows installed from a local company for just a little over twice that much - and I am not lying. I point out 2 of the windows and ask him if he wants to reconsider that price quote, or would like me to show him on homedepot.com how much a brand spanking new pre-made vinyl window costs and how long it takes to put it in (28 minutes if you're good).
He tells me that the company he is working for has their rules, but he has his own business and if I want to deal with him, he'll put a board over the window for free. I ask him why would I want him to board up the window, I left it unboarded so I could get it repaired. He then tries to get me to deal with his company (not the company I had called) for a minute and I tell him there's no way I'm dealing with someone who stands there and tells me that $340 labor is a reasonable amount for less than an hour of fairly lightweight work.
He leaves, I call his company (well, the one I originally called) and leave a message.
Chris, the dispatcher I had talked to calls me back and he says that yes, indeed $340 is way out of line for that amount of work, even for replacing the entire window that it should be under $200. He tells me they obviously sent the wrong guy out there to look at it and that was that. No apologies, no offer to send the right guy out to measure, nothing.
I have a feeling this company (which is a national chain) survives on people not knowing that these little jobs are little jobs. Even if I was paying the guy $100 an hour including the time it would take to pick up the glass and have it cut, we're at $150 for labor, $20 or so for glass.