Reduce the Yard Bill and Get Your Boat Back
Control the Conversation
Charlie asked his yard to perform some engine work on his express cruiser. When he called to see if the boat was ready, he found out that somehow the job had grown and the final bill was 35 percent above the original quote. Charlie got his bill down without yelling or making threats, but by the simple art of conversation. Here’s a quick rundown on what happened.
Start With Idle Chatter
Charlie walked in and started with small talk about the weather, the owner’s kids and the usual “How’s biz?” questions. People like to talk about themselves and their business and appreciate empathy whether it’s been solicited or not. With this conversation comes bonds of familiarity, and Charlie was soon working his bill from the role of confidant, not adversary.
Move on to the Final Bill
Charlie then brought up the discrepancies, never raised his voice, never threatened and kept his cool. They discussed each item, and with gentle prodding, he got the shop to lower some of the charges that were a bit excessive, although the owner also emphasized that the yard policy was to replace questionable parts to prevent future problems. A compromise was reached.