The carpet/vinyl man finished up our flooring today in our condo that’s for sale. It looks fantastic, but his bill came to $800. When we asked him if it would have been cheaper to replace the carpet rather than dry it out and re-stretch it, he said – unfortunately – “Absolutely!”

This whole wet floor scenario leaves me with a knot in my stomach. I always expect the best from people and I am usually rewarded with kindness and fairness.

The bill from the clean-up company arrived today. It runs 14 pages long, and totals $6762.41! Forty one cents? They had to squeeze every last penny out of the job?

We spent some time studying the invoice. It looks like the way it works is the local franchise buys the national company’s software. Then Mr. Sucker, the franchisee, fills in the blanks like square footage and how many dehumidifiers he used, and ends up with a detailed printout of costs. I guess we were supposed to be impressed with the thoroughness and detail of the invoice. Instead, we just got mad.

Here are some examples:
  • Remove two bifold doors (about a three minute task) $20.20
  • Block furniture in living room (put chunk of foam under each leg of loveseat)  $37.87
  • Detach toilet $99.33
  • Tear out non-salvageable wood from dry bar (pick up 20 squares of parquet flooring already floating in water) $47.81
  • Apply microbial agent to one bedroom (about a two minute task) $147.22
  • Plug in a non-monitored air mover near a 3-square foot closet $77.25
If you extend these figures to two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two hallways, a living room, family room, kitchen, and six closets, you can see how the total grew to a ridiculous amount, even though it entailed just one day’s hands-on labor and then three days of fans and dehumidifiers running.

Mr. Lucky, being the sweetest man on the planet, could not take what I considered the next, necessary step, to contest the bill.  But his wife could. So I made a list of talking points and key phrases and phoned Mr. Make-it-right’s boss, Mr. Sucker (he does take up water), the franchise owner.

Without my cheat sheet in front of me, and without the gut feeling that we had been seriously taken advantage of, I would be completely outside my comfort zone. Being assertive is not something that comes naturally to me, but I was furious and I wanted this company to know what we thought of their pricing system. I also wanted a bill reduction.

We agreed to meet next week to discuss the situation. Meanwhile, we are still fine-tuning our staging to get the property back into shape for househunters.