Is It Ethical To Scrounge Around For Work?

Maybe a poor title, but I don't really know how to say it better, here's the deal:

3 years ago hire a guy to put in an outdoor spa, guy comes does the work to bid, job looks good, pay guy. All good so far, though guy makes it clear he doesn't normally take on work this small...

14 months later he stops by, spa looks good, he enthusiastically suggests a adding waterfall and says this "would be a good time for him to do it.". I say let me think about it. He calls the next day and stresses the 'timing' is good, so I say ok. He get's 90% done in 2 days, but the remaining 10% gets stretched out over 2 months, since he's starting some big project.

8 months go by before the next drop-in, where again the same 'good timing' story is told. But this time when I refuse the one project, he excitedly suggests several other improvements he been 'thinking of'. I say draw up plans and give me a quote with a date. Don't hear from him again, til,

Came by again yesterday, same deal, basically asking for any work. I don't need advice, but what I want to know is:

Is this behavior ok and is it common?

Where you only pay attention to your smaller customers when your bigger ones slow down?

Maybe a better title would have been, Trunk-slumming it, ok or not?


He sounds like a small time hustler but not sure it's unethical unless he's trying to trick you. As long as he respects a firm no and goes away... It's on you to be firm.

The way you describe it, with him not following through on the smaller project because a bigger one came along - the answer is no, that's not okay. However, the fact that he's coming back to his satisfied customers for smaller add-on projects to fill in his down times IS okay and common. You have to understand that for integrators who don't have regular RMR, it is not uncommon to have this kind of up & down cycle - rain or shine and when things are slow, what better time than to circle back to satisfied customers, see how they're doing and if they need any more work done. Offering suggestions for enhancements to a job they did for you is part of post-sale sales support that they should be doing anyway. If they did a good job for you at a fair price on the initial project and have taken the time to call you back a few months later and offer an add on that you want/need, I think it just furthers the relationship between the two of you. The onus is on the integrator at that point to perform just as highly on the add on as they did on the original project. If they don't, as in your scenario, don't give them a 3rd shot at it. They need to consistantly deliver on quality, not just when its a big project.