Less then a week ago I get a call from a customer saying that he has some oil stains he wants removed from his driveway. My general question were as the following along with his answer.
1) How big is your driveway? He sent a picture
2) How long has the stain been there? Four months

Based on the picture and the info he gave I gave him an estimated price, but said that I would still need to see it before the price could be locked. He agreed and so we scheduled a day I could see it. I’m glad that I did because the situation was lot worse then what we talked about on the phone. I had to raise the price on him because I knew it would take a lot more work then anticipated before. He also had rust, and other stains on the concrete that needed to be removed. With everything agreed on I came back the next morning and started work. Now I worked on this one stain for the longest time, washing it a total of three times with degreaser. The strain was coming up, but not to the extent I was hoping it would. The client was out, but his wife was there so I asked her how long that stain was there and she answered "About 8 years." If I had gotten that fact from the beginning I could have told him that I wouldn’t be able to remove that stain because of how long it’s been sitting there. Now I knew by the amount of times I was cleaning it that it wasn’t no 4 months. When I talked to her husband (over the phone) I asked him again and same answer "4 months." Now it’s not ethical for me to sit there and argue with the customer. So I simply said "I apologize that the stain could not be fully removed, but I know you’ll be happy with the result I did achieve. His next comment was "Well since you didn’t remove it will I be charged the same amount?’ Now I couldn’t say "yes because you lied to me about how long the stain was there", but I couldn’t say "No" because anything less then what I was already charging would be a loss for me. I had to convince him that I did everything with-in my power to remove that stain, but with no luck. In the end he accepted and paid the full amount.

The moral of this story is A) make sure your clients tell the truth about the stains they are wanting to be removed, and B) Customers need to understand that nothing is ever guaranteed, so don’t ever guarantee a complete removal of a stain, even if you think the stain would be removed because you don’t know the history of that stain. Hope this helps someone else.