A Sleezy Salesman Tried to Charge Me $30,000 for Gutters

The salesman handed me the estimate, the paper folded in half.

As I opened up the paper to view the price, my mouth dropped in disbelief… $30,207 for gutters!

How does an estimate get so pricey? Is there something wrong with my home? Is the gutter company trying to scam me?

These questions swirled in my head.

I Needed my Gutters Cleaned

It started when I went outside and noticed weeds growing out of my gutters.

To keep them from getting damaged or clogged, I searched for a local contractor to come out and clean the gutters.

My house is two story and I didn’t feel like dangling 30 feet in the air to clean them out. So I’ll just call a gutter cleaning expert.

Smart choice, right?

Eventually I found a gutter cleaning company through a Facebook ad. They would come out, inspect the gutters, and give us a quote for the gutter cleaning.

Then actually clean them.

I scheduled the appointment and waited.

A few days later a man arrived at my doorstep. He mentioned that he was here to talk about our gutters. Um, ok? I thought we were doing a gutter cleaning.

I got the feeling he was not a contractor either. He drove a normal car (not a work truck), and showed up in clothes that are too nice to get dirty (slacks and a button up).

The Salesman Appears

Something felt fishy and then it clicked… he was just a salesman.

While I was skeptical of the arrangement now, I wanted to hear him out and see how much these gutters were going to be to clean, but I had a feeling this was going to turn into some big pitch.

We exchanged greetings and he took me outside to look at the gutters. He mentioned that we have an older type of gutter system and the brackets holding the gutters up were beginning to slide out.

gutter spikes slipping out

Apparently they use a spike and ferrule mounting system (they are like nails that hold the gutters up) and he mentioned he could fix that.

Ok, I thought. Not exactly gutter cleaning, but I don’t want the gutters to fall and damage my house.

I included an image on the left of my gutters with the spikes sticking out.

He then took me around the house and mentioned that I was missing sections of gutters (which is true). My home only had gutters on the front and partially on the sides and mentioned he could do that too.

I said sure, just give me a quote and we’ll think about it.

So he went to his car and told us to wait inside while he wrote the quote.

After about 20 minutes (I have no idea what took him so long), he knocks on our door and asks if he can come inside.

It’s not like he just wasted 20 minutes of my day, but sure… why not?

He helped himself to our dining table chair and sat down, then gestured for us to sit down too (go ahead, make yourself comfortable).

This man proceeds to whip out what looks like a 100 page book and grunts as he sets it on the table with a thud.

I stared at it for a second and slowly blinked in disbelief. In a moment of panic, I made an attempt to avoid a long discussion about gutters, I asked:

“So how much is this gutter cleaning going to cost?”

He acted like he didn’t hear my question.

The Pitch Begins

He started flipping through his textbook and telling me about how amazing his company was.

Am I supposed to care about your gutter company?

He told me how long they’ve been in business, how reliable they are, blah blah blah.

I thought about telling him my life story as well, but then we would be here all day.

He showed my pictures of elderly people trying to clean their gutters in comically dangerous scenarios.

I couldn’t hold back a smile here. It’s clear who their target demographic is and what he was trying to do. I am a guy in my late twenties and he’s giving me a sales pitch designed for people twice my age.

Slowly the discussion shifted to buying new gutters instead of cleaning them, then about how their gutters are thicker so they last longer but cost more. And finally, he went for the homerun, he brought up gutter guards.

When he mentioned gutter guards I almost threw up in my mouth. They are notoriously known for being a waste of money.

The salesman made it sound like he had a genius idea.

“You know what? You have a lot of trees around here. Hmmm, what we installed gutter guards for you?”

Oh no. This discussion is getting off topic. I just want my gutters cleaned, now this salesmen wants me to pay for:

  1. Reinstalled gutter brackets (they were slipping out).
  2. Added sections of gutters
  3. Gutter guards
  4. Gutter cleaning? (He hadn’t talked about this yet).

I said to him “You know what, I really just want my gutters cleaned”.

The salesman acted like I was speaking French and couldn’t understand me. He opened his 1000 page memoirs and flipped to the section about gutter guards and proceeded to blast me with more sales copy.

Salesman: We’re the highest rated on bobvilla.com and thisoldhouse.com.

Me: I don’t care

Salesman: These gutter guards are made from high-quality materials and the competition sucks.

Me: I don’t care.

Salesman: You won’t need to clean your gutters anymore.

Me: Ok, well, how much do they cost?

Then all of a sudden his whole demeanor shifted. He straightened up in his chair, cleared his throat, and pulled out the piece of paper.

It was like I had activated something in his sales script and now it was time for the scary part. The close.

The Salesman Attempts to Close the Sale

Before handing me the paper, he gave me a pep talk and reiterated how amazing his company is.

I tugged the paper out of hand (I was getting impatient), I could feel him wince as I opened the paper up to view the price.

I was shocked and then I laughed “over $30,000 dollars for gutters?!”.

He stumbled over his own words, “I-is tha-that outside your price range?”

Obviously it was outside my price range. It became clear to me this whole pitch was about taking advantage of elderly people so they would overpay for their gutters (and apparently gutter guards). And while I’m not elderly, I’m on the younger side for a homeowner so he probably thought he could take advantage of that lack of experience.

I told him it was way outside my price range and I wanted the price for the gutter cleaning, not gutter guards.

He said he needed a minute and scurried back to his truck (his sales pitch was falling apart now).

Another 15 minutes go by. What is taking this salesman so long? At this point he’s taken an hour of my day.

He walks up to the door and knocks. He’s walking more confidently now and standing up straighter. He must have given himself a pep talk in the rear view mirror.

I let him in and he helps himself to the table again… sure go on ahead buddy.

He takes a deep breath and slides the paper in front of me. I open it up and almost go cross-eyed.

There are now 5 different prices listed.

The highest price being $28,000 and the lowest one being $8,450.

He then went down the row of prices telling me what each dollar amount gets me.

What. The. Actual. F-

I just want my gutters cleaned. None of the prices are for a gutter cleaning.

He could sense my confusion and patience disappearing.

The salesman mentions had to call his boss to get these amazing prices (like that’s supposed to impress me).

He had a deal where they would reuse my existing gutters for a cheaper price, another one where they could do it on their schedule so it would be cheaper, and so-on.

I pull myself together, conjure up a smile and politely tell him were not interested.

In a last ditch effort to save the sale, he says “But do you want a price on just the gutter cleaning?”

I replied, “How much?”

The salesman says he needs to go to his truck again.

I almost lost it. If this man goes back to his truck for the fifteenth time I’m going to be pissed.

To wrap up the story, after nearly 2 hours of BS, I closed the door in face and told him I wasn’t interested.

That was a waste of time.

Well, What About Your Gutters?

I ended up getting a different quote through a referral from a friend.

The guy showed up in dirty clothes driving beat up white van, took some measurements, and said “It’ll be $1400”.

And they did a great job.

So yeah, that first company was scam.

Scroll to Top