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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    11,339

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Beezo- if there's one thing I have learned, it is that the customer rarely knows what they really want, much less what is right.

    I ran into those situations all the time. Generally I would try to accommodate them, but if it was going to cut into the work flow I would explain the cost ramifications, give a little education on sequence and flow.

    Like your cake explanation, I found most would understand it if I could explain it in a way that related to their experiences, either at work or in their social or home life.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    beez,

    I hope you know I was kinda almost kidding.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    11,339

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Quote Originally Posted by tjbnwi View Post
    beez,

    I hope you know I was kinda almost kidding.

    Tom
    See, Mark. Here's another great lesson.

    You can't insert smilies in real life. Although a winkie might let someone know that you're being funny, they might just think you're flirting.

    That might get you the job, but it would come with awkward expectations.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Great life lesson, I always thought it was easier to display smiles in real life;-)

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Quote Originally Posted by parkwest View Post
    Mbeezo, my hat is off to you. You are a braver man than me. 90% of your work is for women... AND you don't have a contract until the job gets around $5,000...

    OMG, what do you do for relaxation and to wind down at night, play Russian roulette?
    Park, not really so bad. Most of the women I work for have the husband's approval and I work for a surprisingly large amount of families where the husband is the only one working outside the home. I have quite a few who are stay at home moms or only work part time. So I believe the thought is the man does not have to be too involved in the project. And for so many of the kitchens or bathrooms that I have done over the years it is all driven by the women.

    As far as no contract until I hit the $5000 range that is always done only for past customers. I guess I have some sort of a contract in that I give a proposal that details some of what I will be doing and a cost but sometimes I never get anything signed. So many of my customers are folks that I have had for a long time that I just never seem to feel the need to get a signature. I would guess I have the keys to over 20 customers houses and some I have had the keys for over 15 years. They often just call or email me and say we are going out of town June 1 to 15 and would like to see if we can get rooms x,y and z painted, gutters cleaned, deck power washed and stained. You have the key, come and do it whenever and leave a bill. Many of my long term customers work that way and it is not uncommon for some of them to spend several thousand each year with me on some type of upgrade or renovations. Certainly not all 20 of them but each year I can count on at least 4 or 5 doing just that.

    Again, as far as I can tell it is mostly driven by the women.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Quote Originally Posted by tjbnwi View Post
    beez,

    I hope you know I was kinda almost kidding.

    Tom
    did not phase me at all.

    Women and I get along just fine. I guess my frustration in particular with the 2nd woman is that she is home most of the day when I am there working. She likes to check in fairly often and seems to be one of these ones who likes to make comments about work like she knows what is going on. Most days it does not bother me but on occasions it starts to get under your skin when it is the 5th or 6 th time she has questioned something that has already been explained to her.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    3,154

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Hey mbeezo, I know where you live now. Did you guys use to have a sheriff's deputy by the name of Barney Fife? ;-))

    We don't do handyman type work so maybe it's different but I could write a book on run-ins with alpha male women and building custom homes. lol (I have to laugh or I just might start crying)
    It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

    I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

    ParkWest Homes LLC
    Working Man Online Store
    Living Healthy

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Kent UK
    Posts
    3,152

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    beez and others.............. the facts of life are simple

    YOU are the contractor and YOU priced on a particular method/sequence of working

    IF the Client now wants to change/dictate a different method of working......... the laywers around here will confirm that the client is seeking to renegotiate your original terms

    there is nothing wrong or illegal in either side seeking to renegotaite terms during a contract

    just be very careful to what you agree

    ............ a different method / working sequence will alter your costs

    get any new agreement (and cost changes) in writing
    Last edited by Tom Bainbridge; 04-18-2012 at 03:22 PM.
    Limey Carpenter

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Mbeezo,

    I can relate to your problems. I have a project I’m doing for someone now, and things are becoming more and more difficult. The customer is a nice enough guy, but he is your typical know it all who wants to let everyone know that he is in charge, and show everyone how much he knows. The project duration is usually about 8 months, and because of his help and know how, I’m closer to 11 months. And I’m about 15% over budget, which I get blamed for weekly.

    I could go on, but that doesn’t do me any good. For me the take away is the experience I am getting for not only working with a client like this, but honing my communication skills. I have to anticipate what the newest issue will be, and plan my response in advance. I also have to walk him through the process of how we got to the issue, and he then sees that the delay, cost overrun, etc., is usually his fault. I feel like a lawyer and I have him on trial – I know the answers, but I have to ask him the right questions to get him to see the root of the problem. I feel like I make suggestions to help guide him in the process, explaining why I think things should be done a certain way, cost benefits, time saving, and then he chooses whatever is opposite. I think I should use reverse psychology and start advising him to do things the longer and more costly way, and he will probably choose a quicker, cheaper way!

    There is a fine line between being flexible and responsive and being taken advantage of. You can only give so much. Like others have said, don’t hesitate to give them an extra. Good luck.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Kent UK
    Posts
    3,152

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Eamus

    You didn't nip it in the bud. It sounds like you a learning the hard way. The good side is, you ARE learning.
    Limey Carpenter

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Newton, North Carolina
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    My contract states that the contractor is over the construction. Basically it is there to keep the homeowner from giving direction to the subs. I think in the case of this crazy crap, I would pull out the contract and show her where she agreed that I would have control over construction means.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sarasota, FL
    Posts
    634

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Quote Originally Posted by jobercian View Post
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=R2a8TRSgzZY

    Totally feel your pain. My experience is that people who act this way don't view us as skilled professionals- I've even been told "I would do it, but I don't have the time." Makes you want to absolutely go ballistic. So sorry man, that completely stinks.

    I wish I had some advice, I tend to not mask my contempt very well. Listen to the other guys.

    Cheers-
    Josh:

    Your onto something. It's a lack of respect for the building trades. Can you imagine a surgery patient telling a doctor where, when, and how to use a scapel? Do you tell you barber how to cut your hair?

    Where do people get off telling us the order/tools/methods/ we should use? Why do they feel they can do this to us and not other professionals? Because we put up with it?

    Joe
    "I want no heaven for which I must give my reason; no happiness in exchange for my liberty, and no immortality that demands the surrender of my individuality. Better rot in the windowless tomb, to which there is no door but the red mouth of the pallid worm, than wear the jeweled collar of a god."

    Robert G. Ingersoll, "Individuality", 1873

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Berwyn, PA
    Posts
    759

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Kowboy- it's all tied up in the fact that ANYONE can buy a saw and drill and hang a door, hence the people who say "I do a little carpentry..."

    You NEVER hear: "I do a little tax law on the weekends..."

    A lot of professions are automatically respected: it is up to them to lose the respect, which is often hard to lose. Ever been to a doctor or vet for the same problem several times? I have.

    Imagine if it took you four times to show up with a window that fits.

    We usually have to earn respect, which is hard. Although it is very easy to lose.
    Josh O.


    "If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. "

    - Michelangelo-

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Quote Originally Posted by Kowboy View Post
    Josh:

    Your onto something. It's a lack of respect for the building trades. Can you imagine a surgery patient telling a doctor where, when, and how to use a scapel? Do you tell you barber how to cut your hair?


    Joe
    The lack of respect thing for this one woman in particular is probably not true. I have been around her enough to realize that this is just the way she is. She tells everyone how to do things. One day she was telling her 16 year old son how to butter his toast so he did not use too much butter but still get a buttery flavor. Went on for at least 5 minutes or however long it took him to butter and eat his toast. Then it was a lecture about cleaning up the crumbs and such.

    One other thing that makes me sure it is not really a lack of respect is that she constantly gives out my name and everyone I have worked for makes a comment about her. Something to the effect that "if you can work for her and she has approved you we knoe you are going to be able to handle our work and do it right." I really just do not think she can help herself but make comments about all things that happen around her.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    3,154

    Default Re: customers that won't listen to you

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeezo View Post
    The lack of respect thing for this one woman in particular is probably not true. I have been around her enough to realize that this is just the way she is. She tells everyone how to do things. One day she was telling her 16 year old son how to butter his toast so he did not use too much butter but still get a buttery flavor. Went on for at least 5 minutes or however long it took him to butter and eat his toast. Then it was a lecture about cleaning up the crumbs and such.

    One other thing that makes me sure it is not really a lack of respect is that she constantly gives out my name and everyone I have worked for makes a comment about her. Something to the effect that "if you can work for her and she has approved you we knoe you are going to be able to handle our work and do it right." I really just do not think she can help herself but make comments about all things that happen around her.
    I read a book written by a female psychiatrist called THE FEMALE BRAIN. In it she stated that only 15% of women don't suffer some form of mental illness.

    Don't be too critical of this woman, sounds like she may have drank one too many aspartame-laden drink.
    It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

    I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

    ParkWest Homes LLC
    Working Man Online Store
    Living Healthy

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