Another Clueless Customer

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480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
I disagree with that statement I have found that people with MONEY are some of the nicest people to work for. It's the ones that THINK they have money that are the jerks.
No, it's the ones who DON'T, but act like they DO that are the worst.
 

Flex

Senior Member
Location
poestenkill ny
No, it's the ones who DON'T, but act like they DO that are the worst.

Exactly right. Cant afford to pay you cause they gotta keep up with the jones. They want a 1000 chandelier to show off but want it installed for free cause they have maxed out there credit card buying it.
 

iaov

Senior Member
Location
Rhinelander WI
If I cannot supply the material (other than luminaires), I walk away. Warranty will be an issue if the HO brings his crap for me to install.
I often run into the guy with the milk cratefull of used switches and recepticles from the 1940's.If I were to use the stuff ( I Don't) it might save the guy ten dollars!!! I tell them the same thing that I cannot warrenty the install and will not install anything I don't feel comfortable standing behind.
 

wireguru

Senior Member
I disagree with that statement I have found that people with MONEY are some of the nicest people to work for. It's the ones that THINK they have money that are the jerks.
That goes both ways. There are some people with money who are kind and pay well, then there is the "i didnt become wealthy by writing alot of checks" crowd.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
Some people just don't understand what's involved with running a business and the accociated costs. I just received this e-mail from a customer.



When I was out looking at the job he kept telling me how he hated the way contractors charged him more for materials than what he could buy them for. He also was complaining about the work the electricians that wired his home had done.

I wonder how much he figures a day's pay is. I'm sure his idea of a day's pay and my idea of a day's pay aren't the same. :)
The sad thing is somebody will do the work. I had someone ask me if I would do the same thing so I told them I could not but I had the number for an electrician who would work for a days wage the number is 634-6523 ask for Joe( the number was to the local tavern)
 

aline

Senior Member
Location
Utah
Aline,

I see your issue with this customer as a communications issue. Why, because it was an email conversation. Personally, I encourage my customers, suppliers, and team members to communicate in any way that is efficient and accurate, but we follow the following order of importance:

Face to face - phone call - email - Post Office Mail - fax - text - video/audio chat - smoke signals! Seriously, I do add the line about smoke signals as a joke, but when it comes to that either us, or the customer are already in trouble, or both!

What I'm trying to say is that email is a great communication tool, BUT with email you can not:

Understand the tone of either party.
Understand the inflection.
Confirm receipt, and return transmission.
Control the delivery, landing, and understanding of the communication.

I've seen more business deals go sour because of poor email management. Once this customer replied to your email, I would have taken it up a notch and picked up the phone, or payed them a visit. Sure this takes more time, but the CUSTOMER SERVICE you are providing is better than shooting emails back and forth that are getting either party no where. Either way, you will probably thank the customer for calling on you, but by improving the communication, the referral they give to their friends and families may be better than the referral you will receive with an awkward email communication.

This post is a perfect example, I'm having a hard time conveying what I'm trying to say, but if we were here talking, or on the phone it would be more coherent.
I agree with this and do try to contact the customer by phone first. People just don't answer their phone these days. I end up leaving messages and they seldom return my call.

Face to face would be nice as well but that's just that much more expense to drive out there to try to convince someone they should hire me for a day's worth a work. I would have to try to contact them first to set up an appointment a let them know I'm comming out if I expect them to be there. Most people don't like you showing up unannounced either. Is it really worth it for such a small job? If I spend too much time trying to convince them to hire me for the job it's no longer profitable even if they do have me do the work.

Even with e-mail I have a hard time getting people to reply, even though I request they at least aknowledge they received my e-mail they just don't seem to do it. I've had to call and leave numerous messages before they finally either call me back or reply to my e-mail. Is it really that hard to simply acknowlegde that you receive an e-mail?

In most cases for small jobs, I present the proposal to the customer on the initial visit and try to close the deal while there. If possible I'll even start the work at that point. Sometimes they'll give me approval other times they want to think it over. I have a dispatch fee for the initial visit and offer to waive it if they accept the proposal and have me start the work while I'm there. Sometimes this helps close the deal sometimes it doesn't.

If I can't close the deal on the initial visit my chances for getting the job are drastically reduced.

I have one customer that I do a lot of work for. They've been a customer for years but everytime I try to contact them it's a challenge. They don't answer the phone and they don't respond to my e-mails until they are ready to. I'm supposed to be starting a job for them soon but haven't been able to contact them to find out when they want me to start, so I'm still waiting for them to get back with me.
 

aline

Senior Member
Location
Utah
There was a famous case here where a homeowner hired a homeless person for a day's wages. The guy kidnapped his daughter.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Your price must never exceed the amount the customer paid for the item being installed.

When I gave him a ballpark price he complained that he didn't pay that much for the chandelier.

How many times have you heard that one from the customer? :)
A few years ago, a GC we had worked for before called for a price to do a mid-sized outrdoor-lighting job.

I gave him a number. His response to me was: "That's more than half of our price for the job!"

Well, duh! It was an electrical job. We did do the job, by the way.
 

CopperTone

Senior Member
Location
MetroWest, MA
Some people just don't understand what's involved with running a business and the accociated costs. I just received this e-mail from a customer.



When I was out looking at the job he kept telling me how he hated the way contractors charged him more for materials than what he could buy them for. He also was complaining about the work the electricians that wired his home had done.

I wonder how much he figures a day's pay is. I'm sure his idea of a day's pay and my idea of a day's pay aren't the same. :)
I simply reply to potential customers with " due to liability and warranty issues we provide the material and install a complete electrical system. If you choose to not have our company do the work as proposed then good luck with your project and if there is anything we can help you with in the future feel free to contact us."

Most of the time you don't want these customers anyway. unless you are starving for work it isn't worth your time to win this customer over - move on to the next one. I've told cheap skates before " I think you should find another EC to do this job for you" and walked away.

90% of the time you hold your price firm and they just go away on their own anyway.
 

SEO

Senior Member
Location
Michigan
Totally on the flip side I gave a customer a quote for a generator install. He sent me a letter back explaining that he couldn't afford it at this time and enclosed a $100.00 check for my time. We sent the check back thanking him for his thoughtfulness but we give free estimates and please feel free to call in the future. Usually we aren't notified when we don't get a job.
 

Ohmy

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
Totally on the flip side I gave a customer a quote for a generator install. He sent me a letter back explaining that he couldn't afford it at this time and enclosed a $100.00 check for my time. We sent the check back thanking him for his thoughtfulness but we give free estimates and please feel free to call in the future. Usually we aren't notified when we don't get a job.
That's great. What a good guy. We should all work for people like that.
 

SEO

Senior Member
Location
Michigan
I am looking harder at charging a nominal fee for estimates in this economy I really cannot afford to be wasting time on dead end leads.
I've beat that idea up and down and haven't arrived at a good way to address the issue. I've asked myself the question if you don't qive estimates you'll never get the job, if your quote is to high you won't get the job, if you charge for estimates you won't get asked to look at the job. Got to keep working to pay the bills so I still give free estimates and use experience and creativity to get jobs and make money.
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
I am looking harder at charging a nominal fee for estimates in this economy I really cannot afford to be wasting time on dead end leads.
I will give a free verbal estimate, if they want it written down, it will cost money which can be deducted from the cost of the job when I recieve a signed contract, I have had too many of my competitors written estimates shown to me, and alot of people just want somthing to turn in to the isurance company and then hire a relative or do the work themselves.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
I will give a free verbal estimate, if they want it written down, it will cost money which can be deducted from the cost of the job when I recieve a signed contract, I have had too many of my competitors written estimates shown to me, and alot of people just want somthing to turn in to the isurance company and then hire a relative or do the work themselves.
I cannot win a price war.The problem is customers want prime rib at the cost of ground chuck.
 

Besoeker

Senior Member
Location
UK
Totally on the flip side I gave a customer a quote for a generator install. He sent me a letter back explaining that he couldn't afford it at this time and enclosed a $100.00 check for my time. We sent the check back thanking him for his thoughtfulness but we give free estimates and please feel free to call in the future. Usually we aren't notified when we don't get a job.
SEO
That made my day.
 
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