About two weeks ago I got an enquiry on my website from an estate agency in Johannesburg.
Their books had fallen behind by more than 3 years, and now SARS and the Estate Agent Board was on their back for financial reports, but they did not know where to start.
They asked me what my rates were, and I told them, and they asked me to assess their situation and give them guidance as to the way forward.
I logged onto their system remotely and tried to ascertain their status quo, but it was not possible, as I needed to see source documents, etc.
So I suggested that I pay them a visit, which they agreed to. They asked me "what will it cost us to get you up here?" I replied that all they needed to do was to cover the cost of my return flight and overnight accommodation.
The flight was duly booked and paid for by them, and I spent a full day with them, and spent that night at their home (presumably to save on the cost of a B&B).
It was a very productive day and they were happy with the outcome.
When I got home I sent them my bill for the day's consulting, which included a discount for some unproductive time.
The response from them?
"When I spoke to you on the phone the previous week, and you said that you would come down to help us, you said that we only have to pay your airfares. I took it that that is what we have to pay, see to your meals and give you a place to sleep. "Huh? Whatever gave them that idea?
This is a first for me, which proves that one should always spell out the obvious, and never presume.
As it turns out, they now understand where they have also made an assumption, and have agreed to pay me for my time!