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Thread: I fired a client yesterday!

  1. #1
    Platinum Member Neville Bailey's Avatar
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    I fired a client yesterday!

    Yesterday I fired a client that has been getting under my skin for a while...

    You know the type - wants everything for nothing, whinges about every invoice, meddles (and messes up) in everything I do, and is generally obnoxious.

    The day before yesterday I paid him a visit to do some basic Pastel work, i.e. move the system from his old server to a new server. I am not an IT specialist, so I expect the new server to be up-and-running, waiting for me to do my thing. Instead, I arrive at his premises, to be greeted by a box with a computer inside, which he purchased the day before. So I spend my time (at a rate five times more than that of an IT technician), unboxing the server, firing it up, configuring it with my limited IT knowledge, before I can start doing what I was asked to do.

    I advise him that I will only transfer the Pastel setup and database across from the old server, but he will need to get an IT technician to transfer his email, Office, etc. I referred him to a local IT support company down the road, but he says he will rather get his nephew in at no charge!

    After the job is done, 3.5 hours later (I had to search and download printer drivers for his slip printer and laser printer, because he couldn't find the disks), we set up another appointment in early January to do some further work.

    He phones me yesterday morning after getting my invoice, and he starts whinging... Why did I charge him so much, and why the travel charge? (I had to drive from Westville to his Pietermaritzburg office and back). I stand my ground and refuse to accept his requests for a discount. I advised him that I had notified him via email (together with all my clients) about my travel charges in May 2012. He says he can't remember getting the email...he gets so many emails, how do I expect him to read them all? I respond by saying that I cannot be held responsible for his memory or organisational abilities. As an aside, I did not receive a single objection from any of my other clients about my travel charges.

    He asks whether my next appointment will carry a travel charge and I reply in the affirmative. He says he wants to cancel the appointment and that he will find someone else local. I respond that it's his choice, and then tell him good bye...

    Today I am happy and relieved to serve my many other satisfied clients.
    Neville Bailey - Pastel Accounting Consultant and Photographer
    neville@accountingsoftwaresupport.co.za
    www.accountingsoftwaresupport.co.za
    View Neville Bailey Photography

    "Give every person more in use value than you take from them in cash value."
    WALLACE WATTLES (1860-1911)

  2. #2
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Good for you Neville! The 80/20 principle applies.

    People do not always appreciate what professionals can do for them and revert to "I will get my nephew (who did not even complete his correspondence course) to do it for free."

    Is this is a very generic Durban/KZN problem or do people in other provinces experience the same?
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Neville
    I use the a modified offer that I picked up when reading about Warren Buffet. I say pay me what you think the job is worth and you say it is worth the invoice value. Then the kicker is you will decide based on what is paid whether you will work for him again.

    This WB used when he was one of the few companies prepared to carry big reinsurance risks and you only had one bite at that cherry.

    Anyway have a good Christmas.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    Good on you, Neville!

    This is something that we unfortunately experience often in the design industry. After all, all we're doing is drawing pretty pictures in MS Paint - why should people pay for our services?

    I say get rid of the clients that you don't gel with and keep the ones who make your job easier to love. It's the Velvet Rope concept from Michael Port's Book Yourself Solid.
    "The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." - Socrates
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    New Member Kornflake's Avatar
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    It is the best feeling in the world being able to tell a client that you will no longer be requiring the grief he gives you There is more to life than having to to justify your charges/time or the amount of VAT he has to pay. As long as you know your charges are fair, then it is up to the client to find the same level of service at a lower rate. Clients love taking advantage, playing on your feelings, but enough now. Times are tough for everyone... so it is time for them to pay their fair share.

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Often these guys come back, begging for your services. This is after a friend of a friend's cousin's advice did not work out so well and stuffed up his whole system...
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Gold Member Martinco's Avatar
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    Just to illustrate the norm lately:
    A friend of mine managed the local MAN dealership and had a problem with a truck that would only idle...no revving ( Drive by wire ). So he plugs his diagnostics but this shown nothing !
    So, the next thing to do is to get the guys from Joburg to fix the problem. He places a call and a few hours later two guys arrive with a laptop under the arm. He greets them and tells them that he just needs to drop his paperwork in his office, then he will join them. Literally 2 minutes later he walks into the workshop and sees that they have packed their stuff and are ready to leave !
    "Are you finished ?"
    "Yes sir, we reset the electronic control system. The truck is fine now."
    And the bill ? R4500.00 Plus vat
    They charged him per hour from the time they left Joburg till getting back there plus mileage and lastly the 2 minutes work was charged as an hour.
    ( Nothing wrong with the above..............just to demonstrate how things are done.)

    Well done Neville ! Sure you can do without this customer but rest assured...........he will be back. Pastel has this nasty habit of quitting on you when you least expect it and that is the time one gets desperate !
    Martin Coetzee
    Supplier of Stainless Steel Band and Buckle and various fastening systems. Steel, Plastic, Galvanized, PET and Poly woven.
    We solve your fastening problems.
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    You may never know what results will come from your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results... Rudy Malan 05/03/2011

  9. #8
    Platinum Member Neville Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blurock View Post
    Often these guys come back, begging for your services.
    He can beg all he likes (if that happens) but I can do without the irritation.
    Neville Bailey - Pastel Accounting Consultant and Photographer
    neville@accountingsoftwaresupport.co.za
    www.accountingsoftwaresupport.co.za
    View Neville Bailey Photography

    "Give every person more in use value than you take from them in cash value."
    WALLACE WATTLES (1860-1911)

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Usually when the mood takes me we dump 3 or 4 customers per year. It feels great and takes a lot of pressure off because regardless of how low the turnover or profit may be from those customers theyre usually the cause of 90% of the day to day headaches.
    _______________________________________________
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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    Usually when the mood takes me we dump 3 or 4 customers per year. It feels great and takes a lot of pressure off because regardless of how low the turnover or profit may be from those customers theyre usually the cause of 90% of the day to day headaches.
    One of Richard Branson's business principles: "The client is not always right".
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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