The normal process for me when I receive an inquiry is to provide any potential customer with a price for a job that needs doing by carrying out a survey based upon their specs and writing them up a quotation. This quote is then discussed, refined, accepted or declined. Once the quote is accepted a mutually convenient date for work commencement is organised and I go off and source the materials needed & organise either collection or delivery. My standard practice is not to take any money upfront from these customers as I like to build a level of trust between myself and them and like to reinforce this with this gesture. I also use this as a USP (unique Selling Point) for marketing reasons and the majority (99.9%) of folk I deal with love it , for obvious reasons. I do, however, place a limit on this based on the value of the job but I would never ask for a deposit on work valued under £5000.
At present I am dealing with a customer that has called me to their place twice to discuss the job in question and aid them in making a decision in selecting the right product for their requirements. This customer not only called me back for a second time, which I don’t mind, but was also so keen to push ahead with the job that he asked me to move other work around to cater for him. Not wanting to upset any one I made various phone calls and reshuffled my diary to squeeze him in. I went out, sourced his materials and payed for them out of my own pocket, spending time and effort to do this on his behalf. 2 days before the job was due to commence I receive an email fro this customer telling me that he had changed his mind and he no longer needed the job done that was agreed. Grrrr
After a little calculation I worked out that this guy had taken up 6 hours of my time. Not just the journey to visit him (twice) but the time sorting his gear, communicating with him and shuffling work. He also cost me £200 in materials, which will be a little while before I can re-use, and a days pay for my labourer that did not end up working that Monday. If I were to calculate the time spent on an hourly rate plus the actual money handed over, and wages paid then I’m looking at a loss of £460. I have asked him to help in recouping some costs but I bet you can guess the answer.
If this was the other way round, and I had messed him about, I bet my name would be appearing on various trusted trader sites, highlighting my bad service. Is there anywhere that we can name and shame these people as I’m sure it will happen by him to others again soon?
The public are over cautious when it come to selecting tradesmen but what about the honest hard working chaps that get caught out by the cowboy public, thinking they can now do what they want because we are all tarnished with this dirty brush. It’s hard enough for alot of us at the moment without the added threat of being done out of pocket because people feel it’s OK to treat you like a peice of S**t.