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Any Sage Advice?  

RADAR
(@dougie)
2,500+ posts Registered

I have a client that strives to be in control and he's driving me nuts. I am always calm, cool and collected when I explain how things are; but he's trying my patience...

Any sage advice will be greatly appreciated.

TIA

Dougie

a swift kick in the nuts 2 o9slsl

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.--Thomas A. Edison

Citius, altius, fortius

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Posted : December 6, 2017 8:31 am
Daniel Ralph
(@daniel-ralph)
250+ posts Registered

Fire him. But don't send him my way. 

Seriously, you are an independent consultant and can choose who you work for. Don't forget that and you will be better off in the long run. I fired a very good client once because they hired a gun slinger from Texas that knew everything about the land development business. I wouldn't stoop to his business practices and that is that. 

Dan Moehrke, PLS

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Posted : December 6, 2017 9:12 am RADAR, SellmanA, Jerry Hastings and 1 people liked
Williwaw
(@williwaw)
1,000+ posts Registered

Control issues are usually anxiety related. If it's a serious problem dealing with them, ask some questions of your client and listen and see if you can get to the root of the problem and make your limits clear. If it can't be resolved to your satisfaction, life's too short. My sage advice? ... Sage makes some dandy fly rods. Fire the sob and go fishing. You'll live a longer and happier life when you exercise 'the power of no'.

Edited: 2 weeks  ago

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.

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Posted : December 6, 2017 9:22 am eapls2708, Jerry Hastings and FairleyWell liked
FL/GA PLS.
(@flga-pls)
2,500+ posts Registered

If your client is more of a pain in the ass compared to the amount of income you derive from same dump the client.

However if you are making a good profit, just "deal with it", idiots are everywhere. 😉

"I,d rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead"....Jimmy Buffett
"All I know is, if you look around at the human race you've got to wonder what the hell God was thinking!" ...Lee Marvin, "Paint Your Wagon"

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Posted : December 6, 2017 10:45 am Brad Ott liked
paden cash
(@paden-cash)
5,000+ posts Registered

Williwaw's correct; control is usually an anxiety-based behavior pattern.  Maybe just let the client know how bothered you are by them being a busy-body. 

But some people have a real problem with paying for professional services and not "supervising" the entire affair...similar to a room remodel.  Just tell the client "If you trusted me and my work you'd probably lighten up a bit".  Then ask them what it is about you they don't trust.

"...I'm just amazed he even knew Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv existed..."
Paden Cash-disillusioned American voter

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Posted : December 6, 2017 11:16 am
Gary
 Gary
(@gary_g)
20+ posts Registered

You need a seperate cost sheet to give to clients like this. 

Rates: 

standard: $100/hour

if you watch: $125/hour

if you help: $175/hour

 

 

Gary J. Ganjon
Buena Vista, Va

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Posted : December 6, 2017 11:41 am Brad Ott, A Harris and Jerry Hastings liked
James Fleming
(@james-fleming)
2,500+ posts Registered

Hijack...

Buena Vista, Va?  Did you take that big buyout from the corporate merger and retire down the valley? 

 

“Nothing grows old-fashioned so fast as modernity.”
― Robertson Davies

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Posted : December 6, 2017 12:23 pm
Just A. Surveyor
(@just-a-surveyor)
250+ posts Registered

I disagree that they are anxiety related.

They are control issues where the client feels like you're not smart enough to understand what he wants or needs unless he is there to supervise and instruct. We have all met someone who has an opinion on everything and is the "smartest" guy in the room and always has advice on on all matters great and small. That is your client. 

You are the licensed professional. 

Settle your affairs with him and Fire him.

Edited: 2 weeks  ago

Steven Provenson
My Stage Name is; Just A. Surveyor

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Posted : December 6, 2017 4:22 pm Rich Roberge liked
Duane Frymire
(@duane-frymire)
1,000+ posts Registered

Calm, cool, and collected doesn't work with those sorts, only encourages them.  Loud, abrasive humor sometimes works.  Recent client trying to instruct on deed language; I just said hell I don't read them things, and laughed like crazy.  Others start laughing, client finally chuckles, accepts line I staked.  Don't let them drag you into the details when they are the controlling type.  Nitty gritty details are for reports; which is an extra charge in my contracts.

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Posted : December 7, 2017 5:40 am Andy J and R.J. Schneider liked
Skeeter1996
(@skeeter1996)
250+ posts Registered

Could it be you that's the control freak?

I have a client who is super hyper. He knew where all his corners we're until o patiently showed him where the really were. Then he though he could handle the DEQ review himself. It's sitting on my desk now for me to do.

I've found there's alot of that type that use to frequent this forum. You just have to be patient and not take their behavior personally.

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Posted : December 7, 2017 5:55 pm
RADAR
(@dougie)
2,500+ posts Registered
Posted by: Skeeter1996

Could it be you that's the control freak?

 

You know, you might be right; I was just thinking the same thing...

I probably should've been clear:

This is a client I've done several jobs for, over the last 8 or 9 years. He repairs foundations, so the work has been limited but it's been about a half dozen jobs or so. This last job was his personal house he recently bought. I sent him a contract and about 6 weeks later, he wants to know when I will get to it. I tell him I sent the contract; he doesn't remember getting it; I tell him I will send it again; he ends up finding it and emailing a signed copy back, asking when I'll get to it. I tell him I will put him on my schedule when he sends the 50% down payment. He says: Oh, I will meet you on site, the day you come out, with cash for the whole thing. I was like, wow, that's great! I will try to get there the first week in December. The other jobs went similar, but we always seemed to work things out.

I send him a text last Wednesday and tell him I will be there the next day. We go back and forth a little bit; he thinks my fee's a little high; I tell him I'm too busy to chase jobs 45 minutes away; he says he's waited a long time... I just reread it and I could of came off a little bitter... He says he will see me tomorrow. I text him the next day and say I will be there in an hour. He texts back, an hour later; thanks me and apologizes for sounding mad, he just wanted to give me feed back. I ask when he'll be there he says soon, he's in traffic. Over 3 hours later I finally get him on the phone and he says he's still stuck in traffic, it's going to be at least another hour. I tell him I will be back on Sunday and finish the field work. He says he won't be home, but will leave a check, on site. I say thank you, that will work for me. He calls me on Friday and says he couldn't get a check; I tell him I will see what I can do.

I emailed him today and said I wasn't able to make it out on Sunday, asked him to mail me a check and told him I would get back out there as soon as possible. He emailed back and canceled the survey...

Hi doug I'm going to cancel.
I don't like the run around your giving me
Like I screwed you or something.
Your not being kind and making me feel like I'm a burden to you.
I will take myself and all future business somewhere else.
Thanks for canceling and not showing up it truly helped me make a good sold decision to not use you.
 
FYI I made special arrangements so the cash was there Sunday but what's done is done.
 
God speed and good luck

 

Was I being too controlling? Would've been nice to know the cash was there on Sunday. Probably just blowing smoke...

 

So my next question:

Do I fire off an angry email?

Do I send an invoice for time spent?

 

Thanks again for all the sage advice!

Dougie

Edited: 6 days  ago

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.--Thomas A. Edison

Citius, altius, fortius

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Posted : December 11, 2017 4:47 pm
Williwaw
(@williwaw)
1,000+ posts Registered

Some of  the biggest control freaks I've ever met are surveyors. I've struggled over the years to keep myself in check. Sometimes it's required though to meet deadlines and expectations, but not the  ideal way to win hearts and minds.

Firing off an angry email would be about the worst thing I could see myself doing. Anyone succeeds in making me angry, I've lost control, not them.

I'd suggest you write him and apologize if you gave him the wrong impression and tell him you take full responsibility and make no excuses. You understand he has some hard feelings but that was not your intent, just poor communication and that's all. If he feels he needs to take his business else where, you understand, but value him as a client and would welcome the opportunity to put things back on the right track.

You could invoice him, but I seriously doubt that'll make either of you feel better.

Take the high ground and the long view. All I got. G'luck Dougie.

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.

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Posted : December 11, 2017 5:21 pm Andy J, Nate The Surveyor and RADAR liked
paden cash
(@paden-cash)
5,000+ posts Registered

I emailed him today and said I wasn't able to make it out on Sunday, asked him to mail me a check and told him I would get back out there as soon as possible. He emailed back and canceled the survey...Was I being too controlling? Would've been nice to know the cash was there on Sunday. Probably just blowing smoke...

 

So my next question:

Do I fire off an angry email?

Do I send an invoice for time spent?

 

Thanks again for all the sage advice!

Dougie

Avoid any caustic or shi*ty remarks.   And maybe thank him for freeing up your time and allowing you to pursue some other things.

You will live longer without clients like that in your workaday world. 

ps - be honest if the "next" surveyor calls you and asks "what's up wit dat?".

"...I'm just amazed he even knew Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv existed..."
Paden Cash-disillusioned American voter

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Posted : December 11, 2017 5:33 pm
Just A. Surveyor
(@just-a-surveyor)
250+ posts Registered

I don't feel like what you transcribed is off base, I actually thought you got suckered by the old "check is in the mail" kind of BS.

As surveyors we have become accustomed to getting screwed and that is why we require a deposit. If that deposit is not paid we do not go to the site. Now there are exceptions to every rule but it seems to me that if this was a "difficult" or "controlling" client that you should not have went to the job site until he physically brought you the money. Now in his case I would have insisted on cash since my alarm bells start ringing when I feel like I am being suckered.

So you fell for the old "I will meet you at the site with cash" trick and he is a no show and you performed some of the field work but not all. Odds are that you performed just enough for him to do what he needs.

So you got screwed, makes you angry but you violated your own rules with the deposit requirement. I would not write an angry email but I might consider writing a very precise email wishing him well and apologize for not being able to come together. 

Now as for the most important part and possibly the most risky. These are the types of clients that your peers who are your friends do not deserve. I would make it a point to visit every nearby surveyor and discreetly warn them about him and encourage them to avoid him.

 

Steven Provenson
My Stage Name is; Just A. Surveyor

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Posted : December 12, 2017 3:35 am RADAR liked
  
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