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September 27, 2011 at 3:49 am #975241::
Late last week my wife decided to take the family up north for a week in the school holidays and because we had no work booked for that time, I decided I would join them. I hadn’t had a break for 12 months.
Two days into the holiday, I got an sms from a client approving an edit I completed two weeks ago for them (we have been producing video for over 20 years) and “could they have it delivered on disc to them by tomorrow”. This edit had been going on for months and there had been no indication whatsoever of that it was needed by this week. When asked, they said “there was no hurry”.
Tempted to ignore the message due to me wanting to have a REAL holiday for a change, I begrudgingly replied to the sms, realising that they would not know I was away and it would be bad business not to reply.
“Apologies, I am away until next week and won’t be able to deal with it until I return” I messaged.
They replied: “We desperately need this video for a meeting tomorrow. What can you do to have it to us by then?”
I have yet to reply.
Now, I could indeed drive 2 1/2 hours home tonight and complete the video for them, but that would be ruining my personal time with my family simply because they have suddenly realised they need a video that should have been completed weeks ago…
I would like to know if it bad business to simply say “sorry, can’t help you under the circumstances” and make a point of their hopeless organisation skills (they did apologise for the late notice) or if I should just take it on the chin, drive home and finish the edit to save face.
One reason I don’t want to do any favours is simply because they do this every time we do a job for them and we seem to be the ones who suffer.
It’s funny that they approve an edit and then assume they can have the finished product on disc the very next day…what happens if we are booked up at the time or are overseas? What would they do then?
What to do? I guess this is the problem with being a sole operator: there is no one “at the office” in times like these to complete urgent jobs that crop up.September 27, 2011 at 4:19 am #1073160September 27, 2011 at 4:21 am #1073161::MsLilyPonds, post: 91821 wrote:PITA Levy. Pain In The Arse fees
Agreed. Glad I included it in this invoice. Not suite enough to cover ruining a family holiday, though.
Next time (if there is indeed a next time that is!!)September 27, 2011 at 4:38 am #1073162bluepenguinMember
- Total posts: 1,026
I would just say, “Sorry, I’m out of the office until X, and there’s no way I can meet you deadline.”
I wouldn’t make any apologies or bring up their bad organisation skills. Just be firm and stick to your guns.
I’d be willing to bet that once they realise they can’t their DVD in a hurry, the urgency will magically disappear.September 27, 2011 at 4:41 am #1073163The Copy ChickMember
- Total posts: 963
I guess you weigh up how much they’re worth to you as a client.
If they’re a good money earner and generate reasonable income, it might be worth sucking it up and getting the job done.
If they’re more trouble than they’re worth, tell them you’re unavailable and they will have to wait until you are back in the office.
Only you can make that call.
If you didn’t already, perhaps in future it might be wise to send an email a good week or two before you take time off to advise clients with work in progress that you’ll be away (and the dates) and for them to get any “urgent” jobs in beforehand. It might help avoid such an issue happening again.September 27, 2011 at 5:58 am #1073164bridiejMember
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I agree, it’s definitely worth letting clients know you’ll be away, even if it is a last minute thing (I’m already letting people know I’ll be closed for two weeks over Christmas).
I also agree with Anna, only you can decide if they’re worth the hassle or not.September 27, 2011 at 5:58 am #1073165The InfotainerMember
- Total posts: 612
2.5 hour drive is nothing
If you do drive back let them know what your doing with regards to service.
However if they are not a good customer tell them nope sorrySeptember 27, 2011 at 6:06 am #1073166NikitaMember
::The Copy Chick, post: 91826 wrote:I guess you weigh up how much they’re worth to you as a client.
- Total posts: 120
Totally agree with the statement above. For some clients you just want to go that extra mile, for others I wouldn’t bother. One thing I’ve learned over the years – if the client was a pain to work with from the beginning – it will always be like that, no matter what.
It’s your call mediaman!September 27, 2011 at 7:06 am #1073167::
The Infotainer, yes. You’re right. 2.5 hrs drive in nothing. Except I also have to drive back if I want to continue the holiday! In the scheme of things, no biggie…just an inconvenience.
Also thumbs up to the emailing to let people know I will be away. Commonsense, really. Although the only issue is that, once they finally approved the edit (yesterday) they wanted the product on disc the today. Normally I could have gotten away with being away for the week without issue. Normally things such as this have some kind of warning re a deadline…
PIA when they had had the video for 4 weeks….
I think it was heir ASSUMPTION that, because they had finally approved it that they could have it the next day and also that, if their deadline was a certain date, why not tell me to make sure they can get it?
bluepenguin, I think you’re on the money with the urgency waning once they know they can’t have it when they demand it to be ready. I just rang them and said I was away and the earliest they could have it is tomorrow night. Their response: “Ok, the deadline is tomorrow”.
Hang on a sec, I thought it was YESTERDAY…September 27, 2011 at 9:47 pm #1073168Stuart BMember
- Total posts: 1,070
Yeah mate, you need to let them know that it’s a big deal to get it done tomorrow… Tell them that even though the final edit is done there’s still a few days work to do before it’ll be ready to go, and if they want it tomorrow there will be a charge of $xx.
Either way you gotta stay in the dominant position. And yes it’s a good idea to tell people a few weeks out that the office will be unattended. That way there can be no excuses.September 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm #1073169Kathy CreanerMember
- Total posts: 152
It might be worth including a sentence on your quote and at each stage of the process, stating that work will be scheduled on approval of quote/stage. You might like to indicate a standard timeframe, eg 5 days to give yourself wriggle room, and add a ‘for urgent jobs, additional fees may apply’ caveat.
KathySeptember 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm #1073170bluepenguinMember
- Total posts: 1,026
The way I see it:
Your clients have had you for 12 months and I’m sure your family was very understanding of that. Let your family have you for one week. Put a message on your voicemail and turn your phone off. Reasonable people will understand.
As far as preparing people before you go away, while it’s generally the nice thing to do, but I’ve had it work against me in the past too.
The first year I was in business, my wife and I had planned a little holiday at the start of January and I sent out an email to everyone letting them know I’d be away for that time. In the last 3 days before I left, everybody started sending me “urgent” work that had to be done before I left. By the end of that week, I REALLY needed the holiday.
When I got back, I had to outsource some printing to one of my suppliers so I emailed it through. I few minutes later I got an automated response saying that the business would be closed for the next month. I’d had no warning of this. I was disapointed for a few minutes, and then I found someone else to do it. Once they reopened, I kept using them because they were the best supplier for the product they sold.September 28, 2011 at 5:44 am #1073171Shaukat Adam KhalidParticipant
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it comes down to your personal situation. do you need the job? if so, take it, charge the higher fee and let them know that not only they could have saved some money but if you had more time to do it, it would be a better job creating better results.
so the message that needs to be implied is that they got a hyundai for the price of a honda when they could have gotten a bmw for the price of toyota.
ofcourse, you would “educate” them after payment is receive.September 30, 2011 at 11:10 am #1073172James MillarParticipant
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Classic client expectations gap issue. If clients aren’t correctly prepared for the way you do business BEFORE they transact with you then they will assume their own terms and service expectations (which can vary widely). If they understand and accept your terms and conditions prior to dealing with you the boundaries are clear. Eg subject to them meeting certain deadines you will deliver X service or product by X date for X price – full stop.
This issue is precisely the reason we have locked down almost all engagements with very specific expectations and pricing. Not everyone has reasonable commercial expectations.
On the flip side you when you set your terms and conditions you may find some clients go elsewhere because they value a larger firm that can deliver a faster service. At least that decision is made by them upfront without disturbing your well earned rest. Those that do proceed to engage you will have fully bought into the way you do business – invariably better clients.Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. email@example.com www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900September 30, 2011 at 11:40 am #1073173Dane PymbleMember
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I have a rule that I rigidly stick by regardless of the consequences:
3. Socialising eg sport/friends etc
I also do my best to keep the three separate as trouble (for me, not necessarily the case for others) seems to ensue whenever I mix any of the three.
I am personally willing (albeit difficult from time to time) to defend that order at all costs. It comes back to what is most important in life. That said this is my opinion and my personal preference and is a little too spiritual for some:)
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