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#4824 - 10/19/01 08:45 PM What makes a Good Customer?
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Everywhere you look there's advice on how to hire a Good Contractor. I'd like to do a (serious) feature here on how to be a 'Good Customer'

  • What are the qualities that you look for in a Customer?
  • Do you have any suggestions on how someone could be a better customer?
  • What are the types of customers to avoid?


Bill

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#4825 - 10/20/01 04:28 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
IMHO,
>A good customer knows, or has a good idea of his/her needs.
>Said person further understands his/her options or is willing to take the time to be educated to them.
>Has a basic understanding of the 'Big Picture' & choreography involved in a project.
>Also,of course, understands the 'Bottom Line', and how they are the primary factor in it.

> The above can be cultivated by a contractor through handouts & links
( saves your personal time orating)
I have found this quite useful , and is an indicator as to what level of competance and/or involvement a customer has or is willing to pursue.

>The bad ones? First, they do not subscribe to the above, secondly...in respect to keeping this a serious thread, there just isn't enough cyberspace for all the war stories involving them...

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 10-20-2001).]

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#4826 - 10/20/01 06:06 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Sparky,

Thanks for the response. Yes, I did want to keep a serious note here and can appreciate the restraint involved. (You're not going to bust anything are you??)

Anyone else have anything? Perhaps something specific?

Bill

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#4827 - 10/20/01 06:27 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
I guess We can have a little fun with it though, and if necessary I can always extract the meaning behind it later.
.. maybe a Top Ten Countdown?

"I thought you said .." - A 'Good Customer' remembers both numbers given in an estimate, not just the low number in a range.

or, how about this:

A "Good Customer" - Does let the dogs out!


Bill


[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 10-20-2001).]

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#4828 - 10/20/01 07:12 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
Tom Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
Bill,

To me, a good customer is made, not born.

First, there must be repeat business.

They should not always be looking for the cheapest solution.

They should not ask me to do something unsafe.

Timely payment is always a big plus.

They shouldn't be asking for estimates on every dinky little job, some work is best done on a time & material basis. A good customer trusts you not to gouge them.

As far as they bad customers are concerned, watch out for Doctors, get your money up front.

The following is not meant to offend anyone's religious sensitivities, but I have found that the more a person proclaims how good of a Christian they are, the tighter I need to hold my wallet and the closer I should keep the Mechanic's Lien forms.

Tom
_________________________
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

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#4829 - 10/20/01 08:29 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
You said it, Tom...

Let me add that in my experience:

Poor people will have the money in their hand before they call you... (some do need a reasonable estimate in advance just to know how much they need to save up before they call you)

The wealthy tend to let the "office" handle their accounts payable, with expected enthusiasm and expediency... (read- very little)

Churches and city governments are notoriously slow to pay...

Music Festivals are very slow to pay...

A good customer, when writing the check, says: "You sure that's enough?"

Honorable mention to those that offer to help carry your tools back to the truck after it's over...



Oh, and you may as well work for relatives for free just to avoid lots of hassle, and hope they give you a break every now and then...
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#4830 - 10/20/01 08:32 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
bordew Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
A good customer, I get a lot of work by referral, so they know me somewhat aforhand.I did a job this summer where they wanted a new service, fix all the three-ways, really a general rewire.
I require 1/2 upfront, I dont do other peoples work with my money. The job came to about 2400 dollars, I wrote up a letter of agreement we signed it, gave me cash as she is wont to do and said, ok next week when you start we will be on vacation so here are the keys to the house, we will see you when we get back.
Thats a good customer.

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#4831 - 10/20/01 10:15 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
Bill,
I'll exercise some restraint, it IS a good Q...
Tom,
well said, Praise Lord!
Virgil,
I think you've hit a few 'Top Ten' there..
All;
Let's put the ball in our court for a sec, we are soliciting work, a trade we are unfamiliar with, it's a cold call, we need to decipher 'sales pitch' from 'trade standards'.... so it's a 2 way street, and the 'Good Customer' will follow suit given the correct input & opportunity.

Have I gone astray of the Q ??

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#4832 - 10/20/01 11:37 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
electure Offline

Member

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
Good customers don't keep you waiting.
They know what they want ahead of time, & make good on their end of the agreement.
I'm not sure it's fair to discuss this with you, Bill. (Does anyone remember the picture he had of the umbrella with the glass of lemonade beneath it??) You're out of my league!

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#4833 - 10/20/01 11:48 AM Re: What makes a Good Customer?
bordew Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
Tom:
Your right about Doctors, amazing how things get confused with them. Slow paying, ouch, if we paid our bill to them like they do, we would be getting nasty phone calls.
Which ones to avoid ? The ones I try to avoid but with call backs, it tough are the ones that stand there and watch. I put enough pressure on myself without having to have the customer add to it, and the inevitable question , ......And you wont forget to do such and such right ?
As Tom says the lien forms handy, thats why I always use a letter of agreement, and then you can come back to him and say, this is what we agreed to, and what you are asking is a change, therefore, an extra.
But I have found from experience, to treat Customers with the utmost respect, even if they happen to be yelling, always proceed calmly and make your point, in other words," kill'em with kindness " it works everytime, and some of the most ( originally most billergerant), become the best customers.
Another thing I have found to keep good customers is to let them know if I am going to be late as far ahead of the chosen time as possible. One guy told that i was the first one to ever show up at the time he said he would, small things mean alot, to people, Just my opinion.

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