Dealing with difficult customers
Payment Disputes - Report 3
Let's face it, we all make mistakes.
Here's the story:
For the last two months everything on the job has been fine and there have been no complaints about the workmanship.
But now that you are fighting over payment so much of your work is suddenly defective.
Defects will be the wall they hide behind to avoid paying you.
Yes, we all make mistakes and if you do, cheerfully repair the blunder and ask if everything else is OK (and have her sign a progress report that all the work is satisfactiory to that point)
If it's at the end of the job and you suspect that it is simply to avoid payment be the first to offer to have an independent inspector or expert
look at the work, and write a report.
Make the offer in writing.
Many clients will reject the offer and this immediately undermines their credibility before a Tribunal.
Make the offer again in writing and then you call the Department of Fair Trading and have the work inspected.
This is a powerful strategy when dealing with difficult customers,
for the following reasons:
It immediately removes defects as a threat (clients assume you will be scared by the threat of defective work).
Don’t be; Be pro-active and show them you are not afraid of your work being checked.
If unfortunately, there are defects then they are noted and valued.
This is good because it means that your customer can't argue later that the $2,500 worth of defects is now $25,000.
This gives you a clear boundary for your exposure.
In any future hearing, that report will be great evidence to show what was really defective and how much it was worth.
It also shows that you were open and proactive about defects straight up.
This adds great credibility to your position in any Tribunal hearing
If after the job is finished there are defects, it is easy for you to fix them and write down that you have repaired them. As during the job, have your customer sign off that they are repaired.
If Mrs Smith refuses then get the inspector back to sign off that they are indeed rectified.
Now the payment blockage has disappeared.
So when it comes to domestic work tread carefully with Mrs Smith. Keep things friendly but business-like, and keep it all documented on paper.
Mrs Smith may seem nice,
but fueled by interferring friends and relatives
she can become your worst nightmare.
Till next time,
© Paul Johnson 2013