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funfool 05-10-2013 07:53 PM

dealing with difficult clients (rant)
I really have no room to complain, I should be happy and thankful, but somehow this is just very frustrating.
Working on a project, lady has changed every step of it as we go.
I thought it was going to be a quick and fun project, might be some useful ideas for others and actually made a thread about it here.

We have a set of plans drawn up from a architect and approved by the city.
We dig the footings for the pergola's and call in for inspection. next day she wants to move the post, in the wrong location for her.
We dig footings twice and vary from the approved plans, but not enough that will matter.
There are little concrete block walls around the yard to sit on, once they are built, she changes her mind and wants them another way.

When we started mud on the fireplace and windows, she asked if she could have no window trim. We set every new window in that house 3 years ago and I trimmed everyone of them. Except for these 2 windows which is basically stage 2 of the remodel.
Naturally I set them the same as all the windows in the house. She lost that battle, she needed to tell us the change 2 weeks ago when we set the windows.

There is a 1/2 wall on the plans that goes around the porch, 2 guys 1/2 a day with pressure treated lumber, 12" wide wall drilled and anchored into the concrete and osb sheathing .... no, I do not want that wall, make it go away.
Since I have no color or final plaster choices, I am working on trim. I can do this, it is very simple and will be exactly what you have now. I have to spend a few hours making it, but not a big deal.

I see the lady this afternoon and she is so excited about the changes, she says it is like Christmas everyday.
I explained the welder is working on the metal out back and I am making the trim needed.

Oh, about the trim she says, can we change it to this?
Yes mam, I can change the trim in 3 rooms for you. when exactly did you plan to tell us what you wanted? I only spent and wasted 3 hours making trim that is now in the dumpster, at least I found out before I installed it.

Jeez lady, do you stay up late at night thinking of ways to mess with the construction workers?

On the other hand, her husband literally is a brain surgeon and in a specialty area of that field. The income is there, this is a house wife that lives a life I could never understand with charities and social events, 2 teenage daughters.
My photo with the chicken on my shoulder is from this same house 3 years ago from stage 1 of the remodel and the chicken is the girls 4H project, but is still a very happy chicken. If you walk into the bathroom, will find a cardboard box with 5 baby chicks in the house waiting for it to get warmer outside.

Sure, we are getting paid for the changes, and even get ice water and fresh home baked goodies .... just so frustrating to do everything 2 or 3 times.

kwikfishron 05-10-2013 08:04 PM

199 Attachment(s)
Ten years ago when scheduling was everything that would have drove me nuts (although the customer would have not known that).

Today...bring on all of the changes you want!

RWolff 05-10-2013 08:40 PM

Sounds like she can't make up her mind untill she sees it in reality, some people have a hard to imagining how somehing will really look by seeing a drawing on paper.
I had a client come for custom work who was a real dream, the owner was in Chicago and their townhouse was assessed at a few million dollars, their landscaping contractor contacted me for some concrete sculptures to install in an existing brick wall which I seem to remember had a swimming pool on the other side. They wanted a Louis Sullivan design so I sent along a CAD manipulated photo showing 3-4 different ways the design could be arranged that I came up with, they selected one of the designs and I began work after receiving my required retainer to begin.
I sent the contractor periodic photos of the progress. Not once did anyone ask for any changes of any kind, when they were crated and ready to ship they sent the full amount due right away and off the crates went to Chicago.
A few weeks later they sent pics of their install, they did a great job fitting these into 3 holes about 4" deep that they had to cut out for them to fit into.

Nailbags 05-10-2013 09:15 PM

Bored millionaires. I understand hey it is job security.

funfool 05-10-2013 09:38 PM

Thanks for the support, I just had to rant. I know it is a good thing. Same time she can just make one feel so insignificant.
I do feel better now, but I still love this woman like a sister, she is very cool and knows how to manipulate people to get her way.

Oh look, the chickens were generous this morning and laid 6 eggs, take them home with you, and can you move this door and fabricate the ....

Sorry to rant, I just needed it.

walkman 05-11-2013 09:25 AM

Sounds like you are a results oriented guy and enjoy getting to the finish line - but this woman keeps moving the line on you.

As long as she doesn't mind paying for the changes, maybe you could try to focus more on enjoying the process. And plan that there will be one or two changes to everything she sees.

Gymschu 05-11-2013 09:57 AM

This is a BIG problem when they want the changes done at NO COST. It's a smaller problem when they are willing to pay for the changes. It is a drain on your patience either way. You must be a very patient man.

user1007 05-11-2013 02:58 PM

As mentioned, total disrespect for me or my sub-contractors schedule was the hardest to deal with. Or not understanding what it took to get busy City inspectors calendared and willing to show up a second time if you were not ready for them.

But more than a time or two I had promised someone else I could start on their project only to have to tell them it was going to be a while longer.

I actually did not have many problems with people unwilling to pay for changes and contracts specified they would. And I liked most all of them and I hope they liked me. I will say the only thing wrong with any client service business can be clients though.

It was one of the richest couples, a retired Admiral and his Blue Blood Mayflower wife, that made my life miserable and then tried not to pay. I was working in a State that mandated liens at the start of work on contracts over a certain dollar amount. I did get paid for materials and enough to pay my subs but I took a bath for awhile. It came time to sell the property and I refused to release the lien so it could not close with clear title until they paid me and fair interest.

rossfingal 05-11-2013 03:05 PM

Remember -
The customer is always right!
(Except - sometimes!)
Your check is in the mail!!

ready to roll 05-11-2013 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by funfool (Post 1176844)
Thanks for the support, I just had to rant. I know it is a good thing. Same time she can just make one feel so insignificant.
I do feel better now, but I still love this woman like a sister, she is very cool and knows how to manipulate people to get her way.

Oh look, the chickens were generous this morning and laid 6 eggs, take them home with you, and can you move this door and fabricate the ....

Sorry to rant, I just needed it.

Maybe just keep the eggs, and return the chickens. :whistling2:

funfool 05-12-2013 02:23 PM

I somehow feel I am being violated and disrespected.
The real fact are, we do not have any signed contracts to start on a certain date after this job.
I want to feel important and say look lady, I have deadlines and commitments to meet.
Fact is I got nothing, Yes mam, whatever you want we can do .... would you not like to do the whole room in the new plaster?, is only 3 more weeks of labor? .... maybe we do all 4 rooms?

funfool 05-22-2013 06:54 PM

I am getting excited, the job is almost over. We do have some final decisions and can roll along, is still slow and frustrating.

yesterday, My job was to demo some pilasters and existing gate and fence.
Move it back about 10' and build a new gate and fence.
We decide on a interesting design I drew up, is only 8' wide including a 42" gate. All 2x6 redwood for gate and pickets.

I do the demo, dig the needed holes for post, all the math for what is needed to complete the job with deck screws, hardware, bags of concrete, mortar to rebuild some block.
I am at Lowes checkout line with all this stuff on my cart, Phone rings.

Is the client and I know to pull my cart out of the check out line by the tone and attitude, she is playing nicey nicey and apologizing.already. I walk out the doors and head to my truck leaving the overloaded cart in the middle of the isle. "sorry lowes"
She was talking with the welder doing the pergola beams, she decided to let him build her a metal fence and gate.
OMG,! we are getting close to being finished.:thumbup:

user1007 05-22-2013 07:07 PM

I have great friends in Albuquerque up on the ridge with the volcanos across from the mountains and a good friend in Santa Fe as well. They seem rational to me but have noticed changes since Intel came to town and the infrastructure attracted docs and such ilk like your client. At least the wife has paid you.

Now Taos people always struck me as a little out there wanna be Aspenites or something. I didn't much care for the place.

Oh well. Go sit in a hot tub at Ten Thousand Waves when it is over! From what you have shared of your work, I am sure the project will end nicely.

fixrite 06-01-2013 01:09 AM

I hear your heart ache, and I can understand your wanting a clear picture of what you are expected to do and when that continually changes it makes life miserable. At least your customer did not want to sit 5 feet away from you and insist you were doing the job wrong, when I handed him my sanding pad and asked him to show me how, he left the room. I hate having to do that but sometimes its all one can do short of smacking them with the hammer hanging from my tool belt.

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