I have been trying to get work from local contractors for a while now and finally last week someone called and says he was referred to me by a local builder. I was excited because I finally have my foot in the door. I measure for a pantry in his home and come up with a price, then I start asking other local business about him and everyone of them without exception tells me to be careful when dealing with him as they all have had a hard time receiving there payments.
I think of how I can still do the job and get more work from the contractor and also be assured that I won’t lose money. I asked for more money upfront so I will be making some money if he decides to give me problems after the install. Now it looks like I have lost the job and probably the contractor also. I am just wondering if I’ve done the right thing. On one hand I cannot afford to lose money, and on the other I cannot afford to lose clients.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor J:
If your customer doesn't want to pay for the things he buys, there's no magical approach that will make them into a good customer. If his reputation is accurate then he's looking for a sucker and he dumped you because you don't seem to be one. Don't beat yourself up over that.
Did this guy explicitly object to a particular aspect of your bid? Do you know that he was okay with the price but not the large up-front cost, or are you guessing? If you've been trying and failing to get work from local contractors for a long while already then your problem probably runs deeper than how you approached this particular deal. It might be more fruitful to explore why you keep having problems rather than minutely dissecting this one event.
Being a good judge of character is a major asset in business, but you should also temper your communication by biting your tongue as much as possible. Just follow your gut, bite your tongue, and move on. Recently I was getting coffee in a local shop and an elderly gentleman asked if that was my van (I had just gotten some graphics with photos) and we had a nice chat followed by his visit to my shop to discuss the home library he'd been wanting for many years. He even had a plan drawing of it. I provided a proposal, to which he replied that his budget was only half as much as my quote. My immediate instinct was to offer four letter word (IKEA) but I bit my tongue instead. My expectations were minimal, as I get very little work from my immediate locale. About three months later he e-mailed me saying he had saved the money and was ready to move ahead, and it turned out to be a nice job for me, and he was really delighted with the results.
As was said, some contractors are parasites that can only survive on the backs of others who do good, hard work. All those negative reports you got couldn't be a mistake, so be glad you didn't get sucked in and ripped off.