Follow up on work - or how many times to you have to point out the line in the sand?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    So, I talked a few months ago about my client who is a screamer, lazy, expects me to understand and do job estimates on industrial repair which I have no experience in, is ungrateful and unhappy with my work, demands that I not only do the work at his beck and call, but do it while writing it all down in front of him so he can see that I am doing it the way that he does it. I've been a nervous wreck for months.

    Mid-October we went to his annual accounting for fiscal end of year. The up and down of it is that with losses carried forward and the checks he hasn't cashed in his safe from work completed, we could sit and do nothing for the next year and he still wouldn't make a profit so he wouldn't owe any taxes next year, either. (FWIW, if you were unaware, Corporations only pay taxes on income, so if you can run a corporation at a loss, you can never pay taxes.) After the meeting he told me he wanted me to start coming in 3 days a week again. I'm not his employee, he's my client. I told him no. I told him I would do his books, his payroll, his sales taxes, the things he hired me to do, but I would no longer do job estimates (when he yells), technical reports, (which I know nothing about and I can't read his sloppy notes), advertising, yada yada yada. He told me he might have to let me go completely, and I told him I understood. Nothing more was said.

    Last week, he's out of town. He's gotten a request for a repeat job, and forwards the request to me. I tell him that if it's the same job as last time I will renew the old estimate with a new ID number and send it out. Nothing. Then he sends me an email that someone else wants something completely different. I send him an email and tell him that I will not be doing estimates, as I have told him before. I will regenerate old estimates, but I will not draft new proposals. I see him Wednesday, and he says "what do you mean by that?" I said "If you will figure out all of the information - how much time, at what rate, travel, shipping, parts, etc., I will type it in. I can do it from home. I can do it at the office, but I WILL NOT BE DOING ANY OF THE FIGURING." So when I'm leaving, he says "I have a bunch of proposals that are due Monday." Ok...

    So, Friday I send him an estimate prep spread-sheet. How many people? How many hours? What rate? Travel? Shipping? Tools? Parts? I tell him it is the ONLY circumstance I will do estimates under. He can fill it out and email it to me or fax it to me but that's it. Period. He says it looks great and he will try it next time. I reply back "Please let me know when you have enough information set up for me to do estimates, and I will plan to come in when they are ready for me." So, sure as shooting this morning there is an email at 10 AM. "Are you coming in today? I have six estimates to do.

    "No, sir, I have not planned to come in today. You didn't tell me that you have information ready for me to go so I made other plans. I am extremely busy and I can set aside an hour or so if you have everything ready for me to type in." IOW, I'm not going to sit around waiting while you talk to the granite guy, or go jet-skiing, or buy a new giant screen tv and figure out how to call it a work expense (which comes in oh so handy when you need to operate at a loss). Oh, he's not happy now. He says he needs me to be there to "do the proof reading and the organizing. It takes the pressure off" of him. I stood my ground and told him to fill out the sheets and I can be available to him from 1 to 3:30. I got a go ahead on that, and so we shall see how it goes.

  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member



    Need to borrow my steam vent?
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I had better not. He wouldn't have a single wrinkle left in his face. I can already tell this is not going to turn out well. He wrote back and said his only employee is on it and will have it ready for me when I get there. I wrote to the other employee and told him to let me know if he has any questions because I'm not staying later than I said and I'm not doing anything without the sheet. He wrote back and said, "I haven't even looked at it yet." I told him that was fine, but if they're blank I'm going to turn around and leave.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Is he truly worth the aggravation to keep as a client?
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I'm with gcvmom. I cannot imagine having to put up with this koi!

    husband had a client like this... He fired him. We're a small business, true, but there's only so much you can do.

  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Right now he is my primary client - for obvious reasons. I have no time to work for anyone else. I got there today and they were very polite. They had not looked at the spread sheet I made for them. They'd made up their minds that it wasn't going to help and wouldn't do anything with it. I'm sorry, but one day of being nice is not ok. I did my bank deposits, other bookkeeping work, looked over a couple of things that they did and they sent out and left.

    If I weren't so over it, I'd be furious. They sat there and did all of the work and I sat in the room with them. I guess that's what they think they need. The next time the subject comes up, I'll tell them to fill out the spread sheet and I'll type it in if they want, but no-sir I am not doing your estimates.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I think I'd be keeping eyes and ears open for a new client. This one wants you to do your job and sounds like several other people's too thrown in for the same pay. I'd be tempted to tack an extra stiff fee for anything that doesn't fall under your normal services. Might make him rethink how he does things a bit. If not........well, it will make it a little more worth your while to type the stuff up for them. But I don't think I'd do extra work without being paid extra to do so.
  8. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    No is a sentence. He keeps on with his same nonsense because you eventually do it anyway, he knows how to get you to do what he wants. Just say no, that is all. He doesn't care about you, he wants what he wants out of you. You care, you want to do a good job, you have to say no, firmly, without any more explanations, they've been given. Sometimes you have to be a ***** also.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I get the feeling you are charging him a flat rate?

    Perhaps you need to detail that a little bit when you bill him... ($100 - bookkeeping. $25 answering phones. $25 filing. $50 writing contracts. etc)

    I had a part-time job that I took for *supposedly* three hours a day. A stable owner just needed a hand in the mornings....and I could use a little extra cash. Seemed like a win-win.

    But soon - she started asking me to do extra run to the store, get the dogs groomed, type up some contracts, etc. She tried telling me that "it's on your way, so..." or "Oh, it will just take you a minute....". She was not hearing me when I told her "NO."...

    So I decided I'd be happy to do these extra things for her - on her dime.

    I ran to the store - with her truck.

    I got the dogs groomed and typed up her contracts....and I noted it right on my time sheet. '30 minutes - Typing'

    One week, I handed her a time card with all sorts of extra junk written on it. When she read everything on the timesheet, I could see that she was really aggravated - but was all stuff she'd asked me to do.

    After that, she started asking other folks to do her errands instead. After was on their way...

    I get the feeling this guy will be the same way. If you won't do it for "free" - he'll get somebody else.
  10. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I had an employer like that. The guy yelled all the time, didn't listen to anything you said...I could go on for days. I was salary - pay configured at 8 hours a day - but almost never worked less than 10 (my lunch hour consisted of running errands - taking the deposit to the bank, the books to the accountant, going to the printers, getting office supplies - I often had no time for lunch during my so-called lunch hour) and there was hell to pay if I was out - which I rarely was. (I had a babysitter who took kids when they were sick - the only time she wouldn't take them was if they had pink eye, until they had been on antibiotics for 24 hours. She even took them with chickenpox.) I couldn't even take 5 days in a row for vacation because there was no one to cover for me. I worked when I was sick. That's how I ended up in the ER with a kidney infection that had almost gone septic and they wanted to hospitalize me (but I couldn't afford it - no insurance). That was on a Thursday. I worked all that week with a 103 fever, vomiting, chills, pain. And on Thursday I called at 6:30am because I couldn't get out of bed. That night my then-boyfriend took me to the ER. That night my boss told me he was drilling to have the locks changed. Because I missed a day of work. I told him to do what he had to do and hung up. I was done, and too sick to care that I had 2 little kids and now no job.

    The next morning at 7:30am they were calling me because they didn't know how to do what I did, and it was a different ballgame for me. I still couldn't get up unassisted, but I went off about things and reminded them that I had been fired (this was his wife). She called me back and said that "John say's you're not fired. You're not going to quit are you?" "Not until I have another job."

    Until that point, I had put my foot down on some things, but I let a lot of things slide and like you I was worried sick and upset all the time. It was like a bad marriage. After that, I didn't take it for a second and boy did he respond. I stopped running errands on my lunch hour. I stopped doing the work of 2 people, and his wife came in and helped part time (including running the errands). If I needed to leave to take one of my kid's to the doctor, I didn't let him bully me into waiting and taking him/her to after hours urgent care. If he started yelling (you could literally watch him start to flip through things looking for something to go off about - he was soooo borderline, and a drug addict), I walked away or told him that if he didn't stop, I was leaving (there were times he was so bad that a couple of hours later I got chocolate and/or flowers). When he wanted to write off personal expenses as business, I refused to touch it (and the business was not run out of his home, so it was total fraud).

    Long story short, what I learned from this experience is that people (at least men - my experience) who act like that don't respond until you behave in a manner they can understand - the language they themselves speak. He still tried to pull his **** all the time, but I didn't back down and he'd be the one who'd end up backpedaling.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    He's no dummy - He's just punching holes in the proverbial bladder to see if there is a weakness. There wasn't so he's gone back to what it was before. He knows the score - You're not going to give him ANY MORE freebies, and you've made your point. He did his little threatening song and dance; you gave him the option to let you go, and he countered with 'Nice to see you thanks for your work' (basically).

    I'd stick to my guns, and anything ELSE that you do pseudo-gratis from here on out? I'd take Daisyface's excellent advice and hit him with a per-item bill. Obviously he could write THAT off as well and take the loss too.

    GOOD JOB WITZ! Or should I say Annie Oakley?
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    woah! YOU GO GIRL! (snap) ok I can't really pull that off, but good job.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I give him detailed billings and charge him by the hour. I'm very tempted to charge a minimum four hours, and to charge more per hour for tasks I don't want to perform. I can only work so much because it jeopardizes my Social Security Disability to work too much, and I just plain can't. It's too much. The stress is making me so much worse, too. Plus, defined job duties could make me an employee rather than an independent contractor. It's a mess.

    husband and I talked about it last night. It's the VERY slow season, and I know that the guy I work for is going to come up with a "why don't you develop some several size fit many memorized transactions that we can just pull up to use in the future?" I did that for a bit a few months ago, and it CAN work, and he used one of those yesterday to do one of the estimates I wouldn't do. We decided that when that time - inevitably - comes, I will say "I will do one from my spread sheet that you prepare for me and see if that will work. Otherwise, no."