You’re Fired !

You’re Fired !

by Mike Gambino

You're Fired ! Now get the hell outta here.

This current economic climate that we have been in for the past few years has been real tough on some people and has some real uptight and uncomfortable about how they spend their money.

I found out first hand last year from an otherwise pleasant client whom I’d been servicing for the past several years. The system he has in his yard isn’t mine and wasn’t originally installed by me.

However little by little we have greatly improved it over the years with some TLC and by adding new lights, re-load balancing out of balance voltages and repairing and replacing parts of the system including poor connections, cable etc. All done with a modest budget a bit at a time over a number of years.

Not exactly my typical work, but the client was referred and listened to all my recommendations so I enjoyed working for him. He also  had a sincere motivation to improve the system and was also a very nice person and easy to deal with who paid bills on time etc.

So back in the fall of last year I got a call from him that he wanted to install 6 new lights in the extreme rear corner of the yard. OK, no problem we scheduled the job never discussing cost. This is not uncommon for clients who have worked with me over the years and have a general idea what my fees are on small add-ons or what not.

The day we scheduled was a day the client was to be out of town. No problem for me I would do the work and leave a bill as the client is very honorable and we have done business many years and never an issue. No problem for the client he will send a check when he gets back in town.

So we come out on the day and time that we scheduled for. Complete the work in about a half a day and leave a bill and we are on our way to the next job.

That evening I get a very angry phone call from my client who is still out of town but has been notified of the cost of the work by his wife.

The phone conversation starts with my client extremely angry feeling he had been taken advantage of since he was not there.

The problem stemmed from the fact that number 1 he had not even seen the work during the day or night yet. He was basing his feelings solely on the money and had no frame of reference neither was he interested in hearing an explanation of the process of the work and the materials involved.

I tried to reason with him that the cost of this new work was right in line with a previous job we did for him where we installed 6 fixtures in the other side of the yard.

This job cost slightly more because the distance from the transformer was longer on this new job requiring more labor and materials to complete. He didn’t have access to that previous bill being out of town and wasn’t interested in hearing that as he got angrier as the conversation went on. He blamed me for not quoting him before doing the work and said it was my responsibility . I explained that I was never asked but told to just do the work and he’d send a check.

He’s always been happy with all previous work and is not the ultra particular type so I had no problem with worrying about whether he would like the work or not.

To make a long story short he got so angry that he told me that he was going to send a check once he got home but he never wanted me to come and work there anymore.

I felt very bad as you never want to lose a client that way. I thought about this situation afterward and how I could or should have prevented it.

I always felt that once he saw the result he would change his mind. But after weeks went by I just assumed he didn’t.

Well after several months and  much to my surprise I got a phone message this week from him asking me if  I’d please come back with him apologizing profusely. He said that what we did last time really looked spectacular and in fact he now wanted a maintenance service and recommendations on how he could improve the lighting even further as he’s recently installed more trees.

I immediately called back as I never had any hard feelings over his reaction and we spoke for ten minutes and made an appointment to come to do the work. I have a lot of respect for what he did. Most wouldn’t swallow their pride and admit they overreacted let alone ask you to come back after firing you.

I look forward to working for this client again but I told him I’d do so on one condition. This time he will need to be home though.

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