Bad Customers!

Discussion in 'Article Discussion Forum' started by Elmer Fudd, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Jonathan Tivers of FCW wrote this article last year.

    Read the whole article here: The bad customer | Articles | Floor Covering Weekly

    After you read it please give your opinion.
  2. I agree 100%, the scenario is the distributor bent over backward and went beyond with training.
    No hard feelings but we feel we should part ways. I believe a meeting with the owners or their representatives asking the right questions, like what are your companies goals? I don't know my retailers goals, nor do they know mine, they just see me acquiring high dollar tools, and I see them going hunting and leasing more property that was our loading area.
    JonDon rented me a vacuum I didn't know how to operate, I wanted half $ back, I used it two hours so 1/2 -250$ is 125, after awhile they approved, said don't come back, I said that's not an option, and is counterproductive to my business. So I still shop there whenever I can get there(90 miles Away) and they still owe me credit for two products that wouldn't fit on my equipment(115$) but they finally credited me 125 for the vac.
    I called couple times, Chicago problem.
    Filtering through problems is very time consuming, I know with a close business in our family, the owners had over 100k in invoices, gouging etc. So catching up to these situations and seeing if partnerships are worthwhile for the long haul, or the next exit, all options should always be on the table.
  3. epoxyman

    epoxyman Pro Member

    Yep there are a few GC here in town I will not bid with on my end its a draw every 30-45-60 days I know that going in but when it takes for every to get a few 1,000 from some guys its not worth the risk in dealing with them. I call about money and then hmmmm I need to to look at a few things funny job was looking good you told me when you last seen it.....

    They do not call till they have a mess and then its bail me out please :(
    The older I get the less I want to deal with them.
  4. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    How could a younger man in this business understand what a "bad customer" is?

    Took me a very long time to really understand.

    Maybe I could boil it down here. If the money is right there's really no job not worth doing. But there are plenty of customers with damn near BLANK CHECK money that you don't want to do business with because for all the revenue it doesn't equal PROFIT. They (the bad guys) want more than their money's worth. They don't understand what's involved yet they're going to scrutinize and criticize your work. You will lose money in the long run with this clientele.

    So it's critical to find a happy medium where you make out and the customer appreciates the quality and price advantage of your skills and efficiency. That's the challenge.

    Good luck.
  5. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    You guys read the article and know that it's about distributors and their customers, right? :hmmm:
  6. Crash1big

    Crash1big Pro Member

    I hear the stories from salesmen once in awhile. About the guy who is totally difficult to deal with, always wanting a deal, complaining about deliveries, or timing or claims or whatever. It can be time to "fire" a customer for a variety of reasons. The first of which would or should be profitability. Is it still profitable to have this customer?
    And then how much of a headache can one really take. As in our businesses, when a problem customer calls; how willing are we to deal with them? Will it mess up the rest of our day? Will we end up spending too much time with them thereby taking time away from the more desirable customer?
    A salesman came in one time and was telling me about this "problem" customer and said "I just shut their account off". Sometimes it is necessary just to keep the peace.

  7. And where are their replies?

    Why are they paying for replacements, don't they just move product?

    I would like an official explanation of what Flooring Distributors do posted by NAFCD!
  8. TwoStar

    TwoStar Maybe Three

    My wife made me promise years ago that if I had ONE problem/complaint from a customer that I would finish my project and never work for them again. This has worked brilliantly because I was finding that it was the same people that were complaining over and over. I still enjoy some of these people as friends, wive's co-workers, etc. but not clients! There are always more people out there to bring over to my camp.
    I suppose a distributor has a different problem...they only have so many retail stores to sell to. There is no unlimited pie in this situation.
    I don't have many problems anymore because 1. I am a better installer than I was, 2. I am a better business man, not great, just better than I was, and 3. I educate, educate, educate on those things that always seem to be the sticky points.(What is prep?, Billing by yardage vs. hourly, etc.) I educate the client long before I have committed to the job. Once in a great while I assume that they will understand without the conversation, and that is when I get bit. Now I am sheepishly explaining why I made $126.42/hour on your job when the normal hourly contractor in the area bills $45/hour.
    Educate, Educate, Educate. :)

    I have never had a distributor explain to me their warehouse system, the amount of warehouse staff they have, their policy on in stock product vs. ordered product which probably changes throughout the year. This education would help me "know the rules" of the game I'm playing and keep me from overselling to my customers. I get angry when I am embarrassed because of someone else's fault. They tell me that the carpet is there and will be delivered on Friday, then it's not...If I would have known that half of the warehouse staff was going to be gone this week, I wouldn't expect so much from them...and probably not make any promises to my customer.
  9. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    It's OK if the guys apply it to their businesses. All opinions are welcome!
  10. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    You're right, of course... againnn! :(
  11. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    There is no right or wrong, just trying to stimulate my weak mind! (as well as RFI's):ohno::p
  12. I fired a renovation company that installed 3 out of 4 cork floating floors wrong. The only one that "worked" was with a former employee who's husband installed the floor for her...her's was fine! They messed them up so badly the 3 clients are now together in a class action lawsuit...and Canada doesn't 'do' class actions! It wasn't just the floors that went wrong. Other issues were at play. After spending 4 hours with each of these clients (the clients found us via the web...Ooops!) I had had enough! I sent an email to the two owners (husband/wife team) that they could no longer purchase from us. Period. They owned 5 different "companies" (hmmmmm) in the same town and all had the same complaints.

    The next time they called to purchase I told them they had too many problems installing my floors and that it wasn't worth my time to sell them 4 floors a year = 4 complaints a year. They tried so hard to purchase 'retail' that I allowed but I wrote all over the sales' slip "Warranty Void if Installed by Company A,B,C or X, Y".

    They are now millions of dollars in the hole and have so many lawsuits that a lawfirm has opened a special file for them.

    Do you know HOW HARD IT IS to get sued in Canada? You have to be so inept that people HAVE to sue you...just to get their point across! Claims and lawsuits have payout limitations here. You are guaranteed to lose money if you sue someone even if you win.

    So yah...I've fired a client before and it felt GOOD:D
  13. Grant H

    Grant H I'd rather be patting my dog.

    Did someone say Canada ???....Home of "Holmes on Homes" !!!

    I love that guy...he's more annoying than me !!. Though his carpet installers annoy me...knee kickers indeed...pfft.
  14. Restoration companies do not do quality work, their just the first to get there, and they don't want to lose any sale, also the advantage of the insurance company writing their checks, saving money on remediation verse replacement.
  15. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I like Holmes also. I even tried to email him about the installations of carpet being done wrong. But I'm not a Canadian citizen and couldn't get past which providence I lived in. But Canada has different standards that they go by-British Standards that say you can kick in a 5 meter x 5meter room.
    But there aren't to many home type shows where it is done right, even Bob Villa didn't. Hometime out of Minneapolis did it right most of what I saw.


  16. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    That guy is an idiot!!!
  17. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Oh please. I don't believe he knows how to do everything right, but he has helped a lot of people and done a lot of good work. He's a marketable character that was discovered by DIY Network/HGTV producers. He's Canadian and promotes higher quality standards in all trades, even though he has seemingly failed to uphold some of those standards in some American contractor professional's eyes.

    As a flooring professional, you and I know there are righter ways to "do it right" but if many of the DIYers we get at TFP used some of his advice, they would be better off than they are without it. Of course, having pros like you and others here gives us the opportunity to educate them in ways Mike can't or won't. But he is a long ways from being an idiot. I do think, though, that he has HGTV reps and other handlers protecting his "brand" in a way that insulates him from legitimate critique. He prob'ly doesn't even know about most of it.

  18. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    There was a show recently that they screwed up and missed a leak or the roof continued leaking. But he went back and redid whatever was wrong and "Made it right." I've done that a couple of time myself.


  19. Taurus Flooring

    Taurus Flooring Over 30yrs Experience

    Bud, you have this guy all wrong. Mike has done more for the home reno industry then anyone I know of and I've been in the business for around 40 years. He may not be perfect at what he does, but he tries to educate the public on what to look for when hiring a "professional". If you pay attention to his shows, you'll see that he does not promote himself but advises people to do their homework before they hire someone. I'm sure you are just as guilty as he is at making the odd mistake, but for the most part, he's spot on. Let's face it, most client have no idea what to look for or where to even start. He points out what kind of nightmare can happen if you don't hire the right people. Unless of course you'd rather continue to compete against hacks. :blink:
    As far as the kicker goes, in Canada it is acceptable to use it for rooms of that size. If it was really an issue, why do manufacturers not rule against their use? I don't do carpets anymore, but when I did (for over 25yrs), I used it consistently. In all those years, I only had one re-stretch. It's not what you use, it's how you use it. :yesss:
  20. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    That is because you are under the British Standards of installtion which states a kicker can be used in a 3meter by 3 meter room, roughly 15 x15 feet. Now why don't the carpet manufacturers step up to plate I don't know. And believe me I have asked them and got no answer.



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