We Will Never Be Friends - Business - Contractor Talk

We Will Never Be Friends

 
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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We Will Never Be Friends


A customer told me that at the beginning of a job.
Upon hearing this, I immediately went into business mode. No Mr. Niceguy.
Turns out it was one of the best paying jobs I've ever had.
Billed @ maximum T & M.
The lesson learned, don't mix business with friendship.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:30 AM   #2
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


NEVER get stuck in the position where they try to pull the "friend" card!

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Old 04-23-2011, 11:33 AM   #3
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


That is an odd statement right up front. I wouldnt want to be friends anyways, since it would compromise something. I have one customer that has a relaxed attitude around me, but i make sure there is a line that isnt crossed.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:35 AM   #4
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


If you have more than ONE customer that says that to you, then you need to change your approach.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:47 AM   #5
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


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If you have more than ONE customer that says that to you, then you need to change your approach.
Nope, only one. Even if I thought that, I would never say it.
I call it, diarrhea of the mouth.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


we do work for a guy on my street, I always send somebody else. Im looking at his house through my living room window.

ray
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:58 AM   #7
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


Business is business. If I want to make friends I'll join a social club.
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:03 PM   #8
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


Guess it would depend on when it's said. If it's up front as in your case then the message is, "This is business only.". If it's said mid way through the job or at the end, then an evaluation of your customer relations style may be in order.
I guess "professional but friendly" is what I would describe as my preferred relationship with my customers. Too far either way can be a problem.
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:09 PM   #9
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


I make friends with a ton of customers. Our families end up going out to eat periodically etc. Because of this my word of mouth business is the best in the area and also the fastest spreading. Because of this my marketing is cheap where as my competition has to pay a premium. They also have customers with ZERO loyalty....where as my customers are loyal to he end.

If I had to own a business where I couldn't have life long friendships then put a bullet in by head because that's a life wasted.

You have a price that you need for your service.....period. a good friendship means they pay your price....happily. I believe my customers will pay more and would never question it.

In a world built around the phrase "social networking"......and it seems to be working.........suddenly we should do the opposite and not make friendships. This is the craziest thought. I've heard on the forum.

You made money because the HO agreed to the price and you completed it as planned. You can either be friends or be business associates with this customer. Why in the world would you choose an ice cold relationship that has no chance at growth.

Relationships equals longevity and better profit margins.

Mike
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Last edited by Mike's Plumbing; 04-23-2011 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


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Originally Posted by researchhound View Post
Guess it would depend on when it's said. If it's up front as in your case then the message is, "This is business only.". If it's said mid way through the job or at the end, then an evaluation of your customer relations style may be in order.
I guess "professional but friendly" is what I would describe as my preferred relationship with my customers. Too far either way can be a problem.
It was up front. As time went on, he warmed up (fellow four wheeler)
but I never forgot, and continue my strategy to this day.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:11 PM   #11
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike's Plumbing View Post
You have a price that you need for your service.....period. a good friendship means they pay your price....happily. I believe my customers will pay more and would never question it.

In a world built around the phrase "social networking"......and it seems to be working.........suddenly we should do the opposite and not make friendships. This is the craziest thought. I've heard on the forum.

You made money because the HO agreed to the price and you completed it as planned. You can either be friends or be business associates with this customer. Why in the world would you choose an ice cold relationship that has no chance at growth.

Relationships equals longevity and better profit margins.
I totally agree with this outlook. I deal almost solely directly with the HO. I pretty much treat them all with a friendly approach but not overly invasive I guess would be the word. If you can't have an honest and open relationship then there's just numbers. I don't want to be "the guy" that they call when they need something done. I want to be "the guy who is upfront about the details and who doesn't act like some kind of robot with no personality and who also goes that extra mile" IMO
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:18 PM   #12
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


Well there's a big difference between aquaintances and friends.

I think you're really talking about aquaintances here. You can go for coffee with them. But friends? I doubt it.

A friend is someone who will stand by you thick or thin. Has your back to the finish. I can count those on one hand.

I'll keep business business and pick my friends very selectively.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:29 PM   #13
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


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Well there's a big difference between aquaintances and friends.

I think you're really talking about aquaintances here. You can go for coffee with them. But friends? I doubt it.

A friend is someone who will stand by you thick or thin. Has your back to the finish. I can count those on one hand.

I'll keep business business and pick my friends very selectively.
You talking about close personal friends, that's not even the same thing.

The reason why Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, comments on blog, and social network is "friends". If a customer started out by saying we will never be friends I would't do the work. Why would I?

I can make the same amount of profit. You don't make a profit becasuse of a HO who says we will never be friends. That's stupid. A business makes a profit because they stick to a business model.

Ever here the expression "It's all about relationships"? It's true.

As we walk through life the only thing that makes it fun is relationships. DO what you think is right though. I'll continue to make a profit and have great friends along the way. They are my marketing tools and it doesn't cost a dime.

Mike
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:26 PM   #14
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


I am afraid a lot of you folks are missing out on a wonderfull part of life---close community and interdependence.
I can stand on various positions on my lot( corner lot) and throw a baseball and hit nine seperate houses i have worked on. i have lived in this house 6 years.

Previously, i lived a few blocks away( that adress for well over 20 years)- I could hit about 16 properties.
the majority of my career has been spent working in a 8-10-12 block radius from wherever i live.
they depend on me- and i try to return that trust with the best roof i know how to install.
in my opinion- if i am un-able to live directly among and with my customers- then I am handling"business" the wrong way.

just my opinion
stephen

Edit:- I employ the son of some close friends--a few years ago I employed their older son as well. this year we will be roofing their house-AND both our families will be sharing a beachouse(large!) later this summer.----------they will get the best roof possible-and 6 weeks ago they tried to give me a 5 figure deposit check-which I retyurned to them with the instructions"not just yet"

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Old 04-23-2011, 03:43 PM   #15
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


Mike, what you say is so true, and I agree with you. I don't know about "friends" on facebook and such.

I think the definition of friends got confused. For me that's a select few.

I believe the correct adjective for the others is aquaintance. I guess it depends on one's definition of friends.

I get along great with my customers. But I'm not going out to dinner with them or anything. I'm there to provide a service. Which I do, I am amiable, but when it's done, it's done. Get paid and move on to the next job.

Not one of my customers, and some I've had for some years now, have ever crossed that line where they would include or invite you to a social event.

Hey, maybe it's me.
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:59 PM   #16
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


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Originally Posted by katoman View Post
Mike, what you say is so true, and I agree with you. I don't know about "friends" on facebook and such.

I think the definition of friends got confused. For me that's a select few.

I believe the correct adjective for the others is aquaintance. I guess it depends on one's definition of friends.

I get along great with my customers. But I'm not going out to dinner with them or anything. I'm there to provide a service. Which I do, I am amiable, but when it's done, it's done. Get paid and move on to the next job.

Not one of my customers, and some I've had for some years now, have ever crossed that line where they would include or invite you to a social event.

Hey, maybe it's me.
We will have to agree to disagree. When a job is done that's not the end, it's only beginning.

The past thing I want is a person to call me and the first words out of his mouth is "I just need a price" or "we will never be friends".

To me at least, the greatest phone calls are "Hey Mike, how are things with the family?"....."we are remodeling our bathroom and I want you to plumb it"

No prices, no stress, tons of positive vibes, and tons of positive referrals. The bare minimum In business is to do a good job and close out a project, any business owner can do that.

The goal is to enjoy life during the process. The journey is the best part. But that's me, I love people.

Mike
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:10 PM   #17
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


That would be fine with me. I'm not trying to make no friends either.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:00 PM   #18
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


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That would be fine with me. I'm not trying to make no friends either.
What a minute...does saying you're not trying to make no friends mean you are trying to make friends?
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:55 PM   #19
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


I can understand the sentiment of this customer. I've encountered HO's who are so busy and preoccupied with their own lives that they just want to write the check and be done with it.

They don't want to engage in small talk, they don't want to hear about the contractor's personal problems or how his day is going. If the contractor can't show today, that's all they care to know. They aren't interested in knowing why or the nature of the absence. They just want the work done.

And I think that if people get too friendly, they tend to have less respect for the situation.. on both sides.
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:57 PM   #20
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Re: We Will Never Be Friends


As stated before - professional but friendly.
That said, our oldest and closest friends (over 40 years) are people I originally did a job for when first starting out.
It's a lot about reading people. Those who come across as friendly are ones that are going to respond to a more "personal" relationship with their contractor. The "all business" type are the opposite. You need to monitor and adjust.
The bottom line is that a professional relationship doesn't mean you can't be friendly. If, after a job is completed, a relationship grows beyond that then everyone benefits.

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