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Phyco Homies? Ever had them

2246 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  IHI
Kinda long rant to follow:

Had my first run in with couple I bid residing their garage and re-roofing house and garage last fall. These folks would literally call me 2-3 times a day with nothing to say. One day me, my wife and buddies were down at the Hot Rod power tour stop for the day and they called to tell me that they were heading to the bank in a little while. They called later to tell me they had just gotten back from the bank and everything looked good. 2 hrs after that they called to say bank wanted them to come back down to finalize everything. And later yet called to tell me everything was done and money would be depositied into their account the following monday. This went on throughout the job, you know the type, they watch over everything you do, then at the end of the day start asking questions about this that or the next thing about why we did certain aspects the way we did them. No problems getting paid, so aside from gently telling them multiple times they need not call unless something major comes up, it went pretty smoothly.

The other day a guy called, first thing out of his mouth, "you just sold a garage, told myself the first person to answer the phone in person would get my money" 1 hour later after gathering initial info he would not shut up no matter what I tried, finally did the "my wife has been beeping in so i better take the call" Later that afternoon I met with him to go over the details so I could nail down the estimate, 1.5hrs later he's still talking about this that and the next thiing and literally had to turn my back, jump in the truck and leave. While out for dinner that night with wife/daughter/and my mother I brain farted the number on caller id and guess who, this time he's telling me how he's depressed becasue the bank said his home is not worth what he thought it was so he had to put up three of his antique cars to secure the loan, anyways 30minutes later darn near hung up on him, but got him to say good bye.

Everyday since last monday he calls 3-4 times, NEVER during business hours, always starts at 7:30 or so and last night he called at 10pm, 10:30, 11pm and 11:30 and he FINALLY left a message on the 11:30pm call that the estimate looked good and when would I like to meet with him again to go over contract. I made sure to put payments I get all money for complete garage material up front before it's ordered/deliverd, all the money up front before any flat work is done, and 1/2 labor up front before I drive one nail, then next 1/4 payment after structure is erected and final payment after sign off on permit.

Had my sister in law run back ground check on him, everything came back good. Child support upto date, no tickets/misdemeanors or felonies, etc...I refuse to answer his calls after 6pm, trying to teach him the business hr respect rule and have asked if he needs to contact me do so between 7am and 6pm, but he does not get it!!

So, we've all had the penny pinching homies that think we're screwing them and WE are able to laugh when usually less than a year later they have all kinds of trouble in one way shape or form with the low baller-bottom feeder they decided would be the best to do the work on THEIR HOME!! But how many of you have had physco clients that will not stop calling?? I hate to be real rude since I'm making some good money and will just "grin and bear it", but jeez what a pita!!
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Congratulations, you have proven yourself to be a good listener. That's 90% of the business when it comes to residential construction. If you can hack it, you'll make a lot of money.

I get the same thing all of the time. It can be frustrating to some contractors, but over the years I have found that these people are my best customers. Most of them are happy to pay my price. They consume a lot of my time, but I think it's worth it. Nobody else listens to them, so I get their job. In my opinion, it's better than dealing with cheapskates.

Things could be worse. I have to agree with Mike, people are spending a lot of money with us sometimes and they almost all need some degree of handholding to make them feel safe and secure with their decision to spend that money with us.

During business hours my calls are auto-forwarded to my cell phone so I almost always answer it personally, but I seriously do not answer my business phone after work hours or on the weekends, I have to have a life outside of work, that's what voice mail is for in my opinion.

But, those customers you wrote of are seriously on the far side of the hand-holding issue, my God! :eek:
Mike, that's what I was looking to hear. I have no qualms about Mon-Fri. 7am-6pm calls and like you said answer them personally. And when I'm actually on a job at any phase I will make exceptions to after hour calls, since sometimes homeowner work hours do not allow them to ever see me until the job is completed, so when they call with questions/stats reports about this or that I have no problems. As long as it's job related!

But this latest fella calling to tell me his life story, how he's upset the bank deos'n think his house is worth what he thinks it is, how he cant understand how come banks just dont give money to anybody, telling me the same thiing over and over as to why he chose the layout he went with-heard that at least 6 times now :eek: I know when homeowners are spending money they want to be in the loop and I expect them to be, but calling at all hours of the night especially the 10pm and later, that's pushing it too far IMO. kinda like those those dumb kids calling your house late at night to talk with your kids...just is'nt any practical reason, especially since this fella works a first shift job. Maybe he's lonely and using me as a shrink, I dont know. I can put on a smile to sell the job, but somehow I need to let this guy know it is unacceptable to call late at night, especially since we have'nt signed a contract and no money has exchanged hands, he just wants somebody to talk to.

Had another job we were installing windows in an aparrtment complex replacing 236 windows and they had a few mentally challenged tenants. Knocked on one guys door, who then answered. We had to leave 24hr notice before we could work on apartments, anyways, I tell him we're there to replace his windows is it alright to come in and start. You could tell this guy was'nt right and said, "no, I think I'm gonna kill myself today." WTF are you supposed to say to that??LOL, discretely told helper to dial 911, while I talked with him until authorites showed up and took him away. Come to find out he had'nt been taking meds all week.

Same place, we had another little guy that looked at my helper and said, "you raped my girlfriend" :eek: Tried being reasonable and explaining you dont talk like that, or make that kind of stuff up. less than 30 minutes later, he was running up and down the halls screaming, "he raped my girlfriend, he raped my girlfreind". Talk about uncomfortable for us in front of the normal tenants, called building managment and had them take appropriate steps.

Another house had fella following us around all day in his speedo's :eek: :eek: Pretty soon I think they're gonna require us to get licsenced physcology(sp) degrees to perform work, if nothing else than to help me from going crazy!!!

Please don't take up so much of our time with these long posts on the weekends, - - these aren't business hours, you know, - - hopefully we've provided the proper 'therapy' you need by listening to you, - - j/k, of course.

Sounds like your just one of those guys that 'attract' the wayward, - - take it as a compliment, - - in the meantime get 'caller-ID' and turn down your ringer.
LOL, yep I agree with Tom. Customers can call me at midnight or even 3:00 am if they want. I won't hear them and they can discuss their issues all night long with my voice mail. IHI, it sounds like maybe you are mixing your personal phones with your business phones, since these people can get ahold of you at all hours? Personally I consider a dedicated business line, fax line, cell phone a neccesity for doing business professionally. Anything less just won't work for me, it is like guys trying to run their business out of their personal checking accounts.

I don't know if any of that applies to you, but if it does, it might go a long way in separating your personal life and your business life and reduce the stress.
On a residential job years ago, my customer's senile mother-in-law answered the door when I showed up for work. I had just done my annual clothes shopping so I had all brand new clothes on, and was sporting a new hat, new belt and new boots. I really looked sharp.

The little old lady stood there, staring at me with her mouth hanging open. After a moment she said "OH MY GOD!... ARE YOU A GERMAN?"

I didn't know what else to say, so I just said "Nein".

My helper laughed so hard that he was useless to me for about 2 hours.

She used to follow us around driving us nuts all day, but after that, she didn't bother us.
Here's another one:

About 30 Years ago on a rehab job, we were working for an 80 year old woman, AND her mother. She must have been a hundred years old. She was in a hospital type bed in the middle of the living room.

Every time that any of us walked past her, she would sit bolt upright in the bed, and scream at the top of her lungs, "THERE'S A MAN IN THE HOUSE!!!" This was happening about every 2 minutes. After 2 weeks of that we were frickin' near crazy. It was NOT worth the money.

Once in a while, when I get home from work Valerie will greet me by shouting "THERE'S A MAN IN THE HOUSE!!!" It still makes me laugh, but it was not at all funny at the time.

Someday we should all get together and write a book. It'll help pay for our therapy.
LOL, yeah, it's just theropy coming here and knowing I'm not the only one with this stuff going on :cheesygri Got a dedicated cell, fax, email for the business. I've never had folks call my home telephone (well a few times they have), and that would'nt be hard to find since my name in on the business cards and I'm in the phone book. Deal with th stuff Mon-Fri, come here to vent Sat/Sun :cool: I CANNOT wait for the track to open and get my mind off this work stuff!!!. oh wait, that's even more work and more mental stress...I needa real job ;)
Tom R said:

Please don't take up so much of our time with these long posts on the weekends, - - these aren't business hours, you know, - - hopefully we've provided the proper 'therapy' you need by listening to you, - - j/k, of course.

Sounds like your just one of those guys that 'attract' the wayward, - - take it as a compliment, - - in the meantime get 'caller-ID' and turn down your ringer.
IHI - Good story. I've had those customers - looking more for a "buddy" than for an addition.

You're right when you say "more". Some customers are so lonesome that they will find something for you to do. During tough times, these are the people that YOU call, just to say "hi". The sound of their voice can be music to your ears, psycho or not.
TimWieneke said:
...I've had those customers - looking more for a "buddy" than for an addition.

He called last night 9:30pm to let me know he cut down his neighbors dead tree with his freinds chain saw. Then went into how old that tree must be, the center was rotted out of it and he has a nice pile of wood building up. Thinks he might cut down some more trees for her.

That's typical and only reason I answered was to let him know only to call me Mon-Fri between 7-6. Once I start his job if he has any problems, then try to get ahold of me on the weekend, but only before 5pm. luck would have it with this guy that calls non-stop, that first customer I told you guys about in the first post that called alot, she called last night and wants me to come over to look at another project:) I musta really made the big guy above mad, I see no profit until both these jobs are long gone since I will now be sooo far over my minutes on the cell phone I'll have to take out a loan to get by :eek: ;)
What kind of tree was it? What brand of chainsaw did he use? How much did the gas cost? What brand of chain oil does he prefer? Could you post your cell phone number so that we could get the answers to these questions? Did I tell you about my new tires?... ROF.
Sadly, it was his buddies 12" craftsman chain saw and the tree was an old pine oak that he has 3 stcks of wood going if I kjnow anybody that wants to come pick it up for free, the neighbort that owned the tree asked how much she owed him, even though orginially she did'nt want him touching it, but he only took branches that were on his isde of the lot line and now she wants him to take the whole tree as long as he's doing it for nothing, BUT he's really tired from doing that so he had to come in and take a break and decided to call me.

I will be removing web adddress from signature!!! :eek: ;)
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