I don't think there's a fixed time that's appropriate for everyone. I'd start by laying the ground rules up front with each client. Define what's "too early" or "too late". Make sure they understand that there are times that are off limits to call you as well, so you aren't getting calls at 8pm on Sunday while you're trying to relax in a movie theater, asking if you'll be there to receive a UPS package on Monday morning (long story....lol).
I firmly believe that a lot of the issues contractors face (including this one) can be easily avoided by setting and managing expectations up front.
Actually they have my cell numbers and can call anytime.
If I am in the theatre or busy, then they will get voicemail...but will not have to wait till Monday to hear from me.
They cannot bother me if I don't want them to...but they still get the best customer service in town...
7am to 7pm are my basic hours of operation.
This means I won't call them before 7am or after 7pm.
Also means if they call me outside those hours, its highly likely I won't answer.
Geez, how did I survive without voicemail?
I generally don't call before 8 w/o prior permission
Sometimes that's un-avoidable so then I'll do 7:30
I have woken up people, but not when I thought
Ya know like 10:30, or 2:30
One regular customer I know not to call before noon
I figured it out, but he did make it a point to tell me straight out (at one point) "You know not to call me before noon"
I have a separate business line in my home, and although I will answer it at night, I won't during dinner (well, generally...I do have the C.I.D. and sometimes I can't let the call slip by...)
Since I am usually in the office at 5:30 Am I have to sometimes stop myself from calling a customer... but 7 am is fair game IMO. I make myself available to my customers from 7 am to 7 pm so I expect them to make themselves available to me at the same hours.
If a customer tells me they work the graveyard shift and don't get up until 10 am I will respect that. Otherwise it's fair game from 7-7.
Never before 9 AM here, so from 9 AM to 8 PM, but our hours are 9-6 in the office and since we have a business line, I never need to answer it otherwise If someone called me at 8 AM for a business call at my home, they would probably lose the sale. I wouldn't deal with a guy for central AC and heat in my home since he called my home line at 7:30 AM several months ago and he lost roughly a 6K retail job. So please don't think I am taking anyones' inventory with this post, just my two cents since Cole asked. Gary
Bill collectors aren't permitted to call before 8am or after 9pm, so I use that as my guide. I don't have occasion to call anyone first thing in the morning anyhow, except maybe the inspector to get things timed out a little better for inspections that day. My first job each morning is scheduled at 8am, and I've never gotten anyone out of bead that I know of.
Do you guys have different rules for different phases of your client relationship?
I don't like calling anybody during the estimating process other than 9-5, unless they have directed me to contact them at other hours specifically.
After that once they are your client and you are on the job, I would call them probably 8-8. Depends on what is going on I guess. Most of the time I don't need to call them since we check in at the end of the day and let them know the plans for the next day.
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