I have several friends who are consultants and one who owns her own specialty construction business. Oh, the stories they tell of customers from hell. Here’s how not to be that customer:

If they give you a quote that’s good for 90 days, don’t come back 18 months later and demand they honor it.

Recognize that their time is important too. If you make an appointment, show up for it. If you don’t show up, pay them anyway, because they time they spent waiting for you is time they could have spent with another customer/client.

Be nice. Just because someone is working for you doesn’t mean they’re beneath you and it’s OK to yell at them and take out your frustrations about your marriage, your bratty kids or your financial worries.

Don’t act like they’re trying to rip you off. Consultants spend years, decades even, honing their skills, building their networks, acquiring advanced degrees that enable them to deliver great work to you. My construction friend has nearly 2 decades of highly specialized experience. The reason the work these people do looks easy to you is because they have put in the time to make it look easy. That’s the mark of an expert – they make it look easy. Don’t confuse its looking easy with its actually being easy.

A corollary to the above – don’t think they’re rolling in wealth while they overcharge you for services. At the very least they’re paying taxes and social security for every hour they bill, plus mileage, professional wardrobe, marketing and workspace. My construction friend also pays a living wage to staff, studio space, L&I insurance, tools and shop equipment. All of the overhead has to be met whether work is coming in or not, so, it’s effectively part of the cost of the service they provide. If you don’t like this, try working with someone who doesn’t pay for these things and see how well that goes.

Any time you hire someone to do something for you, pick two of the following three: fast, cheap, good. Don’t expect to get all three – unless you also believe in unicorns.

If you spec out a job and agree to it, then later decide that you would rather have that other font, or the natural wood trim, that’s OK. You’re allowed to change your mind. What you’re not allowed to do is get angry when they want to charge you a change fee. That’s not a profit-enhancing padding that unscrupulous business owners use to line their pockets – it’s the actual cost of discarding work and redoing it.

TLDR: Don’t be a wanker.

Posted by lesherjennifer

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