3 minute read

Most contractors at one time or another have a miserable customer that completely abuses you, your staff, and disrespects your work.  Many times, we get this gut feeling early on in the process, (and even before we start the job). It’s an “intuition” or gut feeling.  Often, there are a series of red flags that we simply ignore – because we WANT the opportunity to make some money.

Once in a while our own staff makes mistakes. It takes about ten really great moments with a customer to offset one bad moment. By that math, you and your company will need to provide many many great moments for your client to help negate the occasional oops moment that inevitably happens.

Sometimes it’s completely innocent and a total accident (they do happen). And, yes, sadly there are bad employees. It’s screw-ups like:

  • A tech clearly damaging a customers’ home and hiding it.
  • Their project is dragging because you are short-handed.
  • The technician parked on the customer’s grass or flower bed.
  • Your employee is smoking on the client property.
  • Workers making totally inappropriate comments .
  • The customer caught your guys drinking their beer from the fridge!

As we mentioned above, usually we do see the warning signs and red flags but are so desperate for work we sign them up anyway. Many times, we arrogantly believe we can “work with them” hoping they will change their attitude after they see how great we are! (That’s called ego). When the customer has little integrity and wants to profit at your expense, there’s little you can do about that. Unfortunately, even with all the warning signs we still plow ahead determined to complete the project and make the money.


Please don’t ignore all the warning signs! You do NOT have to take every customer. Many times, the best decision is to WALK AWAY. When we let our ego get ahead of common sense, we make mistakes, and those mistakes can cost us thousands of dollars (in legal fees or lost profit).


Listen to your gut and seriously evaluate every project before you commit. We all understand you don’t have a crystal ball and can know every time if the customer will be reasonable. But, if you have an ideal client profile, and know what criteria you want in a customer, you will make far less errors in judgment.


Co-Authors:   Beth Hinton & Dick Wagner


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