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Anonymous
Not applicable

Client Takes Too Much of My Time!

I am an independent contractor with good time-management skills (hello, I bill by the hour). One of my regular clients...not so much. She prefers to give me my assignments via phone, and much of these conversations involve her thinking out loud and using me as a sounding board for unrelated projects. This wouldn't be too bad (hello, I bill by the hour) but I manage multiple clients and there simply aren't enough hours in the day for me to engage in these marathon phone conversations AND meet my deliverables. I have suggested multiple times that she communicate her exact project needs via email - saving me time saves her money, after all - but she continues to prefer "brief" phone calls that frankly never are.

 

After years as a contractor I have learned NEVER TO TURN DOWN A GIG but this is getting to be a significant problem that impacts my other work commitments. Any suggestions on how to handle this tactfully?

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Best answer 01-03-2018

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Community Champion

Client Takes Too Much of My Time!

You know, there is always that client that is a time hog.   I struggled with letting a client like that go too.  They usually pay you on time and are a nice person, but you dread working for them.  Mine was a lady who was a landscaper.  She would call me at 11pm, 5 am, you name it.  Constantly wanting more.  I had a bookkeeping agreement that she would always stretch the work beyond it's scope.  

 

I attended QB Connect in 2016 and one of the seminars I attended was about the good and bad clients.  Time to release the bad ones to make space for the new ones.

 

I recommend letting this customer go.  You are busy and you will feel relieved.  Another better customer will fill the slot. 

 

Tell the client that this is not how you operate, explain the procedures you follow and maybe since it is the first of the year, it would be best if he/she finds someone new to do the work.  Give him/her till the end of the month.  

 

You will feel like a weight has been lifted.   

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Level 1

Client Takes Too Much of My Time!

Or, Tell her the issue, it’s not personal, tell her the service you are providing over the phone is actually business consulting and that beginning 2/1/18 you will start billing for your time on the phone. Anything beyond 10-15 mins will be billed at your usual rate. No extra charge for email. Explain that Billable hour for some includes phone, text & email but you’re just going to charge for phone calls. Time is money. She should be able to appreciate that.

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4 Comments
Highlighted
Community Champion

Client Takes Too Much of My Time!

You know, there is always that client that is a time hog.   I struggled with letting a client like that go too.  They usually pay you on time and are a nice person, but you dread working for them.  Mine was a lady who was a landscaper.  She would call me at 11pm, 5 am, you name it.  Constantly wanting more.  I had a bookkeeping agreement that she would always stretch the work beyond it's scope.  

 

I attended QB Connect in 2016 and one of the seminars I attended was about the good and bad clients.  Time to release the bad ones to make space for the new ones.

 

I recommend letting this customer go.  You are busy and you will feel relieved.  Another better customer will fill the slot. 

 

Tell the client that this is not how you operate, explain the procedures you follow and maybe since it is the first of the year, it would be best if he/she finds someone new to do the work.  Give him/her till the end of the month.  

 

You will feel like a weight has been lifted.   

View solution in original post

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Client Takes Too Much of My Time!

Thanks @lynda, I was hoping someone would say what I was already thinking! I agree that another client will come along to replace this one, and I will know to set the procedures with him or her from the get-go. The new year is also a good time sever ties without things feeling too personal. She really is a very nice person.

Highlighted
Level 1

Client Takes Too Much of My Time!

Or, Tell her the issue, it’s not personal, tell her the service you are providing over the phone is actually business consulting and that beginning 2/1/18 you will start billing for your time on the phone. Anything beyond 10-15 mins will be billed at your usual rate. No extra charge for email. Explain that Billable hour for some includes phone, text & email but you’re just going to charge for phone calls. Time is money. She should be able to appreciate that.

View solution in original post

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Level 7

Client Takes Too Much of My Time!

@lynda & @Anonymous that's very funny! I always wondered if we were the only ones that received customers like that. We have a customer now, that if we let her, would talk for hours, but not even about our products or business. She talks about her husband, family, pets, her health, etc... Her favorite times to call are between 2:30 & 3 am. (not a problem for a serious inquiry), but she says it is to make sure that we are awake to bake and get her order shipped out. :)

Now, we tell her to email. We started not answering when she called, and I think that she has realized that email is the best way to reach us (for her) :)

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