Re: A Contractor's Question

Subject: Re: A Contractor's Question
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 08:07:24 -0800

On Fri, 17 Jan 1997 08:43:36 -0500, David Demyan wrote:

>Jean Weber wrote:
>> The past few years I've used a combination of "accept every job" and
>> "specify dates when the client must provide things." I make the
>> specified
>> dates realistic in terms of my own schedule, then when (as is
>> inevitable)
>> things slip on the client's end, I tell them they have to go to the
>> back of
>> the queue, or I explain that their project may be late because I have
>> someone else's (on time) job to do now (even if it's not true).--snip--
>Does this make anyone else uneasy? Jean goes on to describe some
>techniques that seem to me to border on unfair practice. While I
>agree that many clients are habitually late, is it fair to withhold
>needed services that they expect (on their own timetable, granted)?

Why? Jean is scheduling everyone appropriately without double-booking.
If a client screws up his time slot, should she then reschedule
everyone else to accommodate that one client?

Look at it this way: If you make an appointment to have your dishwasher
repaired between 1pm and 2pm, the repairman fits you into a schedule
filled with other service calls; he CAN'T very well over-book.

Now, if he shows up to your house and you're not there until 1:45,
should he be expected to still put in the full hour with you and throw
off all his subsequent appointments?

>And the overbooking of work reminds me of the practice airlines
>use of overbooking, then bumping passengers when things get sticky.
>The client thinks they are buying service from contractor A, while
>contractor A has overbooked and shunted the work to contractor B,
>whom the client has never had the opportunity to consider.

I don't see where Jean says this is what she's doing (granted, I'm
going only from what you've quoted above; I haven't seen the original
message) -- she's taking all the work herself, and scheduling it to be
done as she has the time available, while informing the clients that
they should provide their information before a certain time. If they
don't do so in time, what else can she do but go on to the next job on
the schedule?

And what if she does sub-contract? She HAS to go to someone she knows
she can rely on to provide work that's up to her own standards, since
the final product reflects on her, the contractor. What if Jean is the
boss and has other employees that she might hand the work off to? Is
it devious of her to do this because the client thinks she'll be doing
all the work personally?

This is standard form in, for example, the construction industry --
when you hire a contractor, you don't necessarily expect that the one
person who shows up to give you your estimate is going to do all the
work himself, or even that his own company or employees will do all the

Your friend and mine,
<insert standard disclaimer here>

They say there are strangers, who threaten us
Our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness, too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
Those who know what's best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves
- Rush, "Witch Hunt"

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