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Old 01-09-2009, 01:08 PM
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Default Do you ever turn down business

We are bidding on a 10 computer, 1 server network installation. The company is brand new. They were a friend of a friend so we have an advantage when it comes to bidding against other companies.

However, every single one of the people is over 40, miserable, inept, and never used a computer in their life. Especially our point of contact. She was very demanding every time she spoke with us. Her idea of a computer network was some very bizarre setup that I think she saw on TV. It is something that cannot be done. (IE using one computer with 3 keyboards, mice, and monitors), but NOT terminal services as I explained to her. They are VERY cheap also.

After discussing the situation with our owner, he left the decision to me as to deal with the company or not. I foresee LOTS of problems coupled with demanding, 'I want it fixed NOW' and 'Help me do simple tasks' service. I am considering turning down the project, however this would be the biggest project since our company formed.

What would you do in this situation?
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:52 PM
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It sounds like it could be a big earner, so I wouldn't turn it down. Just make it clear what they will need, how much it is likely to cost and what your support terms are (e.g "we will respond within 24 hours" or offer remote support). Do it your way and not theirs. If they turn down your way then it's their loss and they will most likely run into problems in the future if they skimp on it now. Try and explain why your way is better than what they are proposing.

If they do want you to do simple tasks, then surely that's more money in your pocket?
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:48 PM
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I would not even think twice about taking that job. That is a great opportunity for your business. Not only will it make you some good money, but it looks great for your portfolio. Just be sure to "lay down the law" in regards to what you can and cannot due and ALWAYS stay in communication with the person running the show.

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:25 PM
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I think you have decided already that you do not want to work with them at all. The statement you made:

"every single one of the people is over 40, miserable, inept, and never used a computer in their life. Especially our point of contact. She was very demanding every time she spoke with us."

shows that you already resent them. Don't get me wrong, thats fine, sometimes I have the same feeling and when I do if I cannot get past it I will not take on the work.

However, if this could be a big money job and if you think you can get control of them then you should take it on. Sometimes when I get a potential pain in the ass client I spend some time talking to them to see if I can get control of them before they start walking all over me. If the relationship still feels strained or if every conversation is combative or argumentive then I pass on working with them.

If you are not the boss of the shop then you might have to be careful, your boss might not like the fact you cannot deal with a situation and he may wonder if you shouldnt be handling this sort of thing in the future.
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvdsabu4life View Post
However, every single one of the people is over 40, miserable, inept, and never used a computer in their life.
That sounds like my ideal customer (apart from the miserable bit)
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
I think you have decided already that you do not want to work with them at all. The statement you made:

"every single one of the people is over 40, miserable, inept, and never used a computer in their life. Especially our point of contact. She was very demanding every time she spoke with us."

shows that you already resent them. Don't get me wrong, thats fine, sometimes I have the same feeling and when I do if I cannot get past it I will not take on the work.

However, if this could be a big money job and if you think you can get control of them then you should take it on. Sometimes when I get a potential pain in the ass client I spend some time talking to them to see if I can get control of them before they start walking all over me. If the relationship still feels strained or if every conversation is combative or argumentive then I pass on working with them.

If you are not the boss of the shop then you might have to be careful, your boss might not like the fact you cannot deal with a situation and he may wonder if you shouldnt be handling this sort of thing in the future.
I don't know that I resent them. I would say the first meeting with everyone made me realize who we would be selling to. I guess I am going from past experiences with customers like this at my old job. The most demanding seemed to be the least appreciative. Also, I have a feeling that laying down the ground rules might be OK initially, but when they call for something not related to what our warranty covers, and we then charge them when they expect it to be free because the computers are new, we might end up getting bad publicity. That is, they broadcast to others that the systems are X days old and we are already charging them for support.

I think what I need to do is sit down with our owner and put something very specific in writing stating what is covered and what is not covered in the initial installation. Then go over it with them. If they don't like our terms, then that will be my answer.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:04 PM
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I think you have already gotten most of the advice that you need. I'd like to add in that you should find out who in the company is the most computer literate and likely to understand the installation. Then tell their boss that he/she is the point person that you will be dealing with. If the boss disagrees run, don't walk, the other way.
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:20 PM
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Thanks all! We sent the proposal this morning and explicated spelled out what is covered and not covered in the service quote. They shortly after told us they were going with someone else. Live and learn I guess
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvdsabu4life View Post
Thanks all! We sent the proposal this morning and explicated spelled out what is covered and not covered in the service quote. They shortly after told us they were going with someone else. Live and learn I guess
Over the years, I've found my "gut" is seldom wrong. I'm guessing you'll have less stomach acid and more $$ in the long run.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:53 PM
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I turned someone down today. Just a guy out of the blue, calling regarding some problems he was having with iTunes. Everything I said he contradicted so after three or so of these I sent him to a competitor.
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