When you’re working with clients (any clients), you know that far from everything will go smoothly. You anticipate that something will go slightly wrong, but that’s just a part of dealing with other human beings. But you at least expect your clients to treat you with basic human dignity.
But it turns out that some people lack any empathy for their fellow man and are more akin to cold, unfeeling robots. Engineer, workshop owner, and contractor Abs Delfuego, who goes by the Reddit user name Omegaweapon, posted the emails between him and a client who got angry that he broke his arm and wanted him to finish the job as agreed, no matter what.
“I was a little shocked seeing his email as I could have arranged with other providers to get it done for him. All he would've had to do was just pay them at the end,” Abs explained to Bored Panda what his first reaction was. Scroll down for the rest of the interview and check out our previous articles about Abs here and here. And be sure to check out Abs' subreddit and YouTube channel.
The client seemed unable to understand Abs’ calm and honest explanation that while he’s physically incapable of doing the work and his staff’s on vacation, he can outsource the project to some people that he trusts. Hats off to Abs who has the patience of a saint.
“I fractured the Ulna bone so it's in a brace for 4 weeks,” Abs revealed the extent of his injuries that he got while playing football. “This client didn't pay a deposit, it was a friendly verbal agreement, and he'd changed his mind and rescheduled on 3 other occasions at short notice.”
The entire job was a hassle from the very beginning (he called it a “pineapple”). Over the course of 2 months (not to mention 50 emails), the client changed several things and rescheduled the project a few times. Not only that, the contractor didn’t even take a deposit from the client! I believe the word ‘privileged’ perfectly describes the client’s behavior, but what do you think, dear Readers?
We were also interested to hear what advice Abs would give to contractors to avoid potentially-problematic clients. Here’s what he had to say: “I'd tell contractors to not be afraid of giving it back to an assh*le customer or being afraid of one-star reviews as people are drawn to reading them, it gives you a chance to respond accordingly so potential clients can see how you are.”
“I'm popular in the industry so it's easy for me to say no to a customer,” he added.
There are several types of potentially-problematic clients. One of them is the so-called know-it-all who thinks that what contractors do is incredibly easy and they could do everything themselves. If they had the time. And the tools. And they’re convinced they shouldn’t pay you as much as you’re asking.
Then there are the hagglers. They just love getting a good deal, no matter what. And they don’t care that it’s your livelihood they’re diminishing—they just want to save a couple of bucks. Now, you can recognize these clients by the fact that they expect you to do some of the work for free and keep pestering you about why you chose this material instead of that one (look! That one’s a cent cheaper, so it must be better!).
Apart from know-it-alls and hagglers, we also have folks who plain don’t know what it is they want and keep you guessing. There are also naggers who constantly want to make adjustments to your contract. And to top it all off are the classic dishonest clients who want you to break the law and demand that you ignore the need for certain permits. In those cases, it’s best to walk away before you get into deep, deep trouble, sink your business, and dirty your hands.