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Thread: Late Clients

  1. #1
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    Default Late Clients

    How do you handle it?

    Inspection start time 1pm. Client calls you at noon and tells you they won't be there until 3 or 3:30 at the latest. The inspection is finished by 3:10. Wait at the house until 3:35, no client or agent. Call the client they say they won't be there for another 20 minutes to 1/2 hour.

    What do you do?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    tell them i'm finished and will deliver report and go over with them on the phone--time is money, buying a new home is important, they wanted you to be there, they should be there . remind them that if they miss a doctors appointment. does the doctor wait. have had this happen, and i just did what i was paid for and left. the client is not always right. you could also charge additional charge to stay, but good luck with that. just leave and deliver your great report

    charlie


  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    How do you handle it?

    Inspection start time 1pm. Client calls you at noon and tells you they won't be there until 3 or 3:30 at the latest. The inspection is finished by 3:10. Wait at the house until 3:35, no client or agent. Call the client they say they won't be there for another 20 minutes to 1/2 hour.

    What do you do?

    I won't get into the whole "how long should it take at a minimum for a good inspection and a good report thing"

    If I were to get there at one I would be asking them to get there at 4 knowing they are always going to be late. That gives me time to wrap things up (if it is a fairly clean home and little findings) and then when they get there at 4:30 I do a walk around with them and I am out by 5 at the latest. I would be more than happy to be there 2 to 3 hours before the client. No reason for them to be there until you are done anyway but that is a whole other story.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I won't get into the whole "how long should it take at a minimum for a good inspection and a good report thing"

    If I were to get there at one I would be asking them to get there at 4 knowing they are always going to be late. That gives me time to wrap things up (if it is a fairly clean home and little findings) and then when they get there at 4:30 I do a walk around with them and I am out by 5 at the latest. I would be more than happy to be there 2 to 3 hours before the client. No reason for them to be there until you are done anyway but that is a whole other story.
    Ok, put it in your terms. You were to start at one and they agreed to be there at 4. They call you at noon and tell you they won't be there until 4:30. You call them at 4:35 and they tell you they'll be there in 20 to 30 minutes.

    Now what?

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  5. #5
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    The customer isnt always right. In fairness, I would tell them I would be willing to wait a half hour at the maximum, if they dont show, shame on them. Maybe they have a good excuse, who knows. Its not the end of the world if they dont show up. Email them their report and answer their calls if they have any questions. Of course, dont send them squat until you have payment.


  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Ok, put it in your terms. You were to start at one and they agreed to be there at 4. They call you at noon and tell you they won't be there until 4:30. You call them at 4:35 and they tell you they'll be there in 20 to 30 minutes.

    Now what?

    Time to get out the ping pong paddle for spanking.

    Anyways. Leave if you must but if there is nothing else pressing wait for the sorry folks. If not get a credit card number (I don't take credit cards) and email them the report. Rude is rude and ignorant is ignorant. Sometimes you just have to eat it and wait and smile. After all it is, what, one in a hundred or 2 clients.

    I had a Tennant/buyer right up my back side the other day. I could not ward him off even with rudeness. I even got to making jokes about the date we were on and he still did not get the hint. I eventually got rude with him on several occasions and still could not pry his head from you know where. That never, and I mean never, happens. I sucked it up and left in the end and did the report later that evening.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    What I did was explain to him I wasn't able to wait any longer and that he could pay online when he received the email from me. When I upload a report to our server, if I don't enter a check #, the email to the client automatically goes out giving them a link to pay online and accept our inspection agreement. Once they make the payment and accept the agreement they can download the report.

    He was actually quite pissed.

    I was just curious about what the rest of you would do.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    I would have gone over the report, which I finish on site, double-checked a few things, put my stuff away. It's not hard to kill another half hour.
    But I do my inspections like Ted does them, 2 to 3 hours alone before they show up. Then an hour to go over the house, report, get paid. No homework. If they're late, they get a more detailed report maybe, and a shorter walkthrough.


  9. #9

    Default Re: Late Clients

    Every situation is different, so I handle it on a per case basis.

    During the busy season, I am less lenient when client's are late. If I tell them they need to be there by a certain time for a walk through, and they are 20 minutes late, I'll leave.

    If it's a slower time of year, or if it's the only job for the day, I'll most likely hang out for as long as it takes. I can always kill time working on my report, studying books I keep in my truck, etc.

    There's always exceptions though...


  10. #10

    Talking Re: Late Clients

    I do the below also. I usually do not get a call at all and will have to call them 10-15 minutes after the scheduled time to find out where they are and how long they will be. More often then not, the Realtor is there ontime and is checking his/her watch and plotting the escape. During the busy season I also am less flexible, slow season I will wait, go over report, study, etc.

    What drags my inspections longer are the single ladies, young married couple who bring fathers, grandfathers and essentially make it a family reunion with children, infants, uncles aunts.




    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Every situation is different, so I handle it on a per case basis.

    During the busy season, I am less lenient when client's are late. If I tell them they need to be there by a certain time for a walk through, and they are 20 minutes late, I'll leave.

    If it's a slower time of year, or if it's the only job for the day, I'll most likely hang out for as long as it takes. I can always kill time working on my report, studying books I keep in my truck, etc.

    There's always exceptions though...


    Michael Carson
    Inspect It Right Home Inspections L.L.C.
    www.inspectitrighthomeinspection.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    When we schedule the inspection we always ask if they are going to be there. At the start? At the end? If they a re not going to be there at the start, then we have to have a signed contract before we start the inspection. We e-mail or fax it to them. Payment? They can bring a check, or give us a credit card number. If they are not sure they will be there, then we take the credit card number then.

    If they are running late and its the morning inspection, then I have a time frame where I must leave the house to get to the next job. I make it clear to them that I will be leaving the house no later than XXX O'clock.

    If it's the afternoon inspection, then I may just suck it up and wait for them, unless I have someplace I really need to be. Like others have said, it depends on what's going on.

    I really prefer my clients attend the entire inspection. The worst ones are when they show up at the very end, and want to go over each item and every room in detail. It's almost like doing the inspection twice. When that happens, I usually kindly cut them off and tell them to read the report and I will be happy to answer questions later.


  12. #12
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Clients, agents, sellers, repair persons . . (except my wife, of course) get a 15-minute grace period. After that, I'm gone.

    Last edited by A.D. Miller; 12-13-2009 at 04:11 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    When we schedule the inspection we always ask if they are going to be there. At the start? At the end? If they a re not going to be there at the start, then we have to have a signed contract before we start the inspection. We e-mail or fax it to them. Payment? They can bring a check, or give us a credit card number. If they are not sure they will be there, then we take the credit card number then.

    If they are running late and its the morning inspection, then I have a time frame where I must leave the house to get to the next job. I make it clear to them that I will be leaving the house no later than XXX O'clock.

    If it's the afternoon inspection, then I may just suck it up and wait for them, unless I have someplace I really need to be. Like others have said, it depends on what's going on.

    I really prefer my clients attend the entire inspection. The worst ones are when they show up at the very end, and want to go over each item and every room in detail. It's almost like doing the inspection twice. When that happens, I usually kindly cut them off and tell them to read the report and I will be happy to answer questions later.
    I do pretty much as Jack does. I have worked like this for years with little heartburn. Actually, I seldom have this problem. Maybe 1 out of 100 inspections...

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Carson View Post
    What drags my inspections longer are the single ladies, young married couple who bring fathers, grandfathers and essentially make it a family reunion with children, infants, uncles aunts.
    Here is a little excerpt from my "preparations for inspection" that I send out with my inspection agreement when the inspection is booked. I does not always work, but it helps set the expectation.
    During the inspection it is a time for intense scrutiny of the house and its systems and distractions can be detrimental to the process, so please limit the number of persons at the inspection to the buyer(s). If family, friends and children want to see the property it would be best to contact your agent to arrange that at a separate time.


    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 12-13-2009 at 10:12 AM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  15. #15
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    During the inspection it is a time for intense scrutiny of the house and its systems and distractions can be detrimental to the process, so please limit the number of persons at the inspection to the buyer(s). If family, friends and children want to see the property it would be best to contact your agent to arrange that at a separate time.
    JL: I like that.


  16. #16
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    When that happens I tell them i will be late for my next appointment and leave. That is a bunch of crap showing up that late.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JL: I like that.
    AD, not sure that I can take credit for it. Like most things in life, it was likely not original with me, just something I picked up over the years.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    I suppose you could include an aggravation factor tardy time table price list or clause to be utilized and enforced at the inspector's discretion in the previously signed contract as additional fees earned in the event of....?.

    You might enforce it equally to missed meeting times as well as a delayed access start time.

    1-5 minutes $25.00
    6-10 minutes $25.00 plus $ 60/minute for each minute beyond five minutes.
    11-15 minutes $325.00 plus $100/minute for each minute beyond 10 minutes.

    and so on. With a proviso that remaining beyond 15 minutes shall be at the discretion of the inspector, and only after Client has communicated and confirmed authoriztion for the additional overtime after the initial $725.00 overtime charge to the CC has gotten authorization code.

    How does that sound? Makes that stop for a Latte mighty expensive.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-13-2009 at 04:39 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    There have been many times that I have arrived late for an inspection. Sometimes its just bad traffic. Sometimes, its getting lost. Sometimes its because the previous client kept asking questions. Once or twice its because I couldn't find my keys and left the house early.

    Every single time I felt I was going to be late, I made a call. I apologize for being late. Once when we had a power failure, and I overslept and got out of the house late, I gave them a $25 discount. I was 20 minutes late.

    Every single time I have been late, my clients have been gracious enough to forgive me. Not one of them asked for a reduction in their fee. Not once has someone left in a huff. **** happens, and it happens to all of us.

    Yes, my usual approach is to get to my job EARLY. For me, "on time" means at least 15 minutes early. But in 20 years, **** has happened, and I have been late

    I can't remember the last time I have gone to the dentist or Doctor and got in at the time of my appointment. Just about every time its 5 or 10 minutes late, at the least.

    Those that live in glass houses should not throw rocks.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    There have been many times that I have arrived late for an inspection. Sometimes its just bad traffic. Sometimes, its getting lost. Sometimes its because the previous client kept asking questions. Once or twice its because I couldn't find my keys and left the house early.

    Every single time I felt I was going to be late, I made a call. I apologize for being late. Once when we had a power failure, and I overslept and got out of the house late, I gave them a $25 discount. I was 20 minutes late.

    Every single time I have been late, my clients have been gracious enough to forgive me. Not one of them asked for a reduction in their fee. Not once has someone left in a huff. **** happens, and it happens to all of us.

    Yes, my usual approach is to get to my job EARLY. For me, "on time" means at least 15 minutes early. But in 20 years, **** has happened, and I have been late

    I can't remember the last time I have gone to the dentist or Doctor and got in at the time of my appointment. Just about every time its 5 or 10 minutes late, at the least.

    Those that live in glass houses should not throw rocks.
    I agree 100%, sage advice indeed. (Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...).

    I hope it was obvious with the exaggeration and big smiley with winker smiley I was joking in previous post - who amongst us runs with german train time-table precision all day, every day, without exception

    As they say **** or the more kinder four-letter word LIFE happens.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    Knock on wood, but in 4,000 inspections I've been late once, by 15 minutes. In that case I actually called the client and agent both 15 minutes before the scheduled inspection time and let them know and gave them $50 for my tardiness.

    I take great pride in my punctuality even though most clients and agents tend to run late. I can forgive a half hour (after the inspection is completed) of waiting for the clients, but anything over that is pretty hard to swallow for me.

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  22. #22
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    There have been many times that I have arrived late for an inspection.
    JF: I was late to an inspection once 10 years ago by 30 minutes. I had inadvertently written the inspection date down wrong. When the agent called to see where I was I was 45 minutes from there. I made the drive in 30 minutes, performed the inspection, would accept no payment for it, and later sent the agent and client each a bottle of Champagne. My policy since that time is that, if I am late, the inspection is free.

    There is no on time. You are either early or you are late. Where I live there is always traffic. That is not an excuse.

    I make it a point to be at least 30 minutes early to any inspection. A few years ago I lost a fluid line on my van transmission on the way to an inspection. I called a wrecker and Enterprise, got a rental brought to me, the van towed, and was still 5 minutes early.

    Being late is not just rude, it makes a very clear statement that everyone else's time is not worth as much as yours.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    AD,
    You should be proud of your record.

    I'm not sure I understand your comment about there is no "on time". Seems to me, if the appointment is at 9am, then 9am is the time. If you arrive at 8:59, you are early, and at 9:01 you are late.

    When I mentioned traffic, I meant unforeseen circumstances like an accident that blocks lanes on the interstate, or a tree across the road and you have to make a detour, or something unexpected (even allowing an extra 15 - 30 minutes to arrive early).

    One of the things that happens once in a while in my area is when my clients work for Oak Ridge National Lab. If there is any kind of incident at the Lab, then they go on lock down until it is resolved. No one gets in or out. The other thing is people that work at the Lab, are not allowed to take cell phones in with them, and may not have any way of communicating with the outside (during lock down). I usually know if my clients work at the lab, so if they are a no-show, and don't answer work or cell phones, I have a pretty good idea what happened.

    The stars must have been in alignment for you to get your van taken care of, everything transferred to the rental and still get to the inspection early.


  24. #24
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Late Clients

    You should be proud of your record.
    JF: I am, but will never forget the one time I was late.

    I'm not sure I understand your comment about there is no "on time". Seems to me, if the appointment is at 9am, then 9am is the time. If you arrive at 8:59, you are early, and at 9:01 you are late.
    JF: Without waxing too esoteric, Yogi Berra was once asked what time it was. He responded, "Do you mean now?"

    When I mentioned traffic, I meant unforeseen circumstances like an accident that blocks lanes on the interstate, or a tree across the road and you have to make a detour, or something unexpected
    JF: Like the road signs often say: "expect delays".

    The stars must have been in alignment for you
    JF: The stars were the wrecker driver and the rental car company.


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