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  1. #1
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    Default Best way to fire a client?

    I have an out of town potential new build client that I'm getting the feeling it's in my best interest to pass on doing an inspection for him.

    The last email had 6 questions asking me "you will" do these 6 items.
    All of the questions were asked and answered in prior emails and a phone call a couple months ago.

    He was referred to me by his realtor and another inspector.
    I'm getting the feeling that I cannot meet his expectations.

    How would you tell him in a respectful way that you would prefer to pass on doing an inspection for him.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    I'm getting the feeling that I cannot meet his expectations.
    Just say that; I have several times.

    Robert, I'm sorry but you have a different expectation of what a home inspection is; I do not believe I can meet your expectations so it's best you find another inspector who can.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Almost without exception, every time I have had an uneasy feeling about a prospective client prior to an inspection, that client has been problematic. Over the years I have learned to listen to the small still voice of my subconscious. Now, when I have a feeling like this I simply find that I have no time to fit the prospective problematic client into my schedule and refer them on to the ASHI inspector locator, Angie's List, whatever.

    Not every client is a good fit for every inspector.

    Some clients are just trouble for any inspector.

    Texas Inspector
    http://www.texasinspector.com
    What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety, he makes up in clarity.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    I agree with both Darren and Aaron. And I agree with Darren's way of cutting the chord. Tell him you don't think you can meet his expectations.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    The best reason for being your own boss is that you do not have to do anything you don't want to, for any reason. Joys of capitalism...

    Dan, the potential client may be concerned about getting a good inspection. They may have heard about a minimal SOP checklist inspection and wants something better. They asked the same questions already answered, possibility redundancy for simple verification.

    Many people today just want to get what they are paying for and understand exactly what is going to be done. They are having to learn about an area they have little or no experience. Why not just ask them flat out, but nicely, what there concerns and expectations are in the inspection and from you. Look at it from their perspective. The Holmes scenario post inspection, reinspection rip the place apart, has gotten many very jittery especially in the area of new construction (what was not done or done poorly).


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Holmes is a categorically constipated, not to put too fine a point on it.

    Last edited by Aaron Miller; 02-07-2013 at 06:51 AM. Reason: accuracy
    Texas Inspector
    http://www.texasinspector.com
    What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety, he makes up in clarity.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    The best reason for being your own boss is that you do not have to do anything you don't want to, for any reason. Joys of capitalism...

    Dan, the potential client may be concerned about getting a good inspection. They may have heard about a minimal SOP checklist inspection and wants something better. They asked the same questions already answered, possibility redundancy for simple verification.

    Many people today just want to get what they are paying for and understand exactly what is going to be done. They are having to learn about an area they have little or no experience. Why not just ask them flat out, but nicely, what there concerns and expectations are in the inspection and from you. Look at it from their perspective. The Holmes scenario post inspection, reinspection rip the place apart, has gotten many very jittery especially in the area of new construction (what was not done or done poorly).
    That's why I'm torn on this one. I'm not sure if he's a concerned buyer or a buyer that wants to take control [ with the "you will " questions] and has higher expendations of a HI than what it is.

    Last Dec he contacted me about doing a framing inspection. I explained what was included in the framing inspection, when it would need to be done, and that it's a tight window of time between final frame and drywall. I went to the property a couple days after he contacted me and the drywall was almost done and informed him I was not going to be able to help him very much with a framing inspection.

    At that time I suggested he wait for the final walk or 1 year, then explained what was included in the final walk/full inspection, and or if he waited for the one year.
    Now he wants an answer to the "you will " questions, address's of properties that I inspected in the sub-division.
    Other than he stated I did an inspection for his realtor in the same sub-divison [ I don't have a clue who his realtor is] I don't have a clue of other adresse's that I may of done there and I told him that last Dec.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Give him a call. Maybe he just has a hard time expressing himself in print.
    Maybe he means " I understand from your previous email that you will .."

    If you still get the bad feeling, you can say the Darren thing to him direct.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    I have an out of town potential new build client that I'm getting the feeling it's in my best interest to pass on doing an inspection for him.

    The last email had 6 questions asking me "you will" do these 6 items.
    As others have stated, you have already provided the answers to his questions, just not the answers he wants.

    Now is the time you tell him that "you will NOT" do his inspection as you have a set method to your inspections and that is why HE CALLED YOU, but that at this point "he will" have to find another inspector.

    You have done that several times over the years I was inspecting - doing so simply makes them want you to do their inspection even more than before - which puts you in the position to stick to your guns and say "No, *I* will not do your inspection, *you* *need* *to find another inspector*, then politely end with, but thank you for calling me, good-bye." then hang up.

    The long YOU let this go on, the more you put him in charge and the more he will expect you to do what he wants - and that is one way to receive the "fat letter" from his attorney (a "skinny letter" from an attorney contains a check for you, a "fat letter" from an attorney contains a complaint against you with a demand for a check from you).

    I say just go with your gut feeling.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Exclamation Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Its pretty easy, when you don't feel comfortable with a client you got to know when the hold um and when to fold um. You can tell them their questions are out of the scope of what you do and recommend they get an other inspector or as I have done on occasion tell them you are just too busy and can't get to them for at least 2 to 3 months. If its a problem in the beginning its going to be a problem at the end. There are too many deserving clients who have reasonable expectations, the few jerks we run into aren't worth it. I am also suspicious when it's a recommendation from an other inspector, why did he pass on the business?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Before I give up on a potential client with unreasonable expectations, I'll take a shot at bringing them back to reality. A phone call is the best way to do that. I assume that you have already emailed him your contact which describes what you do with limitations and liability stated in it.

    If, after a phone conversation, the guy still has unreasonable expectations, then Darren's line is excellent.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Here is an expectation I would like to set with all my clients before the inspection....."It's my flashlight and no you can't borrow it". I had a buyer ask me for mine about 10 times during the basement inspection. His wife could see I was getting annoyed and said they should have brought one.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Nick, your tools are your own; but, I do carry an extra flashlight and tape measure, some times it will keep the wannabe client inspector occupied. Doesn't much have anything to do with the client that insists you find enough stuff to compensate for his contract liability.


  14. #14
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    I have avoided doing any business with a pretty decent amount of potential clients over the years.

    If they make you uncomfortable or make you question in the slightest your doing business with them just don't respond any longer and drop them. They will go away. As far as referring them to another inspector? Not in the slightest. I would not do that to inspectors I don't like. Once anyone tries to tell me what I will or will not do at MY inspection it ends there. I work for me. Not them. I may inspect homes my clients are considering buying but I do not work for them. These folks do not own the home you are inspecting. They do not know what an inspection is or is not. You have done your do diligence and I really hate that term. You explained, he ignored, he wants to make the rules.

    Doneeeeeeeeeee


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Last year I had a series of emails kind of like what was described. I was very close to firing him as well. But, I decided to talk to him on the phone.
    As it turned out, once we started talking, he did understand what my limitations were, and he was not unreasonable in his expectations. He just did not communicate well with email.

    Before cutting him loose I would talk to him on the phone.

    As far as tools go, I have a small flashlight in my tool belt just for those times. I just hand it to them, same with tape measure. I have a couple spare flashlights in the car too.

    I carry my main flashlight on a lanyard around my neck, and don't give that one to anyone, but have a spare in case someone wants to use one. Same as an extra pen - they may need it to write my check.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Last year I had a series of emails kind of like what was described. I was very close to firing him as well. But, I decided to talk to him on the phone.
    As it turned out, once we started talking, he did understand what my limitations were, and he was not unreasonable in his expectations. He just did not communicate well with email.

    Before cutting him loose I would talk to him on the phone.
    .
    Well here's what happened. I sent him an email and suggested he find another inspector because I didn't feel I could meet his expectations.

    He called me concerned and didn't understand why I would think that.
    After a couple min on the phone I explaned why I felt that , he stated he didn't mean to make it sound the way I took it. His "you will" questions were confirming that the inspection covered those items.

    He is an out of country buyer from Ca.and will not be present for the walk thru and closing. He is doing everything via skype with the realtor and was just trying to find out if all of his bases were covered.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  17. #17
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    Serving SC & NC
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    Default Re: Best way to fire a client?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    The last email had 6 questions asking me "you will" do these 6 items. All of the questions were asked and answered in prior emails and a phone call a couple months ago.
    Answer one more email referring him to your PIA then ignore him completely until the day of the inspection.

    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
    Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
    Serving SC & NC

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