There's an old saying that "the customer is always right". As a small business owner I find myself struggling to find a happy medium for when the customer is just dead wrong and these times do exist as I have experienced over and over again this past week. One customer in particular, I will refer to as the Dragon Lady, has really begun to pluck my last nerve this week with her demands that my crew pull off the impossible. This is just an example of a recent conversation I had with the Dragon Lady;
Dragon Lady - Here you have requested 17 sheets of sheetrock? Why do you need so many?
Me - Uh, because thats how many are required to complete this job
Dragon Lady - I happen to know it only takes 6
Me - Well in that case, could you please explain to me your method of calculating square footage because I don't care how you flip, spin, turn, or stare at a piece of 4 x 12 sheetrock, it will only give you 48 square foot of coverage.
Dragon Lady - I have been dealing with contractors for 15 years and I know for a fact you can sheetrock a garage with 6 sheets
Me - lets see, 6 sheets to cover 4 walls and the ceiling? That would equal 1 and 1/5 sheet per surface...how small is this garage?
Dragon Lady - I think you're unprofessional
Me- I think you don't understand how to do your job much less mine
Dragon Lady - I'll just find another contractor to do this job
Me - Please tell them to let my people watch them do it, they like magic shows
2 hours later my cell rings, it's Dragon Lady's assistant - Dragon Lady wants to know how soon you can start that job if your materials are delivered today?
Me- In the morning, what changed?
Dragon Lady's assistant - She was told by 2 other contractors that it would take 17 sheets of sheetrock and their rates were actually higher.
See my point here, Dragon Lady is not right, will not admit she is wrong and even when proven wrong, will only go as far as having her assistant call me back. I could have refused to do this job and withdrawn my bid however I realize that Dragon Lady is an idiot and I cannot bring myself to hold a grudge against the mentally challenged. The customer is not always right however if you want to be in business for yourself, you will have to learn to deal with people thinking they know your job better than you, just admit when you're wrong, stand your ground when your right, and know the difference.