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Client Question

Client Question

(OP)
I was asked by an occasional client to look at some floor joists that his plumber notched. I went to the job and told him i would have a repair drawing in a day or two. The drawing apparently got stuck in my outbox and was never sent. Instead of calling me to ask where the drawing was, he hired another engineer.

Does he technically still owe me for a) The Site Visit and b) The Drawing?
Is there a statute of limitations on the time a drawing is required to be sent?

We are only talking about $250 +$175 = $425 so it is not a huge deal.

I also would not mind if i let go of him as he is not a great contractor and has been a pain in the butt in the past. Maybe this was my sign that I held on too long.
What is irritating is the lack of courtesy he showed. My suspicion is that he was not going to be happy with the fix I was describing and he was really finding an any excuse to hire a strip mall engineer to sign off on the ridiculous repair he had already attempted.

RE: Client Question

Unless you're hurting for work, I would just avoid all work for this guy in the future.

And if you are hurting for work, billing him for a service you failed to provide isn't exactly going to encourage him to call you again.

Lose loss situation, unfortunately.

RE: Client Question

(OP)
Thanks for the responses.
I am not hurting for work so I am happy to let this guy go.
I just feel it is odd for someone not to call to check in.

RE: Client Question

Perhaps he didn't expect a real answer from you, anyway... he had already tested the temp of the water and didn't like what he felt.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Client Question

(OP)

Quote (MGS2)

Perhaps he didn't expect a real answer from you, anyway... he had already tested the temp of the water and didn't like what he felt.

I expect that he did not "want" a real answer from me. He had already spent $400 on material for some 14ga flat steel that he installed to sister the joists. He was expecting I was going to bless it - which I was not.

RE: Client Question

Sounds like you dodged a bullet, I'd just move on. If he wants anything from you in the future, tack $425 (or more) onto the fee. Sounds like someone you're not really interested in continuing to work with anyways. So if he scoffs at the higher fee then no big deal and if he doesn't you get extra fee for your troubles.

RE: Client Question

Funny how it seems that the worst contractors are also the ones with the most professional looking business package, and don't pay the bills.

My latest no-pay was on retrofitting a wood framed building to accommodate a small elevator. The contractor told me as I arrived on site to carry out the inspections "I didn't have a chance to look at the plans too closely but I like to think I've got a good eye for structure"

Place was a disaster.

RE: Client Question

I usually call the Client to ensure they received important documents/communications. I use Outlook and will request a read receipt notice to ensure it arrived. If they don't respond to that in a reasonable amount of time, I make sure to call them or email them again to follow up. To me, it's not their responsibility to make sure it gets from me to them.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Client Question

(OP)
Now this is a gracious client and the opposite of the aforementioned...

Hi,
I hope that you are well.
Last year you did an awesome job for me designing foundation support and signing off that my LVL was up to code.
I am getting old but I do not believe that I ever received a bill. Could you please check your records and make sure that I was billed and let me know if I paid.
Thanks,
David


I sent him a bill over a year late and he paid it immediately.

RE: Client Question

Quote ( )

XR250 (Structural)(OP) 5 Dec 17 12:17
Thanks for the responses.
I am not hurting for work so I am happy to let this guy go.

Sounds like he was happy to let you go also.

I have to agree with Pamela on this one. Consulting is a client service business. Failing to deliver and failing to invoice on time are both a big deal. Sounds like you may need to change up a few things also.

RE: Client Question

(OP)

Quote (cvg)

Consulting is a client service business. Failing to deliver and failing to invoice on time are both a big deal. Sounds like you may need to change up a few things also.

This happens about once a month and it usually the client who misses the email. When it is not, they always call or email wondering where things are. I do over 500 jobs a year and have been in business since 1997 so that is about 10,000 jobs in that timeframe. This is the first time I have had a client not call. Probably not worth my time to change my policy.

I do, however, go thru my timesheets regularly now to make sure everyone has been invoiced.

RE: Client Question

I don't think you wanted that client anyhow. Move on.

RE: Client Question

Email is pretty reliable most of the time. Maybe your email did not get stuck in your outbox (never had that happen to me ) and was spam filtered on the other side. Maybe he did get it and is pretending he didn't to put an excuse "out there" so nobody asks why he opted to take a different (more aggressive) decision. Who knows, anything is possible. If I called everyone after I sent emails, even just those with plans or critical messages, that would be great client service. However, I would probably get fired for not getting enough done and being late on everything.

RE: Client Question

(OP)
@Terratak:

Exactly my thoughts.

RE: Client Question

XR250,
When you send an email like that , put a " Read receipt " on it or a " delivery receipt " so that you know, when it was received or opened. Then you have two choices , If the email is not read, you can call and ask him if he got it, and if he says he did not get it, and you have, a delivery receipt to prove he did , you can call him on it, if you want to that is.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Client Question

While a read-receipt on important emails is fine, want to make sure I voice opposition to read-receipts as a general rule. I have a couple clients who send read-receipts on every single email even though I typically respond in a timely fashion. It protects the person sending them, sure, but it's pretty obnoxious for the person receiving them. Especially on days when multiple people are sending me several messages each, all with read receipts.

Also doesn't work that well because it only works when I view on my Outlook desktop application (not phone/tablet), and I can and do decline to send the receipt back.

RE: Client Question

(OP)

Quote (MrHershey)

While a read-receipt on important emails is fine, want to make sure I voice opposition to read-receipts as a general rule. I have a couple clients who send read-receipts on every single email even though I typically respond in a timely fashion. It protects the person sending them, sure, but it's pretty obnoxious for the person receiving them. Especially on days when multiple people are sending me several messages each, all with read receipts.

Also doesn't work that well because it only works when I view on my Outlook desktop application (not phone/tablet), and I can and do decline to send the receipt back.

After doing some research it seems I am reaching the same conclusion - especially given the number of jobs I do in a given year and the amount of associated e-mail. I'll take an occasional $425 hit in order to not have to mess with it.

RE: Client Question

yeah, def don't do read receipt on the reg. That's barely one notch below the person who has a high priority flag defaulted on all emails.

RE: Client Question

I have read receipts disabled by default... your computer can ask for one, but my computer will simply ignore the request and not even bother popping up a window.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Client Question

Geez, the analysis. As a small business owner, I rarely use read-receipt or flag any kind of priority. The need isn't there but when it is, I use it. You have to use your head about all kinds of stuff and I think engineers are generally smart enough to do that. Perhaps I am wrong as I reflect upon some people.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Client Question

Quote (MacGyverS2000)

I have read receipts disabled by default...
Me too now! Thanks!

RE: Client Question

The general reasons for not using read receipts, or relying on them, are the same as those services that flag when an email has been viewed because a particular image embedded in the email has been accessed. They serve a very good purpose for a business owner who wants to track when emails are actually read, but also provide an awesome means for spammers to confirm that email addresses and details are legitimate.

This is the reason that most email clients indicate 'has blocked download of email content for your safety', and as a result, render most email functions useless for the original intent of tracking receipt.

EDMS Australia

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