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TOPIC: Good Client Bad Client

RE:Good Client Bad Client 15 Dec 2009 01:29 #16

  • 13puppet
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Thanks Tom, it really makes sense to me now.
Bo Crotta - Equine Specialist
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RE:Good Client Bad Client 15 Dec 2009 11:31 #17

  • tbloomer
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Cool! Glad I could be of help.

Now for the followup stuff . . .

Once you distribute your new "policy," give it 6 months and then do a "line item review" on each aspect. You will need to make adjustments and refinements. After the first 6-month review, continue with an annual review. Solicit feedback from clients. Especially with a new client, you should call them the week after your first appointment, thank them for their business and ASK if they are happy with your service and if there is anything more that you can do to improve it.

DO NOT EVER discuss your fees other than providing cost information. Some people are going to try to dicker with you - make you feel like you are somehow privileged to work for them or make you feel guilty because they can "barely afford" to have horses. You need to downplay those interactions but also make a note that the dickerers and and guilt trippers are NOT going to be long term clients UNLESS they feel that somehow they have the "upper hand."

They might last for 2 or 3 appointments or they might last for 2 or 3 years, but they will always be your most difficult (least considerate of your time and trouble) people in your business. They will also be the ones you should be looking to replace before they P I S S you off and you fire them while cussing them out. Don't fire them, just "price them out of your business" - a nice letter explaining that you have implemented a huge fee increase . . . they will think you sent it to everyone. In the letter, tell them that if they cannot afford the fee increase you suggest that they contact the following . . . list of names and numbers of the cheapest hacks you know. The hacks will appreciate your referral, because they are getting somebody who is used to paying more then they are charging. ;)

Your clients need to learn to "expect" a new service policy every year AND a fee increase included in the policy. When somebody brings up the topic of fees, change it immediately to the topic of VALUE and then ASK how you can deliver higher VALUE. It's better if you occasionally bring this up in a casual conversation - Don't ask, "Is there something I can do to improve my service?" Be specific, "Would you like it if I called the day before an appointment to remind you?" OR "Would it be more convenient for you if I started taking credit cards?" OR "How about we schedule your next appointment at the same time as your riding lesson so your trainer and I can compare notes - perhaps we can find something I can do to improve your horse's performance."
"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy." - Helmuth von Moltke

"Moltke regarded strategy as a practical art of adapting means to ends . . ."
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Good Client Bad Client 15 Dec 2009 17:32 #18

I find that I am frequently having to revise my policy as well, I am certain we all face the same dilemas out there. The one dilema that I doubt will ever be cured though is that when I refuse to do a "wild" bucking horse or nasty, un-safe one, I gladly refer the client to other farriers, and it's typically a great experience, but there are a few farriers out there that have nothing better to do that talk b.s. about me when I've helped them out too. They love to say "well if she can't handle this one, she shouldn't be doing this". Guess they have no standards, but I have kids to go home to, alive.
Eva Clark
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger"
Friedrich Nietzsche
www.horsenhoof.webs.com
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RE:Good Client Bad Client 15 Dec 2009 17:54 #19

horse_n_hoof wrote:
I find that I am frequently having to revise my policy as well, I am certain we all face the same dilemas out there. The one dilema that I doubt will ever be cured though is that when I refuse to do a "wild" bucking horse or nasty, un-safe one, I gladly refer the client to other farriers, and it's typically a great experience, but there are a few farriers out there that have nothing better to do that talk b.s. about me when I've helped them out too. They love to say "well if she can't handle this one, she shouldn't be doing this". Guess they have no standards, but I have kids to go home to, alive.

Wecome to the club, my dear!

I have been thur this for the last 20 years as a lady farrier
(before women were as accept as they are "NOW"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!);
and it will never change that much in the future.
BTW; owners have no standards, either; let alone the trainers or the vets; both women and men.

Take care, Linda Muggleworth, IUJH
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RE:Good Client Bad Client 20 Dec 2009 17:08 #20

  • Joey Aczon
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I like the way Tom thinks, however, I think that it's a little aggressive for a new business.

While I like the idea of charging more for people that want to keep horses 2-3 overdue all the time, I think that while you're building a client base it's best to just not worry about their schedule. If they only want the horse done every three months, then just do them every three months until you can afford to tell them how the cow ate the cabbage. (and possibly, if not probably, lose the account)

IMO, unless the horses are lame, if I have the time and they are willing to pay for what needs to be done when I come to do it then I will do it on their schedule. Just keep records and write how long over due they are and the next reccomended schedule date on the invoice.

I write it out like this

1) Full set - <horses name>
<size and type shoes>
<additional items>
Horse overdue by 2 weeks RX'd 6 week cycle

I don't worry about it anymore than that as long as the horse is sound. Now, if the horse is grossly overdue and it takes an extra nipper run or excessive wall dressing, I sure charge extra.

When I get a call from a new client and set an appointment, before I get off the phone I make sure they know what my prices are, and inform them that payment is due upon completion. I do not operate on credit, and will not accept delayed payment. If they get upset, then I tell them it's probably best they find another farrier. Make sure you always review your check for proper amounts in both fields, correct name, date, and that the check is signed.
Joey Aczon

Over-specialize and breed in weakness... It's slow death. :cool:

"I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect." — Gibbon
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