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Author Topic: Behind on projects can = bad customer service  (Read 3034 times)

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Offline Don P

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2020, 11:04:47 PM »
Hi Oliver :)
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2020, 07:32:35 PM »
I'm with you Oliver
Hope all is well with you and Harriet. 
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2020, 09:33:03 PM »
I have more projects that I know I will never see done. But I'm not promising something to a customer either. 
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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2020, 10:06:10 AM »
Now I find my self in this situation.
I agreed to cut out a full barn, that is all the timbers for the timber frame some 87 timbers of all sizes and lengths.

to date I have produced and he has picked up and paid for 19 of them leaving 68 to do.
We agreed that he would come over every weekend pick up what's done and pay me for what he has picked up.
things were going along as normal until winter hit and slowed things down. Then the calendar changed and he said he was a CPA and couldn't come over on weekends as he was doing taxes on the side.
So, I told him that's ok as I had some oak order to do. His order was for all eastern white pine.
I get three times the price for oak as I do for pine. So sawing oak is great for me.
And I usually push those orders to the top of the list to be able to pay off bills.
Now, he says he's ready for more timbers. And I have still got at least 4 or 5 more oak orders to process.
And he wants me to commit to having all his timbers done by 5/1/2020.
I really feel that I can't do this without hiring some help to move the side lumber off the mill and timbers as well as the slabs.
I have developed a pinch nerve and my neck and I have been on self selected "lite" duty for the last 6 weeks. Only sawing a little bit every other day or so.
And with everything else going on in life, I don't believe I'm going ever going to finish his order. Certainly not by 5/1/2020
All my plans for travel to conferences, expos, and workshops have just all been canceled and or postponed due to the hype of the virus.
Which now gives me more time to cut oak. If my body can handle it.
I guess I should tell him that I won't be able to meet his deadline and see what he wants to do. Cancel his order or wait. He says he doesn't really want to wait (in an email).
I am turning away work, literally every day, both sawmill and design work, as I am telling people that I have a minimum of three months work to do, just to fill current orders because besides his pine barn I have two other sheds orders part done. And they are wanting their lumber/timbers soon as well.
Oh, what to do.
Sorry for the long post, just needed to get it out.
Jim Rogers 
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
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Online doc henderson

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2020, 10:17:22 AM »
Jim you seem to have very high standards for yourself.  your client worked around his schedule.  I guess if he is unable to help, he could pay for you to hire a helper.  If the agreement was he would help.  or he can try to find another sawyer, but they are prob. busy like you, or just getting started, or not so good as they have time to suddenly take on this order.  If he is an accountant, he should be able to understand (like it or not)  that you are running a business.  Seems to me he did not hold up his end.  Is the pine profitable enough to hire an off-loader?  might help your neck issue and if they are good, maybe used for the foreseeable future.
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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2020, 10:24:12 AM »
I have a retired carpenter that hunts the land out back and he has helped me before.
I was thinking I'd see if he could help me some more this spring to get caught up.
Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
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Online Andries

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2020, 11:12:27 AM »
Jim, you are in a sort-of good predicament.
You have many orders coming in.
People want you for your timber frame design skills.
Travel to teaching and expo events is filling your calendar.
We all have to adapt to the flow of business and our own abilities. 
Nothing stays the same for too long.
Find the extra help you need. The retired carpenter guy sounds perfect. Treat him well, and set up a working relationship that works for both of you.
Your CPA EWP client had an agreement that didn't include a hard deadline. You have a business to run, and you should probably stick to the original plan, or agree to let him find his timbers elsewhere. 
I agree completely with the comment that bad communication is the bedrock of bad customer service.
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Offline dgdrls

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2020, 04:30:07 PM »
Hi Jim,
first and foremost take-care of yourself.

couple questions, thoughts;
Did the CPA client actually help you saw or just come and pick-up what was done?
How did you "fit-in" the previous 19 timbers?
Can you cut 10 timbers a week for him?  68 timbers, 7 weeks until May 1

D



Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2020, 05:52:08 PM »
Too bad the OP for this didnít say how it ended.  Banjo
Never explain, your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you any way.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2020, 10:16:06 AM »
Hi Jim,
first and foremost take-care of yourself.

couple questions, thoughts;
Did the CPA client actually help you saw or just come and pick-up what was done?
How did you "fit-in" the previous 19 timbers?
Can you cut 10 timbers a week for him?  68 timbers, 7 weeks until May 1

D
Dgdris:
He just came and picked up the timbers on weekends, sometimes Sundays.
I was sawing his order to do the 19 timbers. But as you know you have to deal with all that slab coming off the logs and all the side lumber. So some days I only sawed one log, with everything else going on, such as tool sales.
I would have to do two a day for a five day week to do 10 timbers a week. And my sawmill is in an open yard, no roof so if it rains I'm not out there.
I would think that with a helper I could do more than 2 a day, hopefully.
But, then it is the added cost of the helper.
I have been considering increasing my price to cover his pay.
Jim Rogers
PS thanks to everyone for all your advice.
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
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Online WV Sawmiller

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2020, 11:28:15 AM »
Jim,

  Can you hire help and still make a profit on the deal even if not as much as you had planned? If so I'd do it then get on with my other backlog of projects. I would be very reluctant to raise prices on this deal. Maybe in the future you have 2 rates - one leisurely and one expedited. You might even offer this deal to your customer since he is now the one basically stopped the work and is now proposing a time line. Good luck.
Howard Green
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2020, 02:17:21 PM »
If you have a idea how much a helper will increase production then you will be able to get an idea on the cost increase if any.

Not sure I made my point clear there, my thought is that even though your hourly cost go up by paying a helper and the increase in blade, fuel, lube and wear on mill your production also goes up. 

So you need an equation and some experience or advise (someone else's experience) to calculate the difference in the board foot cost of milling.

So do you get:

(1) No change in board foot cost = higher production = you make more.
(2) An increase in board foot cost = (a) cost not offset by higher production = you make less.
                                                      (b) cost offset by higher production = you make the same. 
                                                     
(3) A decrease in board foot cost = cost more than offset by higher production = you make more.

It would be interesting to know and be able to say what is the best route. Hope you are feeling better soon.

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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2020, 03:33:34 PM »
But when it rains what does the help do to remain profitable.  Same when work is slack or you simply want/need some time off from sawing.  Most reliable/dependable help needs a job where they can depend upon the income.  Nothing is simple.
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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2020, 03:39:44 PM »
so you got your oak jobs that pay good, but you can only work every other day due to your neck pain.  so if a helper gets all your oak and plus some timber frame timbers, seems like a win win.  i agree you need to look at cost.  usually timber by the b.f. can be more profitable cause a few cuts and you got a high b.f. timber.  if you keep the side lumber there is more profit.  if your labor guy is retired , he may not care if he works 2 hours or 6 hours.  if he is contracted labor, then it saves you paying all kinds of insurance and taxes.  you might even have him work on shares if he has a tree to mill later.  or God forbid, you paid him the green stuff. I assume he will be able to acquire skills to run the tractor ect.  and knows his way around a work site.  If your accountant customer is a decent guy, and realizes he may have to go elsewhere, maybe he will step up some on the price.  good luck, and I hope to see a pic of your accountant on your happy customer thread!
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Re: Behind on projects can = bad customer service
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2020, 09:29:46 AM »
What would your customer think if he read this thread?  From one perspective:  You agreed to do the job for him, I am assuming he didn't put a gun to your head.  Now, life has intervened on both sides.  Weather, which should be no surprise, tax season, injuries, additional better paying work. He may have set the deadline just because he feels like you are dragging your feet. To me the only "right" thing to do is get his job done and out of the way.
 
Doug in SW IA


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