Saturday, June 30, 2007


There's a great website called Woodweb that I find myself coming back to-not only to use their extensive knowledge base and to read their really great forums on everything from adhesives to cabinetmaking-but also to read stories and advice from other carpenters and remodeling professionals.

Below is an excerpt from a forum about dealing with a client that is impossible to please. One carpenter found himself in a precarious situation after installing a vanity and asked for advice about how to walk off a job...

From contributor J: What you've got here is a job that has gone sour due to the behavior of the client. There is nothing you can do to make this person happy, bar doing the rest of the work to museum standards and paying him for the privilege of his letting you work on his house. Your job now is to detach yourself from this situation as quickly and as gracefully as you can. If you can't manage graceful, then settle for quick.
From contributor B: I too have had clients this way. There is nothing you can do to satisfy this guy... nothing. He will always find something to complain about. If not yesterday, it's today or tomorrow. I'd take the above advice. Remove the vanity, saying that he's not pleased with it. Also take yourself off the job, saying that it is beyond your ability to make maple look like cherry... color, grain and all. The client I had like this, I figured he suffered from OCD and had to have everything perfect, which is impossible to achieve. I am convinced he contributed to my heart attack. Walk and be in better health.
From contributor L: Been there, analyzed it to death, finally concluded the same thing everyone above has said - bow out quickly and whatever you do, don't go back. Some things never change their stripes!
From contributor K: Absolutely... get out now. He sounds like the kind of guy that will be shocked that you don't kiss his butt. When he frantically says "What are you doing?" (while you're carrying your stuff out), just tell him how sorry you are that there was an obvious misunderstanding from the beginning and that you cannot give him what he wants at that price. If he tries to barter with you, ask you to stay, agree to pay more, etc. (savor the moment), tell him you'll consider it and then just keep on walking. Leave him hanging.



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