Too Many Red Flags? When to Turn Down a Questionable Client | NPI


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Too Many Red Flags? When to Turn Down a Questionable Client

 November 23, 2021 |  Business Tips, Inspection Tips, Franchise |  inspection industry, client satisfaction, entrepreneur

Being a small business owner, it’s important to build a large referral base to avoid stalling out. However, sometimes you’ll have to weed out certain customers that have become a hindrance. It can be hard to turn someone down, especially if you’re new to the industry, but it’s something every business owner has dealt with. Here are some early warning signs that you may think twice about signing on with a customer.

They don’t communicate well or at all.
You can tell a lot about a person based on their communication style, and it won’t take long to figure them out. It’s usually easier to get an understanding of someone over the phone than it is through text or email. You’ll be able to detect certain tones they use with you and how they’ll treat you should you work together. But even digital conversations can raise some red flags. If they take forever to respond to calls or emails, expect immediate responses from you, or try to reach you at inappropriate times, they might have unrealistic expectations of you. While you want your customers to feel like a priority, it shouldn’t come at the expense of other relationships.

They want an extreme discount.
Price shoppers are found in almost every industry. Like most people, they want to save money, but it’s usually at an unreasonable amount. They can quickly become a headache as you try to reason with them. Yet you don’t want to tune out price shoppers right away. Try to educate them as to the importance of your business and mention the deals you already offer. If it seems as though you’re not making any headway, it’s best to just cut loose from the potential client.

They want to change your agreement.
This should set off a million tiny alarms in your head. As an inspector, your pre-inspection agreement is there to protect you from certain risks. It states what you will and won’t cover, which is important should you be faced with litigation by a client. Be wary of clients that want to bring in a lawyer or reference their own legal background when asking you to alter your agreement. If you can’t get them to sign the agreement as is, it’s another situation where you may need to walk away.

They aren’t upfront with everything.
This goes along with the tone in which the client speaks to you. For whatever the reason, someone might not be forthcoming with all the information you need for a job. If you notice they’re hesitant to answer certain questions or avoid them altogether, continue with caution. There could be an issue with the property that the client is trying to conceal. (Again, don’t do anything that'll put you in harm’s way.)

They’re just trying to straight up scam you.
Most scams are going to be pretty obvious, but some can be a little more elaborate. There’s the age-old tactic of being sent an email from a suspicious account. A common scam in the home inspection industry is an “out-of-town” client wanting to send a check way above your quoted price and telling you to use the remainder to hire another company. However they may try, don’t get caught by someone taking advantage of you.

Be polite when you turn them away.
Even when you’re turning away a client, you still want to be respectful and represent yourself in a professional manner. Thank them for their interest, but state that you don’t think working together is best for either party. Don’t let your personal opinions of them slip into your message. Remember, how you treat both good and bad customers reflects on you as a business owner.

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