So today I pick my car up from the repair place – 3rd bumper in 6 years. First time it happened I was mad. Second time I just sorta stood there. This time I laughed and went “whatever” and pushed it back into place.
Consultants/Businesses with large clients drive me nuts. You see some people and they just scream “OH YEAH I WAS A CONSULTANT FOR 3.5 MINUTES AND LANDED GIANT INTERNATIONAL ABC COMPANY AND I’M KNOCKING DOWN 6 FIGURES”. I’m not quite that lucky. I’ve had some large clients. I’ve more small ones than large ones. I even have one that will argue over a $20 dollar charge on the invoice.
A few weeks ago I found myself trudging up a driveway to a possible client. House calls can be the worst. I had been referred to someone through someone else who had heard I was good with computers. This person had called in a panic as there were multiple things wrong with her computer/gis setup. She’s a one person shop. I’m a one person shop. I get it. Since we were in full “holiday season” swing I had decided I’d just make a trip up and as a “Happy Holidays” sign of love for my fellow man – no charge. The problems I was presented with were 15 minutes total. Maybe 30 if we traded stories about things.
As we stood there I caught her husband coming home out of the corner of my eye. He walked past her office carrying a lunch pail. I kept working and talking. He passed again with a drill. I kept working. He passed again with a screw driver. We kept working. I was done – 17 minutes total. Which I should have a standard charge for walking in the door BUT – I don’t want to fix computers. A few years ago I was fixing a friend’s computer and stumbled upon a set of photos that were not meant to be seen. I closed the lid and gave it back. That ended the joy of computer repair.
We were sitting there talking and her husband yelled “BLARGH HOLY CRAP”. I was putting cords back up as she left and I said “NO CHARGE Merry….Chris….” and she bolted. About 20 seconds later she ran past the door. 10 seconds after that she ran back in and “Randy I need your help”.
Her husband was laying in one direction in the driveway. His ankle was more or less pointing 180 degrees in the opposite. The truck he drove home wasn’t sitting in the driveway anymore. It had rolled over him, over the mailbox, and into my car – specifically the bumper. He had been under the dash when the brake turned loose with a screwdriver banging on something. He was lucky. Oh so lucky. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been working on my car with it not properly secured. I’ve been crawling under transmissions. Pulled rotors.
“Randy I think I hit your car”.
I’m not worried about the car.
“How does my ankle look?”
I’d prefer to not talk about that now – it’s different.
Well…it’s – probably OK…….It’s 2017 they can do anything these days with feet.
“I’m sorry about your car”.
I’m not worried about the car.
We shoved him into his wifes car and off he went to spend a few weeks in the hospital. Broken this and some broken that. Me and a neighbor shoved his truck out of my bumper.I threw my laptop into the passenger seat and just sat there. Had my car not been sitting there it would have most likely run over the neighbor’s Nativity scene. Which made me chuckle more than it should have. “Yes Baby Jesus – two camels, 3 wise men, and a 99 chevy long bed came to visit you this fine Christmas morn”.
I went back up last week to do some GIS work for her last week and the complaint was “You have to let me pay you”
I’ll invoice you – don’t worry about it.
“…but last month….”
I’m not worried about last month, or the car, or whatever I’d charge. That was on the house. Seriously. Think of the stories we now have.
We meandered up stairs to see her husband. It’s amazing how they can wrench an ankle back into place. He’s walking next month hopefully.
Which was how I picked up another client in January. Not a 100,00k a year deal. Not a deal where I’m breaking new ground on GIS work or running some weird docker python virtual environment and slinging code. I’ll most likely been making points, calculating acres, and making sure the GPS work. Overall not bad. More clients are a good thing even if they are small.
When I get the car back I guess I’ll have to wash it since I’ll have this nice new bumper. The fun never ends in the small business world.