Who Should Pay Whom?

We nearly botched an opportunity with a client this week. She’s not really “new” since I have known her since before starting Integrity REO Solutions. I did lots of work for her shortly after we got off the ground — mostly field work, didn’t pay a whole lot. But, those were lean times. Anything helped. I was driving the metroplex in my minivan with toddlers strapped in, trying to build a clientele. It was do or die.

She peeked her head back in this week after about a year’s silence. Cool I thought. Still the same type of work, but maybe with the opportunity for bigger this time. She had alot of smaller stuff she needed help with.

I sent it over to the contractor, he said he had it routed for the next morning. I thought we were set. Come to find out it didn’t get done at all. Not good, because this affected her position with her new client who was asking her to outsource the work. Let’s see: how many people did this make look bad? My client, me, and the contractor. Maybe her client too. I’m sure they were working for someone. That’s lots of people affected because of…..did you think I was going to blame the contractor? No, it was my fault. It always is when your name is attached. NO excuses.

I told her that it didn’t get done and you could hear her groan through email. She was nervous about her spot now with the new client who was offering her a significant volume of properties to sell in the near future. She said please get the work done ASAP maybe she could push it through.

The contractor reasoned that they readjusted their schedule because these orders didn’t pay as much as the other work that came in at the same time (though they failed to communicate this shift in schedule to me until after the work was due). While I understand the concept behind this, I had already made a promise. To break a promise to a client has repercussions. The trust you wanted to establish has been broken.

I was emailing back and forth with her just now, and she made me promise never to use the same contractor again to do this work for her. I promised. She explained that on a couple of the assignments, she actually had someone from her office go out and do the work since she had to wait on results.

Of course, I did not invoice her for the work she had to do. But, I wonder if I should go further than that. I wonder as a good-faith measure if I should actually PAY HER for the work she did. That would really blow her mind. This is not a great time of year to be paying your clients. What time of the year is? But, then again is money more important than trust?


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