I agree with all that and have taken a similar stance in the past but there is a certain amount of goodwill you can generate doing 'favors' or 'quickies' for people that creates word of mouth and can come back to pay you in spades.
In other words, Mr. Grinch, don't let your heart harden and ruin your own Xmas by accident :)
I know how you feel. I get calls from old clients asking advice on stuff and before I know it 20 (unpaid) minutes or more has elapsed. It gets annoying.
Send them a bill for thirty minutes consultation time.
One way to stop disruptive time suck phone calls is to keep a five minute timer on your desktop, phone or tablet and click it the minute the call starts and you have an alarm which could be a ringing phone sound, and an easy escape.
Tricks of the trade ;)
In all seriousness, time management makes or breaks consultants so customers on the phone are the death of productivity. I used to have a client that liked to stay on the phone when his website had a problem until it was resolved which is very distracting and takes a lot of time when someone that doesn't know squat about it is sitting there offering unhelpful suggestions nonstop. after doing this a time or two I finally put my foot down and told him I can't focus on the phone and he was possibly losing more sales the longer it took me to resolve this which got him off the phone.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 12:53 am (utc) on Apr 29, 2013]
You just reminded me Bill. I used to have an icon on my desktop that linked to an audio file of a phone ringing. I need to set that up again. :)
|audio file of a phone ringing |
That's a clever idea BDW.
I drew the line in the sand because I am continually contacted with help me request. There comes a time when enough is enough so to be fair or politically correct I am making no exceptions.
I did add in the email calls from friends are welcomed but if it has anything to do with website work I am sorry I will have to charge my rate. Seems my friends only called when they needed help.
|I used to have an icon on my desktop that linked to an audio file of a phone ringing. |
I dunno. It kinda reminds me of when my youngest brother was an infant and my mother would catch herself saying when he cried "Shh! You'll wake the baby!"
|Seems my friends only called when they needed help. |
Makes you question why they were your friends in the first place.
It's like office workplace relationships as you think they're friends until they stop calling a few months after you quit working together. That's when you know it was just a friendship of convenience or they could use you and now have no use for you.
Yep Bill way I figure it so why the call. I never call them for a need just me so why there aint't no going back. I know about friends x Marine from the 70's, there are 2 kinds of friends-
1- you can depend on,
2- there for the ride.
I got to many of 2.
A good chunk of my business is hardware/software related. I had a bunch of people who would call looking for free advice. As a previous poster mentioned, you end up losing 20 or 30 minutes easily..
What you also lose is your train of thought. ..
I just had 'one of those calls' yesterday. A guy who ends up averaging about 1 or 2 hours billable time at most.
My answer was "Sorry but I'd have to see the problem. I can come out this afternoon".. Of course, he was just looking for the freebee
Now, I do have one client/friend where advice is quid pro quo. I don't mind taking some time with him because he's done a hell of a lot for me over the years and continues to do so.