How you could benefit from a skiing trip that saved me £1,563
Updated: Jan 4
I was at the school recently picking up the kids when the teacher of my youngest passed me an envelope – it had my name hand written on the front – hand written envelopes seem to convey a sense of importance don’t you think? Anyway, I had an inkling of what this might be …
Two weeks prior, my family and I had enjoyed a breath-taking week skiing in the French mountains – but it had come at a price.
I opened the envelope and, as I had suspected, it was a penalty fine for £60 – the cost of taking my kids out of school during term time, unapproved.
I then got the same envelope, letter and fine when I collected my eldest.
Now, you might think receiving a combined bill of £120 would have dampened my mood, but this was not the case and here’s why.
By taking my kids out of school when I did, I saved £1,563 on the cost of the trip – the extra amount I would have had to pay by going on the same trip a week earlier outside of term time.
And so the £120 fine was a very small price to pay, literally.
I’m not advocating taking your kids out of school, but it did get me thinking about other times when it may be necessary to incur some short-term pain to help in the long run – and it gave rise to the following question:
Do you ever find yourself working for customers who seem to drain more from you than they give?
In fact, if you were to do the sums, customers who probably cost you money.
You know the one’s I mean –
The tight customer with their endless list of extras, but for which they refuse to pay.
The demanding customer who spends so much time micro-managing the project, and you, that it drags things on, and on – way past the proposed end date, and way past any point of profitability.
The indecisive customer who can never make a decision requiring you to spend an inordinate amount of time meeting, planning, talking, meeting, planning, talking …
And the impatient customer who thinks their job is your only project – and life - who will constantly chase you on any given day and at any given hour expecting your attention.
Thankfully they’re a rare breed and outnumbered by good payers and decisive individuals.
But they do exist, and you will have suffered under them, am I right?
In a previous job I held, we labelled these PITA customers: Pain In The Arse customers.
It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re involved in, we’ve all had at least one PITA customer.
And, as I know you’ll agree, these customers are entirely taxing on time and patience – but I have a solution …
Now, what I’m going to suggest may seem a little odd.
And if you’ve ever heard the phrase: ‘Cut off your nose to spite your face’ – it might seem what I suggest is a little like that – but please, stick with me on this.
Because just like the fines I got for my skiing trip, it may cost you a little, but, and I guarantee this, it will reward you in the long run.
Reward in terms of the time you get back – meaning you can take on more projects more often - and in terms of the amount of profit you can make on each of those projects – because spending less time on a project leads to bigger profit margins.
My suggestion is simply this – if you are approached by a known PITA customer, or if after having met a prospect and discussed a project, you can see they’re going to be a PITA customer -
turn the project down
You might think that when times are tough, and work is harder to come by, any customer will do, but you’d be wrong – because even if it means you’re working, a PITA customer will ultimately cost you money.
Instead, use your time more wisely.
Catch up on your paperwork and books – get those quotes out faster. Send invoices out the next day rather than next week.
Perhaps work on your website or follow up on some prospects you’ve met previously.
All things that will bring more money in over the long run.
And of course, if you would like support with any of those things, we’re here to help as always.