Customers watch you while you work

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  #1  
Old 09-10-07, 09:46 AM
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Customers watch you while you work

...not that it's against any rules, but don't you guys think it's rude and annoying when customers WATCH you while you work on their home (whatever project it is)?

Do you guys ever tell them anything? Is there a way to tell them or ask them or suggest to them in a nice way... "I don't like being watched. Go somewhere else. Get off my back." Or, is this something you just have to get used to?

Most of the time, I'm the type that doesn't like being watched nor talked to while I work on a DIY project. I can't focus or concentrate. It makes me more nervous.
 
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Old 09-10-07, 09:53 AM
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I'm with you. I hate it and it makes me nervouse, too. Bring a couple books or magazines related to what you're doing (or whatever you think they'd be interested in) and ask them if they'd like to look at them while you're working, so you don't bore them, LOL!
 
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Old 09-10-07, 10:11 AM
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When I was young it would make me nervous to have someone looking over my shoulder while I worked. As I aged [and became more proficent at my job] it quit bothering me - unless they got in my way!!
 
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Old 09-10-07, 10:54 AM
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It depends on the job and the contractor. Most times I'll just let them do their thing but sometimes it's a job that I want to learn how to do - I recently had a sheetrock guy show me some new tricks - or sometimes I have a concern about what's being done. When I had my roof done recently, I wanted to personally inspect the condition of the roof sheating after the old shingles were torn off.

There have been occasions when I didn't trust the contractor's workers.

I do stay out of the way but whatever the case, it's my house and my money.
 
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Old 09-10-07, 04:58 PM
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I'm nosy when I've got someone working for me cause I want to know how to do it myself next time or I want to see how they are troubleshooting.

When I'm working, I dont' like people watching me because we always chat continously and I can't concentrate. Often I'll say, "Hmmmmm, this is strange, I need to think about this for a minute or two", then they go away. Or I'll say, "I'm OK from here. You go ahead and do your thing I don't need to tie you up"

I have seen shop signs that say there is a regular rate, then another more expensve rate if you want to watch and even more if you want to help.

Nowadays, I almost always seem to need to keep on top of guys. Was out of town whena tenant complain about water leaking in the basement. Didn't want to leave it till I got back so I had to call a plumber. He charged me $300.00 to replace the condensation drain hose on the Air Conditioner. It had clogged but he said it took him two hours to find the leak. Gad!!
 
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Old 09-10-07, 05:08 PM
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"Customers watch you while you work...."

I don't mind them watching - pretty unavoidable in my line - but I HATE it when they act like I don't know what I'm doing:

"Does it need to be in neutral?"
"No, it's front wheel drive?"
"Are you SURE?"

"Does it run"
"No"
"Okay, I'm just going to roll it out of the driveway so I can tow it from the front"
"The parking brake is on...."

And then you have the ones who don't understand that I can work perfectly fine going backwards using my mirrors; I do NOT need hand signals.
 
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Old 09-10-07, 05:43 PM
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when I used to work in a garage, we had a sign;

hourly rate $50

hourly rate if you watch $60

hourly rate if you ask quetions $70

hourly rate if you help $100
==========

Now, since I charge by the hour, I simply tell people that I work faster if left alone. It doesn;t cure it but it helps.
 
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Old 09-10-07, 06:58 PM
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You get used to it
It doesn't bother me
But then, like marksr says, I'm doing it right and with full confidence
I'll even put on a little show sometimes..a few extra flourishes

"In the way" is something else, that's time consuming (thus money taking) and dangerous, if not to the customer and me, then to the project

And telling me how to do something...I can often handle that...because I AM doing it right...it just might not be what they expected...I think these forums help me verbalize the "why", so I can explain better to customers

Some can't stop though...no matter what you say they think they know better...that can be tough
Fortunately most that hire me did so because they thought I knew what I was doing, and I explained how and why to them during the sales process
 
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Old 09-10-07, 09:00 PM
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I like to watch because I'm curious about what's going on, but I try to stay out of the way and be quiet. In my line of work, you can't help but be watched, since the person is the work.
 
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Old 09-11-07, 09:19 AM
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mitch17: too funny!

nap: I need that sign.

Yeah...if I was the customer, I'd like to watch *a little* too.

However, if there are 2 installers working on a project and the main installer says to the other installer/helper/assitant, "Is that even on both sides?" or "Can you hand me that?" and the customer is the one doing it at the same time the other installer/helper/assitant is doing.... THAT'S annoying!

Nothing wrong with a customer checking up or seeing how things are going but standing there and watching EVERYTHING the WHOLE time...
 
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Old 09-11-07, 09:32 AM
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I keep sending them to do things. Pretty soon they get tired of it and stay away from me.

The people with the kids or pets that wont leave you alone is an issue.
 
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Old 09-11-07, 11:03 AM
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i do work as electrical contractor ,,
yeah there is few area i rather not let the comustmer to watch me which some area i feel not safe for someone watching me because of my trade i am working around with electrical area and some spots i feel that the comuster should not be involded in few spots for safety reason.

but genrally most area where i feel safe engouh the comuster can watch me and ask some question but to answer it there is a fine line what you can say and what you cant say.

some areas where they have children and pets there i useally very politely asked them to watch their children or pets and keep them away from me when i do some of the work. ( i am sure you will agree with me the safety do come first )

but there is one spot i will speak up is the comuster leave the stuff and move some stuff around to get in the area where i have to work normally i useally let the comuster do this so that way i can focused on my work

Merci, Marc
 
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Old 09-11-07, 12:12 PM
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And I confess, I've watched workers before. What I try to do is ask a couple of technical questions that gives the worker a chance to dazzle me with his knowledge. A lot of times you can actually tell that they are pleased to show off their know-how.
 
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Old 09-11-07, 12:25 PM
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OTOH - Asking a couple of knowledgeable questions also lets the contractor know you didn't just get off the midwatch.
 
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Old 09-12-07, 12:29 AM
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When my furnace was ready for the first year free check-up I specifically asked the tech if he minded my watching. He replied that it was fine to watch.

After a few minutes he understood I was no dummy in this area. When he was (almost) through I asked him if he was going to check the gas pressures. He confessed that he hadn't planned to but it was because he had a broken battery wire on his digital manometer. He then asked if I had a soldering iron and when I replied yes he went to his truck for the meter while I got the soldering iron.

When he saw that it was a high-priced soldering iron, along with the questions and statements that I had made during the time he was working he gave me the meter to repair the battery connection. After I had done so he did the pressure check (finding it a bit high) and made the proper adjustments. While filling out the paperwork he remarked that next year I could do what he had done and save myself $100.


So, while I agree that sometimes having the customer watch might be annoying, unless there is a very real (not a maybe) danger it is probably better customer relations to let them watch.
 
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Old 09-12-07, 06:24 AM
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A lot of it depends on what they are doing.

I try to find something to do when the carpet cleaner is here, but say, if the a/c is out, I'll probably watch so I can see what it was and maybe not have to call him next time.

As someone else said, it's my house and my money, I'll watch if I want to..
 
  #17  
Old 09-14-07, 09:46 AM
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If I hire someone to work around my house, I prefer to watch them. First of all, it is MY house, not yours. So if I want to watch, I should be able to. Secondly, I want to learn what you are doing, so I don't have to call you again.
 
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Old 09-14-07, 10:47 AM
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Smile The other side of the fence

I agree that people who own equipment have to be shown how they are to perform routine maintenance and to get the best performance and reliability from it.
Tradespeople however are not being paid to be educators or simple diagnosticians regardless of whose house or equipment it is.

Customers have a right to know what repairs were performed and parts used but tradespeople are under no obligation to show a customer how the repair is performed.

It is unfair to expect that someone who has gone through the motions of becoming qualified and current in their field to give away what they have learned....................this is not what they are being paid for when they come to your house.
 
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Old 09-14-07, 02:08 PM
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I was an Account Manager for communications/data sales for years but I was an installer before that. I was discretionary about giving free how-to advice to customers, especially the techies, because doing so just took away from my revenues. You're responsible to make money so why give it away?

Being discretionary meant I considered my customer's and my company's best interests.
 
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Old 09-15-07, 09:13 AM
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I often watch or check in on work being done. I ask questions to make sure I understand what is being done and how to do any maintenance myself. If I know the contractor well enough I ask them how things are going in general, ask after their kids and pets. No one has seemed to mind, and sometimes I offer a different perspective and the contractor finds a better way to do things because of my inquisitions. I even caught our plumber running a vent pipe in a way that was totally acceptable but got in the way of other work I was doing that the plumber did not consider, so my observation was able to prevent problems in future stages of work. (The plumber admitted he was very tired and apologized for the mistake. I was just glad it was caught before the pipe dope completely dried!)

However I can't stand folks watching me work at my computer if they don't ask intelligent questions or don't say anything. I am used to working alone and don't appreciate my skills being questioned by the uneducated :-)
 
  #21  
Old 09-15-07, 10:03 AM
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As a copier tech for 14 years ( i've since graduated to sales)
I was frequently watched by the business or home owner.
In the begining it kinda made me self conscious but after I became good at it, it didn't bother me anymore.
I always got a kick from the occasional 3 year old who was completely captivated by what I was doing then scrurried away when when I turned on my vacuum.
In this field I never encountered any know-it-alls second guessing my work. I was always the expert and enjoyed explaining the copier process and my work to anyone who was interested.
 
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Old 09-15-07, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mackey View Post
As a copier tech for 14 years ( i've since graduated to sales)
You thing from tech to sales is up? JK

Years ago I was working for a guy, and we had a customer who was a real pita. Right on top of you all the time, following from room to room. So we got together, and started working on opposite ends of the house. Every few minutes one of us would let out a #*[email protected] or damn! He'd scurry off to whoever yelled, to see what was up. At least we had fun with it.
 
  #23  
Old 09-15-07, 04:44 PM
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The only time I mind an audience is if they are claiming knowledge in my field and are there to sharpshoot the work. THEN I get irritated. I had a guy once who was all over me, every step of the job, and it was beginning to wear so I finally confronted the situation. I told him there were only two reasons people tended to act that way. A) Some yard bird installer had burned them and THIS one sure wasn't doing it or, B), they're trying to learn something. Then I asked him what his deal was. He sheepishly confessed he had gotten himself into a bit of a mess and was trying to learn something. Turned out, he had a new girlfriend who had been given some used carpet and he'd promised to install it for her. Problem was, he'd never even seen it done. At that point, we had a good laugh and I then put him to work. I got him involved in every aspect of the job so he had at least done some of each step and sort of knew the basics. I never heard how the install went for him, but it was a fun day.
 
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Old 09-16-07, 05:43 AM
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We were on a job once where the new project manager was a royal PITA!! He was always coming around bugging us about some nonsense or another. We got if we saw him coming [while we spraying] we would hold the trigger [on the sprayer] past the end of the wall and get him dusted [with paint] as he come around the corner - didn't take us long to train him
 
  #25  
Old 09-21-07, 10:20 AM
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Regarding the training of managers...I was working for an electric utility and my partner and I were changing out some gaskets on flanged piping. The piping was in the overhead and we were working on a rolling scaffold about fifteen feet in the air. Whenever the foreman came around and started to grouse about our work ethic we laid the wrenches down, sat on the platform with our legs dangling over his head and started to shoot the breeze with him.

He learned pretty quickly that if he wanted the job done he should just stay away.
 
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Old 09-21-07, 01:58 PM
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Having been in law enforcement for many years, I am quite used to the "customers" second guessing me. You quickly learn to live with it.
 
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Old 09-21-07, 03:02 PM
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Working in the gas appliance industry for so many years, had to do something for "Fun" occassionally....

Would take apart many appliances during a days work. Occasionally, a customer (Victim?) would be casually but concernedly observing the disassembly of their appliance.

During such time with the right victim, I would get an intentionally confused look on my face, part of the game here, while observing theirs.

I would then say to the customer, excuse me for a moment. I'll be right back. I have return to my service truck to find the disassembly - reassembly instructions for this appliance. I have never taken one of these apart before......all in a fun days work...
 
  #28  
Old 09-23-07, 12:39 PM
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Speaking of training managers.... I was doing overhead phone line construction off-season in a resort area. Three of the big bosses came by to check out the crew.

No restrooms available to I discretly relieved myself behind the truck on the dirt road. I pulled the truck ahead about 50 feet, and spurred up the next pole. I got to the top and watched the white-hats walk back to the wet spot. All three dug around with their toes trying to figure out what kind of fluid was leaking from the truck. Finally one guy picked some up, they all smelled it, etc. Big discussion, pretty soon all three of them were picking it up.

After an appropriate time I shouted down from the pole to tell them what it was. Lots of laughs all around and a great story for all four of us. I'm retired now but the incident was a legend for years
 
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Old 10-05-07, 10:29 AM
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I work as a Marketing Associate for Aquafresh and it's a fairly small office. We don't see customers, just customer feedback online.
 
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Old 10-06-07, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DIYaddict View Post
...not that it's against any rules, but don't you guys think it's rude and annoying when customers WATCH you while you work on their home (whatever project it is)?

Do you guys ever tell them anything? Is there a way to tell them or ask them or suggest to them in a nice way... "I don't like being watched. Go somewhere else. Get off my back." Or, is this something you just have to get used to?

Most of the time, I'm the type that doesn't like being watched nor talked to while I work on a DIY project. I can't focus or concentrate. It makes me more nervous.
Get over it. You are a guest in someone else' home. And they have no clue who you are, your criminal history, or whatever.

As long as they keep their mouth shut and stay out of the way just deal with it the best you can. You don't have to like it, just deal with it.
 
  #31  
Old 10-06-07, 09:10 AM
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i'm semi retired, this goes on most of the time, i hate it when you are engroced in what you're doing, all of a sudden there's a person looking over your shoulder. depending on the sit/ & the person, i have shut the job down, got hold of the other member of the house & told him to get his wife out of the house or else. otherwise i will say something, we gota get along. i generally try to go thru the job & what i am going to do.
 
  #32  
Old 10-06-07, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Pendragon View Post
A lot of it depends on what they are doing.

I try to find something to do when the carpet cleaner is here, but say, if the a/c is out, I'll probably watch so I can see what it was and maybe not have to call him next time.

As someone else said, it's my house and my money, I'll watch if I want to..
actually, you home owners saying this is your home etc. when you hire someone to work for you, untill that work is paid for, your home is mine.
 
  #33  
Old 10-06-07, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by reid37 View Post
i hate it when you are engroced in what you're doing, all of a sudden there's a person looking over your shoulder
I was painting the inside of a country house once and went back to the van after a few things, I was bent over reaching in the van when I felt someone behind me, turned and was face to face with cow talk about being startled. When I told the homeowner she had 3 cows in her front yard, she got upset and asked why her neighbor couldn't fix his fence good enough to keep them from getting out - apparently that wasn't the first time.
 
  #34  
Old 10-06-07, 09:40 AM
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So, what did the cows think about your craftsmanship?
 
  #35  
Old 10-06-07, 11:53 AM
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Dunno they wasn't allowed inside

they did however seem to be enjoying the nice green lawn
 
  #36  
Old 10-06-07, 08:50 PM
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Smile

Man...........,

Alot of you guys are realy sensative about people watching you work.

Take it as a compliment most people today don't know how to change a flat tire or re-start their furnace.

As DIYers or people that are skilled or gifted to work with with your hands, we are the Mastercraftsmen of today.

Stop whinnin' and take as a compliment.

P.S. to
Integrator 97'

I chose to move to sales but after four years of it I am considering a return to a service roll again. It's just in my blood and I'm good at it!
Nothing wrong in trying new things.
 
  #37  
Old 10-06-07, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Mackey View Post
P.S. to
Integrator 97'

I chose to move to sales but after four years of it I am considering a return to a service roll again. It's just in my blood and I'm good at it!
Nothing wrong in trying new things.
Nope. But glad to see your learning from your mistakes too. we'll welcome you back to the fold.
 
  #38  
Old 10-07-07, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by french277V View Post
i do work as electrical contractor ,,
yeah there is few area i rather not let the comustmer to watch me which some area i feel not safe for someone watching me because of my trade i am working around with electrical area and some spots i feel that the comuster should not be involded in few spots for safety reason.

but genrally most area where i feel safe engouh the comuster can watch me and ask some question but to answer it there is a fine line what you can say and what you cant say.

some areas where they have children and pets there i useally very politely asked them to watch their children or pets and keep them away from me when i do some of the work. ( i am sure you will agree with me the safety do come first )

but there is one spot i will speak up is the comuster leave the stuff and move some stuff around to get in the area where i have to work normally i useally let the comuster do this so that way i can focused on my work

Merci, Marc
I'm urious if he knew that he was stating comuster...not customer
 
  #39  
Old 10-07-07, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by reid37 View Post
i'm semi retired, this goes on most of the time, i hate it when you are engroced in what you're doing, all of a sudden there's a person looking over your shoulder. depending on the sit/ & the person, i have shut the job down, got hold of the other member of the house & told him to get his wife out of the house or else. otherwise i will say something, we gota get along. i generally try to go thru the job & what i am going to do.
Reid - Have you ever said that to anyone and they said bye bye? No way would I ever allow a contractor to talk to me or anyone in my family with that sort of attitude. Besides, how can anyone tell their wife to get out of the house. It's her house too.

I'll reiterate - it's my house. If you don't like me watching - pick up your stuff and leave! There are lots of personable, skilled contractors and craftsman out there. Most of the successful ones know how to deal with their customers.
 
  #40  
Old 10-08-07, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by reid37 View Post
actually, you home owners saying this is your home etc. when you hire someone to work for you, untill that work is paid for, your home is mine.
I assume you're talking about a mechanics lien. I suggest you read up on it a bit before making the "your home is mine comment". Been there, done that, won in court.
 
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