STOP being the YES Girl and politely say NO to every request your client asks of you. It’s costing you money.
Do you say YES to every request your clients ask of you? Do you have a hard time telling clients NO when they ask you to do a favor? That was me until I learned to politely say NO.
As a decorative painter, it’s my job to listen to my client’s requests and to give them a proposal based on the services they commission me to do in their home.
When I first started my business, I was the YES GIRL. Partly because I wanted the job and mostly because I wanted to be nice. Over the years, I have learned some costly mistakes from being the Yes Girl. I finally had to learn to say YES to saying NO.
My typical consultation would go like this:
During my initial consultation, I write down everything we have talked about and send them a proposal based on the finishes they have selected for each area of their home.
I am very clear and specific on the finish, color, area and cost for each finish, and I price each job separately so here is no misunderstanding.
But this is what happened on the job:
In more cases than not, I will be on the job site working on a project when the client comes in to ask me to do them a favor (meaning, they think it’s a small thing and not worthy of paying you for your time). In many cases, it’s not a big deal and I would always say yes because I wanted to please them and get more work and referrals. Until one day it turned into 3-4 extra things they asked me to do and asked if my helper could move some furniture on their porch. One favor turned into another and next thing you know I turned into their handyman.
This job took me an extra day to finish because I didn’t like telling clients NO. I have always gone by the motto, under-promise and over-deliver. This doesn’t mean doing more work for free. It means to do the extra things like add a few painted switch plates or hang the pictures back on their wall.
The lesson I learned:
I finally had to make boundaries and start telling clients NO, in a nice way of course. Having boundaries makes you a good business owner. Clients will respect you and think more of you if you have good boundaries in place.
Telling Clients NO. How to gracefully handle the situation:
One way to handle a situation like this is to tell them it’s not your expertise (you don’t know how to do that). Tell them you can suggest someone who can help them. This will get you off the hook.
If it’s something you can do, tell them that you will do a change order and you can let them know what the extra charge will be. This is a polite way of letting them know you don’t work for free.
Another way to let them know without verbally telling them is to put it on your contract. If you don’t have a professional contract I highly suggest you get one. Search google, there are hundreds of websites that have free downloadable contracts that you can tweak and revise to your specifications.
Here’s the one I use if you would like to revise it to fit your business and services. It covers everything.
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