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Turning away work

x-jla

how do I get better at this?  I feel obligated to take on everything, even if it’s not the kind of work I’m trying to focus on, or if it seems like it’s going to be a pain in the ass project.  

 
Jun 23, 21 11:36 am
SneakyPete

Tell them you're too busy to provide them the quality of service you feel is necessary to do a good job. 

Jun 23, 21 11:42 am  · 
3  · 

Show them your post history here.  That will reduce the amount of work that will come your way.  Problem solved. 

Jun 23, 21 1:06 pm  · 
3  · 
x-jla

Dick. lol

Jun 23, 21 1:13 pm  · 
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.

Jun 23, 21 1:56 pm  · 
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Raise your prices. 

Jun 23, 21 1:11 pm  · 
5  · 
RJ87

I'd agree with Miles. If it's not something you're particularly interested in just price it accordingly, then if they still want to continue it's suddenly worth your time. That said our office has certain things that we just have no interest in dealing with a particular set of client & just tell them that it's not what we do.

Jun 23, 21 1:54 pm  · 
2  · 

We do the same. Often we're asked to do single family residential work and we simply explain that we don't do that type of work. We recommend several other architects in town that could help them out.

Jun 23, 21 1:58 pm  · 
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RJ87

I get asked about doing homes on a regular basis & have a ready made list of recommended firms on file that I just copy paste into the same email. I know some people make a good living off of them, but it sounds like a nightmare dealing with residential clients & problems. Particularly at a lower price point.

Jun 23, 21 2:05 pm  · 
2  · 
RJ87

That said, a higher price point client sounds awful as well.

Jun 23, 21 2:05 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

I felt the same last fall--good jobs just kept coming in, and I didn't have a good system for scheduling them. After working nearly non-stop for months I have learned my lessons:

1. I will pay attention to red flags and avoid clients who will likely be difficult, no matter how much money they have or how cool their project is. Life is too short to deal with jerks. 
2. I know how many productive hours I have available in a week and before taking on a job I will estimate when I can get to it. I am telling potential clients that I am booking for late 2022. That sends most people away, and the ones who stay are more likely to be committed to me. 
3. I will raise my rates again, and/or switch to fixed fees on projects that I think I can make money on. 

Jun 24, 21 2:08 pm  · 
4  · 
randomised

I’m a little disappointed here, you as the most avid and active supporter of capitalism on this forum should have figured this one out x-jla ;-)


Just hire someone to churn out these kinds of jobs for you but still collect the clients’ cheque...

Jun 24, 21 3:22 pm  · 
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That would mean x-jla would have to actually pay someone a living wage. We all know he's only a minimum wage guy.

Jun 24, 21 3:59 pm  · 
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randomised

I think he’d pay handsomely, even if only to prove you wrong!

Jun 24, 21 4:05 pm  · 
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Shhhhh . . . don't tell him that.

Jun 24, 21 4:10 pm  · 
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x-jla

Random, I have a hard time saying no to people. It’s a curse. For example, I hired a nanny, and ended up becoming her free cab service, mover, and pick family up from airport guy. In this case it’s not about the money, because I have a full plate at a certain point, it’s about being able to turn down the projects that I’m not excited about to make room for ones I am. Until now I’ve been a first come first serve type of guy, but demand is high rn, and I’m starting to think I can be more choosy

Jun 24, 21 4:13 pm  · 
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x-jla

Part of it is not wanting to come off as a snob and part is the scarcity mentality from being broke most of my life lol

Jun 24, 21 4:15 pm  · 
1  · 

Shhhh . . . .


Jun 24, 21 4:23 pm  · 
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rcz1001

It comes down to how you say no and the tone of your voice and body language. You could say, at this time we are currently swamped with projects and it may be a while before we are ready. You aren't necessarily saying outright the word 'no' but it is inferred that at this moment in time, you can't do the project. It's not about being mean or anything. Additionally, if it is an inquiry on Houzz or something, you could simply not even reply. However, you can choose the manner accordingly. It's a little bit of an art form.

Jun 24, 21 5:12 pm  · 
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randomised

x-jla, you don’t understand capitalism? Let your new employee do the projects you don’t want to do and use that freed time to do the nice projects yourself, nobrainer really...

Jun 25, 21 3:17 am  · 
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rcz1001

If you are referring to the nanny, are you serious with that suggestion randomised?

Jun 25, 21 3:22 am  · 
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rcz1001

The suggestion I made is actually something that does work. If you don't want the project, then either you kindly decline it or you don't respond to initial inquiry. Either way will communicate that you are not interested. I would likely approach it with a polite declining of the project like how I suggested... a little "wordsmithing" may be needed.

Jun 25, 21 3:25 am  · 
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randomised

Sigh...I suggested an employee to do the projects that bring in money but are not interesting enough to waste your own time on...a nanny could work too if she can do landscape architecture as well and look after the kids...

Jun 25, 21 12:49 pm  · 
1  · 
rcz1001

It did appear that you were suggesting the nanny that was mentioned by x-jla a little earlier. I agree with you that he could hire an employee to work on the projects that bring in money but not interesting enough for x-jla to do. If I recall, x-jla is a landscape designer or is he a landscape architect. Not sure offhand. While I am primarily a building designer, I could do landscape design as well but it isn't my primary business activity. However, I'm not local enough to x-jla (IIRC) for doing landscape design work for him in his local area. It isn't something you should do purely from remote. Visiting the project site and getting a sense of the place and so forth are important factors to consider among others.

Jun 25, 21 1:30 pm  · 
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tduds

lol @ Rick taking "I don't know how to say no" extremely literally.

Jun 25, 21 3:25 pm  · 
1  · 
randomised

It’s all good Rick, sometimes I forget it’s you...

Jun 26, 21 2:32 am  · 
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rcz1001

Anyway, thank you for clarifying what you meant.

Jun 26, 21 3:58 am  · 
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midlander

do you actually have a problem? this just seems like a humblebrag.

i've been so busy i have to turn away work for 5 years now. but i work in a large office and the people asking me to do more work are colleagues, so that's a different problem.

Jun 25, 21 4:13 pm  · 
3  · 
x-jla

I’m talking specifically about repeat client/s (developers) who sometimes send good shit, and other times shit show projects. Or in one case a shit show referral from a past good client.

Jun 25, 21 4:46 pm  · 
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x-jla

I’m not talking about houzz inquiries or random leads.

Jun 25, 21 4:46 pm  · 
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x-jla

Most of my work comes from referrals, repeat clients, and architects who I know personally. Random leads that I don’t want I’ll usually just refer out to friends.

Jun 25, 21 4:49 pm  · 
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midlander

i see that makes more sense then. i think you just have to be honest and tell them you'd like to take the work but you're fully booked for the foreseeable future. the reasonable clients will understand and decide to wait or find someone else.

Jun 25, 21 4:56 pm  · 
1  · 
x-jla

But I’m 100% serious that this is my number one anxiety rn. I’m getting a lot of these and don’t want to create bad blood with old clients or repeat clients. I feel like they expect me to take the crappy ones once in a while if I want to get the good ones…maybe I’m being too paranoid

Jun 25, 21 5:19 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

Is there a reason you would not hire to expand your capacity to take on these additional projects?

Jun 25, 21 5:34 pm  · 
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x-jla

No reason, and it’s definitely a long term solution I’m going to do eventually, but these are kind of immediate things and I would need time to hire, set up the work space, etc. I’m also design/build, so it’s not just design staff, but I’d need to expand my build capacity too. I’m pretty conservative with the speed I grow, and I’m more craft motivated than money motivated…and don’t want to create an overhead that’s so big that I feel compelled to sacrifice quality for quantity to pay the bills.

Jun 25, 21 5:47 pm  · 
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rcz1001

These trends do have to be steady so when you you get the staffing to meet the workload, the trend doesn't reverse the other way and you run out of clients.

Jun 25, 21 7:46 pm  · 
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