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"Other than that, Mr. Lincoln, how was the appointment?" - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
"Other than that, Mr. Lincoln, how was the appointment?"
You may have seen the quote. It's on posters in a lot of older-school lawyers' offices:

Meaning, essentially, that we have nothing else to sell. You do not exit through the gift shop. We don't partner with custom manufacturers of wills or title companies to sell you ancillary shit just because you're there.  You come to see me, you're buying ticks on the clock and renting specialized portions of my brainpan. If you don't come to see me, or call when you're supposed to, you leave me with nothing- and today's one of those nothing kind of days.

I shouldn't complain. Yesterday's "deal" went better and even faster than expected: I got in right after an on-time conference for another client, and got out in under an hour. The figures were (more or less) right, the documents all accepted by both other party and county clerk, and everybody shook hands.  Today, all I had on my plate was to send out checks from the deal, and to catch up on other things diverted during the three-day eating of my brain.

Ah, but Client Alpha wanted me in on a conference call. At 11:00. I got my other shit together, and.... no call. I waited a good almost hour before forwarding calls to my mobile, packing up stuff and heading out for errands. Still no call.

Client Beta then suggested a phone chat after several rounds of emails were not getting to the bottom of an issue. How's about 1:30?  Fine.

THAT hour came and went sans call.

Finally, the 11:00 call came in- on the dot of 2:30. Entirely a third party's fault. Apologies made and accepted, but still. This client has long had an issue of operating on what I call Alpha Standard Time, and I've had to do some bitch-slapping over it in the past.

During the call, Beta emailed: What number do I call?

Oh, I don't know; I do put it in every one of the half-dozen emails I sent earlier in the day:P

Ultimately, they both went reasonably well, but I've now lost close to two hours of my day which I could have used for other work, or just cut out early for errands. I suppose the ultimate solution is to just charge for the used time AND the abused time, but that tends to just lead to more abuse. One very high-maintenance client actually wrote, in response to an itemized bill, and said "I can't believe you charge for phone calls!"   As opposed to a doctor charging for examinations? It's how we diagnose, and prognose, and ultimately treat whatever the problem is. 

I try very hard to keep my commitments, and show up reasonably on time. I never mind a few minutes here and there, but remember, next time you're dealing with a professional who has nothing to sell you other than a slice of his or her day- our time is all we've got.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/153241.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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glenmarshall From: glenmarshall Date: August 29th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Charging for one's time, including that which has been set-aside on behalf of a client's previously-agreed appointment, is part of the deal.

As a consultant, I charged for time I spent waiting for the others on a conference call to collate their fecal matter. Then I charged for the time actually spent on the call and the time spent afterwards to complete my notes. My invoices reflected the activities, including waiting. I also charged for travel time (1/2 rate) and mileage. And I always got paid.

What we have here... is a failure... of clients to be accountable for their own manure.
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