Tyre kickers

Some clients like to put their foot in it.


Last month, kind souls referred two new clients to me.

Both needed job application letters.

One was a triumph, the other a disaster.

I think the second client was a tyre kicker.

But I need your view to be sure.

Warning sign

Doing Pam’s1 resume triggered this post.

She was one of those clients who crimps the budget – forcing perfectionist me to finish for free.

I ended up donating two hours of my life, with no thanks.

When she returned for a letter, I should’ve said no.

But I was basking in a fab review from the chap Bambi Gordon had sent me.

So I took the gig.


Letter of complaint

Pam didn’t dig my letter, and wrote:

Sorry, not sure I like this draft……bit to2 sharp ?………

I replied:

No worries, Pam. Although it’s about you, it’s not actually for you. Rather, it’s written for busy, high-level HR types who have dozens of applicants and dearly wish to cut to the chase.

Still, given that it has to come from you, it should probably include some of your words. So feel free to tone it down as you see fit, and I’ll give it the once-over before you send.

When I followed up a week later, she said:

I ended up rewriting it myself and then meet the head of Dirt Cheap Pfoofer Valves3 the next day at a function so we had a chat then and didn’t really need it…

I said:

Good for you, Pam! As with medical professionals, we’re all entitled to a second opinion. In this case, that opinion was yours. Fantastic win with your networking. Let me know how you go. Invoice attached for time spent. With best regards and many thanks for your repeat custom.

She said:

I am not comfortable with the fee that you have charged. I do not believe that the response to the request for a covering letter was adequate and certainly not what I was expecting or felt comfortable using.

I did not use your letter and in this instance I would ask you to waive your fee. I look forward to the next engagement.


Cross fire

I was cross. I certainly wasn’t going to donate more of my life. So I said:

This was your brief: I would like your help in creating an application/cover letter …

You did not articulate any expectations or comfort levels. I delivered to your brief: on time, under budget, to a proven method.

When you weren’t satisfied, I offered to optimise a second draft of the letter. Instead, you did your own thing, then networked with DCPV.

I spent my time, on your affairs, in good faith. The fee is payable.

She said:

I am not sure where you sit on customer service. You provided me with a document I was not happy with and I did not choose to use it and or spend yet more money on second or third version.

I am simply asking that you waive the fee in this instance and I am happy to keep the door open to more custom in the future……

If this $120 is more important that ensure that your customer is happy……that’s a choice that you make….  I have been a consultant in my past and I can assure you that there is a time and a place for everything.

Now I was REALLY cross. Pam was knocking my service AND integrity AND promising future income from a job she didn’t have. So I said:

The fee is $198.

It is payable.

Pam hasn’t responded.


Bad news

I haven’t had a bad debt for years.

Either I just lost all my mojo, or Pam is a tyre kicker.

Who do you think is right?

If I order pizza, then cook spag bog, should the parlour waive its fee in hope of future custom?

Do you get tyre kickers in your business?

If so, how do you handle them?

I’m SO cross, I’m considering a debt collector.

Please reply within 24 hours to avoid further action.



Paul Hassing | Founder & Senior Writer – The Feisty Empire


1 I’ve changed Pam’s name.

2 But not her typos.

3 Not their real name (or sector).