Thursday, April 7, 2011

How NOT to Run a Small Business

I would love to have my own business.  I've been thinking about for years, but just don't have a good idea yet.  If I did have my own business I think I would treat my customers like royalty to try to get referrals and repeat business.  Apparently not all small business owners feel this way as I feel I've been treated bad by a few lately. 

For example....

1. Wine tour
I've used a company a few times for wine tours.  We pay them one price per person and in return we get transportation, lunch and our tasting fees paid for.  This makes for an easy going day where we get driven around and just need to eat and drink all day.  My dad is coming to visit again a few weeks and he wants to go again so I contacted the owner with a reservation request.  Three days later she told me they weren't doing "small tours" because it was Easter weekend.  This makes no sense to me as we want to go on Saturday and not Sunday...and their small vehicles will then be idle.  Oh well, I'll try to find somewhere else I thought.

2. Wine tour attempt # 2
I found a limo company that does wine tours as well.  They charge by the hour instead of by the person and can also provide lunch.  I emailed with them to get the details but was told I had to call to make a reservation, which annoyed me because I'd really rather just type my information in instead of telling someone everything over the phone.  They were very responsive over email, but when I called nobody was available to talk to me and nobody ever called back.  Now we still have no wine tour...ugh.

3. Blog design
I want to have my blog re-designed.  The designer who did Postcards from Patrice was not available so I tried another place that had a portfolio that I liked.  I paid the deposit, which was actually the entire amount, and was given an estimated due date.  I waited a week after this date and then contacted the designer...she said I'd have a draft by the end of the week.  End of the week comes and still I have nothing.  Two more weeks we do this where I ask about it and am told "by the end of the week".  After the third week, I gave up and asked for my money back.

4. Bathroom remodel
We were trying to get quotes from 3 companies to remodel our master bathroom and 2 additional bathrooms, but we ended up with only 1 quote because the other two companies apparently were not interested in us.  One place didn't return my phone call (after I called and left my info and then they called and left me a message) so I gave up on them.  The second place came out to our house and we spent 2 hours discussing what we wanted and they took measurements.  I really liked their portfolio, but they never got back to us with designs and estimate!  This really annoyed me because we went in to work 2 hours late one day to accommodate their schedule and then they never gave us anything.  I did ask at one point and was told a date, but then nothing came. 

I think I'm nice and polite to people and want to use their services, but I'm not going to beg someone to let me give them my money.   In this economy you'd think they would be more receptive to me wanting to use their services.

Are you a small business owner or have you been treated badly as a customer?  Tell me your stories!

No comments: