Expectation and Communication

I had dinner last night with a dear friend who is a brilliant cabinet maker and installer of high-end appliances. Kitchen/bath designers and appliance retailers refer him to their clients who want their products installed perfectly.

We were discussing how he gets paid (from the client) and how to best communicate that expectation. He currently asks the designer or salesperson “Has the client been told that I will collect my fee from them?” to which they always, always say “Yes!” And he usually texts with the client to schedule installation.

Not surprisingly, the client doesn’t expect that they have to pay for installation and think it’s included in the price of the product…or so they say. And I read a couple of texts from the designer to the client (and shared with Brian) that the client was informed ahead of time.

Still, there is a disconnect in communication and expectation and it leaves Brian in a tough spot. To try to anticipate and avoid misunderstanding and be able to get paid the day of installation, we settled on a strategy of sending a confirmation email to the client the day before installation. That email would include an invoice and accepted methods of payment and the date the payment is due (instead of ‘payment on delivery’).

This is an experiment for him. And it speaks to a larger conversation around communicating what to expect so that everyone is in the loop, especially if there is disagreement or other issues that are collapsed into the payment (like adding additional services). Take a look at your relationship to communicating expectations at the outset of engagement…is your communication clear? Is it detailed enough? In writing? Where is an upgrade in content or delivery needed in your communications?

And if you need a great installer in MA/RI, reach out to Brian Trapp.

Now, go have a straight conversation with someone.




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