Tag Archives: contractors

If you’re gonna get screwed, get screwed by someone you like.

businessman_getting_screwed_lg_clr_st-1I don’t actually mean this sexually, but I like the sound of it, and I guess it applies in that arena as well. What I’m mostly talking about today is the fact that in some business situations one comes away feeling like one has been screwed. Sometimes it’s true, you were screwed ( out of money or time, mostly ) and sometimes it’s not actually true, you didn’t get screwed, you just FEEL like you did. A good example of this comes when dealing with a contractor or a craftsperson. You, the client, thinks that the job will be done in X hours, but it takes 3 TIMES X hrs. You think you’ve gotten screwed, but in reality, the fact is, when a person does a job they get very close to the situation, and what the situation truly needs. For them to do a good job it sometimes takes a lot longer than you, or maybe even THEY, thought. This is where liking the person comes in, if you like the person, and hopefully trust them, you can say to yourself, well, so-and-so is a nice guy, I LIKE them…. so it’s not so bad. Because, the truth is, for a lot of us, in a lot of client-contractor situations, you don’t know if you got screwed or not, because you are not an expert on this work being hired. If you were, you probably would have done it yourself !

This has happened to me the most often when hiring a painter, I don’t paint very much anymore, but when I do I remember just how long prep work takes. A lot longer that you think.

The second title of this post might be “if you’re going to get screwed, get screwed by someone you trust.” This is an alternative, if you can’t find someone you like, at least find someone you trust ( or vice versa). That way, when the cost of the job comes in at triple what you originally thought, you can trust that the cost is legitimate and you are not actually being taken. You just didn’t know all the details of what needed to be done and how long and how much it would take. I think this is the inevitable reality of being a business person who goes into an unknown situation and and your main intention is to not harm anyone. Generally, in the long run, you are going to be OK if you are wise and compassionate, but sometimes, along the way, you might get screwed, and if you like the person, it will hurt a lot less. And, since you are a Zen Landlord, you know that there’s no fundamental YOU anyway, so there’s no one getting screwed at all ! In fact, maybe the whole process went exactly the way it should !

But, as Joko Beck used to say, “Being compassionate doesn’t mean that you are a doormat.”