So recently I was at party managing an event and a call came in from an anxious friend. It was her milestone party in a few weeks and she needed our event planning services to make it a great success. ‘’Gosh’’ I said ‘’you’ve left this late haven’t you?’’ and we both laughed. This is a friend Ive known for about 17 years so it was nice to be involved in her milestone event. So in my natural way I went into planning mode. I delivered the concept of how we were going to turn her garden into a breath taking space. She was excited. She had questions and questions of which I answered all. So after negotiations on our fees she told me to go ahead and book my flight because the party was happening out of town and that she would make the payment the next day. Now under normal circumstances we don’t get into planning mode because our clients usually pay a commitment fee but bearing in my mind that this is a friend who Ive known for 17 years I decided to allow this issue of payment to take a back seat trusting that it would not be an issue at all. Plus because she is a friend, she was getting a huge discount.
Anyway to cut a long story short, after over 120 hours of dialogue and putting together my team, I didn’t hear from her. She went quiet. When the payment was due, she just didn’t respond to any of my messages. Eventually she answered her phone and told me that she didn’t require my services because she couldn’t afford the fees. Like really! I was in total shock! She didn’t even offer to pay a refund for my ticket flight, citing that I could get a refund. Thank goodness I didn’t book the hotel that she had recommended. I asked her if she was still having her party. She said she was. I was shocked, disappointed, gutted, surprised, upset: I had all sorts of emotions.
I do believe she had good intentions when she called me up to be her planner but she should have said earlier that she couldn’t afford our rates. I allowed my emotional heart to take over my business discipline. When it comes to operational tasks, safe guard your interest and don’t start working when there’s no clear go ahead : especially when there’s no commitment fee that has been agreed. I hope my story will encourage you to be careful with business transactions especially with friends.
We love to delight our clients and have library of testimonials from raving customers that we serve repeatedly but before we engage in business services we require an upfront commitment fees. It’s the professional thing to do and you will have to take 100% responsibility for the outcome.
Are you a business person? Has something similar happened to you with a friend? Were you able to maintain the friendship? Would love to hear from you.