Are you justified in turning away business? | The Toilet Expert

When it’s the right thing to turn away business

Just a small blog here and really more on the general business side of things rather than the specifics of washrooms – although this was about a washroom service contract.

Today I declined the opportunity to secure some business.  Am I crazy?  I think not.   When I started my own business many years ago I would chase every piece of business I could, grateful for the opportunity and the hope that it would turn into something substantial.  Some did and some didn’t of course, actually a lot didn’t and it may just be all those little alarm bells from bad decisions over the years that made me say no thanks.

I am going to explain this one a little more and if you have any comments then I will be glad to hear them.

First Contact

The initial enquiry was to provide a sanitary bin service in a new office for a UK company setting up an office in Scotland.

It might seem strange that if they have offices across the UK they haven’t asked their incumbent to supply, but they might like to use local suppliers so a quote was issued in good faith.

The devil is in the detail

On acceptance of the quote a 5 page supplier approval document was sent to us which included such info as 3 years accounts, amount of staff, staff turnover, rates of pay of staff and sub-contractors as well as the usual public and employers insurance requests and RAMS (Risk Assessment and Method Statements) they even asked for environmental and equal opportunity policies.

Very few customers ask to see our insurance documents – mostly large corporates or public bodies.  Most companies appreciate that we as IWSA, SMDSA, British Safety Council members or associate members must be reasonably good at what we do, that and the list of corporate clients that scream ‘QUALITY SERVICE!’.  For large tenders and contracts we will of course provide audited accounts as part of a PQQ, no bother.  But to install and service a solitary sanitary bin with an annual value of less than £100.  It seemed a bit excessive and I made a decision that as a business we had more pressing matters than taking an hour or two to secure the contract. Let me add that the hour or two is probably the margin in that piece of business.  Furthermore as we do not tie our clients into long term contracts and the fact this potential client had no loyalty to her incumbent supplier could there be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Probably not.

Strange but true…

The strange thing was in all the documentation that was asked for the one thing that wasn’t requested was a copy of our waste carriers licence.  Occasionally we get asked for proof of our waste carriers’ licence which we provide to every customer as part of the Duty of Care note.

So I am going to pop this into hyperspace and see if you agree or disagree.  Please feel free to share, discuss or call me a fool.

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