There aren’t that many ways double glazing businesses can protect themselves against rogue customers and those that try to make life difficult for the company. After years of claim culture, businesses have very few rights and the consumers have an unfair amount. Still, there are ways in which you can run a business which then has it’s own forms of protection.

First some context. A popular member of our Twitter community last week tweeted about finishing a conservatory with a very large outstanding balance that remained as the job was finished. They went on to say that the customer had informed them they were going away for a week and would pay the very large outstanding balance when they got back. Rightly, the industry responded with disgust, surprise and sympathy for the company.

The conversation progressed and it turns out the company didn’t take stage payments for conservatories. I think out of courtesy to the customer and to appear not to be money grabbing, which is a commendable thought and a good way to look different from the cowboys. However, it does leave the customer holding all the cards and very little the company can do when these sorts of situations arise.

We as a company do take stage payments. We take an initial deposit, then split the remaining amount up 3 times to reflect the progress of work, then leave a small amount, say £1000, right at the very end. If the customer feels there is something that needs to be put right then they can withhold that final amount until the issues are rectified. Whilst at the same time we have received the majority of the value of the contract and doesn’t leave us with a cash flow problem.

Stage payments are important for business. It keeps a healthy cash flow in place and it does provide a form of protection from those customers who are determined to be difficult when it comes to paying balances. We all know that our industry does get abused by certain customers. The phrase “the customer is always right” definitely does not apply to all and it is important that we as businesses operate in a way which does provide a form of natural protection against abuses by customers.

I have said before on many occasions that it seems that consumers have far more rights and protection than businesses do and that businesses are now treated with very high levels of disrespect. I personally blame the media and TV’s programmes that encourage people to barter for absolutely everything, unfairly forcing prices down and being taught that business is there to be abused!