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Old 06-10-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
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Suggestions for sharing lesson's learned?

Hmmm, I started a thread about my lesson's learned on farming out service work on my vintage Safari, but it appears to have been deleted.

Does anyone have an suggestions on where I should post my experience? I hate someone else to go through what I did. In the end I had to hire an attorney to get the rig released. Unfortunately, I also learned this wasn't the first time this attorney represented someone with this vendor for the same thing.

The punchline to lesson's learned:

1.) Get scope and pricing in writing at the onset of the job. I did this in an exchange of emails and some discussions, but I never pushed to summarize the scope and costs in one final document.
2.) Get regular updates on your progress and pricing. Discuss it, make sure the job is tracking to your expectations. Don't assume it is SOP with a vendor, or that it will be okay.
3.) Trust your instincts. I didn't, and am paying that "stupid tax" in the setback of my own restoration project today.
4.) Trust your talents. There is precious little that is proprietary in these rigs. I will take the time to understand what needs to be done myself, and hire talent if need be for the task directly.
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:35 PM   #2
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You must have posted that thread under a different account. This is your first post with this one. Threads posted here stay for a long time. If you remember the account or title you can search for it.
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:57 PM   #3
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Busterdogs and anyone else please remember that under community rules we do not allow postings regarding vendor disputes. Part of this is that it only presents one side of the story and posting only that side does not allow the other party to respond. Quite honestly we have all read stories regarding the liability of those allowing others to be defamed or reputations tarnished due to unsubstantiated accusations. Lessons about bad experiences can be posted but you need to make sure you do not include any identifying information that could allow someone to assume the identity of the party involved. If the shoe were on the other foot, we can assume that you would want us not to allow things to be said about you.

Hope you all understand. The moderators will pull any post where we feel that the identity of the other party can be determined based on information provided by the original poster.

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Old 06-10-2014, 04:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busterdogs View Post
Does anyone have an suggestions on where I should post my experience?
I'd suggest one simply titled "Lessons Learned" under "General Repair."
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I hate someone else to go through what I did.
Exactly the reason why it's called "Lessons Learned."

Don't that the following critique personally. I'm offering it because I've worked with "Lessons Learned" databases for the last 30 years at work, where we maintain a "Lessons Learned" database on our contracts so that the designers who write the specifications, the contracting specialists who award the contracts, and the inspectors who watch over the contracts all can avoid making the same mistakes we've made in the past. The goal is to never make the same mistake twice; if we're going to make mistakes (and everyone does) they have to be new mistakes each time. That's why we get paid the not-so-big bucks.

The key to a viable and useful "Lessons Learned" database is that you address procedures and methodology only. Not policy, which is each owner's personal responsibility. Not personalities, which will vary from one owner to another and one vendor to another. And you never, ever name names or places. The lessons have to apply to more than just one situation or just one owner or just one vendor, otherwise there's no point setting it up in the first place.

Quote:
In the end I had to hire an attorney to get the rig released. Unfortunately, I also learned this wasn't the first time this attorney represented someone with this vendor for the same thing.
That is not actually a lesson. That is the price of tuition in the School of Hard Knocks, what you paid to learn the lesson.
Quote:
1.) Get scope and pricing in writing at the onset of the job. I did this in an exchange of emails and some discussions, but I never pushed to summarize the scope and costs in one final document.
Any agreement between customer and vendor is a contract. Treat it as such. YOU write exactly the end results you want (the scope of work). BUT you don't tell the vendor how to do the job; his expertise is why you hire him. You also set the limits of the vendor's discretion; "Don't do ANYTHING unless we agree on the price first." Or, "Don't do anything that will cost over $XXXX without getting approval from me via e-mail first." Or however you want to do it. But pick the limits, and write them into the scope. Never work with a verbal contract if the price is going to be more than you have in your wallet right now. In writing, there's no "He said, she said."
Quote:
2.) Get regular updates on your progress and pricing. Discuss it, make sure the job is tracking to your expectations. Don't assume it is SOP with a vendor, or that it will be okay.
That's called "quality assurance" and it's the customer's job to verify that the work is being done on time and under budget. The vendor's version is called "quality control." In other words, you do quality assurance to make sure the vendor has done his quality control.
Quote:
3.) Trust your instincts. I didn't, and am paying that "stupid tax" in the setback of my own restoration project today.
That is NOT a lesson learned. That is an observation. You have no idea whether anyone else has the same instincts you do, so saying "trust your instincts" MIGHT be good advice or bad. You don't know.
Quote:
4.) Trust your talents. There is precious little that is proprietary in these rigs. I will take the time to understand what needs to be done myself, and hire talent if need be for the task directly.
Ditto. That is not a lesson to pass on to others, just an observation on what YOU will do in the future. Not everyone has the same level of ability, or even necessarily knows his/her level of ability. The "Lessons Learned" thread should be what you're teaching others, not what you're reminding yourself.
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:40 PM   #5
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Hi all, okay ...

I'm pretty sure I got the lesson when my original post got deleted, rest assured.

I've been lying-low for quite some time because my rig was nearly 1,500 miles away from home and I didn't fully understand my legal rights. So I hired an attorney who got it all sorted out very quickly, and the rig was released back to me with no charges.

I appreciate the caution not to provide information in a forum that can only be one-sided, or that this is not the place for such a debate around such an issue. Okay, I never intended that, but I respect it, and I'll stand down.

I also "get" that my 'lesson's learned' may not pass the muster of anyone who takes the time to dissect it. Okay, got that too, science wins, perhaps my residual frustration was coming through.

However, there is one vendor I would not hesitate to share my bad experiences about with anyone who asked. It's not that I think they are evil or incapable, but that they are - in my experience - poor at handling the business side of things and that it carries a significantly higher risk - in my experience - of costing you more in things like money and time than you may be expecting.

Sometimes there are just "bad" businesses and business people out there, and vintage Airstreams are no exception. When I was looking into what my options were four years ago, I wish could have asked someone who had already been through it. Perhaps some people are too afraid to share, I don't know. But I won't hesitate to share my experience directly.

I assume if someone sends me a private message, that would be okay? Or can I post my personal email address?
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:48 PM   #6
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.....I assume if someone sends me a private message, that would be okay? Or can I post my personal email address?
Anyone can private message you by clicking on your moniker in the upper left of any of your posts.

Please do not post your email addy.

And I concur with at least one of your assessments, (which applies to more than just RV restorations) get a reference from one or more past clients. Their opinion may be slanted however at least you have a point of view from some one that has gone through the process and paid the cash.

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Old 06-11-2014, 04:29 PM   #7
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Only six posts and this is already a good review of how to enter and interact in a BUSINESS TRANSACTION.

I can only add that the internet has changed everything. In many ways, it's the new equivalent of gossiping over the back fence or in the local bar of a small town. We all need to remember that a slander charge won't go away unless you can prove you're 100% truthful. Also, there are many experts at manipulating their online reputations. I've learned to be aware of Google reviews, etc. but not any individual one as the word from on high. My partner and I have fired a few businesses from our answering service because they got such a huge number of complaint calls... and yet they've got online reputation management going full tilt.

Watch for a pattern in both complaints and compliments online. It can be one ranting person making multiple posts - either complaining or defending the business. But most of all DO get a thorough contract as Protagonist suggested. Also run like Hell if the person you're doing business with is offended that you want a detailed written contract! And know how long they've owned the business. (A friend of mine sold her answering service to a "lovely man" who conned her customers to pay months in advance, then abandoned it ... after paying her less than 1/3 of the scheduled payments.)

CYA people. ANYONE CAN BE CONNED, but most con men move on when they find a resistant target. Be careful... ask for and listen to good advice. Anyone who tells you to keep it secret, and not consult a lawyer, CPA, etc.... RUN.

(Thank you all for your contributions) Lots of people should be grateful for the reminders.
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