How Not To Do Business In The New Economy.

How Not To Do Business In The New Economy. Originally posted on Sunday, July 12, 2009

I am having an experience with my uniform supplier whom I have apparently had a contract with for the last 5 years. In the past five years we have had the same uniforms with the same outdated logos and the same worn out uniforms. We have been overcharged for things we did not need, had price increases on things we did not even know we had and even were charged for renting things we owned! As a business owner who provides a service I have sympathy for mistakes, even poor communication but when the contract was up the company told us that we needed to give them 90 days notice in writing or it renewed for approximately 3 more years for at least 70% of our current service.

When telling them we wanted to cancel, they kept coming and would not stop, they kept delivering uniforms even though we had purchased our own and were having the techs wash them themselves. When I saw how much we were paying for shop towels and seeing them lay all over the shop we started purchasing heavier duty disposable ones. They got an attorney and came up with a number of 70% of our current service in a year to settle.

Now being in the service business with written agreements, we understand that both parties have to be happy and in our agreements you can cancel anytime. We also have services we have canceled in the name of saving money and then returned to using them again. Like @Road GPS in our trucks and our janitorial services in our stores. We found out we needed them and came back to them. We also have had many customers come back to us or new ones where people who have serviced them are out of business and their equipment is not running as well as it was when it was being serviced every frequently. Some customers have service less frequently that are on contracts as they are slow and we understand. We are in the relationship for the long haul. We see the big picture.

In this case, the vendor is forcing us to do business with them. We did sign a contract and we did not see that we had to give them 90 days. That is our responsibility. They did however offer to re-sign us with a one year for much less service and when we decided not to do that the gloves came off. It is incredible in the age where we are looking inward to how we can become a better vendor that companies still operate like this or can even survive.

Companies have to provide a benefit to their customers. We hope that you find doing business with SCE is valuable and productive and that our relationship enhances your business. If not, we wont get attorneys involved or hold you to a contract. We will just try to improve and get better. We need you, the customer or we don’t survive. We have made many changes in the last six months and learned a ton through out this experience. There are things we do well and areas we need to improve. Like many companies we are a better, stronger company for looking inward. But nothing matters if you aren’t seeing value and don’t need us. Thanks for reading.