When the man gets over on you

At the end of the day we are all here to make money and hopefully make a living out of what we do.  I am very fortunate that this craft has been my life source since I launched off full-time in it.  In retrospect, I do accept the fact that timing had much to do with it as well as locale.  When I went full bore with BPI Security there weren’t that many companies in the DC, MD and VA area that were knocking the walls down on protection except Vance International.  My connection with “Big Blue” [nickname we called Vance] really helped my immediate success.  In fact, I subcontracted details for Vance well before my first sole BPI Security client.

When I got a call from our first potential client I attended the meeting alone and was on uncharted waters.  Prior to this meeting all of the preliminary contracts had already been settled upon and all BPI had to do was arrive and operate.   My first meeting was with a group of church personnel that had no idea of what executive protection was however they were interested in the company snapshot that I had mailed to them.  I was literally a fish out of water.  After I sold them on what we did and how what they had been doing was not effective we did the erroneous “handshake deal” and we were to start the very next weekend.  The agreement was that they would pay BPI at the end of every weekend following the day’s detail.

I made the first provider/client mistake-no contract and believed them on their word.  The first couple of months went like clock work and we received payment as agreed.  Then a couple weekends followed where the person that cut the checks was not on station and then the. “I owe you’s” started to build up.  Eventually she started paying in larger sums to catch up with the arrears but it never caught up.  I refused to leave the principal because the detail got us a lot of exposure and experience as a company working on its own.  After about a year we started picking up more clients and details through Vance Int to the point we had 3 full-time details going at the same time as well as 1 and 2 day details coming through on a weekly basis.

What am I getting at?  That first client still owes me ALOT of money today but I have no recourse because there was no contract.  Secondly, I never take the word of first engagement clients that I have not built a relationship with.  I regularly agree to put guys on station knowing that a contract is in the process because time is of the essence.  The main idea here is that you have to vet your clients the same way you vet your specialists, sub-contractors etc.  Today many specialists will work for other protection companies without vetting what their history is with paying their specialists are.

Companies are grinding to keep their client base up and money coming in to the point that they will agree upon doing protection work with representatives of a client that has no power in making a deal.  Be vigilant in your decision making process because everyone that seems genuine does not have your best interest at hand.  I would even go so far to say that if you speak to 5 specialists and ask if they’ve ever been stung by a client or protection provider, 3 of the 5 would have a story.  Don’t let the man get over on you.

1 comment

  1. billy

    Even though I don’t have the experience as to contract disputes, etc.
    As a member and associate of Legalshield this is what brings memebrs
    into Legalshield.

    As a member, legalshield offers contract reviews, as well as other documents
    Also, as a member, you have UNLIMITED phone call or letter writing opportunties.

    So, like Eric says, don’t take the fact the person can speak a good game. Have ALL
    CONTRACTS drawn up before taking the assignment.

    Billy Scarberry
    billyscarberry @legalshield.com

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