Early morning customer getting earlier

(53 Posts)
Snugglepiggy Fri 15-Mar-13 21:16:16

We run a dog boarding/dog day care service from our home.registered and very professional and have very generous opening hours compared to many local kennels.All part of a more personalised service.
However one customer,who has also become a friend over the years has taken to arriving before 7am and sitting outside the house waiting sometimes 10 minutes earlier.She is very keen to get to work early and when the weather was bad I cut her some slack,but its increasingly annoying me as I feel it's rude.I am often still in the bathroom,on the loo or doing my ablutions and it makes me feel grumpy and pressured to open for business.A handful of other customers who don't seem take seriously drop off and collect times because we work from home and we 'will be in anyway' have taken advantage over the years,but I have been so tired lately that this recent early morning thing is getting me down.

AgentZigzag Fri 15-Mar-13 21:34:13

So long as she's not knocking I would say don't give it a second thought, just get on with what you're doing and leave her to wait until 7.

It's not something you could really say to her, 'Could you stop sitting outside my house please, you're making me nervous' grin

Or you could try not looking?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 15-Mar-13 21:42:05

Just ignore her until you are ready...she'll still do it probably as I suspect she's just making sure she does not lose a minute.

I know someone like this...always worried and likes to be early for everythign!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 15-Mar-13 21:42:48

Yes...not looking is a GOOD idea! Keep the curtains shut etc...don't look.

AgentZigzag Fri 15-Mar-13 21:44:30

Yes, I thought that about her being a worrier that she'll be late Neo, it's a control thing grin

I'm sure she'd be mortified if she knew it was causing you any angst OP.

MidniteScribbler Fri 15-Mar-13 21:47:22

As long as she's not knocking and expecting you to start earlier, then she's not doing anything wrong. At least she's waiting until 7am.

Snazzynewyear Fri 15-Mar-13 21:47:40

Yes, totally blank this, don't look, don't refer to it: just go about your business and open the door bang on 7. Be conistent with this and she will eventually work it out.

fuckwittery Fri 15-Mar-13 21:50:32

I'd say something. Like, ooh I hope you're not getting too cold waiting in the mornings, I've noticed you're coming a bit early, unfortunately I can't really let you in before 7am as I'd still be in my pjyamas. it's an early start anyway, can't start any earlier or I'd be working while I was still asleep ha ha ha

or something

fuckwittery Fri 15-Mar-13 21:51:45

or actually not make a joke of it.
Just, I hope you don't mind waiting in the morning, I hope you do understand I can't open before 7am as it is a long day and I'm not able to extend those house.

fuckwittery Fri 15-Mar-13 21:51:51

hours, not house!

I agree. I work from home (teaching music lessons after school) and one pupil's mum routinely brought her early for her lesson. I would see them pull up outside but only open the door a couple of minutes before the lesson was due to start. As far as I'm concerned the time up til then is my time to spend with my family as I choose not to give pupils extra long lessons.

hb84 Fri 15-Mar-13 21:54:27

I'm a teacher in a private language school and if my students arrive early I politely ask them if they want to sit down but I don't start the lesson until it's time (unless I want to start early, in which case I finish early). I'm sure she understands that you don't open until 7, she's just an early kind of person. Do your thing, don't worry about business things until it's time to open.

Pickles101 Fri 15-Mar-13 21:56:54

I'd just leave her tbh - not something I would do but she's not doing anything wrong.

Snugglepiggy Fri 15-Mar-13 22:02:15

Yes guess that's what's I shall have to do.Guess Im a bit annoyed because when she's not in work mode she's actually not that punctual.I know because when I meet her she has kept me waiting.
I know she's had a lot of stress at work recently and I should be more tolerant.I have been opening the door bang on 7 and trying not to let such a little thing rile me.But a couple of days recently rather than waiting in her car she has taken to wandering around outside chatting to her dog and my cats and just generally making it more obvious she's there and tbh it's making me feel like moving my opening time back half an hour!Think I am just very tried and grumpy at the mo and the trouble with working from home it's so hard to establish and keep boundaries.Thanks .Just wanted a rant!

bumperella Fri 15-Mar-13 22:46:31

7am is an early start, I'd not be wanting to make it earlier in your shoes. You COULD say to her that you have nored that she seems to want to drop off early, so if it wold be more convenient to her you are prepared to open for her from 6.30am but that extra half hour will be just for her and therefore will be charged at twice normal rate.
If she's habitually late in her personal life then being over-punctual/early professionally must be galling.
Or else you could ignore her and open door at 7am.

schoolgovernor Fri 15-Mar-13 22:56:34

If she's wandering around in your garden before you open you'll need to speak to her. You say she's become a friend, so there must be some way you can deal with this. If she's not encroaching in your space then just ignore it. You don't know, that 10 minutes wandering about might be her chill-out time to herself every morning.
Some friends of mine live near a school (don't get me started on entitled Bromley mums parking across elderly peoples' driveway...). Every day a lady parks up on the other side of the road, about 45 minutes before the school chucks out. After much speculating about her being mad to be that keen about bagging herself a space, we'd decided that she probably uses that as her own bit of quiet time, listening to the radio, or maybe reading a book.

schoolgovernor Fri 15-Mar-13 22:57:28

Oh, and no I wouldn't be offering to open earlier just for her for double the price. For one thing, she'd probably pay it. For another, she might start turning up early for that time!!

Catper33 Fri 15-Mar-13 23:24:16

I coach a specific sport/activity at a purpose built facility on our land. It bugs me so much when the parent bring their youngsters early expecting me to start the class there and then. Even worse when they (parents) let themselves in and think its OK to 'mess' around on potentially dangerous equipment despite knowing to wait outside until I am there. Now the building is firmly locked,meaning its really hot inside, until I arrive and I stay at our house, 1 mins walk away, until just before the start time.
Sometimes the polite subtle approach just doesn't cut it.

marcopront Sat 16-Mar-13 04:00:39

Take a look at the Childminder's forum. There is advice on similar situations there.

Icelollycraving Sat 16-Mar-13 06:31:48

Could you send out a generic email,like a newsletter?
Just an update on what's happening generally. Then add in a few comments about opening hours & that because you are in a residential area,that you are unable to open earlier despite some clients asking about this service. As it is a residential service,pls be mindful when doing the doggy run. All bright & breezy & not specific to her.

austenozzy Sat 16-Mar-13 06:46:36

You could adopt the good ol health n safety approach. 'sorry, we're not insured before 7am, we wouldn't want rover to have an accident and have to claim on your insurance' sort of thing.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sat 16-Mar-13 07:00:58

I have to do the same with kids and nursery/school as I have to make sure we are there on time. We sit in the car have a chat, sing and when the weather is nice we might even get out of the car. Oh and we are never the only ones.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sat 16-Mar-13 07:01:06

Could you not just ask her if there's a reason she's at yours so early - if she's barely getting to work on time when she drops off at 7 and it's causing her a problem at work, could you not agree to take her dog earlier (more £ f course) - but tell her you'll be in your PJ's - then once she's left do your morning bits & pieces?

Mind you, I'm known for being soft. I used to work from home and we had clients that would turn up really early and really late (they collected stock not live things - so no 'minding' involved!) and if I was in, I didn't really mind, as long as they didn't mind me being in my PJ's or whatever.

I couldn't just ignore her <it would make me edgy and annoyed too> so I'd either have to take the dog in earlier or ask her not to do it (I'd probably say it's disturbing my dog/other dogs/kids/goldfish grin).

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sat 16-Mar-13 07:03:30

LovesBeing - I think the difference here is that it's waiting outside the OPs house and putting her under pressure to open earlier... at school that isn't the case and even if you are parked outside someones house while you wait, it's not putting any pressure on them to change anything (even though it can be annoying to them in other ways).

Moomoomie Sat 16-Mar-13 07:11:36

Are you sure she hasn't dropped of her partner at the train station or something similar?
If that is the case, it may not be worth her going home.
If I drop my oldest two children at their school in the morning, I then have a 15 minute wait with dd before she goes into school, so we sit in the car and read.

rottentomatoes Sat 16-Mar-13 07:14:14

TABU. Actually I think you are being a bit unfair. She isn't knocking on your door she is just waiting outside. Maybe she has to drop/pick up do something before or after that means she is always a bit early.

If it's important for her to drop dot on time she might leave a bit early in case of hold ups on the way to yours.

If she was knocking early then I could see the problem but she isn't.

rottentomatoes Sat 16-Mar-13 07:18:11

I work from home and get more annoyed with late comers that still expect the same time frame than early birds. I would have no problem whatsoever (wouldn't even notice) if someone sat outside waiting till the right time.

ChristmasJubilee Sat 16-Mar-13 07:20:52

I think Icelollycraving's idea of a news letter is brilliant. It's like putting it in writing without being unfriendly.

I used to leave for the childminder's house as soon as we were ready in the morning and sit in the turning area at the top of her road until 0830. It saved me being late for work in the event of any hold ups. She did eventually start taking him at 0815 (for a price).

teacherandguideleader Sat 16-Mar-13 07:22:22

I feel your pain.

I am always early for the Guide session I run as I go there straight from work. I was sometimes up to 45 minutes early. I used to enjoy sitting in the lobby reading a book / ipad etc. There is another club in the hall before us. Parents cottoned on that I was there early and started dropping their children off earlier and earlier. It really narked me. I don't get paid for Guides anyway and it annoyed me that parents were trying to get more time out of me. I also don't know where I would stand if there was an accident, as I don't think we would be covered under the insurance I pay. I also really enjoyed that 45 minutes of 'me time'.

I now go somewhere for a coffee, and turn up dead on the time I start - there is no point being early as I can't get in the hall and it has stopped parents using me as a free babysitter.

In your situation I definitely wouldn't start accepting her dog earlier - her drop off time will just get earlier and earlier. She doesn't pay for you to have the dog before 7, so don't open the door until 7.

Snugglepiggy Sat 16-Mar-13 07:29:17

Thanks for the replies.Will take a look at childminders site for tips.never thought of that as they must get similar situations.
Probably my wording but no way am I offering a 6.30 start for any money, and yes I think she would turn up early for that!I meant 7.30 start, but I do realise with traffic etc. people need to be on their way.
Schoolgovenor I think you are right about chill out time as she's had a tough time at work recently and think she is psyching herself up to go in,plus she doesn't sleep well and is a really early riser.
Thing is because we have chatted she also knows I have had a a tough couple of years running a business 7 days a week 50 weeks of the year whilst juggling lots of family demands.I do feel a bit petty but that time to hug my tea cup,potter around before I start is becoming increasing important.Sometimes I get up super early and take the dogs out that are holiday boarding before 'opening up' but that's my prerogative.
I did consider the generic newsletter a while back because several other customers try it on from time to time at the other end of the day booking flights and making travel plans that they know make it highly unlikely they will collect before closing time, and yet still banging on the door because they thought we'd be in/ wouldn't mind/ they were passing and didn't want to have to come out the next morning for the dog.
So I will put together a friendly but firm one and send it out.

Snugglepiggy Sat 16-Mar-13 07:44:55

Rotten appreciate what you say but it's a very easy run through to mine from her house at that time of the morning,even if all the lights are at red it's nothing of a journey.
Christmas yes I just wish she would park up further away if she's early,that was really thoughtful of you.
Oh well I guess there are more important things to get in a stew about and I will just not have to look outside until 7 and chill!If it gets any earlier or the wandering around my garden gets more frequent with light summer mornings,which I fear it might, I will say something though.

whosiwhatsit Sat 16-Mar-13 07:57:44

You probably won't like this idea much but I thought I'd throw it out there.... Any reason she has to wait WITH the dog? As you say she's a friend could you ask her if she'd like to drop the dog off ten minutes early but leave it outside tied up? Or in your kennel? Maybe this would solve your problem and her problem and the dog might not mind too much. I'd be worried that she would start leaving the dog earlier and earlier so you'd have to be clear from the beginning - only ten minutes and a limited trial to see if it works out for both of you.

(My first post on mumsnet, hi all, be gentle!)

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sat 16-Mar-13 08:04:53

I think ANY concession would just result in the proverbial give-an-inch, take-a-mile. She needs to learn that you don't open your door until 7.00am on the dot 100% of the time.

Re the wandering round in the garden - do you have gates you can close (or lock, if needed)? I'd be reluctant to suggest she leaves the dog tied up unattended with the current spate of dog thefts.

Jux Sat 16-Mar-13 08:08:11

Include in CAPITAL letters in your newsletter that you are not insured for before 7.30 so clients cannot use the garden if they are early.

I think she's presuming on the friendship, tbh.

cece Sat 16-Mar-13 08:11:11

I sometimes turn up early and sit ourside my childminder house with DS2. If I am pushed for time I want to be sure to get him in dead on time. Hence we get there slightly early so we are there for doors opening. I really really would not expect her to open early for me. I am happy to wait outside and would hate to think she gets stressed by me doing it. It just makes good sense to me to be there slightly early so I can drop him off on time.

Likewise though I sometimes sit outside if I get there early at the end of the day to pick him up and wait for the end of the day. (My CM prefers it if I don't pick him up early as it upsets all of the childrens' meal time).

manticlimactic Sat 16-Mar-13 08:13:34

There are dog daycare services? Never knew!

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 16-Mar-13 09:03:28

Just never ever EVER open the door before your official start time.

The more you do it, the more she (and others) will expect you to do it.

Then they will get arsy with you on days you DON'T do it.

I think you should send them all a letter, stating your start times and unfortunately you will not be able to take any animals in before this time.

She's taking the piss, but if you continue to let her, she will begin to think that she has the right to, and then may get arsy if you later try to change things.

Snugglepiggy Sat 16-Mar-13 09:25:55

Thanks again for feedback.The area she wanders around is at that front and a parking area with no gates but directly under out bathroom window.Hence why it winds me up!
Our large back garden has a huge wall around it and our gates now have a coded lock specifically for security.We are very aware of dog theft.
I should explain before this gate we used to unbolt the old one when we went down to get a cuppa so she could pop the dog in the garden,but that got to be a pain trailing out in PJs when cold and wet, and disturbing the boarding dogs earlier than necessary and getting them all wound up and barking wanting their first walk.
I was very specific with all our customers this new gate was our new 'trades ' entrance and we no longer brought dogs in and out our front door.I also explained to her very nicely and clearly no longer wanted to let her put to dog in and just go.This is a different dog.Younger and yappier and I have neighbours to consider.I do think also because sometimes if the weathers good or I have an exceptionally busy day I do go out for a very early walk she is hoping to catch me.
No I'm standing firm.Newsletter, no concessions unless exceptional circumstances and by arrangement for ALL my customers and at either end of the day.

Jux Sun 17-Mar-13 13:37:52

Good. Be firm. Don't let her railroad you. Hope she takes it well.

rainbow2000 Sun 17-Mar-13 13:48:37

Yes the newsletter is the best way and also mention no in the garden before a certain time as they wouldnt be insured

Tryharder Sun 17-Mar-13 13:52:01

I don't get this. She's not knocking on your door or asking for favours or taking the piss in any way. If she wants to turn up early and wait outside let her! You do not say that she is complaining so I do not see the problem at all. You do not own the section of pavement outside your house after all!

You are only going to open a can of worms if you start putting out letters or telling her off in any way. You are running a business not volunteering your time or doing her a favour. Some of the advice you have been given is geared towards the latter, not the former.

Snugglepiggy Sun 17-Mar-13 14:25:48

Just to clarify the newsletter is for all my customers as I also have problems at the other end of the day.I am not going to 'tell her off'.She has also become a friend who has many lovely qualities and not just a customer, and therein lies the problem in a way.And it's precisely because I am running a business that I feel I need to re-establish boundaries on opening hours.
Of course I don't own the pavement, the area I am talking about involves walking up my ungated front drive and front garden which lead to my front door and directly under our bedroom and bathroom.Sorry to seem pedantic but at such an early hour- not talking 9am here- it has started to feel like an invasion of privacy and as if I am am being pushed into starting even earlier.
But maybe it's just me bit a bit grumpy and oversensitive.Seems being on duty 7 days a week and offering a 12 hour service during the week and 10 hours at weekends it's reasonable though to have our hours respected?

Jux Sun 17-Mar-13 16:26:46

Absolutely right. No way are you just being grumpy! You could put in a bit about respecting your privacy out of hours, which mit deter her from walking around on your property. I do think she's being very rude.

tiggytape Sun 17-Mar-13 16:47:43

I don't think you are grumpy about her wandering up your drive talking loudly to the dog making her presence known but I have to confess to being an annoying early person. I don't expect anyone to open up early for me though. I have 2 kids who have totally different activities / school times so often it is simply not worth going home between one thing ending and the next starting. I sit outside with a book in a hopefully unobtrusive way but wouldn't dream of parking up the road a bit as I wouldn't occur to me I was making anyone uncomfortable.

Is she wants to drop off at dead on 7am, she might feel ‘safer’ arriving early so that she is there the second the doors open. I think it is something some people find very odd but something that lots of other people –-I-- do without even thinking that it perhaps seen as pressurising others.

A newsletter seems the way to go. She might still turn up early and sit outside though - just ignore her. Pretend its the Harrod's sale and throw the gate open with a flourish after a 10 second countdown at 7am smile

Snugglepiggy Sun 17-Mar-13 17:11:55

Thanks Tiggy that made me smile!She does have a very generous holiday entitlement so at least I get a reprieve and tbh that's possibly part of my problem.I'm pretty good in the mornings myself but only take a couple of weeks a year holiday which given that the rest of the time I work 7 days a week is probably not enough even though i love my job.Weekends are a bit quieter but still 'on duty'.Think Iv'e been getting progressively tireder and grumpier and when I was still on the loo half dressed the other day I nearly lost it!
Thanks for all replies.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:22:28

If you're running a business you need to adopt a more business-like attitude. It's perfectly normal for customers of almost any business to wait outside until opening. I do this with our childs nursery because I have a long commute and an early start and every minute counts.

Snugglepiggy Sun 17-Mar-13 17:54:23

I understand that Zwisch but although it is home boarding it is my home and I have that the very reason why people seem to take liberties and expect an almost on call service.ie. any time that suits them.I suspect your child's nursery is seperate building from where the staff live and they come to work.Therefore they can get a up ,get a cuppa and get dressed without you just outside their bathroom window?And said customer does not have a long commute to work - 20 minutes tops.
Anyway going to stop now as I sound like I am whingeing. Knew it anyway but just done a quick check of several comparable services locally and we open up 1/2 hour earlier than one, and an hour earlier than the rest so will take Tiggys and other advice to stand firm!

EffieTheDuck Sun 17-Mar-13 18:04:45

Snugglepiggy, you sound exhausted. Is there any way someone could help you out for a bit until you can get a long lie now and again?

Sympathies OP. I work for a charity, and we do weekend events, starting at 11am. The first people ALWAYS arrive at 10.15 for this, meaning I have to get there earlier and earlier to set up. I do this for time in lieu, not overtime pay, so it narks me something chronic. I've had one instance where I put my foot down with a guy who arrive ONE AND A HALF HOURS EARLY for an event - said 'sorry, I'm not set up yet, you'll have to wait somewhere else, there's a coffee shop down the road', he said 'no, I'll come in and wait', I tried to say, well you can wait in the lobby and he PUSHED PAST me and sat himself down. Some people have no sense of others having any needs. If you can stand firm, do - it will save your sanity.

GingerBlondecat Tue 19-Mar-13 09:25:36

previous person wrote
marcoprontSat 16-Mar-13 04:00:39

Take a look at the Childminder's forum. There is advice on similar situations there.

I've had a look but cannot see any, what am I doing wrong?

Humpty You could tell people they can't come in early for reasons like insurance, etc. People seem very used to believing anything about insurance related to events. wink

Isabeller Tue 19-Mar-13 09:50:25

Sounds like you are sorting out the boundaries and communication strategy well. Just offering one extra thought for your own comfort.

Is there anything you can do about your bathroom window to create a barrier which makes you feel more private from your front garden? Tall plants inside or outside in hanging containers or window boxes? Shutters even!? Obviously it depends if bathroom is on ground floor, size of garden etc. I hate the idea of someone wandering about outside my bathroom while I'm inside.

Hope you get your peaceful start to the day back soon smile

Snugglepiggy Tue 19-Mar-13 15:01:05

Ginger I know I didn't find much info on the childminders section.Just an old thread about opening hours which did make me realise they do have similar problems.
Yesterday she was actually late for her ,but 6.45 arrival and out of her car wandering around.So tried a large but subtle hint.Please don't chat to your dog outside so early.My next door neighbour is ill(true -currently have chemo)and I don't want to disturb them and the dogs staying have very acute hearing and some of them kick off and bark.True - they did this morning.Please wait in your car until 7 WHEN WE OPEN and I will be out to get your dog.
There I cant be clearer than that!she seemed to take it OK and a bit sheepish.Think she knew she was pushing it.

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