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What accommodation have you made for clients?

Meeting with a mother

I'm about to meet a quite new mother hotshot entrepreneur. She's going to bring her baby with her, at a time when he normally sleeps. So with luck he'll be fast asleep next door while we have our meeting. (Fingers crossed!). I once went to train a client on her bookkeeping software during which she needed to breastfeed her very newborn baby. This she did whilst we continued with the training. The background noise was suck suck burp etc, and I really enjoyed it!
Of course as a woman I can do this sort of thing where some men might feel that this wouldn't be a good idea.
What sort of unusual arrangements have you made for clients in the past?

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06th Mar 2019 13:22

I took my 6 month old baby to some onsite book keeping work once. They were no help (but not much problem either tbf)

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06th Mar 2019 13:41

I had a prospect who was starting a cake-making business. She brought her little one who sat on her lap. Unfortunately the little girl proceeded to spit at me, again and again and again. Mum did nothing about it. One I didn't pursue.

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to andy.partridge
06th Mar 2019 14:05

andy.partridge wrote:

I had a prospect who was starting a cake-making business. She brought her little one who sat on her lap. Unfortunately the little girl proceeded to spit at me, again and again and again.

I bet that was the icing on the cake!

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to legerman
06th Mar 2019 14:33

I see what you did there.

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to andy.partridge
08th Mar 2019 12:37

I just spit back at them.
Works a treat. Never see them again.
Job done!

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to penelope pitstop
08th Mar 2019 12:38

And my spit is far bigger than theirs!

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07th Mar 2019 16:17

I did have a client take his leg off once which was a bit odd. He was wearing in a new one in and said it was like new shoes, they never fit for a bit.

No breast feeding apart from general friends with little ones.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Mar 2019 13:16

I used to have a friend who would regularly remove his leg so I probably wouldn't bat an eyelid at that one, although your client's logic would imply that he thought it was normal for clients to take their shoes off while they were in a meeting.

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06th Mar 2019 14:03

The noise or the milk

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06th Mar 2019 15:03

We do have a free bar in each of our offices (plus free sweets in Manchester & chocs in Leeds) but these facilities are for staff as well as clients, so I guess this doesn't count?
David

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to davidwinch
06th Mar 2019 15:13

Do you want my CV David?

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to davidwinch
08th Mar 2019 11:12

Where's the Manchester office - and can I come visit every day around 16:00?

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to SteLacca
08th Mar 2019 11:27

On Deansgate. You could apply for a job with us ....
David

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By SXGuy
06th Mar 2019 15:13

One client used to bring her dog. Never asked if it was OK, my fault for never saying it was, continued each year. Apparently he goes everywhere with her. Lovely. Tbf never had any accidents or barking so I let it go.

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to SXGuy
06th Mar 2019 18:39

Not on topic but the mention of dogs made me remember something that happened to me.
I went to a client on a farm and a dog ran up barking and promptly put its mouth around my crotch area until she called it off.
I think it's the only time I genuinely did turn white.

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By Matrix
06th Mar 2019 18:59

My first client once had a shower while I was logging into his bank account in the next room.

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to Matrix
08th Mar 2019 13:11

I had a client who was quite clearly in the bathroom when he answered the cordless phone to me on one occasion. When I commented on the sound effects and asked why he'd answered the phone if he was otherwise engaged, he said "I thought you were going to be the bank manager". I wasn't entirely sure how that was better than the accountant.

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By Mr_awol
07th Mar 2019 14:48

In my early days I turned up at a client's house to help with SAGE advice and was a little unnerved to find the computer in the bedroom - a small bedroom with no room for a chair and therefore we were just sat on the end of the bed working on the accounts.

Ive had a new client breastfeed in a meeting recently, but didn't bat an eyelid at that one. In fact, that's a pet hate when people demand that women should 'have the right to' because ive never cared and my wife has breastfed fairly openly (walking round Sainsburys, etc) without anyone caring.

I did have someone bring a dog into the office a couple of times but it (the dog) was quiet, didn't go to the toilet, and it was a summer day and shorthaired dog so all fine. If it was raining and someone brought a wet, longhaired, dog in then I think id tell them to tie it up outside or reschedule.

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to Mr_awol
08th Mar 2019 13:15

I have had two clients in my career where the 'office' was either in or off the bedroom of an elderly relative. One, towards the end of his life, I went to visit at home and, despite being on crutches while I awaited surgery, opted to stand rather than sit on either his (covered) commode chair or the edge of his bed whilst he was in it. The other one I had to go through elderly mum and dad's room to get to the office and either had one of them in the bed or the odourous evidence of them having been in the room.

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09th Mar 2019 00:05

I'm quite surprised by some of the things seen as unusual. I've breastfed in meetings, pumped milk at my desk, taken my kids to work with me if they're ill and I've got something urgent to do, taken my baby to clients whilst on maternity leave and done conference calls whilst supervising my kids.

In an ideal world my work life and family life would be entirely separate, but it just doesn't always work out that way. I'd never even think to ask if taking my kids with me to visit an accountant or similar professional. I figure as their mum it's up to me to make sure they don't do anything they shouldn't so no reason for anyone else to worry.

Also, after 8 years as an army wife, I've seen various limbs removed. Another one that wouldn't bother me a bit!

The only thing I find that bothers me is clients taking calls during meetings.

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to rocket_queen
09th Mar 2019 09:07

I think the main issue I have with clients assuming kids/pets are OK to bring to meetings is when they don't supervise them.
A client who had become a single parent after his wife had left the family several years earlier brought his son round when we needed a face to face meeting. The 11 year old son proceeded to kick my furniture in boredom, and I had to spend half the meeting looking for something for him to do in an effort to save my furniture.
Whilst I knew how hard it had been for the client to look after his son and still go to work every day and admired him for all his efforts, clearly child care was not something he fully understood. I didn't appreciate having to put up with the results.
And of course taking calls during meetings is extremely bad manners. When people are visiting me I wouldn't take a call myself either. That's what the answer machine is for.

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to Moonbeam
09th Mar 2019 09:45

Childcare was something he didn't fully understand or was it more likely a luxury he couldn't afford unless necessary? I'm a single parent. My husband walked out leaving me raising three children alone with no support. I have to pay for childcare when I work, but any personal appointments, I bring them with me. I can't afford a haircut AND childcare for three kids at the same time! I try my best to keep them in line and think I do a pretty good job, but some days it is overwhelming and it's important to appreciate that when someone's kids are running riot, they are probably finding it far more difficult to handle than you.

I've gone to clients before who have young children and as a mother, when I see them struggling I just pitch in and help out. Kids often behave far better for strangers than their parents.

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to rocket_queen
09th Mar 2019 10:17

Your reply is heartfelt and I've met other mothers who've had the same issues to contend with, including living in insecure local authority accommodation whilst awaiting rehousing. I salute you all. I am well aware that the cost of childcare is prohibitive and I do actually care about clients' personal situations as much as I do about their businesses.
By childcare in this case I meant thinking ahead about keeping the child amused during what would be a boring time for them, and bringing them up not to kick other peoples' furniture. As I said, I did pitch in when I had this issue, but my home not being set up in advance for an 11 year old boy, and not being informed of his visit in advance, it was somewhat difficult.

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to Moonbeam
09th Mar 2019 20:01

I feel it is so much harder for single dad's. Our society has been designed to reward men for being breadwinners and women for being homemakers. Whilst women fight for the same respect men are given in the workplace, men have the same battle when faced with being a single parent. Society seems so shocked when men do the basics for their children, it really doesn't set them up for the constant planning ahead and firefighting of child rearing. I remember when a shocked Aunt informed me that my (now ex) husband was changing a nappy. She seemed to expect me to rush in and take over. Ever since then my family have been in awe of what a "hands on" dad he is all because he changed one nappy in front of them.

I feel for your client. He most likely felt completely out of his depth and hadn't even considered the need to entertain a bored child at a meeting. That said, it seems unusual a child of that age wouldn't just amuse themselves. I can trust my 6 and 8 year olds in similar circumstances, so perhaps there is an additional need there.

I do feel in many professions attitudes can be a bit silver spoon. I think one of the things my clients like about me is that I'm down to earth and can meet them at their level.

To be honest, it wasn't the comment about an 11 year old in a client meeting that irked me so much. It was the idea that the OP thought a young baby coming to a meeting it would mostly likely sleep through was making accommodations for a client. I'd only consider it being some sort of special effort if the client was expecting staff to babysit during the meeting. Although incidentally as a junior it was once a job passed to me - as the only French speaking junior I was given two children to entertain for an hour whilst their parents had a meeting (the children and parents were French). I loved it!

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By Matrix
10th Mar 2019 08:20

Interesting thread. I don't like dogs (or other people's children!!).

I don't like it when clients assume their dog can come up to you or hang around the meeting since this makes me uncomfortable.

If they had their kids there then I would accommodate since I am client-centric but I am usually imparting a lot of information in a short time so need their full attention or they are wasting my time. If I didn't feel the meeting was constructive then I would rearrange.

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12th Mar 2019 20:01

Had a meeting with a client and his wife.

They had just had a baby (beautiful looking boy - Emmanuel, so-named as he was born on 23rd December).

I was explaining accounts, tax return 'blah, blah', when 'wifey' decided (or maybe Emmanuel) that it was time for a feed.

Without any hesitation, Emmanuel was allowed to 'go for it'. At first, I felt a little awkward, but noticing how comfortable wifey was with the situation, came to realise that this was a wonderful meeting.

Far more enjoyable that being sat in a client's office, with the 'stuffiness' that goes with it.

Nothing more beautiful than a mother and child - and to put this into a business situation - life/work doesn't get better.

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to CardiffAccountant
12th Mar 2019 21:03

Yes, I do love small babies - as long as they aren't bawling their heads off!

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12th Mar 2019 20:35

One of my clients is an ex top flight football player, but never played for my fave team. Went for a meeting with him at his house to find several of his footballing mates from my fave team in his kitchen. Got a whole raft of autographs on a set of accounts (well it would've been rude not to ask!)

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13th Mar 2019 11:22

Many years ago a couple brought their baby to a meeting in my (small) office. It had 'performed'. Took hours before I could go back in to work having flung all windows open ... I don't think we took them on.

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