This RIP OFF is a three step process. First, they call to set up the appointment. Even though you have said no, a person comes anyway and seems genuinely alarmed that he has no appointment. This person asks for only a few minutes (at no charge) and provides you with just enough information (you don't pay if they can not show you profit, you can stop the process at any time,etc.) to have you gain consent to have a business consultant come in. Second, the consultant comes in ($750) and engages you with an indepth hands-on analysis based on business goals and objectives. He provides a brief financial impact overview that IPA calls a Survey. He strongly suggests the need for "further engagement" by IPA. When pressed for costs, the "survey consultant" is vague and gives you a contract that does say that the fee is $245 per man hour. It also clearly states that the client may terminate the services at the end of any business day.
When we got to the third step, I was shocked to learn that they needed to spend the first two days mining through our financial data. I had to go purchase Quickbooks. Then the Senior Consultant starts telling me all the issues IPA need to fix before I can truly show profit (they needed to set up a financial infrastructure, that they will set up an in-house book keeping service to improve accounting records, that they need to show me how to improve operational efficiencies, theywill provide a forecasting system, etc.).
During our initial review, I told them that while last year was extremely good for me, this year the building boom stopped and I was stuck with inventory purchased earlier in the year. I also shared that one of my goals was to take our internet page to an e-commerce site and that I was in the process of finding a book keeper to come in once a week.
The Senior Consultant constantly presented me with broad stroked statements and little "Eureka" moments of positively obvious issues. (example of stupid "Eureka" moments include his findings that my inventory was excessive, that I did not have an interactive website and that all my accountant provided was tax support)
The Senior Consultant's time was spent going thru my Receivables and Payables and listing them in an Excel spread sheet for his assessment. This was not on Quickbooks-it was entirely for his benefit. He then took this information and plugged numbers into formats that automatically populated information into corporate forms. Generic. Not specific to my business. I told him I did not see value to the information being presented. He became agitated.
He gave me a "Value Enhancement Review" to sign that I refused to provide positive feedback on or agree to. He told me to re-write the comments as being the issue of the Survey Consultant giving me inaccurate information. He followed me around the store trying to convince me of the value of the findings. He copied the review for me re-sign. I again told him there were no findings that I was unaware of. He gave me more forms that I would not sign.
He told me that it would take a minimum of two weeks just to get my "infrastructure" in place. I felt like we were being held hostage. I just wanted it over! He was clearly a scam artist.
I told him I was not happy with his services. He became more agitated. He kept challenging me. I finally told them that it was done. Get out. He presented me with a $7,000 invoice! Two days. One full day was justifying the expenses! He wanted at least a month more. SCAM SCAM SCAM