[APG Public List] Client Reports

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 6 13:27:00 MST 2009


> --- On Sun, 12/6/09, Karen J Matheson <kjmatheson at austin.rr.com> wrote:
> 
> How do y'all put together the reports that you give to a client? By 
> this, I am asking: how do you physically organize and present the 
> materials? Do you put the report and documents in three ring binders? 
> report covers? stapled? held together with binder clips? Does the size 
> of the report and the number of documents change how you present the 
> materials?

     There are a number of factors that influenced my choices when I was taking clients, but the paramount one was to remember that _I did not necessarily know how the client preferred to store their documents_. So - unless a client expressed a specific preference - I deliberately avoided _any_ option which could not be easily "undone", such as stapling or punching holes in pages.
     My reasoning was simple: if a client, say, liked to keep all their papers in three ring binders, they could easily punch the pages and insert them themselves. I kept all my own research in file folders, and would have been annoyed by hole punched pages when I had no use for that. For that matter, if I used binders (as I do for other types of materials), I would have _my own_ preference in size, colour, etc. - so if I were charged for a binder, I'd almost certainly be paying for something I'd discard.
     Not every client will feel the same way: there is no one "right" or "wrong" option. But that's the point. Unless the client makes a specific request, it is impossible to be sure what will work well with their existing system. Some of the options already mentioned are ones which would have irritated me enough that I would never work with that researcher again. Why would I want to pay a few bucks (or more) for a binder I'm only going to toss? What would I do with a spiral bound report, since spiral bindings don't shelve well and are even more awkward in file folders? Even removing staples is an annoyance and often leaves corners somewhat damaged, no matter how careful you are. This example isn't one I feel strongly about, but even the seemingly innocent choice of sending a very brief two or three page report folded into an ordinary business envelope would infuriate one or two people I know who hate filing folded pages. (One of them always grumbles
 that over time the sheet is more susceptible to damage along the fold.)
     So my rule was always to do _nothing_ permanent or expensive enough to add to the cost, unless it was absolutely necessary to ensure the report would arrive safely. 
                             Ray Beere Johnson II



      


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