The hardest thing for a small or one man shop to deal with is time management. That thirty minutes on the phone to a handful of customers a day is several man hours of lost production. Likewise that time on the Net or dealing with e-mails.
Every customer feels like they should be able to call and talk twenty or thirty minutes every time they take a notion. If they are local they think dropping by is fine, maybe visit an hour. All lost time. These same people would crap if you billed them for phone time like a lawyer does. Add up the time lost to idle chatter on the phone, updates when the build is on schedule, daydreamers that will never have a cue made, lonely people in the mood to chat, and it may equal a day or more a week!
I was running several businesses. I was making good money but the one thing I wasn't getting was much time with my children. Since I was making nice money for the eighties I was also donating generously to charities. The more I gave the more charities put me on their lists, it was as bad as feeding stray cats! I had somebody behind my front desk that could write checks so I could tell them how much to give without interrupting my work. However, every charity that called insisted I come to the phone. If they came to my main business they insisted they had to talk to me.
I logged time with charities for a few weeks. I was giving about a thousand a month away, more importantly I was losing ten hours a week dealing with charities. For several months I begged them not to interfere with my work, they got the same thing when I delegated dealing with them. None, not a single one, of the charities listened. So I cut off all but two that were special to me! They whined mightily. I pointed out it was their own doing and told them not to call or come by anymore.
When you deal with a cue builder that seems short on the phone, answers any questions and gets off the phone, be glad. This is a person that understands time management and will probably be very close to anticipated build times. The good ol' boy that will talk to you for an hour is talking to other people just as long and nothing is happening in his shop while he does. A cue builder should communicate. However, if you are tying him up thirty minutes or an hour every time you call and he quits taking your calls it is probably because he can't afford the time lost! $50 an hour would be a conservative billing for lost shop time.
I think cue builders putting people on the clock after the first five minutes would be a good idea. If people are talking about ordering a cue the consulting time payment could be applied to the price of the cue if the builder wanted to. I have had people call me or come by my shop for years to talk about projects they were never going to do. Just mental masturbation on their part and more than a few hours lost work time for me.
If somebody has a waiting list they should tell you when the build starts or contact you when it is supposed to. If they don't contacting them with a brief call is fine. A quick update on the build every few months is fine too. As long as things are on schedule, don't get carried away with the phone. If you do, you are part of the problem with late deliveries.
In the past I have let all calls go to voice mail and only spent a maximum of thirty minutes before lunch and an hour before quitting time dealing with calls. That was one of the smartest things I ever did.