I am a freelancer providing service to a small company. Let's call the boss John. Alice and Bob are two of his employees. I am not a part of John's company nor management team, I am simply an external party providing service.
Below are some extracts of email communication:
John: Alice has some problems. Can you go and take a look?
Alice: We have an error in Component Y of System X.
(I fixed the error and informed Alice to check it.)
Alice: Thanks, the fix is working.
(days later) John: Hi, what is the progress of Alice's problem?
About two weeks later, on the agreed work cutoff date, I sent John an invoice:
Error analysis and fix on Component Y, System X. Charge is $xxx.
John replied asking what the charge is for.
Here is another example:
John: Bob needs some help on System Z.
Me: My charge is $xxx. My availability on the coming days is (...)
(Days passed. I got no email. I assume either my charge is too high, they've resolved the problem themselves, or they found somebody else)
John: Did Bob contact you about his problem?
It is apparent to me that John is unaware of what his employees (who work in John's company office) are doing. As a deal between me and his company, I would have expected the company's employees to report the status of work to their boss; it is an internal affair does not relate to me. Every time John asks me these questions, I simply reply the fact to him (e.g. "Bob did not contact me"). However these replies are slowly building up to consume communication time, time which I am not paid for.
I am looking for a way to remind him that he should check with his employees first, without sounding harsh or lecturing him (it is his company, not mine). How should I proceed?