Friday, May 8, 2015

Dear potential client, please don’t lie to yourself

Having recently done an estimate for a prospect who seemed interested in doing business with me, I followed up a couple of weeks later.
The job was already done by someone else.
I asked whether he would be willing to provide me with some details so I could better understand where I sit in the market currently.
He gracefully obliged. And I'm thankful that he did, even though I will come across as a little harsh if you keep reading.
He told me that although he knew I would do the best job, he went with a cheaper option as it fitted with his current budget better; and should he have owned a Victorian house, he would then definitely have retained my services and not have taken any chances.
I was at $4,350. One quote came in at $1,500 and the other at $1,600.
He had no faith in the $1,500 one and so he went for the $1,600 one.
I asked whether he was happy.
He said he was moderately happy and at least he didn’t have to worry about it anymore.
I asked how long it took the guy to do the job and how many people were on the job.
He said, “Only him, one day, nine hours”.
I said, “Wow, I priced this so we would be two of us for three days. I would obviously have done much more work than he did, and so I’m actually cheaper.”
He was surprised.
I passed by a couple of days later, and what I saw actually made me angry.
I can’t even think with it.

The job is an abortion and all I my instincts were telling me was to remove what had been done as fast as possible and redo it properly.
It was so ugly it disturbed me.
And it disturbed me that the customer was “reasonably happy” with it.
That customer has just burned $1,600.
It’s not a proper outcome.
It’s not a proper product.
It’s wrong.
That customer didn’t take the time to do his research and his due diligence.
The house may not be Victorian, but it is nonetheless getting close to be 100 years old and it deserves better.
That customer has told himself a nice little story about how now the ants can’t crawl in and there are no holes and he can now sleep better and that he’s made the best choice based on his particular financial situation.
Blah blah blah.
It’s a lie.
You’ve just told yourself a nice lie.
There are many areas which have been missed which still need proper attention; for example most or all of the window sills needed to be addressed, but they weren't.
Furthermore the house is now defaced until someone, someday, hopefully reverses the poor workmanship.
If I were more religiously inclined, here is how I would pray:
Dear God,
In this Information Age,
Please make sure that my prospects use Google.
Please make sure they are not too lazy to do their research and due diligence.
If they don’t want to use me, that’s fine.
But please don’t let them butcher older homes they temporarily own through neglect and poor decisions, as someone else will live in those houses after they’ve eventually moved out of them.
When someone lives in what constitutes a part of our collective heritage, please make sure they contribute to the legacy instead of working against it.

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