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Choosing an appliance is an important decision for a homeowner. They generally want to choose an appliance with a proven value and feel comfortable that it is a quality product. If something does go wrong with that appliance they want to know that the manufacturer has a history of doing what is necessary to remedy the situation. Most big name appliance companies are large public companies with state of the art robotics and huge quality control budgets. It will most definitely affect their bottom line if their products have a history of failure. They also definitely do not want to be the subject of a poor review in Consumer Magazine. The point is, the appliance is most likely going to do what it’s supposed to do and will do it in an adequately efficient and safe way.
Homeowners probably put more time, concern, and effort into choosing an appliance than they do in ensuring that they are using quality trade partners and associates. But where are problems more likely to occur? Is it more likely that an appliance will fail than it might be for a trade partner? The quick answer is NO.
Currently there is a government building being renovated. A big problem was created from water intrusion. It turns out that the windows were installed backwards. The manufacturer didn’t manufacture bad windows; the trade partner installed them incorrectly.
We could all tell stories of how some home repair project turned sour. This article is not to imply that trades people are bad. This is to simply point out that trades people are human and make mistakes, and the simple fact is, some are better than others. Statistically, the potential damage from a trade partner is far greater than it is from say, an appliance. That’s why it is extremely important that a contractor and/or a homeowner choose the right trade partner(s). Choosing a trade partner with a bad reputation, a history of mistakes, or simply choosing a trade partner because they are cheaper, is a mistake. Choosing the right trade partners is the most important decision that a homeowner or contractor can make. A little bit of homework may save years of headaches and expenses. The information is out there. No one is perfect and mistakes will be made regardless of the business’s history, but statistics truly tell a story.
What you can do:
- Make sure they are currently licensed and insured.
- Ask for references and then follow up.
- Ask for proof of completed projects.
- Ask for verifiable information on their experience, education, and training.
- Check the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed.
- Check the State Licensing Board to see if complaints have been filed.
- If it’s a trade that supplies material, contact material suppliers to get character feedback.
- Ask building inspectors for feedback. Some will give you feedback and some will not, but the body language speaks volumes.
- Visit their office or facilities. How they organize their office or facilities will give you a pretty good idea of how they run their business. Is it adequately clean and organized or obviously dirty and cluttered?
- Run a criminal background check. It’s easy and inexpensive.
In closing, it’s well worth the time to do a little research and cheaper is not synonymous with better.
Erik Suojanen, CEO
The Pampering Plumber
I recently solicited some help from the PEDC and have been working with consultant Jerry Karp. He first met me at our store in The Trinity Village Shopping Center to get a feel for our company and to help him understand how he could help us. His first observation was that we had a very nice showroom and that it looked like a place that sold plumbing fixtures. The store and its decoration gave him a feeling of upscale and high quality. He didn’t get the feeling that we offered all aspects of plumbing service, but that we probably arranged or could arrange for the installation of products that we sold.
We talked a little at the Trinity store and I gave him the basics of what we are trying to accomplish. I told him that we are trying to cater primarily to women homeowners, that our main focus was to be recognized as a premiere plumbing service, and that selling fixtures and faucets was more of a complimentary aspect of our business and not the main point. I told him that we wanted to take advantage of foot traffic and sell plumbing service as the neighborhood plumber. What he took from his visit was pretty much the opposite of what we are trying to do. He did not at all get the impression that we are a Full Service Plumbing Company that handles all aspects of plumbing – large and small.
I met with Jerry Karp again at his office the following week. We looked at a few of our marketing pieces including our web site and we decided that we need to do a better job of making it clear that we are in fact a full service plumbing company. Following is an attempt, to try and clarify our purpose and our goals.
We have found over the years that the majority of service calls are placed by women. We wanted to give women a plumbing company to call their own; a company that operates in a way women will appreciate with competent, courteous, professional technicians that clean up after themselves and respect your home. The typical expectations for a homeowner of a plumber is that he will be messy, late, expensive, and in many cases, simply incompetent.
Now, we do not claim to be perfect by any means, but we involve our technicians in continuous training. We encourage our technicians to communicate with the support staff behind them and the customer in front of them. We encourage our technicians to treat the customer as their own. Many of our customers, request the technician that they want us to send. We make it as clear as we can to each technician that no one knows all there is to know about plumbing and that if they run into a problem, they are to call the supervisor and ask for help. If we on the supervision side don’t know, we will find out by whatever means necessary. The point is that we do not want anyone to make a repair or installation, unless they know exactly what they are doing. If we don’t have the correct answer, we’ll find the correct answer.
So what should you expect on a typical Pampering Plumber service call?
- You should expect a friendly Customer Service Representative on your initial contact. She will get all of the pertinent information and she will schedule the call in a time window convenient for you. She cannot give you a price because every situation is unique and she is not a service technician. She will advise you that we charge a $59.00 evaluation fee and that when we come out, the technician will give you an exact quote for the work to be done and that the $59.00 fee will be waived if you have us do the work.
- You should expect a fair price. We have a data base of more than 50,000 customers and our greatest source of business is, by far, repeat customers. In February 2010 as of the 25th, we had 183 calls for the month and 140 of those were repeat customers.
- You should expect a clean courteous technician, in uniform with ID badge, to arrive on time. The technician will be driving a clearly identified company van and he will not park in your driveway. He will survey the problem, thoroughly explain in a way that is understood, and he will give you an exact price to complete the work. If you agree to the work, he will waive the $59.00 evaluation fee.
- The technician will wear shoe protectors, will use drop cloths if necessary, and will use a tool carpet to protect floors and counter tops.
- Each truck is equipped with a shop vacuum and cleaning supplies. The technician will thoroughly clean the work area.
- You can expect quality workmanship and a professional installation or repair.
- The technician will present the completed work and will advise as to any special instructions, if applicable.
- The technician will complete the call and the transaction, and will offer information on energy savings and conservation solutions.
- The technician will not pressure anyone to buy; he will simply arm you with information for when you decide the time is right.
- You can expect our technicians to be well versed on the latest products that will provide you benefits and money saving solutions.
- You can expect a follow up call from the office to ensure your satisfaction and a thank you card from the technician that completed the call.
- Finally, you can expect SERVICE and all that it entails.
The Pampering Plumber also offers full kitchen and bath remodels for homes in the Tampa Bay, New Port Richey, and Trinity Florida area. Smaller home remodels of basic tile work and plumbing are completed in house. Larger jobs requiring a building contractor are completed through our partnership with MAK Homes. Whether large or small, it can all be coordinated through The Pampering Plumber.
Thank you in advance for considering us for your all of your plumbing and plumbing related needs.
– Erik the plumber