Considering the time of year, I thought that this article would be helpful. And, yesterday, when I got word that one of our customers had their home broken into, it became more so. By the way, the alarm our customer had installed chased the would-be burglars away empty handed- of course, the damage they did breaking in will need to be fixed, but the event could have been much worse! –http://cannonchristian.realtytimes.com/advicefromagents1/item/29274-how-to-prepare-your-home-before-traveling
I picked up a call this week from a family that had engaged a company (not Myers Homes) to do tilework for them in their basement. The tile supplier sent out a third party delivery van, who promptly dragged a broken pallet of tile across a pristine concrete driveway almost 60′!! This left two parallel scratches all the way to the garage where the nails on the bottom of the pallet dug into the concrete surface and left two tracks. This person even maneuvered the pallet at the front of the garage leaving parallel curved marks, presumably to place the pallet in the garage parallel to the door! I can’t imagine there’s anything that delivery co. could do now that will influence this family to believe that their employees aren’t all idiots! We are who we employ- our companies are made up of people. And while we aren’t all perfect by any means, it is imperative that the employees have an attitude of belonging and even ownership of jobs they are on. Jobs completed with happy customers bring in more work and more happy customers, sloppy and uncaring inattention to basic common-sensical things creates havoc and angry ex-customers. It’s devilishly hard to maintain great relationships, and all to easy to ruin them. When we hear the scraping, the operative action is STOP!!!
Designing and building your home, aside from all the other advantages, offers the unique opportunity to make your home, or some part of it, your favorite place to be. For myself, I love the front porch. The porch was one of the design criteria I gave our architect- and, because of the way he set it up design-wise, and the way we built it construction-wise, it has become one of my favorite places to be. With flowers and music, soft lighting, sofas and chairs, it’s a place for quiet, peaceful relaxation or great get-togethers with friends. We took what my architect designed, and my construction staffers fabricated, and turned it into one of the focal points of our summers in our home. Now that our kids are getting older and starting to move out, we think periodically about where we might live next, but always my sense of home seems grounded in the favorite places we created in our home, making it hard to think about living somewhere else. If anyone were to ask what I get out of building homes for people- I think that’s it- the opportunity to create a favorite place for a customer, that will ground them and give their family the sense of “home” that I built for my family. What’s your wish for a new favorite place? Let us know- it would be our pleasure to build it for you-
This spring we’ve had a flurry of calls all related to the same thing-things people have known about and wanted to change/fix/enhance are now at the top of their to-do list and it’s time to get things done! Bathrooms, garages, basements, landscaping, walkways, driveways- all of these things (well, maybe not the bathrooms) are sort of the drudgery part of home maintenance. We know it’s important to follow through on it, but not so much fun. And, when you let those things go, it can get way more expensive to fix them later/ Yet, when those things are taken care of, day to day living in your home feels so much nicer-and you’ve enhanced your investment in the home. Even just cleaning and painting the garage can be a big “pick me up” when you fist pull into the garage. How about a facelift for your fireplace? It’s your home- make it nice for yourself!
I’m reminded this morning about the value of our professional relationships. On Saturday afternoon, our well pump puked out. No water- no showers and no flushing and an almost full complement of kids at home. A call to our water- drilling sub (quick shout out to Jim Ayers at Ayers drilling http://ayerswelldrilling.com/ ) and within 12 hours a new pump was working to keep the kids fresh and flushed. The quick response from Jim is testament to the relationships that professional contractors running efficient companies foster over a long period of years. I’ve had Jim respond equally fast for our customers-and it’s because we’ve placed a high premium on the value of our trade relationships over the years. Without our trade partners, we can’t build anything! So, we’ve always place a high premium on listening to them, making sure that jobs are ready when we say they will be and that pay schedules are kept to so that everyone’s work is rewarded the way it should be. This doesn’t mean that our pricing on services is always the cheapest-but it means that we have a large cadre of seasoned and skilled professionals to call on whenever our customers need something. Even a well pump at 8:00 Sunday morning! What is that kind of piece of mind worth??
I was reminded again about the eternal debate in our business about cost vs. value. Working with a new client is always tough- most people have no feel for what anything should cost when it’s a one-off, hand built item like a new chimney or a family room built in. This encourages them to try to get competitive or comparable quotes, which, because there is no common drawing or playbook, is impossible. So, we recently quoted a chimney repair that requires the complete dismantling of the existing chimney, and rebuilding it including re-flashing it and repairing the roof around it. Our quote was for several thousand dollars- we anticipate at least a week of work with set-up of safety scaffolding and cleanup. The competitive quote was for $400!! So I asked the client if they were comfortable that the company that quoted $400 could really perform the repairs necessary for that amount-the answer was no. So, then I asked, what did you learn by getting that competitive quote? The answer? Nothing, really.
I’m convinced that the urge to search out “quotes” in this business is really a reaction to having no knowledge of what it takes to accomplish a given project, and so people try to latch on to the only thing they do know about it-and that is the cost. But, given the example above, do those numbers really give the client an indication about the VALUE they are purchasing?? What kind of people are you agreeing to do business with? Since everything in our business is custom made by hand, isn’t the most important thing you are purchasing the people? Sure, with Home Depot or Lowes anyone can buy the stuff to complete these kinds of projects, but it takes years of knowledge to really know how to install these things properly. The value, then, is in the service, not the stuff-This photo is of a chimney that we had to tear down- flashing was all wrong, the wash was all wrong, and the roof flashing was never installed. Note the bleeding down the stone and flashing from water running down the inside of the structure- yuck!!