Ever since my wife and I bought our new home, we’ve been using a variety of contractors to help change a few things around the house. For example, we had new tile and carpets put in, changed the layout of the house a little bit and had the outside of the house painted as well. While everything we remodeled turned out okay, overall our experiences were a mixed bag and it had nothing to do with the quality of the work that was done.
In fact, every one of my contractors did a fantastic job at whatever was assigned to them, yet I would probably not recommend at least 2 of the 3 contractors to friends or use them ever again. Why? It’s because it takes more than a good job to leave a lasting good impression on a customer. Sometimes even a small slip up can ruin the entire customer experience. In any case, I’d like to describe what these 2 contractors did and let you be the judge.
The Carpet Installer
Our initial experience with our carpet guys were extremely positive. From the get go, they were cordial, responsive and they offered very competitive pricing. When my wife and I finally decided to go with them, we setup an appointment and their crew arrived on schedule and finished exactly when they said they would.
As for the installation itself, I thought they did a good job. All of the carpet seams were barely visible and the carpet was perfectly flat and cushiony against our feet. So where did things go wrong?
Things started to go south when I discovered that a few of our doors would no longer open and shut because the height of the carpet was scraping against the bottom of the door. The carpet company I used had quoted me a total amount that was supposed to cover carpet installation of the entire house, satisfaction guaranteed. However, when I asked them to take a bit off of the bottom of the door so my doors would work again, they hesitated.
Even though they had the tools in the back of their truck, they claimed that they had to charge me a good amount extra for the door trimming because they had to send an entirely different crew to do the job. It’s one thing if they were some large conglomerate company with set rules and regulations, but the carpet company we used was relatively small and something like this could have easily been approved by the owner. But, instead, they refused to do it and let me with non-functioning doors.
The second thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was that these guys ran out of the transitional coverings used to bridge different floors together and wanted to charge me extra for it. Usually, when you are crossing over from carpet to tile or carpet to laminate flooring, there’s a thin strip of metal used to cover up the transition. The metal itself is dirt cheap and the installation is extremely easy.
They installed these coverings on 90% of the transitions but left out a few because they ran out of metal. When I asked them to come back later to install the missing pieces, they gave me this excuse that there’s a limit to the amount of metal they are willing to install. Even when I offered to go to Home Depot myself to pick some up (It costs like 7 bucks), they refused to install it.
Whoopee! They Saved 7 Bucks And Some Labor
If they offered to trim the door and install the metal transitions, I would have been ecstatic with their work. In fact, I probably would have gone out of my way to recommend these guys to others. But instead, 10 minutes of work with a hand saw and 7 dollars for extra metal cost them my referral business and made me never want to use them again. Was it worth it?
I had a similar experience with my painters though it wasn’t nearly as bad. Like the carpet guys we used, our painters were extremely cordial, responsive and punctual. They quoted us a number to complete the entire job satisfaction guaranteed and they actually finished slightly ahead of schedule.
I was happy with the overall quality of the paint job as well. They used Kelly Moore paint and they did multiple coats to make sure the color was solid.
To understand where things went wrong, I have to first describe a little bit about my house. Our new house is a colonial style house with shutters adorning both sides of every window. As part of the paint job, we wanted to paint these shutters black in order to contrast with the color of the windows and the rest of the house.
For most of the day, I wasn’t paying attention to the painters at all. I was content just sitting inside assuming that they knew what they were doing. But when my wife and I stepped outside for a bit to go for a walk, I noticed that they were cutting a few corners with the paint job.
Instead of taking off the shutters, painting the house underneath and reinstalling the shutters, they decided to save time by painting around the shutters. Now aesthetically speaking, most people probably wouldn’t even have noticed as the shutters would have covered the unpainted portion of the house anyways. But it bothered me immensely. In fact, if you looked closely at the shutters, you could see remnants of the old color paint underneath.
When I told the painters that I wanted them to paint under the shutters, they hesitated and tried to talk me out of it claiming that no one would ever be able to see the difference. I eventually convinced them to do the work correctly but the damage had already been done. Their laziness had left a bad taste in my mouth. It also made me wonder whether that had cut any other corners in painting my house.
Why were these guys risking the reputation of their company to save only a little bit of time? Removing the shutters and painting underneath took an extra 30 minutes and a negligible amount of paint. If they didn’t try to cut corners, I would have been happy with their job. But now, they will not get my recommendation even though they did everything I asked.
Moral of the Story
Don’t pinch pennies and don’t cut corners with your business! Your business reputation is priceless. Even seemingly inconsequential things can ruin a customer relationship. I hope these two companies eventually learn their lesson. Referrals are the lifeline of any business!
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