Like many, I have trouble getting tradespeople to do anything.
But compelled by the dictates of 120-year-old Empire House, I keep bashing away.
Recently, I had a rare win with an electrician.
I report this result in the hope you may repeat it in your home and/or business.
Such peer review could flag a shift in artisan communication.
In the past, I sought to curry favour with tradies by being friendly and flexible.
But I went way too far. For instance, when a:
- Sparkie asked for a convenient time to visit, I said I worked from home and was there pretty much 24/7.
- Plumber said he was flooded with storm work, I said I’d happily wait until he caught up.
- Plasterer mentioned he had several big jobs on, I offered to let him do mine in between.
I thus gave away all my power for a modicum of goodwill.
And when, as people do, these craftsmen took my inches to miles, I got upset.
On reflection, I see I was unreasonable, as I’d created a rod for my own back.
Having failed to resolve a chronic phone line problem, I switched from gentle reminders to a more structured approach:
Could we please get this problem fixed on Monday?
I’ve been waiting for nearly six months now, and my clients have been complaining about my crap phone line – which is making me sound like a hack.
I have a multi-party phone conference with a huge new prospect this week, so it’s critical I get this problem sorted beforehand.
Please can you help?!
Fred came the next day! He fixed my line, which remains flawless.
How come that?!
Stunned at my success, I analysed my approach and found four points of difference. I had:
- Nominated a specific day.
- Flagged the time I’d been waiting.
- Detailed the consequences of not getting action.
- Used a much firmer tone.
Maybe I was just lucky.
But I sure plan to try this tack again.
(I’ll let you know how I get on.)
Meanwhile, let’s take a macro look at my experience.
Building-related businesses are dropping like flies.
I wonder if this downturn might encourage tradies to lift their game.
Could the building industry take a hard look at itself and address such chronic complaints as:
- Failing to turn up.
- Failing to turn up on time.
- Turning up unannounced, weeks after an appointment, immediately before some vital event (e.g. large family dinner).
- Doing sub-standard work.
- Using sub-standard materials.
- Refusing to provide guarantees.
In my view, any tradie who pulled this off could eclipse his shabby competitors to win a dwindling work pie.
Or is such thinking pie in the sky?
Whatever your view,
this debate needs your
* Not his real name.