It was time for our coffee break that day as Jason and I crawled into my truck. We were siding a two story addition and the 25 to 40 mile an hour wind gusts were taking their toll. (One of the fringe benefits of working outside in the elements is I normally sleep like a baby once my head hits the pillow.)
Anyway, my truck was pointed towards the neighbors house and the first thing that caught my eye as we took our break was a thin, 60 some year old woman raking leaves. She caught my eye for several reasons. First off, she looked almost manic in the way she was using her rake.
Secondly, there were multiple trees along her street, and several of them were still hanging onto their leaves, even if the large maple in the corner of her lot was done for the year. I thought to myself, why in the world was she trying to rake on a day like today? She would just have to do it again (probably multiple times) before it was all over.
The word “issues” came to mind. Even though I did not know her personally, something was not quite right about that picture.
What would drive a person to try to catch every last leaf that early in the Fall.
I jokingly said to Jason, I definitely would not want to do any work for her because of her issues, (whatever they might be.)
Few weeks later, the homeowner I was working for, told me, a neighbor was interested in having me give her an estimate for some work in her house.
Was it so and so, I asked?
The homeowner then cautioned me that if I did end up working for her, that while she was a nice person…she paused as she tried to find the right word, she was also “frugal.” 🙂
I told the homeowner to have the neighbor get a hold of me if she wanted. I have a policy now that I refuse to chase work. I also refuse to play the game of giving someone an estimate and have them ask me if I can knock so much off the bid, in order to match someone else.
It is disrespectful to me as a contractor.
It implies my initial quote may have been slightly out of line. Better to either take the estimate or not….and another thing, the lowest estimate may not always be the best estimate. You can pay someone $20 an hour who works like a turtle, or twice that amount to me and come out ahead.
I’ve seen it happen multiple times.
My dad, (who was also a general contractor for close to 50 years) was known for his integrity in our community. I can trace most of my attitudes when it comes to work directly back to his influence in my life.
(Sorry if this comes across as a little bit testy.)
Growing up in a construction family, I have had a front row seat to dozens of construction projects, and you better believe I have been taking notes.
No sense learning everything first hand.
Which is why, if I can help it, I try not to work for certain personality types.
Because certain personality types have certain issues I would just as soon not have to deal with.
Everybody has issues. Doesn’t mean I didn’t have compassion for her. (Because I did)
Also doesn’t mean I have to enter into a business relationship with someone who has too many red flags waving over their head.
“An issue ignored, is a crisis endured.”
What do you think?