It is an unfortunate side effect of being in the outdoor living business that far too many companies behave unscrupulously, giving the rest of us a bad name. Fortunately, there are a few traits you can use to identify the deck, screened porch, and patio contractors with which you do – and do not – wish to work. In this post, I’ll discuss just one: transparency.
Case in point: Like most men I know, I do not enjoy clothes shopping. As a result, I’ve developed the following 3-step process:
1) Once a year, I find a pair of pants and a shirt that I like.
2) I buy three of each color.
3) Bam! I’m good until next year.
This year, I went shopping with my 11-year-old son, and the clothing store did something that made me really uncomfortable. The cash register’s display didn’t show my purchases as the cashier rang them up. Instead, the display kept scrolling to remind me to “Have a Great Day!”
I quietly pointed this out to my son and asked him why he thought the store wasn’t showing us our purchases. He off-handedly said, “They don’t want us to know if they make a mistake.” As I wiped a tear of joy from my eye, I told him that I agreed with him. My wife and I have tried to help our children become educated consumers, and this was a parental high-point!
Next thing I knew, the cash register’s display had changed and it was now showing our purchases. I looked up and the cashier had a sly grin on her face. She had obviously overheard me and had hit a button to change the display. Apparently, she didn’t like the store’s anti-consumer policy either.
Now, what in the heck does this have to do with decks, screened porches, and patios? Well, it reminded me of something we do that is highly pro-consumer. Whenever there is a change to our proposals, contracts, invoices, etc., we always highlight those changes in bold-orange and point them out to our clients.
We do this to ensure that everyone knows exactly what is happening along with any financial impacts. If there is any concern about a change, we want to know upfront. We dislike the typical contractor behavior of grouping changes at the end of a project and then pressuring clients into paying up to avoid a conflict.
We want our clients to be completely comfortable each step of the way. If there is a concern, we want to know immediately so we can work together to resolve it. We sometimes make mistakes, and the only way we can fix it is when it’s pointed out to us.
Like any healthy relationship, the key to success is communication. Everyone at Core Outdoor is also a consumer, and we want each of our employees to be proud of our pro-consumer policies. Most importantly, I want my son to know that I followed the golden rule by treating our clients the way I wanted to be treated. Happy shopping!