Sunday, February 1, 2015

One Small Step For Your Contractor – One Giant Leap For Mankind!

Back in 1961 Alan Shepard became the first American to be launched into space. It’s been reported that while he waited for that historic moment to take place, strapped into his capsule seat atop the Redstone rocket, one thing crossed his mind as Mission Control counted down to zero. He was at the mercy of technology and human ingenuity that was in fact built by the lowest bidder.

While we all put our faith in manufactured items during the course of our daily lives, very few have to be as trustworthy as early pioneers, such as astronauts. And while nothing compares in our homes to going into space, we still expect that quality workmanship in the manufactured items within our homes will live up to a standard that is safe, durable, and yes even cost effective.

But unfortunately, there are people out there whose mantra is, “Who cares?” “What’s the difference?” and “It doesn’t matter!” Over the years I’ve heard them all. What’s a guarantee worth when most of the time it includes only parts, not labour? Lifetime guarantee means what exactly? There is the old saying, “anything uttered before a ‘but’ is a lie.” In some guarantees you could almost say the same thing before an asterisk. You really, really have to get out that magnifying glass to read the fine print. You may find that your item only has a partial guarantee.*

It’s sad to say that many items that are returned to suppliers (or distributors) are credited, but a lot of the times defects are not reported to the manufacturers. I once brought a defective item to a supplier’s attention. They exchanged the piece and proceeded to throw the defective part in the garbage. Aghast, I asked, “What are you doing?” Their response, “Do you expect the manufacturer to care about this one piece; you are the only one complaining. If we have more complaints, MAYBE we’ll bring it to their attention.”

That kind of lackadaisical response angers me so. If distributors of plumbing supplies could be so cavalier about the quality of material, then what about precision welding facilities where they could be manufacturing pieces for airplanes or hospital equipment? How would you like having an MRI machine built that doesn’t work well because of faulty material? Now, do you begin to understand Alan Shepard’s concern?

I only wish there were more caring contractors out there. Unfortunately, there are many that put money before compassion. Fellow contractors don’t forget; our clients are of the utmost importance to us, and should be treated as such. Clients must realize that there ARE compassionate contractors out there who are NOT trying to take advantage of them. There are those of us who are trying to help, not just make a buck.

I’ll go one step further. I personally am there for my peers as well. I’m here to help my fellow professionals. But I have no qualms about condemning the ones who do not care. So wake up fellow contractors. In our daily lives there is not only theoretical knowledge, but practical knowledge as well. Work together with inspectors and other trade professionals by sharing information of technique and material quality. Let’s make it easier for us to do a better job and provide a more efficient service level to our clients. Let’s try to save money and time for our clients where necessary; not only for the short term, but also the long term. Without our clients, we are nothing. But on the other hand without us caring for them, our clients would be lost. And if we do our job right the first time, like Alan Shepard, the sky’s the limit.

See you around the drain!!!

*Many people will never read the asterisk here at the bottom. Sadly that’s almost a guarantee.

1 comment:

  1. It's definitely interesting to think about things like this. It's definitely very common for people to try to find the lowest amount of money they can spend for something, but this isn't necessarily the way that it should be done. Hopefully people will realize this and do everything they can to not be like that. Saving money is good, and it's obviously important, but it isn't essential, and going with the cheapest option isn't always smart. Hopefully people will let money be a secondary thought when hiring someone for a service. That way they can just look for the best available option, and not have to worry as much about things being done right or wrong.