Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dilettantes need not apply

Ok, I need a contractor.

My brother-in-law owns a flat in a suburb not too far from my home and the property management company recently called him saying it needed some painting, the quote for which was outrageous. BIL asked Hubby and me to go have a look for him.

I don’t know what those people have been charging him for, but it sure wasn’t for the management of that flat! I have seen slum apartments in better condition! And, according to my husband, who has been in the flat many times before it went to rental, it was previously in good shape. This management company…supposedly the largest rental and property management company in the country…has done a shameful job and the flat quite literally needs to be gutted to the bare walls and floor. Even the kitchen stove needs to be replaced…assuming the massive infestation of cockroaches doesn’t carry it away first.

So, I’m looking for a contractor, a renovations specialist if I can find one, to strip this place to its bare nubbins and refurbish it from the ground up. It’s gonna put a pretty piece of coin into someone’s pocket…who would think that so few people are serious about the trade they have chosen for themselves?

We have a series of advertising magazines that are home delivered every second week. These magazines contain full colour ads from various companies that do every kind of imaginable home maintenance, repair, or addition you can think of, from doors and windows to roofs, pools, security systems, paving, and new kitchens. I’ve dug out three back issues of these mags and called every construction and maintenance company that advertises it does renovations…only one of the half dozen paying for full colour ads in this publication even answered the phone! One had a phone number that, according to the recording, did not exist, one was a wrong number (despite my having dialled correctly), and another one…well, I don’t know what the problem was, but the call didn’t go through at all—didn’t even connect to ring.

Next, I went to the web where I called three companies. One answered and I have an appointment with them to give me a quote on the flat. The other two? Can’t be bothered to pick up their phones.

How serious can you be about your business if you don’t answer your phone? If the number published in your ad doesn’t exist or it is a wrong number or it goes to a voice mail but you don’t return the call…just how serious are you about your business and why should I trust you with my project, assuming I can even get in touch with you? Why are you wasting your money…and my time…advertising when you obviously have no interest in communicating with new customers and taking on the new work your advertisement would lead me to believe you want?

I made nine phone calls and got only two answers...that’s just shameful! But somebody in Joburg is going to make a pot of money because they answered their phone…in addition to renovating my BIL’s flat, I have a second renovation project to do after this one. But I guarantee you, if you didn’t pick up your phone when I called you, if you don’t return my call the same day I left the message, one of your competitors not only will get my two projects, they’ll get all the follow-on work as well. I won’t deal with dilettantes like you.

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