I had an interesting conversation with a customer today who happens to have his own company and does service work in the North Iowa area. The thrust of the conversation was about how some people for whatever reason try to make it hard on him with regards to expecting more than what was entailed in the agreed upon bid, or finding excuses for not paying on time. Since he’s been working at this job for about 15 years, he said he’s almost developed a sixth sense as to whether to take on a job or not simply because of the way in which the initial meeting or phone conversation went with the prospective customers. He used and example of a person we both know and how the process of getting paid became a bit of a joke with the litany of excuses as to why the bill wasn’t paid in a timely manner. I told him I as well had similar experiences with out-sourced companies whom I used to do some broker’s opinions for in the past. After performing the given tasks and forwarding them in a timely manner as per their request along with a bill, they suddenly became hard to get in touch with as well as being passed on to their billing department. I charged off at least four unpaid bills and said to myself, “No more.” I still get calls from different companies looking for someone to do a drive-by appraisal for them. I simply tell them I’m not interested and end the conversation. After I quit doing them, I found that there were many others who had similar experiences. I’m sure those companies feel they’ve got a nose ahead because they didn’t have to pay. They don’t realize that they’re creating a vacuum and likely won’t provide quality work for the banks or lending institutions that are contracted with to provide a service they themselves guaranteed in their contracts.
I also mentioned to him that there are several that I could readily think of who will chisel away at a bill they were provided simply to cut costs and leave more in their pockets. I can’t believe how these people don’t think forward enough to realize that if you burn enough honest workers who provide quality work, there will be no one left in our community that will be willing to work for them. I’m wondering if their goal is to get at the top of the heap fast enough before they’ve burned all their bridges. I rented a home today to a charming young man who will be moving out of another rental that doesn’t fill all his needs. I stressed to him that he must give written notice to his current landlord on or before the 1st of the month or he could likely loose his security/damage deposit. Too many times I hear the horror stories from tenants who don’t get any of their deposit back simply because they didn’t give proper notice. I told him to make sure his current dwelling is in as good if not better condition than when he first moved into it. I’m a bit of a pick about tenants leaving an apartment or house without a general cleaning and above normal wear and tear. I will never understand why most tenants don’t seem to want to clean their stoves and refrigerators. Yes, cleaning an oven is stinky and messy but if it was clean when they moved in, then it should be clean when they move out. When I was renting a home while I was in college, I did more to keep the property clean than likely the owner did when he lived there. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the previous occupant had a dog with fleas so I spent weeks battling those nasty creatures. Memories of properties seem to be more branded with me when encountering unwanted pests. I can handle a mouse or two before I can endure fleas.
I do hope everyone was able to purchase what they’ve been waiting for on Black Friday and their travels to and from family gatherings continue to be safe. Fortunately the temperatures today were much higher than yesterday’s bone chill. Upon leaving today, my customer said, “Joe. Maybe you and I just expect too much from the general public.” I smiled and said, “No, I’d rather think that we are attempting to keep standards at the height we have placed on ourselves.” It’s always good to know there are young professionals who have a bit of old-fashioned work ethic. I hope it becomes contagious and we can look forward to even better round-ups when next year’s Black Friday arrives. In a foot-note, someone said to me today, “You look like Mr. Rogers in that sweater.” I said, “This sweater is a very expensive camel hair sweater that likely Mr. Rogers didn’t wear.” Vanity continues to live.