Monday, February 28, 2011

Contractor Alert: First impressions count

Want a professional image for your business? What you say and do can make a huge difference in how potential customers perceive you.

I had lunch with a business colleague last week, and she shared about an experience she had with her neighbor's concrete contractor. She was in her house with her young children minding her own business. The neighbor was having some concrete work done in his backyard (not by Yoder Concrete Construction, by the way,) and the workers were loud with very colorful language in this quiet residential neighborhood. There was only so much this lady could take. She went out and confronted the person in charge asking them to watch their language because there were young children within earshot, and it was not appreciated.

If that wasn't bad enough, not long after, she heard water running from her outside spigot.  She went out, and sure enough, this contractor had hooked up his hose to her house, without permission, because they needed to wash their tools. For some reason, they were unable to reach the customer's water source. She was livid, but being a business owner herself and wanting to maintain relationships, she allowed them to use her water. However, she suggested they ask in advance next time.

Needless to say, she said she would never hire this contractor regardless of their quality or price because of the way they handled themselves on this one project. You could be the best contractor on the planet, but your image may tell consumers something different. There is a simple lesson to be learned here: think about what you say and who might overhear it, and ask permission before trespassing on someone else's property. Be professional at all times. You just never know who is watching. It could be your next customer (or not.)