I got to experience the importance of a trade professional taking the time to explain the particulars of a job recently. In mid December, our 20-year old water started rumbling and banging. We had two plumbing companies visit to provide estimates for storage tank water heater replacement.
We had a figure in mind. Much to our chagrin, both companies gave us an estimate for almost double that figure.
The first company was here for 10 minutes, with technician and assistant taking photos, asking a few questions, suggesting we consider a tankless system, and providing a figure for the work, which was twice what we expected in terms of price, and $1,000 more than our budget (It just so happens our skylights also need replacement and WiFi is fritzing out on us – all at the same time – at Christmas!!!!).
We scheduled a second estimate. This journeyman plumber – with 14 years on the job – arrived with his apprentice son in tow. He spent an HOUR explaining to us the reason for permits, inspection, thermal expansion tank, drip pan, leak alarm, seismic strapping, ball valves, and other things to bring the water heater install up to code, which has changed in the 20 years. The estimate was a smidgen above the first one, but we felt MUCH better and more informed about why it wasn’t going to cost us half that. He also gave us a second estimate for a customer-supplied water heater (which WAS within budget, and which the first outfit neglected to do, even though we inquired about it) if we wanted to go that way, though there would be a trade off in warranted work in the event of any problems with the tank itself. He discouraged a tankless unit but explained the pros and cons of heat pump systems for our information. He acknowledged that he had thrown a lot of information at us, gave us his card and invited us to contact him with any questions. He also said he could install the unit the next day if we wanted.
We both feel really good about the second company, and how informed and credentialed the journeyman plumber/gasfitter was. We got to experience firsthand the importance of taking the time to talk with the customer, explain the intricacies of the job and be available for follow-up. The confidence and comfort level for us customers – who don’t have plumbing done every day – is key. Though we would like to stay within budget, what’s more critical when dealing with heat, gas, water and pressure is an outfit that we feel a sense of peace about, who listens to us, answers our questions and not only exudes a sense of competence, but has the license and many excellent reviews to prove it. And it made me think of you tile installers and contractors who take the time to educate your clients – kudos to you! It is a vital part of what you do, and that rapport and sense of confidence is priceless.
Enjoy this January issue – you’ll see that we are starting the year off with the new large-format size for ALL of our TileLetter issues. We have a great lineup of inspiring and educational content including a dynamic mosaic installation by Dragonfly Tile and Stone Works in our Case Study section, and a report on a mosaic class offered last summer by Angie Ré of Unique Mosaics in Utah. Meet Joe DiMeola of Envy Flooring LLC Flooring Artisans in Peoria, Ariz., in our Member Spotlight and learn how to counter client objections in our Technical section. Learn more about sustainability in our cover feature, authored by MAPEI Sustainability Expert Brittany Storm, and view some conferences, trade shows and gatherings in our Industry Calendar.
Affirming a powerful, prosperous, peaceful and satisfying new year for all!
Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN
Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor.