Figuring Out Who You Can Trust
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 4, 2010
My wife has this obsession with our roof. The problem first came to fruition during the worst rain storm the Syracuse area had in decades in 2002, when the entire area flooded. Our house was no different, and the roof didn’t handle things all that well; neither did the basement for that matter.
The issue with us was that when we bought the house, the realtor had recommended someone to do our roof for us, and we paid these guys $3,500. We had no idea what they did until later, and even now I’m not really sure what any of it means. This is the first real house I’ve ever lived in, so you can bet I’m not technically savvy.
We had to contact the attorney general to find this guy the first time, and he came back, did some kind of patch job, and fixed the ceiling in the master bedroom, doing a lousy job. A couple of years later we had another storm, not as bad as the first one, and it exposed a couple more spots, but by this time the guy and his partner was long gone. My wife took out a loan, we had some minor stuff done, and no more leaks in the house.
But we still have roof issues. She brought in one guy who did some roof work, but not the type of work I was expecting, and we probably paid him close to $8,000. We paid another guy $10,000, thinking he would take care of us because we knew him, and he did good work; only his work only covered one section of the house, which was about a quarter of the entire house. Nope, didn’t see that coming.
Over the past two years, we’ve had a bunch of people come to the house to give us estimates on what it might cost to get our roof taken care of. Last January, a guy came to the house to do some other work, took a look at the roof, and quoted us $18,000. Last summer another guy came with his wife, spent 3 hours with my wife (I didn’t want to be a part of it), and quoted a price of $29,500; we’re not quite that foolish anymore. We’ve had other people come by and never heard from them again; not a phone call, email regular letter, nothing; what the hey?
Last week we had two more guys come by to give us estimates. One guy said we needed so much work that he recommended a contractor to farm the job out to; that didn’t sound good. The second guy… well, maybe. He did his review, then came into the house, and I finally went out to sit in on the conversation. To be truthful, I’d never sat in on any of the other conversations because I always had a bad feeling about the people coming in to do the work, even the guy I knew.
His price; $8,800. He used a lot of terms I didn’t know, but my wife knew. Then he gave me a pamphlet which explained all the terms he was using; that was good. He said his company would guarantee the work for 30 years; that was nice. I asked him about the look of our roof, as it has a couple of places where it looks like it dips, and he said that had nothing to do with leakage and that it was common, and if that was a big deal then it would require a full reconstruction, which would get as high as $25,000, but that it wasn’t needed; I liked that answer also, and my wife said it was the first time anyone had ever said that.
Now, here’s the deal. At the end of the day, I still had to ask myself if I trusted him. With the wide array of prices, does the 30 year guarantee make one more trustworthy than the others? I can’t even say if the company is well known or not; I don’t know any roofing companies to say if they’ve been around a long time (okay, I know one, but I also know that one company is fairly steep, since they did the guy’s roof across the street, and they had to fix it 3 times before they got it right).
It’s the question I ask myself in wondering why I don’t have more sales on some of my other pages, or even here. Heck, my workshop next week doesn’t have as many people coming as I’d have liked, and I wonder if it’s a matter of trust, recognition, or just that people aren’t as interested in the topics as they seemed to indicate when we did our survey. I wonder if most of us don’t ask that question enough when we’re marketing to the masses. In today’s online world, where each of us has lots of people we’re competing with in some fashion, is there a way we can find to show that we’re trustworthy enough so that we might make more online sales?
Something to think about as you get on with your day.