Thursday, 16 April 2009

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator: Part 4

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator, by Janice BellCollage: construction, blueprints, women
Credits: MS Office ClipArt - j0291984.wmf

Part 4 - It Pays to Be Honest
Vrrrr ... vrrrr ... vrrrr ... went the drywall screw gun and another screw went in and another one and wait ... What was that? The last screw felt funny or different when it went in.

Then it dawned on me and a very sick feeling washed over me. I raced around to the other side of the wall of the bathroom which hadn't been boarded yet and sure enough, after I removed the insulation, I realized that I had indeed driven a screw right into the black ABS drain pipe of the sink. I decided I had better call my customer and fess up.

Very sheepishly, I dialed my customer’s phone who had gone out of town for a couple of days.

"Hello", said I, "its Janice".

"Yes Janice, what can I do for you?"

I explained the mistake I had just made, and offered to pay the plumbers out of my own pocket to correct it. My customer was okay with that arrangement and thanked me for being so honest. Then I decided to call the plumber and get him to do the repair as his company was ultimately responsible for the whole system. If they repaired it, their insurance would cover it should anything happen down the road.

After the repair was complete, the plumber came up to me and thanked me profusely for admitting my mistake. He then informed me that almost all drywallers at some point make the same mistake. The only problem is that they almost never tell anyone what they did and keep on going. Or they don't even realize that it even occurred in the first place. The last time this happened to the plumber, his company had to make good for the damage caused by the drywaller’s error. This included replacing the flooring, baseboard, drywalling, repainting etc…

He then thanked me again to the point I was beginning to think it was overkill until he mentioned that driving a screw into a drain pipe was the worst type of leak to figure out, because it would leak on an intermittent basis only, when water went down the drain.

If you drive a screw into a supply line, it leaks continuously, so it will eventually give away its location.
He was so grateful after the sting of the last unfortunate incident of errant screw placement that he offered the repair for free. Now how often does someone do that?

Meanwhile, my customer's business lunch had been interrupted by my phone call, and her dinner companions were curious as to what was so urgent that her renovator had to call her in the middle of it. She relayed the story to them and they agreed that she was one lucky person to have so honest a person working at her house. The reason they had so high of an opinion of me was because, coincidently, they had had a drywaller work at their home who put 5, count them, 5 screws into one of their copper pipes which of course created all kinds of expensive damage.

The incredible part of this whole story is that, even when you make a mistake, if you admit it right then and there, and get it fixed, not only does your integrity remain intact, the accolades you receive for doing the right thing goes a very long way indeed towards business longevity. The plumber extended exceptional courtesy to me as well and as a result I have fostered a very good working relationship with him.

Everyone makes mistakes. It's what you do about them that makes the whole difference.

Happy renovating!

Janice Bell
Bell Renovating
2009 © Janice Bell

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator
Part 1: All in All
Part 2: Weld on Fire
Part 3: They Were Nailed
Part 4: It Pays to Be Honest
Part 5: Rural Renos
Part 6: Messy Is Costly
Part 7: Door Hell
Part 8: Just Where Do I Stop?
Part 9: Dressing for the Trades

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