Finding the “Secret Sauce”: Get There First and Get the Deal

Anytime the talk among my group of friends turns to home repairs and remodeling, which it often does, one of us has a new story of a bad experience. So I was not excited about finding a contractor to fix the door on the shower in my master bathroom that didn’t close properly. First I considered replacing the shower. I did what any consumer would do – got online and looked at replacement showers. I couldn’t find any for less than $1400 plus the labor cost. Next I visited one of the big box home improvement stores and talked with an expert in bathroom remodeling. He candidly told me even though they have a network of contractors, they have none who will repair shower doors because they can make so much more money doing replacements.

I got back online and found a home repair referral service that lets you type in what you need and provides you with three local contractors who are interested in doing the work.

The contractor I choose got there first: I made appointments with the three contractors.

  1. The first called me within two hours of the posting (Sunday). I made an appointment with him for the next day (Monday). He didn’t show up when he said he would then called but left no voicemail. He called back several days later and I let him know I’d selected someone else.
  2. The second, who got the job, called me Monday morning, made an appointment for Tuesday morning, and was on-time for his appointment.
  3. The third called Monday afternoon and made an appointment for Friday. I called them back after I’d selected the second and cancelled the appointment.

I didn’t just choose him because he got there first; however, I chose him because he convinced me no one else could do the job for less, listened to what was important to me and provided me with options which met my requirements and were less than the prices I’d expected to pay.   Let me break it down even further:

  1. He knew his business:   He came in with everything he needed to do a quote. He had an options book and knew when each supplier could have the materials to him.
  2. He offered options: He was willing to work to fix the shower door, but had an option where he could replace the twenty year old shower for less than half of just the material cost I found online at the big box store.
  3. He offered to start immediately: He said all he needed was a 50% deposit, he would order the glass, remove the current shower immediately, and be back the following Tuesday to do the installation.

The two other contractors didn’t even get the chance to bid. My contractor was as good as they get. He communicated throughout the process, showed up to do the installation when he said he would, and did a professional job with no surprises.

He’s found the “Secret Sauce”.

What’s the “Secret Sauce” that boosts your business’ sales?

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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