3303 Carolina Way • Richmond, TX 77406

Here’s an experience that many of us have gone through.  One day someone comes to you looking for advice.  Maybe this is one of your children…. or another family member… or a close friend.  He or she has an important decision to make and they are considering several options that they would like to bounce off you.  So, you listen as they explain their situation, and after gathering the background information it becomes clear that some options are better than others.  But one or two of those options are downright dangerous and could cause this person much more harm than good.

So, you give them your best, honest advice, and then for their own incomprehensible reasons, this person ignores your advice and makes the wrong choice.  You want to run after them… you want to warn them of the disastrous consequences of their decision, but they’ve made up their minds.  And all you can do is watch helplessly while knowing you will need to be there for them later to help them pick up the pieces.

In our business, this is a sad reality that I see almost every day….

We get a call from someone who’s siding is rotting off their house, or their old roof is leaking, and water is getting into the structure of the house and damaging the load-bearing wood.  This person is meeting with several companies to get several quotes (which is the right thing to do), and depending on which companies they call, they get a variety of quotes in a variety of price ranges.

True story: not long ago I met with a couple who had serious problems with rotting siding that was literally crumbling off the walls.  They got at least six quotes (most in the range of $18-20,000 to replace all of the exterior wood on the house), but as usual, two of the quotes were very low, in the range of $14-15,000.  (My quote was about $18,100.)  They looked on the Better Business Bureau web site and looked up the complaint reports of each company.  Our company had ZERO complaints, and the company with the lowest bid (of $14,300) had THREE complaints, which meant that the BBB’s own guidelines ranked us both as having a “satisfactory” record.

In their own enlightened reasoned way, they figured that if both company’s reports were “satisfactory”, then both companies had to be equal in quality.  So, they signed a contract with the company that gave them the lowest bid, and congratulated themselves on “doing their homework” and getting such a bargain.  Of course, I was shocked… and disappointed… and made a low-key and useless attempt to get them to reconsider.

What they DIDN’T know, and what they didn’t want to hear…

… was that this company was able to give them such a low price because they were cheating and probably breaking the law in several ways.  In this particular case, that company was getting the majority of their Hardie and building materials from resellers who were selling material that had been left over or stolen from other job sites.  Additionally, the crews that were installing the materials on their house were mostly unskilled day laborers who had no training or understanding of the Hardi-Plank installation instructions and were just trying to install it fast and get out of there with the money.

This is why that “Lost in Space” reference keeps popping into my mind.  I wanted to warn them, loudly and clearly, of the extreme risks they were taking as a result of this decision.  I wanted to tell them bluntly and directly that this company was going to royally screw them over… but I didn’t, because there is a fine line there where it would have been very easy for me to cross over into very unprofessional behavior.  So, realizing that I had already given them all of the information I could, I decided that all I could do was let them go, and find some satisfaction in the fact that they would regret that decision in the very near future.