Someone needs to start a business. It’s a simple but necessary one. They’re a scheduler. I know that some would say a general contractor does all of this but from the complaints I have and have heard, I don’t think it’d solve it. I think this plan is perfect. I get to think that. It’s called an opinion.
There is a central scheduling office who works like an answering service- you know, like doctors use when they’re out for lunch and after hours. You call and ask for someone to come out and snake your lines. They have the plumbing scheduling book right there and they know what times are available. You hang up and know when they’ll be at your house. At the end of the day, they fax all businesses with their schedules for the next day and voila. The guy arrives, on time, and does the work.
You call the electrician. You want an estimate to have a ceiling fan installed on your back porch and two new outlets out there too. They schedule an estimate for Friday at 1:30. They schedule a full hour. This gives the guy time to not only get to your house on time, but gives him time to look at the job, decide the price, and immediately go to the truck and write out the estimate which he faxes to the scheduling office at the end of the day with the rest of his estimates. The scheduling office then takes those estimates and calls people back the next day with the estimates and offers to schedule the work. The work is scheduled, the guys arrive on time, the day they’re expected, with contract in hand (or you stopped by in the meantime and signed it if you planned to be away from home while it is done) and the work is done. Finito.
Yes, I know there would still be flubs but they wouldn’t be as often or as severe.
The other option is what we currently have. Take my plumbing experience, for example. You call the plumber and schedule an estimate. Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.. You’re waiting at 1:00. You’re waiting at 1:15. You’re waiting at 1:25. Sometime shortly after 1:30, he shows up.
You show him the work. You tell him what you want. He says it’ll be, 2 guys, most of a day, and approximately 1200-1500 dollars. You say great, how long will it take to get put on the schedule. He says after you go down and sign the contract, anywhere from 24-48 hours usually. You assume approximately 72-96 hours. Contractors can be optimistic. You have NO IDEA how optimistic… and how presumptive. He says to call at the end of the week.
You call on Friday. You call on Monday. You call on Tuesday. On Wednesday you get a call saying that he’s busy but he has an oral estimate of anywhere from 1000-2000 dollars. You say “great” when can it be scheduled. Then the ominous question crashes.
“You are interested in having it done?”
Umm Oh, I don’t know…. I’ve been calling daily… I guess I’m just funny that way. Call to chat with a stranger about my pipes… yeah. Uh huh.
“I’ll try to catch him in the morning to get how many guys and how many hours so I can schedule it.”
Gee. Thanks. How generous of you.
You think about it. You stew for a bit on it, and you finally realize, that this guy didn’t expect you to do the work. He probably took one look at your house in all of its disrepair, your rotting teeth, and decided that you couldn’t afford the work and so he didn’t take you seriousy. You decide it’s time for the big guns. The. Big. Ones.
You call. You tell the receptionist that you understand that they’re busy and that things happen but you are becoming concerned about their ability to do the work once it is scheduled. You’re worried that you’ll have the house torn up for their arrival to no avail. You want the work done, you want it done soon, and if they are too busy, you understand but you will need to call someone else to get the job done.
You’re told that you will get a call by the end of the day for scheduling.
Hardball. It does the plumbing good.