Taking the Time

I've never felt comfortable working on anything but the most simple plumbing jobs around my home. So when I noticed a leak in my sprinkler system, I decided to call a professional. 

I started by checking reviews on Yelp. That took me to a few Facebook pages which lead me to a handful of websites. I made a list of six companies that had positive reviews from work they performed in my area. Of those six, I was able to get quotes from three companies, and my experience with each couldn't have been more diverse. 

The first repairman worked for a large company. He made it clear that, although he performed sprinkler repairs, his specialty was installing new systems. I showed him the area where I noticed the leak, and asked if he knew how many valves he thought might need to be replaced. Without even opening the box to the valves, he said, "I dunno. If were down there, we might as well replace all of them." He provided a quote, but he made it clear he didn't really want my business. 

The second company I called hooked me up with a repairman over the phone. He asked me a few questions about the make and model of my system, and seemed disappointed when I could only tell him the brand: Rain Bird. He said he didn't have time to stop by my home, yet asked me to take a few pictures and send them to him for review. I did as he asked. He replied back a few minutes later with, "At least $400, but I won't know till I'm down there." 

At this point I was beginning to wonder if anyone wanted the job. I don't know a lot about my sprinkler system, but I know enough from working with water, that I need the job done right the first time. Plumbing isn't like painting where nobody will notice if you skimp on the last 2% of the job. 

The last company I called consisted of one guy. On the phone he told me he'd need to look at the sprinkler system before he could provide an accurate estimate. I made an appointment for the next morning, and he showed up on time. He told me that he worked in the oil fields in Houston for a number of years, but always had a desire to move to a small town and start his own business. His father ran a sprinkler repair business, and he shadowed him for a year before taking over. That was about five years ago. I mention this part of the story, because he took the time to get to know me and share a little about himself. Calls that came in to his phone went to voicemail. 

For the next two hours, he dug down far enough to see exactly where the leak was coming from. He said that all four valves should be replaced since they were at least 20 years old. He provided a quote that was higher than the two others. 

I don't have to tell you which guy got the job. 

One of the primary things that drew me to Puget Systems back in 2011 was the business philosophy of the owner. Nothing in the business felt rushed. Builders took however much time was needed to assemble each computer. Sales answered the phones without any quotas hanging over their heads. Support technicians took as much time as needed to resolve problems.

In short, we were encouraged to get to know our customers. As I learned this past week, a lot of companies want to tell you what you need, but few are good listeners. 

When I worked in sales, I once took a call that last about four hours, and nobody got on my case. I've seen technicians spend hours working on a solution that might help a single customer. This is actually encouraged! I've never worked for a company like this before. 

We don't repair sprinklers here at Puget Systems, but we have a lot in common with the man who repaired mine.