I Hope the Taper Does a Lousy Job
By Myron Ferguson
A few months ago I bid on a taping job for a friend of the family. The potential customer had hung their own drywall and did an OK job. The area consisted of a bonus room over the garage, a stairway and some blending in of new and old on the downstairs ceiling and walls. The job required a pretty skilled taper, especially the patched up downstairs ceiling and walls which would be visible to anyone entering the home. I also had to consider that the downstairs work would be in the current living space and I would be walking through even more living space numerous times while doing the work so dust control and floor protection would be important. The finish stairs were also already installed so that area would also have to be protected. I also had to factor in that this is a relatively small job. Each visit would be about a half a day’s work so I had to account for travel time as well and hopefully be able to schedule other work to fill in the day.
I thought I was the perfect man for the job. I am really good at blending in new to old surfaces. I don’t really mind taping other people’s work. I am also very neat and customers trust me to be in their living space working. I had also been in the home before because as I said they are a fiend of the family, so I knew that everything was very well done. The home is elaborate and very well decorated.
So I considered all this and gave a fair price and a date that I could start the work. I sent the estimate attached to an email which is how I do most of my correspondence with customers.Over a week went by and I did not get a reply so I sent another message asking if the estimate was received and if they had any questions. They replied and said that they decided to go with someone else who gave a very low price because they thought he was hungry for work. They also stated that they didn’t think he would do as good of a job as I would but it would be better than they could do themselves. I was kind of upset and even said to my wife that I hope they end up with a lousy job and a big mess to clean up. I know my reaction was kind of mean but I believe that quality trumps low price and I was wondering if they even considered that the value of what a skilled trades-person has to offer.
Well that could just be the end of this story but I have had some other interesting things happen lately that all kind of tie together…….
I just underbid someone so maybe they had the same thought I did when I was underbid. Basically I was looking for a smaller job to help fill in the days that I was going to be taping a small addition. I got a call about taping a garage with a bonus room above. It was just a few minutes from where I would working. So I through out a low bit because I actually was hungry for the job. Maybe that is what happened on the job for the family friend.
Another job that I just completed was a larger repair job for a customer who just purchased a home. I looked the work over and gave them a price. When I showed up to start the work the homeowner wanted to walk through and point out all the areas to me again. He was concerned that I didn’t really consider how much needed to be done because he thought my price was low. He offered to pay more if I thought I had under bid. He knew I did good work and was willing to pay for quality.
When I think about these three different situations I regret wishing the first customer got a lousy taping job. Maybe the contractor I underbid on the second job wished I did I lousy job. I really like the customer on the third job and wish they all thought like he did.
All customers, jobs, and bidding situations are unique in some ways. Maybe more so for a small drywall business like mine.