Ding-dong. We went from sound asleep to heart-racing awake in less than a second. Macie went from sleeping to barking in the same amount of time. Ding-dong. Again. Mike went to the door. I heard talking. He went outside. A few minutes later he came back in and informed me that it was a contractor he had called about a fence quote. They had agreed in an earlier phone conversation that he would come that day for a quote, but they hadn’t decided on a time. The contractor was to call before he came. He didn’t call.
Not a pleasant way to wake up, but we can get over it, and it is possible that Mike may not have remembered correctly. Yet, that wasn't the only issue. When the contractor came, he parked wonky - half in our driveway, half out and over the sidewalk. Also, when Mike informed him of the length of the fence, he argued that he had measured a different length. Mike conceded that the contractor may be right, but when he later received the emailed quote from him, the length quoted was the original length Mike had said it was. The contractor also gave a quote for thousands, yes, thousands less then what we were quoted from others. Hopefully it is obvious by this point - we decided not to go with him for our fence, despite the reduced price. It was evident to us that some quality would likely be sacrificed for the price quoted. It was at least a risk we weren’t willing to take.
Things add up. If you are disorganized, inconsiderate of your customer’s time and aren’t concerned with parking your truck straight, it is unlikely that a potential customer is going to feel confident hiring you to install a straight, plumb fence.
This is not a bad review of the contractor. This is something I’ve noticed in almost every business I’ve been in - who you are is who you are in business. It is difficult to compartmentalize yourself into separate working entities. Things spill over. People know that eventually your true self comes out. If people know you well and keep coming back to buy your service, it could be due to your trustworthy, consistent character. If your employees know you well and follow your leadership, it's likely due to who you are.
Due to your unique position, a large part of your business begins and ends with you. That’s not to say that you need to be without flaw. But you do need to realize that who you are affects your business - virtues, flaws and all. Where you are lacking, delegate accordingly. It's possible that the contractor is very talented at installing fences but that he isn't very organized or good with sales. He could have delegated his weaknesses out to people who hold them as strengths.
A wise business person knows their strengths and delegates accordingly.
It would be an investment for the contractor to effectively delegate. He may have to give one of his workers a raise for the added responsibility or hire a new person to handle sales altogether. He'd also have to spend time in communication with this person. Yet, he definitely had room to increase his prices. And I believe his sales would inevitably increase if the disorganization and lack of care for potential customers was resolved. As it is now, he wasted his time and energy here giving us a quote. That time could have been better spent using his strengths and growing his business.
If you want increased sales, consider what your strengths are and pursue them. If you are doing everything, then you know what needs done and who will do it best. Pursue your strengths and find a way to delegate the other essential business functions. Your financials may thank you.