Most women dread dealing with a mechanic or a tradesman. Why? Most feel, because of their gender, the technician will take advantage of a presumed lack of knowledge on any subject technical. But here’s the deal: You donʼt need to be a master plumber to know youʼre being taken advantage of on your home repairs. So follow these simple steps to ensure youʼre not being taken through the ringer.
1. Do Your Homework – How did you hear about this company? If a company comes to you by way of referral, chances are high that you know and trust the opinion of the individual who provided the referral. However, if there is not a pre-existing relationship with the company, answer the following questions to ensure youʼre calling the right service provider out to your home: Does the company have a website? Is its license information on the website? Does it have reviews? If so, what are the reviews communicating to prospective customers?
2. First Impressions Make an Impact – Keep your eyes and ears open. How does the technician present himself (or herself) AND the company?
- Vehicle – If the technician pulls up to your door in a personal vehicle without his company name or license number, be cautious. Most reputable service companies use their vehicles as moving billboards and wrap their trucks or vans with graphics of the company logo. If the vehicle is not labeled at all, there may be a good reason why the technician does not want anyone to know who he is and what services he may provide.
- Uniform – A legitimate service company understands that a first impression could be your last impression. To provide an image of professionalism and cleanliness, service companies usually opt to provide their technicians with uniforms that have the company name, logo and the technician’s name sewn into the shirt. If a technician shows up to your door in a dirty t-shirt and sneakers–be cautious!
- Invoices – If the technician provides you an estimate on a crumpled piece of notebook paper, beware. Reputable service companies typically order invoices with the company logo and contact information. The invoice should be a story of the time the technician spent in your home. If you are getting an estimate for work, make sure to ask about any warranties that may be included or a price match offer if you were to be getting competing bids. If youʼve had work done, the invoice should denote exactly the work performed and have a signature spot for the customer and technician.
3. Get nosy – ASK QUESTIONS! Itʼs ok to ask a technician about his professional background or his companyʼs work history. Technicians are often trained by their companies to respond to common customer questions. However, if the technician is shifty with his responses or his facts change, take it as a sign that he may not be comfortable with sharing information about himself or company.
4. The Take Away – Even if you fully intend to have the work completed, a good test of an honest technician is a technique called “the take away.” Tell the technician you need some time to discuss with your husband (this may be true) and gauge the technician’s response. If he understands, reminds you of the value of the work needing to be done and leaves you a card with a smile, then your relationship in the long run is more important to them than your money today. But, if the technician retorts with attitude and attempts to pressure you to do the work today, he may be more concerned with getting your money than fixing your home plumbing issues.
5. Trust Your Gut – Your biggest ally is your womanʼs intuition. If your gut tells you something is off or “funny” with the situation, get out of it.