Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Valuing Expertise - Let's Blog Off

Every two weeks Bloggers unite for a day to write about a communal topic. This week LetsBlogOff asks the question How do we accommodate the Ikeas and the Wal-Marts of the world while at the same time making a living? Where does price stop and value start?

I am going to start this Lets Blog Off with a story that happened to me several years ago.  I was in a Home Depot trying to find something specific and was trying to decide between several varieties of some thingamabob.  Somewhere nearby someone mentioned doors and my brain started paying attention.  It turned out I was standing near the door department and a woman was trying to order a door.  The HD associate was asking her which way the door swung.  Unfortunately he couldn't convey his question in a way she understood.  After listening (basically eavesdropping) for a few minutes I walked over and asked if I could help since I was in the door business.  The HD associate was less than thrilled.  All I did was take a piece of paper and write exterior and interior on it, drew two lines that represented walls and one line that represented the door.  I was able to ask the woman, while showing her the crude drawing, when standing on the exterior side of the door which side were the hinges on and did the door swing into the room or out of the room?  She answered quickly and easily.  I looked at the HD associate and said there you go. He stilled looked less than thrilled but the woman thanked me profusely and I continued on my way.  

While this story proves that my expertise in the door business is valuable I still have to make a living which to be honest is very tough in Florida.  It is all about the bottom line versus quality here.  In order to be competitive I no longer put a dollar line item in my quotes for my time and knowledge to create submittals, key schedules, tag hardware, and all the other many small services that come up on a project.  If I did I would never close a job.  My hope is that because my service and expertise are given willingly the general contractor or end user will come back to me for the next project.  So far it has worked.

Please read the other contributors point of view below as they are much wiser than me :)


  1. Great post Ginny and now its a matter of going the extra to gain the customers attention.

  2. Because of my on-going home remodeling I spend quite a bit of my time in Home Depot, and I have several times helped a customer get the correct information after a HD associate gave him a wrong answer. What I’ve found, though, as they are sometimes like doctors. I’ve caught doctors in what were clearly incorrect diagnoses, and what I have learned is that they do NOT want anyone telling them how to do their jobs!

  3. Nice post Ginny and great example :) I can see why your GC's come back to you!!