Yankee Home Improvement- November 2017

NOV 2017


One day, years back, I got tired of my leaky roof and decided to call up a contractor. I heard an ad on the radio from one who promised he’d beat anybody else’s quote. At the time, I was already in the industry, working for a company that did windows. I considered myself pretty savvy. So, when he asked for a third of the cost — $2,500 — as a down payment, it didn’t bother me. I knew that it was standard procedure, and I’d already checked out and confirmed his licenses and insurances. I handed it over, looking forward to the day when my roof would finally be patched up and I could stop worrying about it. Day after day passed, and he didn’t show up — nor did my phone ring with any word from him or his business. I called the number he had given me, over and over and over, to no avail. As time went on and it became clear that he had no intention of ever showing up to actually finish the job, a distinct feeling of helplessness came over me. After all, what could I do? I knew nothing would come of calling the police, and online reviews did not exist. I resolved to do whatever I could to hold that shady contractor accountable. One morning, I got into my car and just drove around town, looking for any signs of the company’s construction crew. Lo and behold, I managed to track one of his roof crews down. The logo on their van gave it away. They were up on the roof, busy with their work. I parked my car, got out, and marched on over, even going so far as to climb up the ladder up to the top of the roof. The team looked at me, flabbergasted. The owner wasn’t there, but I explained my frustration, asking if I could call the owner from the construction chief’s cellphone. Not beholden to what I’m assuming was probably not a great employer, the chief dialed the number and handed it over. Though he never answered any of the dozens of calls I made from my home phone, you can bet he picked up for his construction chief. Furious, I confronted him for duping me out of thousands of dollars AN UNLIKELY INSPIRATION How Getting Ripped-Off Spurred Me to Start My Own Business

without any intention of doing a single hour of work. He was a smooth operator, pretending to ease my frustrations and assuring me, with his voice of authority, that the crew would be over to my house in a few days to complete the work. I’d like to say this is a story of success, of me getting justice and receiving the service for which I’d so dearly paid. But guess what? They still never showed up. This horrible experience, and the horror stories I heard from dozens of others, are what spurred me to start my own business the following year, along with my signature no-worries, money-back guarantee. I hired a reputable construction manager I knew from my time in the industry, rented a small space in Northampton, Massachusetts, and got to work. Though I didn’t draw a single cent out of the business for the first six months, I never looked back. Now, I’m proud to be able to say that I accomplished my goal, and that I’ve established a business with a reputation that fosters real trust and accountability with its clients. It means a lot to be able to prevent them from ever having to experience that terrible feeling of helplessness I went through back then. –Ger Ronan

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