Deal or no deal?

A colleague of mine recently relayed the following story and it made me think, sometimes I’m looking for a deal and sometimes I’m not.

He told me about a time when he decided to have his wife’s vintage MGB sports car painted. While this individual is very mechanical and had done much of the restoration on this car, he felt out of his depth when it came to this job. After all, the car was his wife’s, not his.

So, he went looking for a body shop with the expertise to do this job. He started at the logical place, a shop that had done work for him in the past. However, each time he contacted this shop, the owner was out and no one else there could give him an estimate.

He then drove the car to several different shops. At the first, the estimator glanced out the window and said, “That car is old; we never work on anything that old.” My colleague thought, fair enough, it’s your business, not mine. The next shop was dark and filthy. Although he did get an estimate for the first time that day, it came with the following caveat: “That number [the estimate] is more or less; you know, every time I do a job like this I lose money.” The third shop initially looked encouraging. It was large, well lit, and very clean. Unfortunately, the office manager did everything she could to discourage him and even recommended, “Gary, down the street—he used to work here and can do it for less.” At shop number four, Gary was cocksure and adamant that he could make the car look great, but sadly lacked details regarding how much it would cost and when he could get it done. Not surprisingly, his shop was full of cars in various stages, some of which looked as if they hadn’t moved in a very long time.

The story does have a happy ending. My colleague finally found a body and paint shop operated by a young man named Tony, who went to great lengths to proudly show pictures of vehicles he had restored.  He even provided testimonials from the owners. Tony explained in detail how he would do the work, what it would cost, and when it would be completed. Tony’s prices were only a little higher than the other guys’, and my colleague was happy to pay them.

Think of this story in the context of a homeowner with a private water system. Most, if not all, have no business trying to service their water well and its associated plumbing. Just as my colleague had to go shopping for a body shop contractor, at some point homeowners will need to shop for a water well contractor. The question is, what will you say when your phone rings? Will you be a “Tony”? Or will you be one of the other guys? The deal depends on you.

Thanks to Randy Woodland, a Franklin Field Service Engineer based in Colorado, for providing the insights behind this post.

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