How not to run a business – take 1

I’ve named this article “How not to run a business take 1”, because I expect to write MANY more of these.  Last night, in thinking about my list of things to do for the week, contemplated several missed appointments from a certain roofing company.  Then I took it further and decided that one of the main reasons for our economic issues is that businesses have apparently forgotten, or never knew how to be run “correctly”.  Or as I said it last night, “No wonder the economy sucks.  No one knows how to run a frakking business anymore”.

Now on to my roofer story.

So, back in January (I think Jan 30th), a roofing company offered to do a free roof inspection.  I, of course, do not go on my roof, so only knew what I could see from the sides/front (I look every time there is a bad storm for missing shingles, but that’s it).  So, I agreed.  Of course they found damage from hail (as if I didn’t expect they would either way, but I wanted to know how bad it might be).  They then did the upsell, in which they basically told me they would basically handle the insurance company, put on new shingles/felt and provide a sign incentive if I put out their roofing sign for 30 days.  The guy doing the “sale” was real “green”, but pleasant enough and seemed to be trying, so I went along with it, figuring the insurance adjuster would be the final arbiter (at this point in my mind I had been told there could be a problem, so now “had” to take some action with insurance to prevent some future issue…whether that is the way it works or not was not a concern, just my perception).  They then showed me their bonafides (certs, warranty info, etc) and assured me they were on my insurance company’s “preferred vendor list”. I questioned them about a competing agency I was considering, which sounds similar to my agency and was assured that they also were on that agency’s “list”.  They tried to initiate a call to my agency, however, being a Saturday, the home claims dept was closed.  I was left with some paperwork (that I signed, an interim contract), and a statement that they would give me a call early next week.

Cut to Feb 5th.  I get a call from the “roof guy” and he wants to know when my adjuster would be out.  Huh?  Oh, I was supposed to call my agency and place a claim.  Nice of you to make that clear, and/or leave directions for me to do so.  Ok, well, I guess I should have known that, however, I was not clear on what was needed (and recall the part above where they assured me they would be handling interactions with my insurance company).  I’d like to state here that I am not an idiot, but I do not have experience in this area, so am perhaps a bit naive or perhaps ignorant as to the process.  In hindsight it makes sense that I needed to initiate a claim, and understand that’s what they were trying to do on the 30th.  But they failed BIG TIME on communication.  Ok, now I know I need to place a claim.  I kind of drag my feet on this now, because 1. I’m annoyed, and 2. I hate making calls, and 3. I can only do it between 9 and 5 eastern.  I finally place the call on (I think) the 17th of Feb.  I received at least 3 more “annoyed” messages from the “roof guy” waiting for me to call the claim in during that time, each one prompting an “annoyed delay” of at least an additional day.  Yes, childish and probably immature, but it is what it is.

So, I spoke to the claims dept at my agency, and they are quite nice.  I am set up with an appointment for an adjuster to come on Feb 24th.  So, I call the “roof guy”‘s office, since I don’t seem to have his number, but I do have the office.  I talk to the office manager/receptionist person, who seems highly irritated that I am asking her to do something with this info, namely inform the “roof guy” so he can meet the adjuster.  Well, Feb 23rd hits and it SNOWS.  The adjuster calls and reschedules for the following Saturday, the 27th.  Now I call the “roof guy”‘s office again, and the same office manager/receptionist person gives me a long distance number and tells me to call their central scheduling person and tell him.  Seriously?  I mean, SERIOUSLY?  I have to call their internal scheduling guy and reschedule?  Whatever.  I call him and get him to switch it.  He was nice, and apparently this happens all the time.  I actually “liked” him, first person at the “roof guy” place so far.

Saturday the 24th rolls around and a “roof guy” associate calls and asks me to call him when the adjuster calls and says he is on the way so he can come over and not have to sit there waiting.  Seriously?  Ok, I guess I can do that.  Apparently he was the foreman at a nearby job site, but it’s not like he said that at the time.  He also didn’t say that he was pressed into duty at the last second (that day) either.  Instead, it was conveyed to me by his tone that he was annoyed to have to come do this and wanted to spend as little time doing so as possible, and he was a “busy guy”.  So, once the adjuster calls at about 10 till 2, about 10 minutes before his time slot was (2-4pm) and says he is on his way.  So, I call the “roof guy” associate and let him know.  The adjuster arrives and talks to me for a few minutes, letting me know some information about what he’s going to do, as well as waiting a bit for “roof guy” associate.  After 15 minutes, he decides he’s going to go on the roof and start.  I saw the ladder he pulled out of his sedan (complicated and folded small, required a little work to get unfolded), so I think maybe he was waiting for”roof guy” associate to get his ladder :).  So, he’s up on the roof for probably another 15 minutes and my dogs signal the arrival of someone else.  I see the “roof guy” associate’s truck in the front, but not “roof guy” associate.  Apparently he’s up on the roof.  I overhear a bit of the small talk “roof guy” associate makes with the adjuster, and about 10 minutes later the dogs signal something is happening.  The “roof guy” associate vehicle is now gone.  Ok.  I guess I didn’t need to talk to “roof guy” associate, nor was “roof guy” associate apparently customer service oriented enough to tell me he arrived, was talking with the adjuster, or was done and leaving.  The adjuster comes down another 15-20 minutes later and gives me his info.  He approves the claim (and tells me the “roof guy” associate knows this as well), and has a check.  He then explains how everything works, what parts he expects the roofer will need (has an itemized breakdown of what was approved in the check, etc), and to call him if the roofer disagrees with the costs so they can negotiate the differences.  He then tells me that if the roofer cannot meet the price point that the agency has an “approved vendor” that can.  I then ask him if my roofer is on the list and he tells me no (I think with a bit of disdain, but I may be mistaken).  I then tell him that they told me they were on “the list” and he smirks and says that they maybe were mistaken with the other agency that sounds similar (I think his polite way of calling them liars), and then I mention I specifically asked about them too, and then he laughs and says he cannot comment further.  Interesting.  So, now they are liars (or mistaken.  uh huh, riiiighhht).  He leaves his number and gives the whole “don’t hesitate to call” speech and leaves.  I have to comment that so far, my interactions with my insurance people have been great, so I’m going to give them a shout out.  Great job Farmers!  (not State Farm).

So, now I have a check for the first half of the roof work.  Now, I wait for “roof guy” to call, I guess.  My roof isn’t leaking, and apparently I have 365 days to get the work done, so I’m not really in a hurry.

On March 2nd or 3rd, “roof guy 2” calls and says that “roof guy” was out on a family emergency, and that he, “roof guy 2”, was now my roof guy.  He asks if the claim was approved (why?) and I reply in the affirmative.  I give him a little bit of a ration of crap for the “roof guy” associate’s behaviour, which is when he explains about him being a foreman and all that jazz, though that still doesn’t really cover for his lack of customer service skills (does it?).  He then sets up an appointment for the following Wed, March 10, to come over and discuss the project, pick shingles and schedule the job.  On Wed, Mar 10 he calls me and says he’s not going to make it because of being sick.  Ok, we schedule it for Wed, Mar 17th, same time.  No show, no call.  Interesting.

So, now back to tying it in to not knowing how to run a business.  By the way, I’m not asserting that I know how to run a roofing business here, because I don’t (though I could learn).  I’m also not claiming to be an expert on how to run a business, rather, I am pointing out behaviours which do not seem like winning behaviours.

So, let’s review.

  • Claim Approved, Check.
  • Check in hand, Check.
  • Contract in place, Check.
  • Roof company? Roof company? Bueller?

This is why I say they don’t seem to know how to run a business.  They know the roofing business.  They know HOW IT WORKS.  They know the claim was approved.  They know I have a check.  Yet they still can’t seem to sell me their product.  How does that make a successful company?

Simply unbelievable.

Let me reiterate my opening statements. Businesses have apparently forgotten, or never knew how to be run “correctly”.  Or as I said it last night, “No wonder the economy sucks.  No one knows how to run a frakking business anymore”.  This is but one example.

Maybe I am a “bad customer” and don’t deserve service?  Riiiigghht.

After re-reading this stuff, I’m kind of getting mad.  I guess I’ve been too nice the whole time.  Is this other people’s experience with this kind of service?

Update 1: Finally got a call (actually he left a message) from original “roof guy” on Tuesday, March 30.  I was unable to return the call with a date to meet, as my work schedule was busy.  I guess “roof guy 2” is off the case again.

Update 2 (Friday, April 2nd): “roof guy” called again, and luckily I was at home, and answered (if you can’t tell, I HATE to return calls).  He swung by after I gave him a little crap about “roof guy 2” no shows and I pressed him on the “preferred status” thing with my insurance company.  He claims now that after talking to the owner that they changed their minds about accepting the “preferred status” because it was too much work on their end to make the insurance company happy.  Might have been nice for the owner to tell people that before they run around making false claims ( I used the word “deceit” which seems to have upset “roof guy”, probably rightly so, but from my end, seemed justified).  Anyway, he took the paperwork and is going to run up a quote to see if they can do it for the insurance company price it appears.  I was told I would be gotten back to by Monday, maybe Tuesday at the latest, and he would email me a copy of the scanned paperwork.

Update 3 (Tuesday, April 6): Message on my answering machine from a girl in the roofing company office, wanting to know when to schedule the drop off of the materials for the job.  HUH?  I haven’t seen colors, haven’t agreed to a date to do it, haven’t heard back from “roof guy”.  WTF?

Update 4 (Friday, April 9): Message on my answering machine (From Thursday, April 8 I suppose) from a girl in the roofing company office, wanting to know when to schedule the drop off of the materials for the job.  This time I call back since it’s during business hours.  I get the girl and explain that I haven’t even chosen a color yet, nor have I seen the contract, so I wasn’t sure exactly how or why she was going to deliver me some parts for a job I haven’t even scheduled yet.  She seemed a little confused but told me she would get “roof guy” to bring by the samples (he will call).

Update 5 (Saturday, April 10): “Roof guy” calls and apologizes for ‘someone else’ having written the contract and him not knowing that I hadn’t chosen the shingles.  Hell, maybe I want upgraded shingles or decking materials or something, do I EVEN GET THE CHOICE?  He schedules me for sometime Wed, April 14 to bring by the samples (meaning he will call me at 10am and let me know what time he will be by…I guess it’s too hard to set aside a specific time for a customer…or maybe I gave him too many options since I said anytime from 10am to 3pm was fine).  I still do not have a scanned copy of the insurance company paperwork, or the originals for that matter, which I probably should keep for some reason.

Update 6 (Saturday, April 10): I ended up sending this to the contact info listed on the company’s website.  Had a response for one of the owners that he would look into this, which is great.  And a few minutes ago (2:37pm), a company truck was in front of my house, but I’m not sure why?

Update 7 (Monday, April 12):  Got an email from “roof guy 2” who ends up being the manager of “roof guy”.  He apologized and in general tried to explain things.  He reiterated that “roof guy” would get with me Wednesday.

Update 8 (Wednesday, April 14):  “roof guy” calls to set up a time to come out, but I have to go into the office in the afternoon, and he’s not available in the morning.  He says he will drop off the shingle samples for the wife and I to look at.  (Yes, I got the shingle samples)

Update 9 (Wednesday, April 21): “roof guy” called today and left a message, but I wasn’t home as I had to be in the office at 7am and didn’t get home till after 7pm, and didn’t check messages till after 9pm.  (So I didn’t return his call).

Update 10 (Thursday, April 22): Apparently “roof guy” called again, but I didn’t get the message till late afternoon Friday, April 23rd, which next update will address.  Was at work from 7am till after 9pm due to meetings.  Interesting thing is that “roof guy” gives me his email address, which as I told him, had he done that sooner I’d have already had a roof because I can almost always be reached via email and I check it frequently.

Update 11 (Friday, April 23): Got an email from the owner claiming they’ve tried to get in touch with me “multiple times” and they are about to have a “price increase”.  I’m annoyed because when I get this email, all I’ve heard is the 1, count ’em 1, message from Wed.  I check the answering machine, and lo and behold, there is another message now qualifying as “multiple”.  Where were they for all of the previous week.  My guess is the owner asked “roof guy” for an update and all of a sudden I became the bad guy because I didn’t respond.  At this point the owner and I agree to part ways, and the saga is over.  At least he sent me a scan of my insurance documents that I can give to the next roofer.

So, what do you all think?  Crappy service, or am I to blame here?  I certainly didn’t help I am sure.

The roofing company is Crosby Roofing.  “roof guy” is David.  “roof guy 2” is Larry.

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