Whatever Happened to Workmanship?

Posted: 21st August 2008 by Luc "Sandman" G. in Life, Ottawa

Whatever happened to workmanship? Doing your job well and being proud of the work you do? For the most part, it seems like quality work by quality people is a rare find these days. Customer relations from trades people seem to fair no better.

Over the last few months I’ve had a few incidents that I’ve had to deal with that are still unresolved. One of these incidents involved getting eavesdroughs installed on our house. It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon. After waiting for a month and a half to have our eavesthroughs installed, the day finally came. The installation date kept on getting pushed back due to the insane amount of rain that we’ve had this summer, which was understandable. Regardless, my wife and I were almost ecstatic that we were finally getting them. It only took them about an hour to get the eavesthroughs installed. A little after lunch time I walk outside to see the progress of their work only to be surprised that they were already done. I was a little surprised that they never wrang the doorbell to let us know the work was completed. It only took a few seconds to figure out why. As pictured above, on my newly paved driveway, a 2-3 foot long string of paint stood out like a sore thumb. My first reaction was that it was mud, so I whipped out the hose and tried to spray it. Nothing happened. I took out my stiff broom and started to brush away at the stain. Still nothing happened. I bent down and finally noticed that it was some type of latex glue or paint. No matter how hard I scrubbed it wouldn’t come out. How hard would it have been to let us know that they had a small accident in our driveway? The installers fessing up to the mess instead of leaving me to discover it for myself would have gone a long way in customer relations. And instead of the installers reporting the stain, I had to call their service department to complain. One of their sales guys was over to assess the damage last night and states they’ll fix the problem over the next couple of days.

At the beginning of the summer we purchased a central air conditioner for the house. The installers had a heck of a time running the inside piping due to the basement family room being finished. What should have been a 4 hours job turned into a 10 hour job. However, even though this was a challenging job for them to do, there’s no excuse for what they did to my siding (pictured left). I would have been happy if they let me know of the damage and that they’d take care of sending out someone to fix it. But yet again, I had to discover the damage for myself, call their customer service and inform them of the damage that was caused. After a couple of months of playing phonetag with their customer service, we finally had someone come over to inspect the damage. The siding should be replaced in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, my last tale revolves around whatever company my builder hired to plant trees. I’m not sure if its a builder policy or a city bylaw, but every new house on our block received a tree in our front yard. I find this great as it adds a bit of character to the neighbourhood. My problem again is with the workmanship of whatever company planted the trees. They used a backhoe to dig a square hole in my front yard that was about 3 feet by 3 feet. 6 days after the hole was dug, they finally planted the tree. Round peg, square hole. The roots of the tree were maybe a foot and a half in diameter. They filled the hole back up but that was it. They never put sod down to replace the one they dug up. None of my neighbours had this issue as they had their sod installed at the same time as they planted my tree and our sod was put down last October when we purchased the house. It would have been very easy for them to take some sod from the back of their flatbed truck and replace mine. Heck, I would have been happy with cut sod scraps from my neighbours’ installation. But no, they did jack. I had to go out to a store, buy my own soil and grass seeds and try to plant grass seeds where big chunks of dirty laid.

I won’t name the company names just yet. I first want to see how well they handle the damages and how well they do the repairs.

I don’t understand how people can’t take pride in the work they do and the quality of their work. I worked construction for about a year and nothing like this ever happened. The company and the employees took pride in leaving the place as clean or cleaner than when we arrived, letting the customer know if there was any accidental damage that was caused, and reported the damage to the office so the customer didn’t have to initiate having something repaired. I believe that this is a standard that all companies should adopt, whether you’re a one man team or have thousands of employees on the payroll.

Tags: , , , ,
  1. Welcome to the modern age. If you haven’t already read about our experience getting our rear bumper fixed, that took THREE visits, go ahead. 🙂

You must be logged in to post a comment.