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#44944 - 11/16/04 04:43 AM Educating the Homeowner
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
How much education do you normally give to your customers?

My tendency is to talk to them until their brains are ready to explode from the overload (how do 'ya suppose I got the nickname? )

What things do you tell them to look for?

There must be a million things that they can see with their eyes, but without knowing what they're looking at,it's no help at all

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#44945 - 11/16/04 05:23 AM Re: Educating the Homeowner
chi spark Offline

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 102
Loc: Chicago IL USA
I always answer questions. If there is an interesting point or good tip, I would ask how much they really want to know. It's nice when they are interested, they usually thank me and say that they've always wondered about that, but never felt comfortable to ask. It drags when you have the "Good, you're here, fix it, how much" people. I haven't lost business from this, but increased as they usually refer or have me come to their homes for work.(commercial customers)

#44946 - 11/16/04 06:01 AM Re: Educating the Homeowner
Tom Offline

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
When I see that glassy eyed stare starting to set in, I figure it's time to shut my yap.

I try to point out hazards & potential liabilities, leave out the theory unless asked.

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

#44947 - 11/16/04 06:02 AM Re: Educating the Homeowner
pauluk Offline

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
I like to explain anything and everything if they're interested. I guess you can put that down to an enthusiasm for my work and the desire that everybody else should be as enthusiastic about it as well!

I try to establish the level of knowledge of the person concerned and pitch my explanations at the appropriate level. I feel that in some cases an good description of why something should or should not be done, for example, goes a long way to helping somebody who might otherwise just think we're following petty rules for the sake of it.

#44948 - 11/16/04 07:28 AM Re: Educating the Homeowner
NJ Wireman Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 179
Loc: New Jersey (South Jersey)
I usually explain anything a customer wants to know. I ALWAYS look for hazards of all kinds. I can come out on a bad switch call and i take a quick look around make sure they have smokes, carbon monx dect. etc. If i see any other hazards ie extension cords under carpet etc they get advised about it as well as what can happen. Once again its that firefighter thing in my blood.
I must say though i recently went out to look at a side job for one of my wifes clients. He wanted new outlets installed and changed out. He also wanted to replace some switches threeways etc pretty much just a quick update of devices. SO he begins to ask some questions as i pop open some cover plates to finish my estimate. I go ahead and drop back off my writen estimate and await a call back. Nothing for a couple of weeks ok it happens. Next thing i know my wife comes home from work one day and says your not going to beleive this, so and so was in today and he told me to say thanks for explaining how to fix those items he deceided he could handle it on is own and did such. I was ready to insert foot into my own mouth. That cost me a few hundred bucks. So i do tend to feel a person out prior to speaking anymore. Sorry so long winded.

#44949 - 11/16/04 08:27 AM Re: Educating the Homeowner
Bill Addiss Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
...he decided he could handle it on is own
All too familiar!

I've learned telling them too much can be costly (loss of jobs) and also might be a bit dangerous if they really aren't capable of doing the work in a safe manner.

I think teaching them how to recognize hazards is a good thing as it can avoid injury and damage as well as bringing in jobs. I'd much rather fix something before it becomes a problem - fire jobs are no fun.


#44950 - 11/16/04 11:23 AM Re: Educating the Homeowner
Dave55 Offline

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
One of the downsides of free estimates is that it doesn't cost people anything to pump you for information so they can do it themselves.


#44951 - 11/16/04 11:28 AM Re: Educating the Homeowner
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
Yah, but look on the bright side. The technically inept customer tries to change a light-socket and goofs up the job.

Then he's gotta call YOU again to sort it out. And it will cost him MORE because it's more work to sort out and make safe the mistake!!

#44952 - 11/16/04 01:27 PM Re: Educating the Homeowner
DougW Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1083
Loc: North Chicago, IL
Unless he's too embarassed to call the same EC

#44953 - 11/16/04 02:44 PM Re: Educating the Homeowner
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6792
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
With the AHJ hat on....."call a lic. EC" usually after the second or third wrong answer to basic questions durung plan review/permit approval process.

With the EC hat the comm clients; anything that they ask gets an answer, simple or detailed, dependent on who is asking.

The leasing guys get really basic info, service capacity, avail voltage, etc. The VP gets any answer he needs.

Resi....explanation of what we did, why, and what should be considered and why.


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