What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
I do have standard pricing but there are so many variables that need to be explained. TV mounts must meet a standard of quality that matches the weight they are designed to hold. When you get a cheaper model mount, I would bet you it's the kind that comes in pieces and not solid. I would also bet that it's made of a thinner metal and would be prone to bending and sagging with heavier TV's. This will cause the integrity of the mount to be compromised and risks having your nice new TV eventually fall down. You may think you are saving money, but down the road, you risk far more in costly repairs, by not being prepared with a checklist from an experienced professional, who cares about your possessions as if they were his own.
I will make sure to go over a lot of other options that most pros do not include with their basic prices. It may seem like a lot of questions, but you will be glad I asked, once you see all the headaches I'm helping you to avoid.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
First, and most importantly, a PHONE call is absolutely necessary. "Good" business is just not possible without some form of verbal communication, during the hiring process.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have been a computer tech, a carpet installer and done general remodelling and construction. I was a cable guy for 9 yrs and I have a strong technical background as well as a constructive mind with attention to detail. I have been doing TV mounts and home theater setups, as a focus, for about 3yrs now. With my wide array of experience in so many areas, I came up with the name "Dan-of-all-Trades". There's a lot of things I know, but there's still so much left to learn and I am ready for it.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
Fixing things has always come natural to me. As a child I was always mechanically and technically inclined. I would take apart a broken toy, see how it works, fix it and put it back together, thereby extending it's life. I kinda just instinctively fell into this niche, so to speak.
I want people to know that I am not just out to make money. For me it's about honor. I do this because I enjoy fixing things and helping people solve their problems.
I firmly believe that when you invest your time into making money, the money will always outrun you. But when you invest your time into people, you can become the wealthiest person in the world.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Mostly people who need anything having to do with Home Theater systems, TV Mounts, Wifi, Networking and Internet. Also some people who have needed handyman work done like minor carpentry, electrical, and plumbing. I have worked with elderly, retired, young couples with and without children and foreign customers as well. I am not bi-lingual, but I always use my resources to find a way to communicate and get the job done.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I did a TV Mount for a customer who wanted it over his fireplace and wanted the wiring hidden. The special part about this, is that his fireplace had stone work all around it. There was no flat surface to mount to. Other pros had either said they didn't want to tackle it or wanted to charge an outrageous amount to get it done. When I first surveyed the job, I was hesitant as to whether I was equipped to handle something like this. After thinking and brainstorming for a moment, I was able to determine a solution. Although it required a lot of elbow grease and took most of the day, I was able to shave the stone and create a flat surface, which I strengthened with a plank of wood and was able to mount the TV and even kept it leveled. The stone work proved extra difficult for running wires behind it as I could not simply create a hole big enough for my hand, like on other surfaces. I drilled several small holes and was able to shape them into the stone in such a way that you could barely tell they were there, and used them to feed all the wiring behind the wall and over and out the side of the shelving that was indented into the wall next to the fireplace.
The customer was great through the whole thing, helping me out with holding tools that required extra hands, while trying to finagle the wires behind the tight areas of the wall, and remained patient and confident in my ability to get it done. We were both impressed with how it all turned out and as usual, I left him with a smile.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Call me old-fashioned, but I was raised to speak with people, one on one in verbal communication. If I was looking for someone to hire, I want to know how they speak. I would want them to CALL, not EMAIL me, or I would call them. You can tell a good bit about someone's workmanship, if they can't communicate properly. Look for honesty, integrity and realism. Any Joe-schmoe can claim a good report, but the proof will be in their speech, the way they carry themselves and behind their eyes. Our society is becoming way too impersonal with this digital age, and business should never be impersonal. Especially, when you are inviting someone into your home. I, for one, would want to know what type of person is in my home, and I want to hear them speak, before doing so. It just shows good judgement and discernment. So, please, give your phone number or make some type of verbal contact with your Pros. The hassle of a few phone calls will be well worth it more in the end, then to just not have any idea about a person, until they show up on your doorstep. I guarantee it.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Have I properly labelled the type of work that I need done and what type of person am I looking to hire? Do I know all the materials I will need? Have I got a list of all the things I need done, on paper? How much am I willing to spend? Is going cheap really worth it, if I get cheap quality workmanship and have to pay more in the end to have it repaired?
Should I leave a phone number so that Pros can contact me and I can communicate with them and get a feel for them, before hiring them and inviting them into my home? = ABSOLUTELY!