White Lie / Harsh Truth
As a young buck stepping out into the business world in the trades, I took strides through learnt lessons of text in how a business should aspire to greater heights. Expand. More employee’s. Tender contracts. Government contracts. Chase the dragon. Bottom line! bottom line! bottom line!
After several years stepping down said path, I came to realise I was just like all the other conglomerate assholes with no actual ethics within an astronomical unit of reality, solely existing to drive profits and not caring who we stand on in the process.
I still remember going to the local hardware in Nerang with my father. Asking the man who owned / operated the establishment what his thoughts were on the particular project at hand, to recieve knowledge not only greater than ours on the subject, but from someone who actually cared about the result…as opposed to modern day hardware employee’s who wouldn’t know their asshole from elbow (for the most part). Best just remaining quiet to prevent losing brain cells through in depth discussion with the resident slugs who make up the cogs of the ever expanding wheel of profiteering.
From those early lessons, then subsequently from my lessons learnt travelling the wrong path early on, I soon directed the business into a more personal establishment, where the crew might be small, but the experience high and someone you can trust when in conversation, every word from my mouth is honest and with your best intentions in mind for the outcome of your project.
I also tend to make this simple frame of thought expand thoughout my entire business. The material suppliers and manufacturers I choose to work with not only offer high quality products, but also value their customers and their business, along with their return business through a quality relationship.
My conrete supplier? 11 years I’ve been with them. The last time I spoke with their rep, I simply said “I’m not one of these guys who goes around several companies and plays one against the other, we’ve been working together for a long time, I think the prices have gotten a bit high, can you see what you can do for me?”. The next day my rep dropped the prices 15% all across the board, much more than I was expecting, but only received through an above standard relationship over the last decade.
My steel, resurfacing, epoxy and machine suppliers, are all leaning closer to 10 years working with me than anything else, hell, Ollie my longest employee has been with me for 14 years. I value long term relationships that I can trust. Which leads to me the point of this post.
Today, the line was crossed and I flipped. I don’t get angry often, so when I do, you should listen closely and take heed.
Now I’ve been in the game a really long time. I snicker when the concrete supplier, who is an hour late, tells me the “plant broke down”. If only I had a dollar every time huh?…
I have a laugh on the blue bird skies day when a machine operator says he got a puncture, knowning damn well he’s a fishmerman and always takes a day off on days like today. It’s cool. A common understanding. All little white lies with a little tongue in cheek. They know, we know, whatever.
But when you’ve expanded your business and your 20 yo is trying to tell me how to run my business, I get a little agitated. When that 20 yo, after a week waiting on a repair to my grinders, says that there’s no news yet and we need to wait a bit longer, I’m patient, I sit. When I touch base again Friday, only to be told I’m being pushy and the repairer is waiting on parts to fix a $20 tag and test lead on the grinder which should have only taken 2 days….I smell and rat and get a little fucking frustrated.
When I finally get in contact directly with the 3rd party repairer you sent it off too, finding out the grinder had been repaired for the last 3 days and you simply haven’t bothered contacting them to find out, wasting my time and not appreciating the exxy profit I was prepared to pay you for the service, knowing I haven’t got a second to scratch myself at the moment with how busy we are to fix it myself? You’re lucky I didn’t come down there and ram the grinder up your ass. This isn’t a white lie, it is blatant disrepect for my money and my business, take your medicine boy.
All an old school bush kid like myself requires, is honesty. Tell me you’re busy and haven’t had a chance to follow it up. No problems. But treat me like an idiot and piss down my back telling me it’s raining, I’m taking my money elsewhere. Just between you and me, it’s not a small amount I spend on floor grinding.
I’ll explain that to your boss when he realises why I haven’t been in for a few months.
I suppose at the end of the day, I don’t expect your business to stay small, you travel your own path. But, I do require industry level respect. I’ve earnt that much through being a quality customer.