I cannot remember a single day since I joined the family run installation business 12 years ago where I thought to myself that I didn’t want to do this job any more. That was until today. It wasn’t because of the company itself, or my own personal situation. Rather, a home owner who chose to make the planned works ongoing and ahead about as difficult and stressful as possible.

I have come home today wondering to myself how much longer do I really want to deal with home owners?

Bad vs good

I don’t want to go into too much detail as to the nature of what happened today. But I can say that a very simple contract was made far more stressful and complicated by the actions of a home owner who had utterly ridiculous expectations and assumptions of the trades people we sent who we know do a 100% professional job every single time they step on site.

To brighten my day I was happily on the other end of this person’s personal thoughts and wonderful attitude. Had it not been a family business, or had I not been so inclined to bite my tongue and remain level-headed, I may well have told this person where to put the particular product purchased.

Inside, I was incensed. The issue, if it could have been called as such, was literally something of absolutely nothing. The theft of a loaf of bread would have sat higher in the league of things to go have gone wrong in the world that day. And yet, I, and other members of staff, were being given a dressing down over utterly erroneous matters. The attitude towards us as people, who had actually got some speedy, efficient and good work done that day, stank. The end result being myself and others in the office stressing ourselves out to attempt to keep an totally unreasonable person happy. It’s not a big contract either by the way. And we become stressed out about these things because we care. Because we give a crap about keeping people happy.

Thankfully, over the course of a year we perhaps only encounter three or four home owners who no matter what you do, what you say, what plans and procedures you put in place, will never, ever be happy. They expect the world and everything in it on a plate, and act as though you owe them something, not the other way round.

Yet, it is these people that stick in your mind over all others. I would say that 95% of home owners we deal with in a year are nice, reasonable, straightforward people who understand that home improvement work involves cracking a few eggs, as the analogy goes. But that remaining 5%, as it appears to me, are becoming worse and worse to deal with. The kinds of home owners who might look to get as much as they can out of a business.

I must say that over the 12 years I have been involved in sales at our business, a certain niche of home owner has become gradually worse, more self-entitled, simply a bigger pain in the backside, as they know consumers have gradually got a bigger upper hand thanks to changing consumer regulations. We even had one home owner tell us that they wouldn’t be placing an order with us as our terms and conditions were too professional in our favour!

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Problem home owners

Much is made of the rogue businesses in the glazing industry, indeed in many other industries. Yet no one ever hears about the rogue homeowners. The customers who deliberately set out to make life difficult for businesses for no reason whatsoever. Why is it we don’t hear about them?

Well, I believe it is because it has become very easy to make business the punching bag in the last few years. We have seen business protection eroded and powers driven to consumers year after year, leaving busineses vulnerable and open to abuse. Profit is a dirty word now, God forbid a window company makes a decent margin.

As many installers will tell you, these people do exist. And it is 100% disheartening when you come across them because you know in yourself that you have done the very best you can, gone out of your way for these people, bent over backwards and all the way forwards, and absolutely nothing can be done to make them happy.

It is these cases which leave me, and probably others, wondering why life is worth it. The happy, easy going customers do make running a business smooth. And they are always of course appreciated. They create the least amount of work and stress. Bills get paid. Positive reviews get left. All is well. But it’s the bad home owners which often create the most upheaval, and as time rolls on the severity of these cases becomes worse. So I left work today wondering do I was another 12 years of having to work for these people. They’re few and far between, but they cause the most stress and headaches. And they’re getting worse.

I wrote not so long ago how I wouldn’t wish to start a brand new installations business from scratch at this time. Today’s experience has only reaffirmed my opinion.

I would love to hear from installers on this. If you have had recent dealings with unreasonable home owners, or feel that installers are being abused or not being treated fairly by certain customers, please leave you thought and opinions via the comments section below.

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