|FP Publishing, Reading, Berks, RG1 7UG. UK.
|The Cowboy Builder Trap
Having spent the last 40 years in the construction industry myself and always delivering a
first-rate service, only to have it undermined by the proverbial 'cowboys' who either come in
before or after you've done your own particular job - placing you firmly into the centre of
'The Cowboy Trap' - I can say, that it's not much fun.
Most people believe that if a builder has a good postcode and plush offices combined with
impressive stationary that they 'must' be getting the real deal. The truth is far more scary,
and it's a point that really 'should' be taken more seriously by the public at large if they
want to avoid the dreaded Cowboy trap.
The most successful Cowboy businesses are those that are not afraid to invest 'heavily' on
the 'posture' or 'branding' of their business. After all, they 'need' to attract as many
customers as possible in, so they have to make themselves appear so attractive you'd be a
fool 'not' to take them at face value and trust them with thousands of pounds of your
hard-earned money....... The bait for the Cowboy Trap is set.
You are taking all of the good advice being offered to you by getting several quotes and
double-checking references being offered to you. The Cowboys are ahead of you here by
firstly tricking you into thinking you're 'safe' in their hands. They buy large full and
half-page ads in the Yellow Pages and other referral agencies.
Often on credit, and with no deposit. ........ After all, you'll be paying that bill, (if it ever
gets paid at all that is) because you'll be paying a good deposit up-front for the work you
need completing. (Won't you?)
The Cowboys will also have joined the various 'trusted trade' agencies which are usually no
more than 'subscription memberships' who are only after the membership fees, and do 'not'
themselves (usually) follow-up on the references provided. Even when they do, they'll be
checking 'primed' references who often receive payment for the 'reference' service
All in all, the Cowboy Trap is extremely hard to identify and even harder to avoid. Once 'in'
though, it's almost impossible to get yourself out of. The answer? You need to find a strong
'chain of trust'. You need to find a builder or other trades-person who is totally trustworthy
and then you need to follow 'down' or 'up' the chain of trust to identify those who will leave
your property clean, safe, tidy and with the work left to the standard you are entitled to
You also need to pull up your trades-person/professional 'as soon' as you notice things
aren't right. Whether that be the standard of work, their timekeeping or their general
behaviour. It's no good complaining when you've allowed somebody to continue in their
own blissful way if you 'know' that it's wrong. A TRUE Professional will actually 'appreciate'
you telling them. They're not mind-readers and everyone has different sets of standards
they live by. Always speak up, on the very first day if necessary. That way, everyone knows
where they stand and the 'Cowboy Trap' can't spring shut on you.
Remember - YOU are the Customer/Client - YOU pay the bill at the end of the job.
Chains of Trust are not easy to find if you're new or unfamiliar with your neighbourhood,
but it's not impossible. Frustrated by the problems thrown up by the Cowboy Traps
wherever we turn, I decided to offer the solution (as best I could). I set up a business to
business referral club that wasn't driven by 'Money' but by the quality of it's members.
To do this, I selected several tradespeople that I knew I could 'really' trust to deliver a
quality-driven service to their customers. I then asked them to recommend others that
'they' would vouch for without hesitation. Taking the law of geometric progression into
account here, it's not hard to see how a good selection of very 'Trustable Tradespeople'
will have signed up to the club and are available to be approached by 'anyone' looking to
avoid the dreaded 'Cowboy Trap'.
FRED67.com will be 'the' referral club that sensible people will be going to whenever
they require the services of reputable businesses, who in turn will be queuing to be invited
into the club, as memberships are decidedly 'limited' to maintain the Quality of the service.
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The Cowboy Customer
( 'Cowboys' can be found in 'every' industry/service know to man)