By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Fortunately the days for many contractors to ignore social media are dwindling fast.  I don’t say this because I am a fan of social media but because from a marketing stand point I am seeing evidence that it is more effective than the old school method of yellow page advertising.  I am still a throw back to earlier times, and switching for many contractors like me is a tough mix of being forced to and wanting to.

That being said we are in a totally new world where social media is taking over.  This is good in many ways for the consumer because they can bounce ideas off friends, and family without doing anything more than sending a message via phone, tablet, laptop, p.c., or any other electronic device known to man.  This also lets a collective of people weigh in on various feelings and concerns about service issues, from who to call, to particular types of problems, and even how they felt about a particular service experience.  For the service provider that means that they will need to stay on their toes with the way they work with, and treat the consumer.  The fear most consumers have is being taken advantage of and getting false information.  This is a valid concern and one we take seriously.  The concern a contractor mainly has is being not dealt fairly with on a review from a customer who may or may not have used the contractor.  We personally have had reviews from two customers that we have not even done work for.  Both of these are valid concerns.  That being said just some quick advice to both parties.  First; Contractors should describe both what needs to be repaired, or installed and why.  This means both the pros and cons.  Then between the contractor/service provider and the customer a decision should be made as to the proper direction to take.  This may mean that a particular job should not be under taken until proper funds are accumulated, or that an idea that seems perfectly fine may not work in a real world application.  There is nothing wrong with either of these things.  To do any job right is a combination of proper installation practices, proper price for quality reasons, proper use of a product, and the list goes on.  A properly trained professional will not lead anyone down the wrong path.  Notice I said and will stress again a PROPERLY TRAINED PROFESSIONAL, this means a person who takes pride in his ability to perform work the knowledge to know the work that needs to be performed, and the wisdom to share that with the consumer.  As a guide the following should be must do’s each time you need a service provider and before you purchase from them.  First, read reviews on the available internet sources see what other people say about them.  Some of those reviews can be doctored, so see if they sound credible as you read them.  Second, when you talk to them ask questions and be aware of your knowledge level in the area. If you are unsure and would like more information don’t feel afraid to ask for more.  Third, see if anyone else you know has used them and see if their experience was what they had hoped it would be, you don’t have to be pressured into a decision by being scared into it.  Fourth, do you like the interaction you have been having with this provider?  Fifth, see if they have financing, if you need it the waiting to have a problem taken care of may be over. One final topic, often in the service business when people see a drastic difference in price they often will say they are being “ripped off”.  Keep in mind that as a service provider is running a business one of, in not the largest cost of that business is getting you to call.  This is a legitimate cost of doing any business, and you must weigh whether that higher cost driven to get you to call is able to justify your hiring that particular company.  The key words and traits to watch for should always be honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, appearance, knowledge, and your gut feeling.

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