Be different, be better 31 Oct 2014

S had a house built for him. The builder engaged painters who did such a poor job the paint started peeling off the outside of the house after about three years. S sued the painter successfully.

Meantime, he sought contractors to strip the paint off the outside of the house and start again. He chose his painting firm based on a recommendation he felt he could rely on. The price was high but the contract included a superb guarantee.

The contractor undertook to inspect the house every six months for five years and to make good any work which was not completely satisfactory. The painter gives the same guarantee on all jobs and he’s built up a tremendous reputation.

On the first inspection the contractor discovered some defective work. It wasn’t major but the job was not up to the contractor’s high standard. At the time of writing there is scaffolding on the northern side of the house.

“What’s wrong with the painting?” I asked the owner’s wife, surprised to see the scaffolding back.

She replied: “He said something about the finish on the window ledges not being good enough … I'm most impressed with this firm. You might like the story for your newsletter.”

Why is it so important?

  • It generates referrals.
  • It means the painter doesn’t compete on price.
  • It means a bigger income for the business owner.
  • It means this contractor gets work when the next recession comes while those who compete on price starve.

How does this affect you? It’s an extreme example of the value of a good guarantee. It's also a USP – a Unique Selling Proposition – something others don’t offer. Be different, be better and don’t compete on price.

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