Here in the Pacific Northwest we have been covered under a blanket of snow for almost two weeks. This almost never happens here. When we do get snow it melts within a day or two. I love snow, and snow days, sledding, sipping warm drinks and snuggling by the fire. Working in the snow though? Yikes. It’s been really challenging trying to get around for the last couple of weeks. I’m used to really bad conditions as part of my job (crawlspaces and attics aren’t exactly fun) but this has been a whole new level. I carry a lot of safety gear and a ladder with me to most of my appointments and holding on to everything while keeping my balance has tested me quite a bit. It’s easy to get frustrated when things that are usually simple become more complicated because of conditions beyond your control. It got me thinking though about how many of my customers experience this when I tell them that they have a problem that is likely going to cost thousands of dollars to clean up and fix. The news is often unexpected and frankly unwelcome. Needing your crawlspace or attic completely re-mediated is particularly bad because you can’t even really see it! Most of the time if you pay for paint, a new roof or a bathroom remodel you can actually see the payoff. With the work I do for people it still costs a lot but you don’t really get to enjoy looking at it on a daily basis. I often joke with people that it’s a lot more fun to remodel your bathroom rather than your crawlspace. I’m very aware that when I show up I’m often the bearer of bad news and that I’m asking for your trust. I’m sensitive to that reality. There is one thing though that makes what I do so much easier for me and my customers. I can come up with custom solutions. Different scenarios require different approaches. Was your damage caused by raccoons or possums? It’s likely an insurance claim. Do we have to replace everything because of rats? I’ll check and see if there are utility energy rebates available to apply to your project and save you money while improving the energy efficiency of your crawlspace. Think you need more insulation? I’ll take a look and then give you options and my opinion. If you have a fair amount of insulation already and it’s in good shape I might recommend against adding more. I work for a small company and although my job can be stinky, gross and difficult I really love that I can give each person that I meet what they really want. I think ultimately that’s what we all want …. good information and options. I really value communication and work very hard to share as much information as possible about why we do things the way we do. I appreciate so much when someone who is working on my home, car or something else for me takes the time to explain what is right and recommended for my specific situation. I had this really old car that ran pretty well but that I knew wasn’t going to run forever. I took it to a mechanic and explained to him that I really wanted to do the bare minimum because it was an extra car and wasn’t vital at that time. He relayed to me that it really needed about $1500 worth of work but that if I did that it would run for many more years. I trusted his expertise and had him perform the work. Can you guess what happened? The car literally blew up a couple of months later. Ugghhh. In contrast I had another mechanic work on an old truck for me and he suggested I not do some of the things I thought it needed because there was a better cheaper fix that was in line with the age and condition of that truck. I only use one mechanic now and I guarantee you already know which one it is. The most important thing we can create in our businesses and in our relationships is trust. Sometimes that means we give free advice and nothing more, sometimes that means taking the time to explain a complicated process, sometimes that means more work rather than less, sometimes that means talking someone out of something they really don’t need. It’s really all about trust.
Stay warm out there, it’s literally freezing… -The Rat Girl