A few weeks ago I noticed that it was raining – indoors! I’m no Kirsty Allsopp, but even I know that water from the sky should be kept strictly outside the house. We needed a roofer, fast.
I called a chap we‘ve used before, but he wasn’t available for another 3 months. That was no good – we would have run out of buckets by then.
I asked around and one of my neighbours recommended the chap who fixed the roof of the local working men’s club. This sounded like a good start; after all, you know the old saying: “A leaky working men’s club is not a good working men’s club”. So I called him and he came round that same afternoon to have a look. He was able to assess the problem – from ground level, at least – but he wasn’t able to do the work himself, having injured his shoulder after being chased into the river by some cows (“They were horning me in the water!”).
Instead, he recommended his brother (also a roofer) who rang me up to say that he’d had a cancellation and could do the work the next day.
At this point I started to have some doubts. In my experience, tradespeople who are available at short notice are available at short notice for a reason. And that reason is that they are not very good! The internet didn’t reassure me – they appeared to have no online presence at all.
So I asked the brother if I could take a reference before the work began. His immediate reply was ‘We’re not bodgers’ – which made me think that they were actually bodgers. But he said he’d done lots of local work and seemed happy enough to refer me to the working men’s club.
I went round and spoke to the secretary there, who said that the original roofer was trustworthy and competent, and his brother was probably the same. I still wasn’t 100% convinced, but we had a bucket filing up on the landing so I booked him in.
Up on the roof he went, assisted by a chain-smoking, ladder-holding apprentice, and started the work. He repeated the phrase ‘We’re not bodgers’ at least twice more during the day, and the more he said it the less I liked it. Anway, he was up there all day long fixing things, filling in holes, and talking about cowboys from the past.
And, despite my misgivings, we’ve had no problems since.
I was wrong about the roofer, because I’m so used to being able to check people out online before working with them. My roofer knows nothing about promoting himself online but he does know about fixing tiles, so I will recommend him to others.
If you’re looking for work, consider how you’re marketing yourself. People will check you out online, so consider the value of personal recommendations on LinkedIn.
If you’re recruiting, think about how your company is perceived by job seekers.