I was out in the field almost all day Friday and when I returned I noticed that our weekly shipment of windows had arrived at our showroom in my absence. When I went to make sure everything came in correctly and was ready to be installed the following week, I noticed that one of the orders had the wrong installation flange on them. This was not good news. I went inside to check the paperwork and sure enough I had ordered them incorrectly. What to do?
My first reaction of course was to figure out how to “make them work.” The crew had just returned and I explained the situation to them and then we pulled up the pictures of the job to see if we could make the incorrect flanges work and it turned out we could, but was it the right way to go? I called the window manufacturer and asked if they could resend the right frames and we could switch out the glass we had here and they said no, we’d have to order seven brand new windows costing us nearly a thousand dollars in the process. Additionally, we would possibly have a hole in the calendar for the crew next week, which meant additional lost revenue.
At that moment I was glad that my business partner, Patricia, wasn’t there to witness this because she is keenly aware of how difficult it is to make money in this business and a loss like this could mean the difference between a profit or a loss for the month of February. Again, what to do? We could put the windows in and the chances were that the client would never know the difference, but I would and my crew and office staff would. What kind of example was I setting? I picked up the phone and called the manufacturer and asked them to please remake the windows to the proper specifications and hung up the phone. It was a difficult decision to make but it was the right one, and I feel good about it. The incorrectly ordered windows will be donated to Habitat for Humanity for their use in building affordable homes for those in need.
Patricia and I have always tried to run our company to the highest standards and those standards are simply based on the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If I ordered something to be installed in my home, I wouldn’t want the company to pull a switch on me after I had ordered them and so it stood to reason that we couldn’t do that here either. It was a painful lesson and hopefully one I won’t repeat again anytime soon, but if I do, I know what I would do. I’d do the right thing because, well, because it’s the right thing to do.
Save Energy Company
John Gorman is President and co-owner of Save Energy Company, the leading replacement window and door provider in the San Francisco North Bay Area. He is on the Board of Directors of Electric and Gas Industries Association (EGIA) and has served as Board President.