Only Some Believe In Quality
QUALITY: What does it mean? I have resisted the temptation to get out my dictionary and thesaurus before writing this article. Why, because what started me thinking about quality were two unconnected events that recently happened in my life that to me summed up quality better than any book definition.
The first occurred about a month ago when, forced by my growing collection of cars, motorcycles and tools, I finally made the decision to purchase a large steel shed. This wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, I have looked at several manufacturers both online and ‘in person’.
Having done research I knew about the different types of insulation and the claims made by manufacturers.
As always there was one ‘shouty’ company who did lots of newspaper adverts, lots of special offers and whose claims on insulation, to my mind, were somewhat spurious. I also spotted another company with a good website, good reputation and otherwise little marketing.
I decided one Friday afternoon to escape the tedium of the office and make the hours’ drive to the latter company; this is where the quality starts, well in my opinion anyway. Having lived through the worst excesses of two ‘building booms’ I know that when it comes to construction ‘do it once, do it right’ and ‘pay the right man the right money’ should be the mantras of any budding developer.
So it was a pleasure to meet a salesperson who wanted to talk and show me the quality of his product and go on about how cheap it is.
From my research I knew the man in front of me was not a salesman, but someone who knew his industry and his product and asked to recommend a contractor for the concrete foundation he immediately named one who went on to demonstrate the essence of quality.
I know that most contractors, if asked to supply a foundation for a shed, would pour a large lump of concrete, little bigger than the footprint of the building and that would be it. I also know that’s not how it should be done.
That contractor took four days to prepare the site, build the perimeter foundation, and then pour the slab on top of the damp proof course (it’s a big shed). But he didn’t go until that slab was as perfect as possible; it’s the floor of a shed, but to him it had to be right!
He turned up on time, kept in contact with me on the days it was impossible to work (I live in the west of Ireland – work it out!). He did all the extras without complaint (yes, I did pay him) and he wouldn’t compromise on materials despite being on a fixed price. How I wish I had met him earlier.
The second instance is a much shorter story (sighs of relief all round) and actually concerns wooden floors.
I was in a house recently sanding and oiling a wooden countertop when I spotted a freshly sanded wooden floor in the hallway. Usually what I see is a bodged DIY sanding job, or sometimes a less than impressive professional job. I rarely see a really well sanded, well finished floor; this work was well done.
I racked my brains trying to remember when I had done this job (surely I’m the only one who can work to this standard), but after talking to the homeowner I was disappointed to discover that there are others who can do an excellent floor sanding job. It needed no explanation. You knew it was…quality.
Terry Guilford is technical director of The Ultimate Floor Sanding Co, a corporate member of the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA). n www.ncca.co.uk
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.