Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 31 seconds
What does being a client advocate mean to me. It is more than just words… It involves taking decisive action sometimes.
The design phase was done and the components were selected in a small bathroom project. The construction phase was in full swing. In an effort to save a few bucks the clients selected a mid priced bathtub from Home Depot. They left the store feeling good about being frugal.
One of my favorite rants is “Like Pizzas, all (fill in the blank) are not alike.” The bathtub came in a box that I recall feeling light but it had a nice picture of a good looking tub. In questioning the plumber after the install, he said “I thought it was flimsy but didn’t want to say anything because the owner had selected it.”
Fortunately, I stopped in at the job site for something and was pleased to see the progress and leaned up against the tub. Although it looked like a tub and acted like a tub it was the flimsiest plastic thing I had ever seen or felt. I thought to myself, in whose best interest is it to leave this tub in place. NO ONE is the correct answer. I immediately told the owners that if we allow this thing to stay it would not last and cost lots of money to replace in the future. Luckily I was able to round up an acrylic one right away so we are in the process of scheduling the replacement early next week.
The Owner is not the expert in our field, they had no idea what they were getting into. Had we built the tub into the tile wall before we brought it to their attention (or worse they brought it to our attention), I would have felt horrible. The momentary embarrassment the client may feel and the awkwardness of the conversation is nothing compared to the potential upside of being a true client advocate. Sure, it could have gone the other way. My client may have insisted upon leaving the tub but at least they would have been made aware of the situation and made an informed decision.
I have nothing against The Depot, to be fair, this quality of tub is unfortunately seen in modular homes. My feeling is that it was totally out of character in this application. In my opinion, a shampoo bottle falling would crack this tub. In followup questioning, the display was 7′ up in the air and from that distance it looked like a typical bathtub that you would see in any home.
Did it hold up the project? Yes for a little bit. Did it avoid a huge problem in the future YES. This was an Owner Furnished item. There was no warranty on my part other than for the installation so why should I care? Because that is who we are. I define integrity as ” once you know the right thing to do… that is what you do.”
My dream is that with my team at Levco we would have caught this prior to installation and we are working towards that but for now I am especially proud that we were acting as the experts in our field and behaving like true professionals. I often say that we are always on the lookout for examples of “showing that we care”, well this is as bold and obvious as it gets.
Perhaps I am especially sensitive to this issue because I am working on a project where both a tub and the shower are fractured in a modular home. Talk about inconvenience, we will be fixing them one at a time.
This story is especially apropos because many of my remodeling clients are looking for ways to stretch the budget. When I was looking for the replacement tub I asked my sales person at Ferguson, sell me a tub that you would not be embarrassed to sell or soak in yourself. Time will tell, but I believe this story will have a happy ending.
Incidentally, in a post script, The Depot took the tub back no questions asked.