Monday, November 27th, 2017 by Michael Collison
Being a foundation repair specialty contractor is a gritty work. When I am standing at someone’s front door, I know when something is cracked, settled, bowing, broken, leaking, flooded, damp, moldy, stained, rotted, and smelly.
Ours is a peace-of-mind restoration industry. Fixing foundations, stopping wall and floor seepage, straightening failing walls, lifting cracked and settling concrete, upgrading sump pumps, sealing off dirt floors, insulating, sealing, and dehumidifying crawlspaces, are critical, but as I occasionally joke with a homeowner, “These are not real sexy repairs.” Though we provide permanent solutions that restore value to homes, they don’t have the same shine as handsome new kitchen cabinets, gleaming fresh windows, or an expansive deck. The work our production crews accomplish in a day is remarkable and, I will repeat, gritty. There is no easy way to work with concrete floors and walls. When jack hammers, drills, chippers, mixers, buckets of concrete and stone, and bags of concrete are your daily tools and materials, there is a hard day’s work in store. There is no simple way to work laying on your belly in a 24” tall crawlspace.
I have the deepest respect and admiration for our crews who make it all happen. When I put together a unique solution for a homeowner, I have almost 300 different water control, structural, and Radon products at my disposal. Of those, there is without question, a favorite, the dehumidifier. No disrespect to the dozens of amazing engineered and exclusive repair products that make up the majority of work, but the dehumidifier is delightful.
It’s an appliance that homeowners understand and can get excited about. Years of teasing by cheap box store units, have left them longing for what we offer – a truly dry space without constantly emptying buckets and crushing electric bill. The efficient, commercial built, residential-sized dehumidification systems we offer, provide some of that new sparkle. I enjoy telling the story of my own damp, smelly basement freed from the bondage of crushing humidity. I have a picture on my phone for show and tell. It is my practice to keep at least one dehumidifier in my van as I run my appointments. Having a unit at the ready has provided another level of remarkable to the customer experience.
If a customer decides to buy, whenever possible, I will install the unit before I leave. When I say, “I can set that up before I leave,” they are taken by surprise. “It will take me about 20 minutes, can you give me a hand carrying it down?” There is a measure of delight that comes with bringing in a large, new, boxed unit and setting it up. The physical act of hooking it up, leveling it off, showing off function and features is a nice change from just talking about solutions, and a very concrete encounter. As the first drops of condensation run through the clear hose, the homeowner enthusiasm is tangible. I take in the moment of their enjoyment. As I stow the lighter, empty cardboard box into my back seat, I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, knowing that they will see, feel, and smell the difference right away, well in advance of the major repair.
In addition to being a small act of service to the homeowner, it is actually a help to our hard-working production crews. This saves them 20 minutes of time and effort when they arrive to fix the structure. Even though I have a signed proposal and deposit, installing the dehumidifier seals the deal. The remarkable dehumidifier experience I provide to the customer and crew, interestingly, comes back to me, and that is always a beautiful thing.