Mold was the first thing that came to mind.
My living room smelled like a wet towel left on the bathroom floor.
So I started to determine the cause of the smell and what to do about it.
“This is not normal,” I thought.
I did one test and the results came back within acceptable range.
“But this can’t be right. My house should not smell like wet laundry left in the washer for three days.” I was also having physical symptoms beyond what I thought was acceptable, meaning, maybe “acceptable range of mold for some people is not acceptable range of mold for me.”
I called a professional company to do a test.
The results came back. Elevated levels of molds that appeared on the first test and “Remediation recommended.” (A lot of remediation.) I mean, I had a hunch that would be the case.
Ok, so now what?
The test company that professed to be independent sent me to a company that tried to sell me on DIY remediation products.
Over the course of many calls to me the product company’s tactics changed from, “Most mold remediation companies don’t do a good job, they don’t know what they’re doing,” to “Have you ever HAD a quote from one of those companies? Why would you want to PAY for that?”
Those are two different, completely unrelated statements. Sales tactics. SALES. TACTICS.
Now something smelled fishy.
Next I called my insurance company and asked, “Who do YOU work with for mold remediation.” I figured that a company that pays out tens of thousands of in claims for mold problems would have recommendations for companies that would take care of the problem.
Insurance companies are invested in the problem getting resolved because unsolved problems cost them more.
While working through this process, a light bulb went off in my head.
Is this how people that don’t know much about technology feel when they’re trying to buy a website or get help with their website?
Like it’s 95 degrees and they’re wandering around a corn maze and around every corner someone’s trying to sell them something to drink or a secret map that will get them out, but the drinks and the maps cost thousands of dollars and they think it might just be easier to stand there until the corn falls down and they can walk out even if that takes months?
(Too many metaphors? Eh. I hate corn mazes. Especially in the summer.)
How do you know who to trust?
The first and easiest way to find someone trustworthy, for me, is to get a referral from someone *I* trust. I did that with the mold testing companies, and, honestly, each of them did their job in terms of testing and reporting. The followup was terrible from the second company, but the job I paid them to do got done properly.
Then I might get a few different quotes for the job from various referred companies. I make sure I’m comparing apples to apples. (Do the quotes that have similar pricing offer similar services?)
If the quotes that have similar prices offer wildly different types of deliverables, I ask why. And a company should be able to tell me why they recommend certain services, and those answers should be easily forthcoming and consistent.
For example, if you were to compare what’s included in a standard WordPress website built by my team to a website built by a big agency, you might find a large price difference (I’m almost positive mine would be less expensive), with fewer services offered by the agency.
- Here’s my answer to why that’s probably the case:
- I have a well developed process for creating websites.
- I have a well developed system for managing that process.
- I have highly qualified, affordable programmers to work on the website.
- It’s important to me to deliver websites that are up to industry standards so I include things that other places do not.
- It’s important to me that the client have full control over their website when it is finished.
- I primarily work off of referrals and reputation, so not doing a good job is not only bad for the client, it’s very bad for me. Not doing a good job costs me more. (It could cost me my business.)
- I have lower overhead than large agencies.
However, when you compare my prices to someone on UpWork, they’re likely to be higher, but I usually include more services:
- A 30 day post launch maintenance period.
- An extensive closeout package with documentation of important information and tips for managing your website.
- The opportunity to contract with my team for ongoing maintenance on a “pay for what you use retainer” package instead of a “pay me this much every month whether you use it or not package.”
- I don’t disappear.
What the salesly mold product company didn’t realize was
I didn’t *want* to remediate my mold myself and I wanted to pay the price to get what I wanted (a safe, professional job done by someone other than me), not the lowest price.
What they didn’t seem to realize is that changing sales tactics halfway through made me smell a rat.
Their only goal was to sell and because most people might buy products once from them, they have no incentive to maintain relationships, so they’ll do whatever they can to sell. That didn’t align with my needs and wants.
TL;DR: How to find trustworthy help
It’s difficult. After this summer, I realize that more that you could ever know.
Here’s what I try to do when finding help, and these steps might be helpful for you.
- Get referrals from multiple people that you trust or talk with multiple references for the company you’re thinking of working with.
- Talk to the company and make sure that they understand and align with your core needs. (Is price your biggest concern? The ability for someone to get something done with little direction? Understanding of your industry? Do they seem to understand your needs?)
In the green industry, particularly, it’s so important for someone helping you to understand the ins and outs of the industry because it has some real differences to others in which I’ve worked AND I have first-hand experience that the knowledge and willingness to learn about those differences will determine the success or failure of your chosen helper.
- Arrange a trial period of 3-6 months, when possible. (This isn’t usually possible with websites but it is with almost everything else.)
- Use LastPass to protect your passwords and your assets.
- Require contracts.
- Trust your gut. If something smells moldy, it probably is.
How to reclaim your time
Recent books I enjoyed
The inventor of modern code breaking was a woman.
A popular historian retraces Olmstead’s travels through the South.
A clever novel that could be a true story, but it isn’t.
Best tech tool you’re probably not using:
The password manager that will save your sanity.
Recently launched websites
1. For an author
2. For a green industry alliance client of UpShoot, LLC.
Resource for learning to think differently
With so much going on this summer, I was waking up in a state of panic every morning. I needed to change my routine and my thinking, so I started listening to recordings from Uncommon Knowledge.
My business coach who has helped me triple my business since working with her (Yeah that’s new! Officially passed that mark this summer!) does this and so I figured it was worth a try. One of my helpers listens, too, and swears by them. And now so do I. This summer has been a summer of searching for solutions and I’ve found some in places I didn’t expect.
Well it’s nice to be back with my newsletter. It was a busy summer with mold and with growing my business. Sometimes you gotta hunker down and get things done.
I’d love to hear from you. How was your summer? What’s new with you? Are there any tech questions you’d like me to cover? Other questions about marketing? What scares you the most about getting help with technology?
Have a great rest of the week!