Competitive bids are a wonderful perk of the free enterprise system. At the same time, they can become the bane of your existence. While managing your property, you sometimes realize there's a project that is, if you’re honest with yourself, out of your scope of expertise. Being the highly intelligent person you are, you whip out the Yellow Pages or log on to Google to find someone else to tackle the job.
You begin your quest by looking for companies offering the best customer service, the best pricing and, of course, the absolute best job completion time frame–like yesterday.
Either by edict from someone higher up on the chain of command or through your own stubbornness you're determined to get three bids. Contact No. 1 goes decently and after some cajoling the bidder actually agrees to view the small jobsite. You initiate contact No. 2. The phone just rings. There's no answering machine, so you try the backup phone number and still no response.
When you call the next company you reach the girlfriend of a one-man shop, but he’s out and she doesn’t know when he’ll be back. Can’t say you blame him either when you hear her screaming at the children in the background. You practically have to beg her to take down your telephone number. All the while thinking, “I only need three prices and job completion time frames, how hard can that be?”
On to hopefully contact No. 3. A big phone book ad or website greets you and you think, “At last, a legitimate company.” A receptionist greets your call, then passes you along to the job foreman who takes down your information. Within an hour, a rep from company three shows up to bid the job.
Excitedly you show the person the scope of work. And you breath a sigh of relief. You’ve found a company with a fast response, a classy operation, a clean company vehicle and they didn't thumb their nose at the small nature of your job. You know all will turn out perfectly.
After going through this process one or two more times over the course of the next week–because no one else ever called back–you are now considering doing the job yourself. What the heck, you can read a how-to book, any dummy can do that much and you’re no dummy.
Eventually all the bids arrive, and you still like company No. 3 from round one with the prompt service during the bidding process. You excitedly rip open the envelope that holds the answer to your prayers, and then you are blown out of your chair and onto the floor by sticker shock.
The telephone rings, it’s the boss and he’s asking for a status update on that job that needs to be addressed. “Well, boss, I honestly, really tried but ...” At least a day in the life of a self-storage manager is never dull.
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