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Best Customer

DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,440
your all-time best customer? And what made him/her the best?

Happy memory time!
Retired and loving it.

Comments

  • Mike Kraft_2
    Mike Kraft_2 Member Posts: 398
    Just finishing with them.

    I started this job a little shy of one year ago.A very invasive project.I will post some pics soon.This is an existing home.Original house is a small salt box.The HO's had two additions built about ten years ago.The builder did his own plumbing(see MD's post:) )The heat was electric BB.Both additions put the existing home between them.I met these two wonderful people very innocently.I helped the builder figure out how to(or I did it)pipe his whirlpool tub.The HO's were wonderful and took my name.Over the years I did basic plumbing jobbing for them.One day I got a frantic call.I shouldnt share but I must:)Apparently Val (she'll kill me)somehow flushed her bridge down the toilet.......(G)My mission was to find them.To no avail.I said do you really want em if there in the septic tank?George felt the bridge investment was worth it:).Only in a plumbers world.

    The HO has a plan.To eventually retire from Queens NY to here.Beautiful downtown Poconos.He hates his electric heat,electric cold water heater and wants to be cool in the summer.How could I deny them;)Being an existing home I installed a two zone (4.5 ton) Energy Savings Products Hi-Velocity mini duct system.This house has two seperate crawl spaces,slab on grade and 3 seperate attics.We got along famously:)I was there for months.Boiler and indirect in the crawl.Through this project George or Val would ALWAYS make a pot of coffee.ALWAYS offer me lunch and would even set the table.Sometimes even on the deck with the umbrella up.

    Working in homes where you are in every corner of a home can be extremely DISRUPTIVE!!!These two are gems.The line sets for the cooling are 100' long and go through the garage ceiling,into one attic,through a bedroom wall and across another attic.Walls were cut closets were used for conduits for piping...........a major deal!George gave me a deadline date for the cooling.He included a BONUS.......I mean a BONUS!A real GREAT MAN.I fell short of the deadline and he gave me the bonus regardless.Lots of tales of woe in this job.There is pipe everywhere.

    More to follow.......but these two are tops.

    cheese
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,782
    Sub-Zero Corporation

    Couldn't ask for better a client. Ethical, competent, and not afraid to try something new. How many folks do you know who would entrust their 300,000 sq ft plant layout and planning to a 28-year old consultant? Ah, the memories!
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    one sweet lady

    I had the honor of installing a new boiler into a 100 year old home that this wonderful lady had been born in. At the time she was well in her mid 80's. This lady made pastry for breakfast, sandwich's for lunch, and a wonderful dinner. (14 hour's to install) She felt this was only appropriate for all the work we were doing and two day's later we recieved a nice homemade apple pie. Will never forget her joy over her new boiler...
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Frank Feiner

    Let me just say that I appreciate ALL of my customers. Without them, I would be living in a van down by the river.

    Mr.Frank Feiner and his lovely wife Rose have a special place in my heart.

    They were one of the first customers I got after going into sales at the big company, and they have followed
    me ever since. When Darin and I went out on our own, our departure from the other company was, shall we say, less than amicable.

    So off we went on our own with no company name, no leads or sales. Just "open for buisness".

    Long story short, Frank Feiner called "the other company" looking for me, but was told I no longer worked there. He thanked them and hung up. Then he hit the phone book and called several M.Hunt's until he found me.

    We have done several jobs for these folks since and they have sent referrals our way.

    Business aside, these folks are simply a joy to be around.

    As long as I live, they will never pay for another annual clean and tune again.

    As I said, I appreciate ALL of my customers, but these folks are definately one in a million.

    Mark H

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  • \"Maine\" doug
    \"Maine\" doug Member Posts: 39
    You must have done well as we love

    our Sub Zero fridge in a drawer.
  • steve gates
    steve gates Member Posts: 329
    tuff ?

    I'd have to say it's Aaron Taylor Construction.

    Honest. Dependable. Fair. So many great qualities. I'm unafraid to put eggs in his basket.

    Putty is a foriegn(sp) word. Top quality all the way. I'd put him up against any fhb(fine home builder).Any!

    Oh yea did I say pays well. Never has to tell me how HI to jump. It's pure pleasure to work. Yes you should be jealous.
  • jerry scharf_2
    jerry scharf_2 Member Posts: 414
    thanks for the smile

    Dan,

    I'm sure many people have a smile on their faces thinking about this.

    Mine was a network infrastructure design for Philips in Eindhoven, NL. A great group that was serious about doing something and offered warm hospitality, a corporation that was willing to trust the team, a company town. Through the efforts of the team, this went on to be considered a key corporate resource and one person when on to write a book.

    It was before Christmas, and escaping the "buy, buy, buy" to a place where it's a more magical time. The gluwein (sp?) was flowing and I managed to visit three museums and an exhibit. The open air Christmas bazaar was touching in it's gentle style. I love northern Europe.

    jerry
  • chuck shaw
    chuck shaw Member Posts: 584
    best customer

    was a great lady, installed a buderus boiler and indirect for her. That was the summer of 2002 and we have been dating since, nothing like having to live with what you install. I am at her home, often enough to know exactly what the heating system is doing. She had a sweet heating system, and what a great lady. If it was not for that job, I would never have met her

    Chuck

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  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,290
    Stan

    His name is Stan and he has a talent for communicating clearly with very few words. He was my first boss and I still do work for him, so that makes 36 years he's put up with me. He's always trusted me to do the right thing. He's good about paying more attention to what I do right than what I do wrong. He calls for advice about any thing technical and trusts that I'm giving sound guidance. I've always had latitude to tackle his problems however I deemed best. I know he can get angry, but he's never once aimed it at me. It's nice to deal with someone who has such high expectations. Honestly can't imagine a better person to work with.
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    Wake Up Chuck

    She's just dating you for the free service :)

    Hey are the Wallies invited to the Wedding ??

    Chowdaman

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  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    I have alot of them

    But a couple of favorite has pass on.

    One was a sweet woman who said to me " Youe going to think I am proposing, but , Would you be my Plumber ? "

    Lucille Bromley was another. Wealthy Lady who when she passed on, I sat in the back row at her funeral with the gardener, irragation man, and guy who plowed her driveway, all in our work clothes.

    Scott

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,440
    Heart-warming mermories here.

    Thanks for sharing. You're making me smile.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    A really good customer

    They always pay their bill on time and keep expanding, the new Wolf range plant is a nice addition to the custom fridges.
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    My \"Best\" were the ones that .....

    Taught me the most,without knowing it!

    The old "Yankees" that insisted that the "furnace is just fine....fix it!". The engineers that marveled at something that was "so far below them", that would be cold without me that particular evening. The widow who just lost her husband asking me if we were really available 24 hrs. a day,the person who thinks their boiler has been underwater so many times that it should be classified as a submarine.

    We all have a "best" customer. How you judge them as qualifying for that status means more than if they were the best, payers, most money made, or biggest job you've ever done. SATISFACTION for both you, and them is the BIG reward. (Almost 20 years in this NOBLE field has taught me this, and for this I am GREATFUL). Chris
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,782
    That's the one I helped them design...

    ...first I told them what it would cost... then how much room they would need... how many machines they would have to buy... how many people to hire... etc. then I got to help them do it.

    From time to time, my boss and I even got to redesign some of the ADL-designed oven features to make them manufacturable/servicable. I left for B-school just as we started pilot production. Awesome experience.

    In the end, the product speaks for itself. I cannot wait to put some Wolf/Sub-Zero appliances into our new home.
  • jackchips_2
    jackchips_2 Member Posts: 1,338
    And thanks

    for the question, Dan.

    Had many memories in the last two days but one kept coming back.

    Mr. and Mrs. Cooke, who, like many, have passed away always just called. Mr. Cooke was one of the few customers (hard to call friends that) I didn't mind having in the basement watching and questioning.

    Mrs. Cooke had coffee and homemade muffins ready at 9:00, lunch on the table at Noon and tea with a snack at 3:00. There was no going home for lunch on those days.

    It was folks like them that I met and tried to help a little that made leaving business so difficult. I'm sure they are in a great place now.
  • paul lessard_3
    paul lessard_3 Member Posts: 186
    We'll Miss Her

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    ole'Mrs everett wanted me to try the "gut shaker thing"shown in the photo when I politely refused,she gave me a demonstration.you had to be there!
    And when we replaced the boiler Every step up the stairs with the old boiler sections she made noises like she was giving birth(she was watching...not helping!!)
    Like my father said last week "when a good customer moved away or died It felt like you lost part of your family"
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,782
    Isn't it wonderful to be treated

    courteously, with respect, and understanding?

    It's something we have to earn, for sure. But once that sort of trust/bond is established, it's nice to connect to customers on more than one level, particularly those that get just as excited about our work as we do. Those that take an interest, those who help even when they don't have to, those who bring a smile to our face when we meet them in and out of work, those whose fond memories we cherish.

    Life is short, ladies and gentlemen, let's make the most of it.
  • leo g_13
    leo g_13 Member Posts: 435
    now that is sweet

    and the old boiler looks like it is covered in icing sugar!

    leo g

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  • Nick Z._2
    Nick Z._2 Member Posts: 32
    So many are my favorites

    Like many of you said some you just remeber.Like the people who's house I spent time at as a teenager as my freind dated there daughter.The lady always made the best baked goods. Years later they had me doa job and they left for the day to leave me alone.she returned a short time later and brought me down some fresh baked goods."I forgot to give these to you, I remeber who you always liked them.
    Another called me just a couple of weeks ago just to see how my surgery went.
    Another called on a fri. night with a clogged drain line. I explained that I couldn't be there first thing in the morning because I had promised a fatherless boy I would take him hunting.He siad no problem, then gave me a 100$ tip and 20$ to help my hunting buddy out.
    Good question Dan!
  • Deanie
    Deanie Member Posts: 11
    customers surprise you.....

    good day, many of you don't know me, although I log on everyday and try to absorb all the info I can.(some days I really laugh)

    I'm in the wholesale business, in March I came back to work after vacation to find I was no longer employed(really long story). The support I received from Customers was unbelieveable, One customer in particular even took the time to call me at home and ask me to email a resumee to him so he could bring it to another supplier he uses.
    I now am employed by that supplier, he really went to bat for me. And for that Richard I would consider you tops, you stand up for good knowledgable counter staff and that's the best.

    Other customers , when they found out where I was, just called to say they were happy to hear that I landed on my feet(no doubt from me that I would).

    Customers give me a place to go to everyday.... Thanks
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,844
    We have many good ones

    but my favorite has to be Steve and Cara Kohler. Those of you who have been here a while remember my posting an old gravity hot-water system that was converted to Vapor- that's their house. We worked the bugs out of that system one by one, with some of them not appearing until others were fixed, and as a result they have referred many people to us. We have gotten a lot of steam and other work this way.

    Thanks, Steve and Cara!

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    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • DaveGateway
    DaveGateway Member Posts: 568
    Sounds like...

    > His name is Stan and he has a talent for

    > communicating clearly with very few words. He was

    > my first boss and I still do work for him, so

    > that makes 36 years he's put up with me. He's

    > always trusted me to do the right thing. He's

    > good about paying more attention to what I do

    > right than what I do wrong. He calls for advice

    > about any thing technical and trusts that I'm

    > giving sound guidance. I've always had latitude

    > to tackle his problems however I deemed best. I

    > know he can get angry, but he's never once aimed

    > it at me. It's nice to deal with someone who has

    > such high expectations. Honestly can't imagine a

    > better person to work with.



  • DaveGateway
    DaveGateway Member Posts: 568
    Larry,

    Sounds like what a Dad should be.
  • DaveGateway
    DaveGateway Member Posts: 568
    Many, many, many good customers

    And a couple of ignoramouses.

    My favorite is Gus and Linda Swift of the Chicago meat packing Swifts. Tons of dough but the sweetest, most down to earth people you ever want to meet. During the renovation of their Hyde Park rowhouse, Linda had water bottles in the fridge with name tags for all, down to the lowliest laborer . When the job was finished she threw a HUGE party to thank everyone. Class act from start to finish. Without a doubt the BEST ever.
  • Dan Holohan

    The All Time BEST customer?

    I’ve had no better than my Captain: Dan Holohan. Mr. Holohan and some of the people I’ve met through HeatingHelp.com have changed the way I think about my professional life.

    The “all-time best customer” is the one I’ve been negotiating a contractor agreement with this week. He has found me through This Website’s “Find a Professional” link. He is one that knows what I’m worthy of and is willing to pay for my investment in hydronics know how.

    What makes him/her the best? The fact that they trust me to do work for them. Work that is worthy of my skills and experience. The best customer is the one you are working for right now. The one that pays the bills.

    The continuous volume of consumers from this site who know exactly what they want amazes me. They just seem to need someone to show them how it’s done. I'm just sorry I can't handle all of the jobs that come my way.

    THE ALL TIME BEST CUSTOMER: DAN HOLOHAN

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  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,290
    very close!

    Stan and my father were friends for over forty years. In a round about way I got a two-for-one.
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
  • S Ebels
    S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322
    Best customer has to be

    Dale and Bonnie. I've never had the opportunity to do any major work for them, I just service their poorly installed, piece of dung, (brand withheld) oil furnace system. It is a challenge. When they remodeled their home several years ago the carpenter gave them some bad advice about what they could do with their heating system and not knowing any better, they went with it. Now they are stuck with a poor, to say the least, heating "system". There have been many problems due to the quality of the equipment, bad chimney, poorly installed outdoor fuel oil tank, inadequate ductwork..........the list goes on but I'm sure you get the picture.

    Why are they the best? It's not because of the $$$$. Like I said, I've never done anything major for them. It's not because the house is fantastic, it's just an old fixed up farm house. It's not because the equipment is special or the install is awesome. (There's a 4" cast sewer line directly over the furnace that is the perfect height to bash my head on everytime I go there)

    It's just this. They are great people with great attitudes toward life and living. They are thankful for my time and efforts every time I go there. They appreciate what I do even knowing that I am handicapped by the poor system. They have chosen to be thankful and happy about life whatever comes their way.

    A great customer is more about the person/people than the size of the job or the equipment.

    The last payment I received came in an envelope addressed as follows:

    My favorite furnace guy
    PO Box 28
    Falmouth, MI 49632

    It had a smiley face drawn behind the "my favorite furnace guy" line.

    I will do everything within my capability for a customer like that.

    Thanks for being such special people Dale and Bonnie!
  • Nick W
    Nick W Member Posts: 200
    Define \"best\".

    This may seem like a cold story but my best customer, hands down, is the Soros family. I work for the sons of billionaire, George Soros. One of them just renovated a New York City townhouse to the tune of over $10,000,000. For the first two years they lived there the house never got warm. The heating system was a disaster.
    Long story short, $30,000 later, I fixed it and they loved me.

    In the past three years, we've collected over $300,000 in service from this one house. That's not counting the other son's house.

    The stories I could tell you about things that have gone on in that house are incredible; all a result of a renovation done by unqualified contractors.

    I've turned the house into a showcase of plumbing, heating and water feature systems. The landscape architect and I made a waterfall in the yard, and then became good friends.

    All the while this was going on, the clients would see me around and walk right past me without saying hello. If I said good morning first, the wife would give a friendly smile and return the greeting, but the husband might or might not have sort of grunted at me in return. This week was the first time in over 3 years someone in the house offered us something to drink (coffee).

    In the past two months or so, I've been getting some genuine friendly banter from both of them. They really are interesting people. Very intelligent and sophisticated.

    If I was them, I might not talk to the plumber either.

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  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,782
    John, have to disagree

    No matter how competent they are, their primary qualification is being part of the Lucky Sperm Club™.

    I have always found my consulting career that when you treat people like cattle that they'll start acting like it also. Perhaps this explains the many mishaps in the townhouse you renovated for them. After all, how motivated can you get for someone who does not seem to respect you?

    Anyway, with my current house project I try to go out of my way to help. Last week I was tying rebar, shooting elevations, etc. On friday, I bought them lunch. They're working today even though I didn't ask them to. Bottom Line: I believe I'll get much better performance out of them with these gestures and help than if I stayed away and/or treated them like peons.
  • Nick W
    Nick W Member Posts: 200


    > No matter how competent they are, their primary

    > qualification is being part of the Lucky Sperm

    > Club™.

    >

    > I have always found my consulting

    > career that when you treat people like cattle

    > that they'll start acting like it also. Perhaps

    > this explains the many mishaps in the townhouse

    > you renovated for them. After all, how motivated

    > can you get for someone who does not seem to

    > respect you?

    >

    > Anyway, with my current house

    > project I try to go out of my way to help. Last

    > week I was tying rebar, shooting elevations, etc.

    > On friday, I bought them lunch. They're working

    > today even though I didn't ask them to. Bottom

    > Line: I believe I'll get much better performance

    > out of them with these gestures and help than if

    > I stayed away and/or treated them like peons.





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  • Nick W
    Nick W Member Posts: 200
    Yeah, but..

    It's my job to motivate my employees. It's my employees job to perform well. It's my client's job to pay me. So far, we're all just doing our jobs.
    It's nice to be appreciated, don't get me wrong, but looking at the bigger picture, money's good too.

    I guess I should add that most of what I do for this family I do through their concierge (i.e., Butler). He gives me plenty of pats on the back and last summer invited the Mrs. and me to spend the day on his three-bedroom boat, which was lovely.


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  • TGO_54
    TGO_54 Member Posts: 327
    Sorry Dan,

    But thats like asking who your best child is.

    All my customers are "the best" in one way or another. Some because they are easy and fun to work with and others because they aren't (they make me appreciate the easy ones even more while making me keep the bar high)

    Some because they make coffee, cake, lunch, and dinner for you others because they don't ( it makes me remember its a business relationship not a social one.)

    Some because I would do anything for them and some ex-customers who I will nothing for anymore. (They remind me that its up to me to set the limits in my business)

    Thanks for asking the question, it gave me a chance to think about how the business is more about people than pipes.

    Have a good Memorial Day
This discussion has been closed.