I had to call a plumber a couple weeks ago. That reminded me of one of the luckiest things I’ve ever done. I’d like to say it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done, but in truth it was just luck. I’m sharing it with you, though, in hopes that it may encourage you to do something smart!
I was newly-divorced, new in town, and buying a home. I’d been a homeowner before, but only as a married person, and I didn’t have much in the way of home repair skills or knowledge. (I’ve developed some skill since, but it’s still a weak area). The house I was buying did not have central air conditioning, and I knew I wanted that, so I built a little extra money into the mortgage to cover that cost, and I had the air conditioning installed within the first week of being in the house.
Getting that A/C installed was the luckiest thing I did that year. Why? Because a couple months later, when I needed an urgent home repair, I already had a relationship with a plumbing and heating professional and an electrician. Dealing with home repairs was really stressful, and being able to call someone familiar made it so much easier.
The moral of this story is NOT that you should get central air installed when you move to a new town. Instead, the moral is that it’s smart to do some research and make some contact with plumbers, electricians and other key professionals before you need them.
When I arranged to install the A/C, I got recommendations from co-workers, and I shopped around a little to decide what type of A/C unit to install and which firm to choose. I was able to take my time doing advance research and getting suggestions from friends. Without that experience, then the first time my toilet was clogged I would’ve been in a panic (we only had one toilet). I might have randomly turned to the phone book and called just anyone.
So one benefit was that I felt comfortable knowing I was calling someone I could trust. There was another benefit too: the professionals I called also knew who I was — they knew they could trust me to pay the bill, and they knew I wouldn’t call them after hours unless it was really important. Since I was already their customer, they had some loyalty and concern for my well-being.
The next time I move to a new town, I will remember the lucky lesson I learned, and I will work to develop a relationship with key repair professionals before I have any urgent needs.