When It Hits the Fan Make Sure You Have a Team in Place

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the_iron_fan_of_light-t2.jpgI have learned the hard way over the years that you have to have your go-to guys in place well before you actually need them. (Even though I say go-to guy I probably should say go-to person as  a lot of them are women). 

Plumbing pipe bursts in the middle of the night? Car starts making a really weird sound? What is that funny looking lump on your ankle? You need to know where you can go for help, advice and answers that won't cost you an arm and a leg and that is 100 percent reliable at a fair price.     Photo by Photos8.com

The bad thing of not having someone to turn to when you are in desperate situations is that it can cost you a fortune in an emergency for help.

I have been building up a team now for years. I don't always get the cheapest price for services as I expect a lot from the people I pay. Almost all of the people and services that I use have come through personal recommendation. I have also been steered clear of  businesses by horror stories from friends and neighbors and I in turn tell people when I have had a bad experience.

Some of the basic people you really should have on your team are
  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Optometrist
  • Car Mechanic
  • Appliance Repair
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Computer Service (repair and technician)
  • Hair Stylist (somebody to make you look real good)

If you have specialty items like a pool or a piano you would need to know who to call if your pool system stops working or it your grand piano starts to sound like it belongs in a honky-tonk dive. If your children play instruments you need to know where to take them to be serviced and repaired before your 12 year old daughter drops her trumpet days before a big recital. If your roof needs to be re-shingled or your driveway redone ask around to see who had it done 5 or 10 years ago and if they are still happy with the work.

I have always found that people love giving advise and recommendations. We found the auto mechanic we use because he came recommended by a truck driver who was the father of one of our children's soccer team mates and  our children's dentist was recommended by a mother at our kid's playgroup.

Sometimes even though someone comes highly recommended the fit just doesn't work. It took me three times to find a optometrist that I really like and feel comfortable with.  While the first one was a dud, the second one was very good but their receptionist of 10 years twice lost our charts and mixed up appointments wasting a lot of our time.

It is also very good to gossip with the people you hire as they tend to know who is being sued in the industry or having trouble. They can also be a very good source for recommendations out of their field. Ask your dentist who they use as a plumber and you might gain some very useful information.

Alas there are times that you have a great person to turn to but they either decide to leave the area or maybe even leave the business and you have to start over again. Ask them what questions you should be asking of the next person you will be hiring or if there are any red flags you should be looking out for.

If they are really good and moving out of the area pay them the compliment of telling them that you would be glad to give a recommendation to any of their new clients.

While everyone's list of the people and services that they need will be different here is my list

  • Doctor
  • Pediatric Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Children's Orthodontist and Dentist
  • Optometrist
  • Pharmacist (a good pharmacist can give excellent advice on over the counter medications and how to treat minor ailments)
  • Bank Manager (a good manager can work with you getting great interest rates on mortgages and make sure you are getting the best services for the accounts that you have)
  • Lawyer
  • Car Mechanic
  • Appliance Repair
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Computer Service (repair and technician)
  • Grocery Store (yup, grocery store, I know the people at the deli, meat counter, seafood counter and through out the store and they have saved me thousands over the years and when I need things like cardboard boxes they make sure I get the good stuff)
  • Hair Stylist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Florist ( great for the happy joyful occasions and when sending flowers to a funeral they can take a lot of the strain off the situation)
  • Jeweler (a good jeweler can make amazing repairs to even the most damaged items, make custom pieces and give informal appraisals)
  • Watch repair (I don't take my watches to my jeweler as he sends them out, so I have a specific repair person I use)
  • Furniture Upholsterer
  • Furniture Cleaner (while I do all the small cleaning myself getting a couch cleaned can make it look brand new and extend its life by years)
  • Dog groomer
  • Veterinarian
  •  Dog sitter (while we have mostly had family look after our pooch there have been times where we had to board her quickly and having a dog sitter was a relief)
  • AAA, CAA (for road side assistance they have been amazing but also for travel insurance, advice on destinations, maps, and general travel advice)
  • Piano Technician ( different from a tuner, a technician can tune but also can take your piano apart and put it back together to make it sound like it belongs in Carnegie Hall)
  • Instrument Repair ( we are a musical family and instruments, like cars, should have regular service to make them sound their best).
  • Pool Service (we do all our own pool service but the company that installed our pool also services pools, this came in very handy when our backyard was struck by lightning and fried out our pool, blowing out the pool lights, damaging the liner and destroying the electrical box, they had the pool running in 4 days and everything repaired in 7)

For one time services like wildlife removal, major housing repairs or tree removal I tend to ask over and over again from people if they have used anyone or know anyone who has. I also try to start dealing with them well before I need them so I can take the time to compare prices and ask to see work they have done. In one instance this saved me a lot of heart ache, I was quoted a price on our driveway and asked for address he had already done. When I checked them out I was shocked at how shoddy the work was. He might have been cheap but he certainly wasn't any good.

I would love to hear who your go-to people are and how you found them and I'm sure that there are some horror stories out there as well that you would like to share.

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Copyright Ingrid Talpak 2010

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Hi Ingrid, You are so right. It makes life so much easier to have a "staff."

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