First Impressions

First impressions matter. I once had to organise a roofer to come and fix a water leak around a chimney. He arrived on time, introduced himself, stood back and looked at the roof. What he said next surprised me, “Do you have any ladders?”

To his possible credit, he may have been the best roofer in the world. Sadly I never found out. No ladders, no work… which sounds like alternative lyrics to a popular Bob Marley song! He got back in his van and drove off.

Are there any lessons to learn from this? Imagine this hypothetical situation.

  • A carpet cleaner arrives at your home or office to give you a quote for carpet cleaning. His shoes are covered in mud. He does not have shoe covers and seems completely unaware that he is leaving muddy footprints on carpets that had previously not needed cleaning! Do you trust him to clean your carpets?

First impressions often don’t lie.


Go properly prepared.

  • Don’t be late for appointments.
  • Park considerately, even if it means walking a small distance.
  • Introduce yourself. Show ID if possible.
  • Give the customer a business card with your contact details.
  • Look presentable. If you have a uniform make sure it is clean.
  • Consider the customers feeling. For example, don’t walk on carpets with muddy boots. Wear Shoe Covers.
  • Explain what you can do and what you can’t do. This is particularly important when treating stains. Ask questions. Take notes. Confirm price and job details in writing.
  • Be positive, friendly and honest

If you have staff, a bit of training that includes role playing can be beneficial.

So, did I get the roof fixed? The next roofer also turned up without a ladder. Although he was younger and more determined to get on to the roof. With commendable agility he climbed on to a wall, then a small shed and finally up on to the roof. I did notice that he had only brought one tool with him. A very large hammer. When I went back into the house I could hear him bashing away at the lead flashing. Twenty minutes later he knocked at the door and reported that the job was done.

End of story? Can you imagine how surprised I was when a couple of days later he came to my door again and explained that he had left his hammer on the roof!

Written by Window Cleaning Stuff