An open letter to our customers and partners.
Our first anniversary has come and gone. Excited? Yes. Relieved? Yes. Proud? Yes.
But I’m also feeling… apologetic. Which is… surprising. Here’s why.
We have a strict service standard. It’s a core principle… treat each job as if it’s our only job. Every time. This was pretty easy in the early days because… well… we didn’t have that many jobs.
A year later, we’re busy. Which is an amazing, humbling thing. I’m so grateful. But recently, I’ve felt like we’re not meeting our service promise. Not because we’re not trying and not because we don’t care. Each of these guys in overalls is working his butt off. And they all care. A lot. Most days, the guys on the truck go without lunch because they’re hustling to the next job, or the donation center or the dump. I don’t demand this. They do this in service to the customer and the company (beyond grateful for this team).
I’m stubborn. That’s part of the problem. I want to help as many people as we can. I’m also selective on who we hire. And this is a hard combination for a service business. As you’ve probably heard/ experienced… hiring is hard right now. It’s especially difficult for us as we’re looking for a special, golden unicorn. A person who enjoys customer interaction, can think on his feet, is remarkably friendly and who likes the physical/ manual labor. As a result we have a small team. 5 people including me and we did 600 jobs in year one with a goal to double that in year two. We’re working without a safety net and have battled through injury and illness. We’ve made it work, but some challenging moments in thin times.
As we stretch we’ve experienced some growing pains. I expected this and planned to learn and spool up accordingly. I (perhaps naively) hoped that when we did experience these pains it would be us (internally) who suffered and not our customers. I think that’s mostly true… I don’t think any of our customers have suffered but I do think some have not gotten the best service we can offer. And for that… I’m sorry.
In my brief (COVID- inspired) car sales career, I learned the saying, “go slow to go fast.” And that’s become a goal of mine as we continue to scale up operations. Be patient. Be truthful about our capacity and prioritize each individual service experience above all else. If we continue to do what we do… Exceed the service promise we’ve made to our customers, the volume and growth will come.
Feeling apologetic is a by- product of passion. It’s a result of our service promise and commitment to it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised I feel this way after all. And truthfully, it may be a feeling that never fully goes away. There is relief however, in the knowledge that adversity breeds resilience and innovation. And we’ll be better in the long run for the lessons learned now. So… Thank you for your continued support and patience as we mature and grow.