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Remember Other Contractor Groups

Remaining impartial is a trait that I struggle with at times. But it is one I expect to see from journalists and news publications such as PM. That's why I was so angered by Frank Blau's column. ("Open Letter To Progressive Service Contractors," December 2002).

First off, the column was labeled as a reprint, but it was really a blatant advertisement for C-2000. I called their number and talked to Lisa Shinstine only to find out that she's worked with them for little over a year. My point is, she wasn't even around when this "reprint" was originally printed.

Secondly, as I mentioned, I would expect you to be slightly more impartial than to spend a whole page blatantly extolling the virtues of one membership organization. If you are going to promote one organization that much, you should promote others as well. I've attended C-2000 meetings, and they have some good ideas. However, I believe there is one group who is head and shoulders above them, Plumbers' Success International.

Here's where I have a hard time remaining impartial because I'm a member of Plumbers' Success International, and I've experienced the profit growth and business success I have today because of them. I'm not alone, either. PSI is twice as big as C-2000. That means twice as many of your readers are part of Plumbers' Success International and enjoying similar success because of the PSI programs.

So, in closing, being impartial between organizations is something PSI members like myself fail in, but it's something we expect from a professional trade journal like yours. If you promote one, promote them all.

David Ratliff
Midway Plumbing
Abilene, Texas

Editor's note: David is correct about Lisa Shinstine not working at C-2000 at the time the column was published. However, the person named in the original column no longer works at C-2000, and we wanted to provide readers with an appropriate contact. (The membership numbers mentioned in the reprint are the numbers that appeared in the original.)

Out To Lunch, Out Of Business

I just finished reading John Wood's letter ("Shark Pool," December 2002) and could not agree more. We compete against competitors every day who are out of business and don't even know it yet. They have no idea as to what their actual costs are. When you ask how much they charge and how they arrived at that figure they say, well, that's what everyone else is charging.

We can identify with Mr. Wood's company. You know how it goes: Get a bid from them first and we'll do it for 20, 30 and 40 percent less! (My favorite get-even tactic is to bid the job at half what it costs, and they still do it for 40 percent less!)

We routinely get called to service something we didn't install. As a result, we've corrected some amazingly bad installations. Before we do any work, however, we always suggest to customers that they call in the original contractor.

But usually that's the last person customers want to see at that point. While contractors like this have high employee turnover, we have the same group of well-trained, quality-minded, well-dressed, polite people we have had for more than 20 years. I accept the title of top-quality, top-priced company as I would not have it any other way.

Gary Hickel
Certified Mechanical Co.
Athens, Ohio