No woman is an island, and as we manage our crazy-busy lives, we all rely on other people to keep us in order and help us save money. In the village days of yore, those service providers were once neighborhood based (and dependably around for years ) — the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker, to name a few. You developed a relationship by frequenting their shop, they in turn got to know you well, and you could trust them to keep your home and life in order — while saving you money when they could.
Today, that kind of long-term loyalty is harder to find and sustain. Service professionals go in and out of business, change careers, move, and retire. We are left bereft, wondering where-oh-where we find another reliable resource. On the other hand, we have become less loyal (and dependable) as customers. As a time management expert, I know that over-busy schedules often lead to putting off repair and maintenance chores — which means, two years can go by with the same bag of clothes in the front closet waiting to go to the tailor. Or pictures waiting to be hung. We have also become bargain hunters, and with more options out there than ever before, we may always be looking for the next best price.
I’m all for finding a bargain, but I believe there are some key professionals you must take the time to find and build a relationship with, by going to them frequently enough that they get to know and like you as a loyal customer. Hopefully you will be repaid with quicker service, more practical solutions, and professionals who will look for ways to save you money, rather than gouging you or charging you for things you don’t really need.
And, if time is money, think how relationships prove valuable in time. Knowing that neighborhood pharmacist makes all the difference when a child needs cough medicine in the middle of the night. Think of the emergencies that can happen when you can’t get into your apartment because the lock has jammed — years of friendship with the hardware store owner down the block can prove crucial in a speedy house visit.
New York Times bestselling author Julie Morgenstern is an organizing and time-management expert, business productivity consultant and speaker. Her company, Julie Morgenstern Enterprises, is dedicated to using her philosophies and methods to provide a wide range of practical solutions that transform the way people and companies function.