Having just come out of a meeting with a builder we’ve never worked with before, I felt inspired to write something, not just because of that meeting but because it’s been something on my mind for a while.

The economic crisis has been tough for everyone. We all know the boom time is over for the time being. Making money for old rope isn’t easy any more, but the irony is that this is actually something to celebrate.  When money is that easy to come by, it brings in hoards of second rate (or third rate) tradesmen – otherwise known as “cowboys” – who undercut the real professionals that are trying to carve out a living through integrity and quality. Making money by providing a bad service is never a good thing.

What I was reminded of today when I met my builder friend, is that this crisis is filtering out all the rubbish, and we are left with the good people who have built their enterprises on integrity and professionalism.

We deal with a very broad range of clients throughout southern Andalucia, some of them foreign, but many of them Spanish. However,  I have actually met a number of potential English clients recently who told me that they wouldn’t normally hire English firms who work in our sector – heating, cooling, electrics, plumbing – because they had had such bad experiences with them in the past. Luckily, they were able to see that we weren’t cut from the same cloth, and we’re now happily working together. But the point is that the “cowboys” were not only taking business off us, but were also destroying the reputation of our sector all together.

The builder I met today was Albanian but I’ve met some good professional English ones recently too!

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