“Sure. I’ll look into it,” I said.
Those five words took me on a long and involved journey I originally thought was going to be a short trip. Shelley and I volunteered to look into what it would take to fix up the tennis courts that are part of our homeowner’s association. I mean, how hard can that be?
I thought we could just go online, check out some local companies and get quotes on filling the cracks, putting on a new layer of asphalt, and painting whatever court lines were needed. That’s what they do in parking lots, right?
After speaking with a few contractors, we were reminded that with our freeze and thaw cycle in the Midwest, the courts will eventually crack again.The contractors would resurface the courts, but there were no guarantees how long the new surface would last.
So we decided to approach this the responsible way and perform a more thorough due diligence. We sat down with a few different companies that specialize in building, rebuilding and maintaining tennis courts. We shared the association’s goals, time frame, expectations and budget. These contractors provided us with solutions featuring current materials and processes to repair and resurface existing courts for years of “uncracked” use.
We bundled up our findings and recommendations, and submitted them to our association board for a final decision.
The proposals were probably a little more than the board wanted to spend, but going through the cycle of repairing the courts every few years would prove to cost more in the long run. Also, using “tennis court experts” rather than a paving company, added to the bottom line as they would manage the entire process. This is exactly what they do, everyday. Their expertise, advice and experience gave us confidence the job would be done to our expectations, in an area we knew very little about.
When you think about it, investing in trade show display properties, graphics and services, is a similar process. We talk with customers and prospects every day who have limited experience with the ins and outs of trade show and event management. It’s very easy to search online, find a website, read product descriptions and scroll through a few reviews. Next, submit your credit card payment and hold your breath.
Sometimes you get lucky. The product you needed, reviewed and ordered worked out. It does happen. I will be the first to admit, when I’ve ordered products online (usually through Amazon), with very few exceptions, I’ve been satisfied with the outcome. Typically these were items I knew well or had previously ordered. On occasion I’ve been disappointed. It usually involved something I was not familiar with and probably should’ve consulted with someone or simply looked into further.
Needless to say, I was glad we consulted experts regarding the tennis court rebuild. We learned a lot and were able to offer informed recommendations that included current best practices. The finished courts will be a reflection of our association so they should be done right.
When it comes to purchasing trade show displays and other properties for face-to-face marketing events, your organization’s reputation is on the line. So do us both a favor - contact the experts, whether it’s Prairie or someone else, with the day-to-day industry knowledge and experience. Prairie is starting its 26th year on January 1, 2020 because new and existing customers continue to rely on us for our expertise and reputation for service, before, during and after the sale (or at least I’d like to think so).
We’ve already “looked into it”.
Side Notes and Updates:
Not only does January 1, 2020 mark Prairie’s 26th year in business, on December 28, 2012, my first blog was published. Thank you Marianne McGinn for your amazing editing skills.
The tree house is gone! The famous Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee has burned down. I wrote about the treehouse back in 2014. I'm glad we got out when we did.
Have a great holiday and we will see you again in 2020.