Trust your gut


Mark Coster

Founder of Pixooma

Sometimes in life you are faced with decisions and options, not only when it comes to business, but in your personal life as well. I’ve always prided myself on being logical, considered, rational and keen to assess everything carefully. But occasionally I believe you need to listen to your intuition. You know that feeling in your gut – a hunch if you like – when you instinctively know that something does not feel entirely right? And your body is shouting at you to take evasive action…

But what is intuition? I heard a lovely description the other day which I want to share with you. Evidently, intuition is the result of your body’s own algorithms processing millions of data points that surround you every day.

Remember if something doesn’t feel right, there may be a reason. So, my advice is to trust your gut, or failing that always use a recommended supplier. And the moral of this story is simple: be more like Colin!

Listen to your body

If you’ve ever had that nagging feeling that things just don’t add up, hopefully you will enjoy my roof story, where the moral really is to listen to your gut – it won’t let you down.

Picture the scene if you will? I discovered a leak in my house. It was close to a light switch, so I felt it was urgent and worrying. My neighbour had used a guy before for something similar, so I rang him. We’ll call him Arthur (anyone old enough to remember Arthur Daley from Minder?). Anyway, Arthur came round and assessed the problem from the ground level. He thought it was likely to be the gulley which needed some holes patching in it. He said he could come round on Friday that week and it would be £300. I agreed and he and his mate spent an hour on the roof doing the fix.

Ground assessment

For a whole year, I experienced no more leaks – phew! But then another one appeared in the same room. I phoned Arthur again. Obviously, I didn’t accuse him of anything, but he was immediately on the defensive saying it was ‘not related to the work they’d done’. I wondered how he could be so sure. Anyway, long story short, he came round and once again assessed the situation from the ground level. His conclusion was that it would be the capping tiles at the top as there were gaps and the rain would be running down the rafters inside the loft space and then dripping into the house. Once again, a figure of £300 was mentioned and popping round on Friday. Sound familiar to you all now?

Proper report, quote and everything

My gut instinct kicked in and I told him I would think about it. In the meantime, I got a recommendation from someone in my network to try someone – let's call him Colin. I explained everything to Colin. When it came to Arthur's latest diagnosis, he thought it was possible, but said that to be sure he’d always go onto the roof, and that way he could take a video to show me what was happening. He said that once he has done that, he would prepare a report, a proper quote and let me know his availability to do the work. Wot no £300 and round on Friday?


Colin came round, he looked at the roof and together we watched the video. He disagreed with the capping tiles issues, thought it was more likely to be the gulley, He then proved it by showing me in the loft where the water was getting in. It was at this point he said that Arthur had simply cemented over the old cement in his previous repairs, but only the bits I could see from ground level! Not only would that not work, Colin said he'd bet all of it was loose enough to simply be picked up. And guess what, once Colin was on the roof, he did just that.

Armed with Colin’s thorough report and damming video, I contacted Arthur. Fortunately faced with overwhelming evidence and accompanied by plenty of debate, he finally agreed to return 90% of the money I’d spent with him. In the meantime, Colin got in the scaffolders and did a proper replacement of the gulley and I’ve had no problems since.

Remember if something doesn’t feel right, there may be a reason. So, my advice is to trust your gut, or failing that always use a recommended supplier. With Colin I felt as if I was an integral part of the client experience. He literally put himself in my shoes and clarified everything clearly for me. Essentially, I trusted him implicitly. And as for Arthur, well… he was the antithesis of my principals. Focused on doing a job quickly, with little care and focussed solely on making a quick buck.

The moral of this story is simple. If you are providing services, be more like Colin!

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