Growing Up Poor Made Me Believe People
Always Want The Cheapest Price.
I Found Out The Hard Way
That I Was Wrong.
BY ROBERT BROOME, OWNER
I grew up in impoverished conditions.
My family and I grew up in a small single wide mobile home. With six kids, my parents struggled to put food on the table and provide any amenities. And at 14 years old, I started working construction to help buy some of my own food, clothes, and little extras.
Because of my childhood, I had what you’d call the “poverty mindset” for most of my life. I was raised to look for the cheapest possible products—whether it was food, clothes, or anything else—every time I bought something.
This mentality was still seared in my brain decades later when I started in the garage and gutter industry.
I was conditioned to instinctively choose the lowest price. So I figured homeowners who needed new garage doors (and, really, everyone else in the world) had the same mindset.
As a result, I started out selling the “lowest-common-denominator” garage doors. Bottom-of-the-barrel, barebones junk.
Flimsy steel. Cheap motors. Zero insulation. No wind-load resistance. I sacrificed every ounce of quality to keep prices to the absolute minimum.
Hey… it’s what (I thought) my customers wanted!
It cost my company $300 for a garage door. We installed them for $499.
Margins were razor-thin. The garage doors were garbage. As you can imagine, this created some problems.
Okay, A LOT of problems.
First, we received a TON of customer complaints. The doors were naturally going to break down since they were such low quality. We scrambled day in and day out to stay one step ahead of the enormous backlog of warranty work. But more claims kept piling onto Warranty Mountain every day.
The second issue was the installer turnover. The company barely made enough to scrape by, so I wasn’t able to pay the salary needed to acquire—and retain—top talent. This attracted some unreliable people to the installer positions. And the installers who WERE good at the job only stuck around until they found a higher-paying job.
Every workday was helter-skelter. And it forced me into an epiphany…
Sacrificing quality to sell at the cheapest price was the absolute WRONG approach.
Reality punched me in the face. But that’s okay. I’m a retired boxer.
I can take a hit.