On the day before New Year’s Eve, I got my first call off a free directory listing on the internet. The customer said he had a leaking Whirlpool top loader that wouldn’t spin.
From my training, I told him the spin problem could be as simple as a broken door latch or at the very worst it could be the transmission. I said I was on a call that needed immediate attention, and told him I’d call him back in 15 minutes.
I hung up the phone and stood there in shock. A million things were going through my mind.
I never ordered all the tools I needed to work on a washer leak, like the pinch-off pliers. I never ordered any invoices, so I had to print one off my inkjet. I was going to go to somebody’s house to take apart their appliance!
I was very excited and very nervous all at the same time.
I caught my breath and called the customer back, and said it didn’t sound like an expensive repair, and we had a discussion about price. I told him I used a flat rate plus parts, the fact that I had a free service charge with the repair but I would charge him a diagnostic fee I came out and he chose not to have the machine repaired.
I got his model number (FWS1233FS1) and arranged to come by the next day in the morning. Oddly, he wouldn’t give me his address, said something about his roommate was going to pay half the cost and he had to talk to him first. So I told him I’d call him in the morning and figured I’d get it the next day, but something just didn’t sound right.
When I hung up the phone, I thought there was a good chance this guy was just calling around trying to get repair guys to spill the diagnosis so he could fix it himself. I also wondered if he had other calls out, one to somebody he preferred for whatever reason.
No matter what, I hit the books with that model number and started to learn whatever I could about door latches and front leaks.
Immediately found a bunch of stuff on this model on the internet, including a factory parts catalog with detailed diagrams of the entire machine, a wiring diagram, and manufacturers part numbers.
Found out the door latch on these is notorious because it locks during the spin cycle and remains locked a little too long afterward. The leak could have been just about anything from a bearing seal to the pump and any of the hoses in between, and I’d have to look at the machine.
Found the rough price of the door latch part on a competitive parts site and checked on shipping times and charges.
Then I got together my tools and waited for the next day.
In the morning, I called the customer and the phone just rang and rang. No voice mail. No one picked up. About 15 minutes later I called again and got the guy on the phone.
I obviously woke him up, even though we had agreed on the time of the call. He told me he had a bunch of stuff to do, could I come by about two hours later than originally planned, and he would call me when he gets done going to the bank, etc. (too much information!). I told him sure, but it couldn’t be any later than that, after all, it was New Year’s Eve.
Just as I was giving up, about two hours after he was supposed to call me, he finally called.
It’s possible he had started celebrating New Year’s early because he was making absolutely no sense. Told me I had said the problem was with the circuit breaker, and that didn’t sound right to him. It was about then I realized this call would never happen.
We left off that he would call me back when he was ready to get it fixed. I never heard back from the guy.
But he did me a big favor. He had given me a wake-up call. I was out there on internet advertising, and I was in business. I better be ready for it!