This week I’m having a new roof put on my house. I did the research, got the quotes, picked a company, and they’re working on it now.

They’ve been at it two days so far, but I’ve already been surprised twice. It reminded me how important it is to set your customer’s expectations.

Day one

They tore off the old roof(s). You can’t see the sky, it’s just the old roofing material—the ceiling is still in place. I had no idea this would make a mess inside the house on the top floor. Paint chips, roof dust through some cracks and removed skylights. I guess I should have assumed, but I’ve never been through this before so I didn’t think much about it.

Would have been nice if the roofing company said…

“Hey, when we tear off the old roof you might get some black dust and paint chips on the top floor. You may want to cover up some of your furniture or other valuables just in case.”

Day two

Out come the blow torches. I didn’t know they’d be torching today. But I’m working from home and wondering what the acrid burning smell is and light smoke filling the house. Now I know.

Would have been nice if they said…

“Hey, today we’re going to be working with torches and toxic materials. Some smoke and fumes may get inside during this process. You may want to leave the house while we’re doing this.”

Day three

I have no idea what’s next. What happens tomorrow? They don’t tell you, they just do it and then you find out.

Would be nice at the end of each day if they said…

“Hey, so far we’ve finished A B and C. Tomorrow we’ll be doing D. Here’s what you can expect.”

Setting expectations is key

I have confidence in their work, but the experience has been soured by the the lack of expectations. Just giving me a feel for what’s gonna happen today and tomorrow would go a long way towards making the experience significantly better.