Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


It Was a Two-Cat Night

 Like most real estate agents, I have various types of contractors on a resource list that I share with my clients.  And it's hard to get on and easy to get off my list.

Lately, as I think about ways to make myself more referable, I've been considering my list of professionals I refer and thinking about what they have done over the years to go beyond normal expectations.

Last night, at about 8:30, I got a reminder. 

I noticed that my house was chilly.   I checked the thermostat, and it read 56 degrees.   I felt the radiators and they were stone cold.  And the weather forecast included a little cold front moving our way.

So, I called the cell phone number for a guy named Ron Gallant.  I first got his name from some clients back in the mid-1980s,  and they raved about him.  Since then, I've put him at the top of the list for heating and air conditioning contractors.  And each time I recommended him, I'd get a phone call telling me he was absolutely terrific.

When it came time to put central air into my own house, Ron took care of it for me.  And last night, when my radiators were icy cold, he actually answered the call.  That got a Wow!

He promised to call me as soon as he got home, and talk me through getting it started.  He was helping me to avoid a service call.  OK, that gets another Wow! 

Still, it didn't work - I couldn't find one of the switches that needed to be turned on.  So he's coming over in a couple of hours to take care of it.  And this is on the afternoon before he hops a plane to Paris for a little vacation!  That gets a third Wow!  And I'm sure he will earn Wows Number 4 and 5 by showing up on time and then fixing the problem.

In a nutshell, Ron Galant keeps his word about small things, so I know I can trust him with the big things.  He does little things like answering his phone or returning calls within an hour or so.  He shows up on time.  He is competent.  He takes really good care of me and the people I care about.  And, he even passes the fun test!

So, as I put next year's business plan together, I am thinking about just what 5 Wows service will look like in my real estate practice, and I'm using this guy as my model. 

I made it through the night with two down comforters and the help of Ms. Mum and Mr. Snowball, my version of Garrison Keelor's Cat Warmers. 

Update! Of course, he showed up on time.  Of course, he fixed the problem!  Then he didn't charge me for the house call.  That would be the 6th Wow, which, on my 1-5 Wow scale, puts this guy over the top.


Comment balloon 18 commentsPatricia Kennedy • November 07 2007 10:56AM


Nice post!  I need to work on my referral directory for vendors.  Good to do for the end of year;)  Thanks for the reminder.

It's a Good Life!



Posted by Frances C. Rokicki, Broker-Mentor,CRS (Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC) almost 13 years ago
Thats good to hear.  So many contractors do not return calls let alone answer the phone!  Cute photo by the
Posted by Jennifer Esposito (JenRan Realty, LLC) almost 13 years ago

Great post. I have a referral directory on my website.  I alway give some new people a chance, because sometimes that Wow may stop.



Posted by Jeff Kessler, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Austin Homes, Realtors almost 13 years ago
Fran, Thanks!  I've put on some new ones with my bathroom renovations.  And a couple got removed as well.  It's amazing, especially with contractors, how the good ones can go bad!  This guy hasn't. 
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 13 years ago
he is definitely a good example of what are vendors should be!
Posted by Frances C. Rokicki, Broker-Mentor,CRS (Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC) almost 13 years ago
Very motivating.  I'm working on an upgrade ot my vendor referral guide this month, and this reminds me to keep only the "5 Wows" on there.  (And we generally only have 1 cat nights here in the Bay area, but thankfully that cat is their waiting for me every night, no matter the temperature.  Just in case, I have extra cats, too)
Posted by Mary Smartt, Smartt Moves with Mary Smartt (Lawton Associates / almost 13 years ago

Jennifer, the smaller cat came from a really nasty listing with squatters and nastiness - a colleague listed it.  The police showed up for an eviction, and as they started to put the giant padlocks on, there was this meow!  My friend suckered me into adopting her, and she turned out to be pregnant.  The big guy is her son.

And Jeff, I agree, it's good to give the new guys a chance, but they have to have done a wow for someone to get on the list.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 13 years ago
Mary, I have the two and Willie-the-hyper-active-Labrodoodle puppy (who sleeps in his crate where he can't chew up my Ferregamos).  And yeah, the people we recommend are a reflection of us and our reliability.  
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 13 years ago
Does he work in Virginia too?  And I know when it is cold in my house when the cats try to smother me at night to stay warm.  I slept with the window open last night and got quite a surprise when I woke up this morning too!
Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 13 years ago

Patricia - I agree, that list and the qualification process to get on and stay on that list is important.  I am very selective about who goes on my list. 

If there are any ClubNetter's down in the Austin, TX area that need recommendations, let me know and I'll email you a list of folks that I have years of experience with.  I've kept all their business cards and contact information.

By the way, those cat's are TOO cute - I'd love to take one off your hands :)


Posted by Jackie Peraza, Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts (Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC) almost 13 years ago

WOW - sounds like a great service guy.  I actually was able to live without turning the heat on until this morning.  Burrrr...

Pat - I would love to have this guys info for my own use if you want to share him?  Good service guys are not all that easy to find!

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) almost 13 years ago

Cindy, he does work in Virginia, Maryland and DC (like me!).

Jackie,  those cats do pass the cute test, don't they?

And James, he'll be in Paris for the next two week, but if you want to contact him, his office number (Argent Heating & Cooling) is 877-282-6300 and his cell is 240-398-7006.  Tell him Pat sent you!


Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 13 years ago
Now that is how a vendor should be.
Posted by Vicki Bishop GRI - Alabama Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors®) almost 13 years ago
that was a wonderful endorsement!!! I would certainly mention him in newsletters and put him on your list of people you refer business to-
Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 13 years ago
Patricia- Are those your kitties for real? I love them, they are adorable! I miss mine! Katerina
Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) almost 13 years ago

A great post and a great reminder for us all.  I'm gonna keep that number handy.  Although I wonder if he comes out to Loudoun?

Posted by Nancy Pav, Nancy Pav, Your "GottaHave" Realtor (Century 21 Redwood Realty) almost 13 years ago
Its great when you can find someone that dependable. Cute Kittens
Posted by Keith Perry, REALTOR - West Metro Atlanta (Coldwell Banker) almost 13 years ago

Patricia- I just thought you should know, it's all your fault - due to your blog title and that adorable photo, I've asked Santa (rather, gently insisted) for a white kitten or cat, matter's naught to me, for Christmas.  I've even said, I would take 2, if that's all there were left...we never know when it will be "a two cat night" . 

It's been 2 years since my daughters cat died and I'm ready to replace him. 


Posted by Jackie Peraza, Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts (Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC) almost 13 years ago