There is a local network in the Hamptons. There always has been and there always will be. Revealing this fact isn't as controversial as disclosing all the back roads (which is still unforgivable by many locals). However, it is something that folks that live here in the summer months have long suspected; the contractors' network exists.
I grew up in New Jersey, therefore I'll never be a true local. But, I have lived in the Hamptons, Quogue, and the North Fork for my entire adult life. If you're an honest contractor that's done business in the area for decades, you are connected and you are in the loop. You can call in favors on behalf of your clients, you can get preferential treatment, and you can (occasionally) move to the head of the line. These benefits come with a price. That price is to always tell the truth, reciprocate, and never take advantage of the situation.
Every year, as we approach Memorial Day, we have deadlines to meet and clients that need everything to be ready on time. I tend to under promise and over deliver; and, if need be, call in as many favors as I grant each year.
Pembrooke has been blessed with some wonderful clients throughout the years. As with contractors, clients need to play a part in the "game" of the trade industry connections. Kindness, fairness, and honesty are the rules that will help you win the "game". My advice to anyone in need of a general contractor, landscape design/build company, or any trade in the Hamptons is simple: consider someone who has a proven track record with a network of resources. During the interview process, let them tell you about their projects, their team, and their relationship with clients. Be less concerned about the specifics of the job, there will be plenty of time for that.
The landscape design and build process is a collaborative effort built on mutual respect and trust. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)
Trust your instincts, rely on your people skills, and hire someone that will work with you, as well as for you. The landscape design and build process is a collaborative effort built on mutual respect and trust. Earlier this week, a prospective client asked "suppose you take my deposit and don't come to do any work?" I replied that very, very few contractors would do that. Then I went on to list a dozen other things that an unscrupulous contractor might do. I said, the bottom line is that you will need to trust us to live up to our promises. If you do trust us, you should hire us. If not, you should find someone you trust. Throughout the years, I have known some contractors that are untrustworthy. I have also met many more people in need of services that are so cynical that they are unable to trust. In the middle, there is the vast majority of good and honest people.
Playing the "game" properly will result in projects being completed on time and on budget.
Chris Hall is a partner at Pembrooke Fine Landscapes. He has been a luxury gunite pool and landscape consultant for over thirty years and shares his observations and advice each month on Hamptons.com. www.pembrookefinelandscapes.com