4 Lessons on How Water Damage Improved my Balloon Business

On June 6, 2020, my husband and I arrived home at midnight after the most relaxing, inexpensive vacation we’ve ever had–to a water leak.  So much for an inexpensive vacation.

A tiny hole in our refrigerator water line was spraying water, apparently all week, which meant water puddled up, under, and around the entire kitchen and into most of the dining room, on solid wood floors.

The wood floors were completely bowed. All of the kitchen base cabinets ruined.  Water  got into the duct work.

A complete mess!   All flooring. All cabinets, countertops had to be removed.

That was the shocking beginning of  a lot of decisions and education.

How does any of this relate to improving my company, Above the Rest Balloons?

It’s easy.  Over the past 11 weeks, I’ve experienced a lot of poor sales people and customer service which has made me see even more clearly the value of quality sales and service.

Lesson 1 – Don’t overwhelm my clients with too many choices.

I have been overwhelmed when trying to decide on kitchen cabinets, countertop, etc. The overwhelm came from too many choices in styles, colors, finishes, quality, hinges & handles  on top of sales people who don’t really listen and hear what I want and like.

Too many choices!

Thus, the lesson is listen completely to what mood my client is trying to create for their event.  Listen to their goals for their celebration.  Ask a lot of questions. Like really, listen.

Then with care and concern provide only a few suggestions of decor so I don’t overwhelm them.

The magic number is 3.  Three choices keeps the mind from being overwhelmed. After

Another decision!

all, a confused buyer never buys. Yep, that was me, confused, overwhelmed & didn’t buy.

I can’t tell you how many kitchen places I left overwhelmed and frustrated until I found one that would listen.

An Above the Rest promise, we will not overwhelm you with the endless amount of balloon colors and designs available, and we will listen carefully.

Lesson 2 – Be patient and understanding. The client really doesn’t know.

I quickly discovered that because I hadn’t bought kitchen cabinets in 45 years, I had no clue of their cost (It’s shocking).

Some salespeople grew impatient when I asked questions about prices and details.  I wasn’t questioning their expertise.  I simply had no clue.

My lesson?  When you, my clients, call, you often really don’t know anything at all about professional balloon decor and its cost.

For many, your only experience has been buying helium-filled bouquets at Party City or Kroger.  It’s okay. I must be patient and understand that.

I get to guide and show you the difference between generic bulk and artistic decor and service.  Not hard, just takes patience.  I will be, promise.

Lesson 3 – Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it.

Okay, I know I’ve been guilty of this and I apologize. Lesson learned.

In the past 11 weeks I’ve been astounded by the number of service people who have said, “I’ll get the  xxxx to you tomorrow.”  or


Do it when you say!

“I’ll send you the estimate by xxx” only to NOT get it until I’ve called, emailed and/or texted to get what had been promised.

Even worse, many do not even respond to requests. Not even a quick text. Completely unacceptable.

It’s AMAZING the total lack of follow thru that exists in the service industry (not to mention the insurance company–that’s a whole other story.)

I know we all get busy, BUT the lesson learned, don’t promise to do something unless I know I can do it.

If it will take more time than I thought, let the client know, don’t ignore.

Lesson 4 – Be a top-notch quality service provider.

This is a BIGGIE!  Wow, have I learned a lot through this mess about getting the right providers.

Smile & Listen!

Ask for references. Research. Compare. Ask questions until you understand. Learn.

Then hire quality. They are worth their weight in gold.

Yes, they cost more, but quality providers actually follow through; they guide you because they listen; they are honest; they show up on time!

Then they do quality work.

The price is worth it.

The old saying, “You get what you pay for is so very true.”

At Above the Rest we promise to be high quality service providers who do all of those things.  We may not be the cheapest, but we will be Above the Rest with service.

We are focusing even more to fulfill our mission:

To bring moments of joy and smiles to all we serve with grace and gratitude.

Are there more lessons?

The after painting ceilings look. And in apartment to clean up.

After 11 weeks, we are just at the beginning of getting restoration work done (except for all of the painting we’ve been doing).

The packing and moving companies we hired were awesome–yes, they received accolades and tips.

Came when they said!

The flooring company is top notch and providing great service.

I’m hoping the others we’ve hired do the same. We shall see.

I’ve learned a lot about customer service and have many other lessons I could share, but those 4 are the ones that stand out the most!

I truly hope that at Above the Rest we fall into the Quality Service Provider category whenever you ask us to help make your next event stand out Above the Rest.

If we don’t–PLEASE tell me.  We will get it fixed.

Here’s to many happy events for you–and to a finished house restoration for me!