Because it isn’t always as straightforward as you might think.
Open the phone book or do a quick Google search for DISH Network and you’re inundated with telemarketers from outside the area preying on potential customers.
These companies usually have a local address (though that location could be an empty parking lot), and a staffed call center – sometimes in the United States, but often overseas. These out-of-area companies hire contractors to do the installation, and then end their relationship with you there, which can lead to a myriad of problems down the road.
“People will think they’re ordering directly from DISH Network, and 90 percent of the customers aren’t,” Scott, Sky Systems company’s president, explains. They’re ordering from a retailer, just like Sky Systems, but they don’t do the install themselves, and Scott says he feels safe in saying that few if any of the independent contractors hired to do the installations are licensed.
“So if you as a homeowner allow someone on your property to do work and they’re not licensed, you better call your homeowners insurance,” he says. “Because if he falls off a ladder while working at your house, he’s an invited guest and can sue your for his injuries. People don’t know this, and it happens all day long.”
Many of the customers who hire one of these companies eventually make their way to Scott’s Sky Systems of Olympia, the only storefront in the area that sells, installs, and services DISH Network and Direct TV using licensed, bonded technicians. They also offer WildBlue Satellite Internet and CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) services.
“We’re the only retailer for both these products in southwest Washington with a storefront and our own technicians doing installs,” says Scott, who runs Sky Systems of Olympia with his wife, Bonnie, and their daughter Allissa Avery.
Scott and Bonnie started the business in 1993 – then called Cell Tell – selling cellular phones. As the cellular industry began to change, the company added satellite. “We regrouped in 2002, and fully said goodbye to cellular,” says Scott. “I’d done it so long and I had that pride in it, but my daughter was asking me, ‘Dad, why are we doing this? We’re losing money on it.’” The company name changed to Sky Systems. “Best move we ever made.”
The company and its employees are a tight-knit group. Two of its technicians have been with the company for a decade. “They’re just like family,” Scott says.
Scott went to high school in Yelm after years as a self-described military brat. “My family all left, and I stayed,” he says with a laugh.
“I got married early and had two children. I started doing the cellular sales as a way to make extra money and get out of debt,” Scott explains. “But then you see people getting ripped off. You feel passionate and think, ‘Man, I can really help customers and make a living at it.’”
“There are people who get into this business to make a fortune,” he says. “I’m a long ways from rich; I just want to stay in business, make a decent living, and eat a steak when I want to.”
Scott and the entire Sky Systems team care about their customers. “That’s not the common theme anymore,” Scott laments. “Now it’s, ‘make the money and run.’ We actually care.”
“But,” he says, “in order for me to take care of them, they’ve got to be my customer.”
Sky Systems of Olympia
1806 4th Ave. E.
Olympia WA 98506