I had a recent experience with a service contractor who shall go unnamed, but unfortunately the business practice they displayed is still all too typical in the contracting trades industry.
Don’t Make Your Customers Look like This
We needed some work done at the house, the same type of work that a number of homes in our neighborhood are looking for. One of her neighbors had spoken with a contractor who gave her a preferred rate for his services, based upon leveraging that work across a number of homes in our subdivision. I called the contractor and he sounded knowledgeable and well-organized over the phone. He came to our house at the appointed time, evaluated the work to be done, showed us samples of his work, provided references and gave us a price. It was a verbal price, he did not follow with any type of written quote. Nevertheless, we told him we wanted to follow up with his references so we could see for ourselves the quality of his work. When we did, we weren’t overly pleased. It wasn’t that the quality of his work was bad, it’s just that it wasn’t great.
A relative of my wife’s had the same work performed in her home 10 years ago and was quite pleased with the contractor they used. The quality of the work still shown after 10 years, so we contacted this company. Based on not being overly satisfied with the quality of work by the first contractor we first had out, we made an appointment with the second company. The day they were to come out, they called and said they were running late and would make it late in the day. They didn’t. Come out or call. Rather, they called the next day and wanted to know if they could come by that morning. Even though we were a bit irritated we said yes. When the contractor came out, she seemed very knowledgeable and answered all our questions. She evaluated the work to be done and provided references where we could see her work. She promised to drop off samples later that week. She didn’t. The following weekend after she was out, we followed up on her references and were very pleased with the quality of their work. Based on that we called to remind her about the samples, which she said she would deliver in the next couple of days. She did, and based on everything we knew we contracted with her for the work, even though her price was about 10% higher than the first company. It seemed well worth it, and due to our discussions with adjoining neighbors she sold another job next door. She described her schedule and gave us a 5 day window for starting and completing the work.
On day 4 of the window I called the contractor because I had not seen or heard from them. She called me right back and said the previous project they had been working on had taken a little longer than she thought so that they would start the following Monday. As I was expecting this response, I was not particularly bothered by it but I know some homeowners would be. Monday came and went with no sign of the contractor, but with some concern for the weather the remainder of the week. Inclement weather would only delay the project some more.
As of this moment it is 5:30 PM on the “following Monday”, and I realistically don’t expect her phone call until Tuesday. I know we will eventually complete this project and be happy with it, but I will not be giving her company the rave reviews her work will most likely have earned. While I have no reason to doubt their technical competence and quality of work, their business practices are terrible. Contractors, take note. In this day and age it is no longer sufficient to take pride in your quality of work. Your overall business practices must be of the same caliber as your work if you are to truly call yourself a top rate company!