Is It Too Much to Ask for Contractors to Call You Back?

Do I have three heads? Speak in tongues? Smell bad? It seems a return call is an unattainable expectation these days.

I’ve had a less than adequate response from a handful of plumbers, glass and mirror installers, tile layers and appliance repair people. I understand with some sought-after specialists a wait is expected, but no courtesy return call only adds frustration and leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

When contacting a contractor, I’ll leave a voicemail and follow up with an email (if available). I’ll wait a few days and call again. If no contact is made, I go to the next one on the list. When I finally get someone to the house, its often two to three weeks after the quest begins. I can’t help but feel like one of those desperate high school girls that followed beautiful male specimens around campus. I’m not going to beg for service, but it often feels that way.  

All I want is a competitive quote along with a scheduled date for the project.  It’s getting to the point where I’m surprised, even shocked, when I DO get a call back. Then, when I’m finally speaking with a human, there’s often attitude — as if  I’ve inconvenienced  them! I had a tile man give me a quote for a bathroom floor. When I called him back, he was booked through October. October? Maybe my job wasn’t big enough, not worth his time. Maybe the world is dangerously low on plumbers, tilers, handymen? In this economy, it’s hard to believe anyone would turn down work.

I’m over the game. I’m tired of asking, walking on eggshells when trying to hire someone. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, but it seems no one wants the work. Am I alone on this? The recommended contractors who poop gold, or at least believe they do, swagger with confidence. I’ve tried name dropping, telling them who recommended them, what wonderful things I’ve heard. The charm has officially fizzled and no longer works.  

I asked a few friends if they’ve experienced the same hindrance. I have a friend who was looking to do an addition to her kitchen. A recommended contractor came to her house, spending a lengthy amount of time taking measurements.  He was never to be heard from again, vanished into thin air. She made a few attempts with phone calls, but no response.

Then there’s the friend who contracted to have a paver patio installed. On the day the man was to start, he called to say he decided it was a nice day and was headed to the Cape! He was promptly fired.   

If I find a trusted contractor, I will nourish the professional relationship. I’m friendly, offer beverages, sometimes lunch. Most appreciate the gesture, others are a bit cautious. But once they realize the intentions are genuine, that I pay invoices on time and continue to call for more work, they stick around. If the work is good, response time speedy and rate is competitive, I’ll be loyal and spread the good word.

Mary July 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Sorry to hear that. Speaking as a wife and bookkeeper of a contractor. I hear it does happen through the words of my husbands clients.We do advertises but the majority of our work is from word of mouth by pass costumers .Sometimes owners have even tipped us because they were so please.We take pride in our work.When you ask to do a job, yes you want the best price but don't expect band aide prices when you want first rate materials and quality . You get what you pay for. As for being schedule so late in the year.Most of the time there is a reason.Yes most of the time it is first call first serve but just as Drs. offices emergency jobs sometimes have to come first. Not that your not important.Yes we appreciate your business .Owning a business also comes with expences.We need all sorts of insurance no matter how small or large your business is.It is VERY costly.We want to be fair..but be fair to us when you want a free estimate don't expect it to be written unless you are serious about us doing the job.Our time and talent is valuable too.We have had customers try to scam insurance companies just wanting cash for the claims without having work done..or you want us to write for more than its worth..You are using us in your scams. Sorry We are a honest company.We try our best to call back all that has considered us.I hope you get better results in the future. Thank you for your business
Jane July 16, 2012 at 03:06 PM
My advice is to only do business with the people who have a license. This license number must be displayed in their advertisements. When you use licensed people and you are not treated fairly you can register a complaint with the State and have some recourse. .When a contracter comes, make sure you get a detailed contract with him/her stating exactly the work to be done, the price and the date of completion. If they don't return you initial call than its obvious they don't want your business so just move down the list to the next contracter. .


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »