My name is Tom Evans (how ya doin?). I’m an owner of a small construction company (shout out Mansfield, Ohio) that services Richland and surrounding counties in Ohio. Have you ever wondered why a contractor doesn’t return your calls or meets with you for an estimate on a project and you never hear from them again? What about completing one project and meets with you for an estimate on something else and he drags his feet and you get a very high estimate compared to others. I will explain why this stuff happens and how to protect you from it.
In Ohio we have six (6) months of prime time to get our outside projects completed. Sometimes that can be stretched to eight (8) months tops. Most companies in our area are small, with 1 -12 employees. So with a window of time and limitations on equipment and labor, a business owner must try and complete as many jobs as possible with the highest profit margins. Unlike some trades that do a job in an hour, ½ day, and a day, a contractor can get one call and keep busy for weeks. New and or poorly managed companies will get a call from a customer with a small job, and put it off because of a bigger opportunity from another customer. A lot of times weather will delay a scheduled start date for a project, but sometimes a contractor will put a more profitable job ahead of yours. This is greed before customer service.
I’ll give you a scenario of why a contractor might meet you about an estimate, and then you never get the estimate. Joe customer calls and has scheduled a meeting for a door replacement estimate on September 9 at 4:00. The contractor gets back at the office and has a message from a company that needs a building remodeled inside and out. They meet with the maintenance supervisor at said building. Contractor tells him that we could get this done for him, but would have to start ASAP because of bad weather coming. A price is given and a purchase order is approved. This six (6) week project is started and the contractor forgets about your door.
Another scenario is he comes to give an estimate and doesn’t want to do the job. Some contractors hate painting windows, removing wallpaper, even roofing. You never get a call, just no estimate.
You receive three (3) estimates and one is very high. This means that they are very busy, don’t want to do the job, or they don’t know their market. The contractor that doesn’t know their market won’t be in business very long. It is hard to tell a customer that you don’t want to do a certain job because sometimes the customer is easily offended. When a contractor is busy, he will raise his prices above market value. When business is slow, prices will drop.
I hate to say this, but I used to be that “stupid contractor”; always chasing the “ole mighty dollar”. After much experience, we now tell customers the time of year we can do a specific job. Sometimes customers call with a project in the fall that we can’t get to until the next summer. Sometimes they wait, sometimes they don’t. We also prioritize our repeat customers. There is a trust formed and everyone knows what to expect.
In conclusion, I have composed a list to help in hiring a contractor:
- Check insurance liability and Workers’ Compensation.
- Ignore any contractor that uses bandit signs for advertising.
- If your call to a contractor is not returned in 24 hours, ignore that contractor.
- Get references and look at three (3) jobs that is similar to the work you want done.
- If someone gives you a referral, make sure the contractor has done more than one (1) job for them.
- Call your buddy, Tom at 419.529.6343