Why don't contractors / vendors care about making a sale?

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Why don't contractors / vendors seem to care about selling a product or service?
I don't know if its because business is so good right now that they don't need my money, or that they are over stretched and can not accept any new clients, but I am completely amazed at how contractors and vendors do not seem to care about making a sale.
I'll call them up saying that I'm interested in getting a particular job done. The receptionist takes the message and says she'll forward it to the sales/service department, and half the time they don't bother calling me back. I end up having to "chase" them for days calling them over and over until I finally get a response.
Others don't seem to care about finishing the job, and getting the rest of their payment. This summer I paid a company to replace all of my windows (a $8,500 job). They replaced all of them except for two (one was the wrong type, the other was broken upon arrival). So we agreed that I'd pay half of the job now, and the other half when the final two windows would be installed (this is what they had suggested, not me).
Long story short, 4 months later, and countless, countless aggravating phone calls on my part to finally get them to come over and finish the bloody job, they got the remaining of their $3,500 payment (they had already received $1,500 down-payment when I signed the sales contract before they started the job)
Total time it took them to finish installing the final two windows? About 2 hours.
2 hours of work to bring in $3,500 is a pretty sweet deal. If that was me I'd be there in a second.
Why don't they care? It seems to me if I walk into an electronic store and say to the first salesman "I'm here to buy a new TV. I'm looking to spend about $2,500", it won't be long before I'm walking out of the store with a new TV. If I call an investment firm and tell them I'm looking to open a new investment account with them, I have an appointment booked by the end of that same phone call.
If I call a heating contractor and tell them "I'm interested in getting a new furnace installed", it takes days before somebody calls me back to book an appointment for an inspection / quote (which will be booked next week). And that's if they ever call me back.
I've spoken to various friends about this issue, and they've had the same experience. I don't get why this seems to be so prevalent in the home renovation / construction industry.
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Because the vast majority of contractors out there are sleeze balls.
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Contractors are no worse than customers. How'd you like to look at job after job, spend hours on travel time and estimating, and later find out that the customer did the job himself, using much of the info you or other contractors gave him?

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Bob wrote:

/snip/ Unfortunately that's the real world. By the time my company (technology) responds to an RFP we have told them the solution, the platform for the solution, the OS, the network required and given them a high level project plan. We have had a few clients over the years say "I'll just do it myself".
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.
: Bob wrote: : > Contractors are no worse than customers. How'd you like to look at job after : > job, spend hours on travel time and estimating, and later find out that the : > customer did the job himself, using much of the info you or other : > contractors gave him? : > : /snip/ : Unfortunately that's the real world. By the time my company : (technology) responds to an RFP we have told them the solution, the : platform for the solution, the OS, the network required and given them a : high level project plan. We have had a few clients over the years : say "I'll just do it myself".
As I said once before, you have to learn how to do an RFP then. Besides, that's computers, not home repair. And not on topic. I"ve done a LOT of RFP's and also RFQ's et al, but I don't give away the store doing so. You could probably benefit from a good seminar on the topic. Education never stops and only change is constant.
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Hardly the same as getting ripped off by bad contractors. Just because you give an estimate and suggestions to a customer doesn't mean he's required to hire you.
However, you getting hired and paid by a customer DOES mean that you're supposed to finish the job correctly.
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Are you a contractor with that problem? Is so, you need to reconfigure how you do your estimates. If you're not, then, well, you don't know what your'e talking about. Do you?
Pop
: > > I've spoken to various friends about this issue, and they've had the : > > same experience. I don't get why this seems to be so prevalent in the : > > home renovation / construction industry. : > : > Because the vast majority of contractors out there are sleeze balls. : > : :
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"I don't know if its because business is so good right now that they don't need my money, or that they are over stretched and can not accept
any new clients, but I am completely amazed at how contractors and vendors do not seem to care about making a sale. "
They're kind of one and the same thing. Business is strong right now with all the building and home remodeling going on. So just about all of them have plenty of work. Of course that doesn't excuse the way they do business. They should at least let you know they are too busy to take your work, not leave you hanging.
A friend of mine was trying to find painters to paint the whole exterior of his house in the boondocks north of Albany. Even there he had the same problem. Call, leave mesg, no one gets back to him.
This will all change come the next recession.
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.
: "I don't know if its because business is so good right now that they : don't need my money, or that they are over stretched and can not accept : : any new clients, but I am completely amazed at how contractors and : vendors do not seem to care about making a sale. " : : They're kind of one and the same thing. Business is strong right now : with all the building and home remodeling going on. So just about all : of them have plenty of work. Of course that doesn't excuse the way : they do business. They should at least let you know they are too busy : to take your work, not leave you hanging. : : A friend of mine was trying to find painters to paint the whole : exterior of his house in the boondocks north of Albany. Even there he : had the same problem. Call, leave mesg, no one gets back to him. : : This will all change come the next recession. : Not likely unless gas/oil gets a lot cheaper. Most of the time that means they can't get a decent return on their investment so they don't want the jobs. It's human nature to take the easiest ones first. Unfortunately. Considering the lack of real "boondocks" north of Albany, I suspect they just didn't want the jobs because they knew there were others capable of it nearby.
I might sound pro-contractor, but I'm not, really. I'm neutral as far as contractor's go. I use them if I have to and am usually happy with their work, but if I can avoid one I do because a lot of times I can't afford them. I find VERY FEW that give away the store when they do an estimate, or especially an RFP as one persin indicated.
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This will all change come the next recession.
"Not likely unless gas/oil gets a lot cheaper. Most of the time that means they can't get a decent return on their investment so they don't want the jobs. It's human nature to take the easiest ones first. Unfortunately. "
What does any of this have to do with the cost of gas, oil, or anything else. Like any business, those costs get factored in, added on, and passed along to the consumer. And how does a contractor even know which job is easy, unless he returns a phone call? It's not that folks won't pay, it's that they don't even get to that stage. And I have seen this change with every recession so far. When that time comes, these guys are banging on doors looking for business.
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Sour grapes
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<big snip>
because they can afford to do so.
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Actually, IMO, it's mostly because the people the public deals with aren't the ones who "own" the company or name. They don't care and are just there to pull in pay checks. I've found I get a lot better results from the sole proprietors than the bigger guys. The only problem there is finding one you can trust and are sure will be there tomorrow. So far so good, but ... <g>
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On 25 Jan 2006 09:50:56 -0800, jonny snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

In SW Florida they simply have all the work they can handle.
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Wait until the housing mania ends, then they will call you back.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

     Then why do they keep advertising? I just called three contractors to have a job done. Two have ads in the local newspaper, but they didn't return my calls. I understand there are some bad customers, but that doesn't justify a lack of courtesy. The third one returned my call the next day, then stopped two days later to quote the job and will be here next week to do the job. I've seen his work, it's good and the price is not the lowest but it's fair. This is the definition of a professional.
    Bob
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If you like his work when he's done, be sure to go out of your way to tell everyone how happy you are with his work.
wrote:

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even that's no guarantee. my gym is doing a $1million expansion. the general contractor they had lined up and had already done some of the prelim work (starting to get permits, plans, etc) just backed out. his excuse was that he just got a $5million contract elsewhere. i don't know where the lawyers start to step in, but it's probably going to happen. do they really want to have someone they're suing finish the job, or there might be penalties in the contract that they'll just pay because the other job will pay better?
regards, charlie http://glassartists.org/chaniarts
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wrote:

We keep advertising because a) to be effective, advertising must be repeated and repeated and repeated and b) because we sign annual or longer contracts with the media to get the best rates.

There's no shortage of people in this newsgroup who will point out that doing estimates is part of a contractor's cost of doing business and that doing an estimate does not entitle a contractor to anything.
Similarly, reading an ad and phoning doesn't entitle you to anything.
Here's how my business works:
On referrals and repeats, I get three jobs out of four phone calls. On cold calls from ads, I get one job out of thirteen phone calls.
So, if you leave a message saying you were referred (by a customer I value), you'll get an immediate return call. All my clients are nice, fairminded people... and they generally are careful who they give my name to.
If you leave a messsage saying you're getting bids on a project, or you want a *free estimate* or you *need* a quote .... you'll be ignored. These all are tip offs that you are a tire kicker or worse. Maybe you're not ... but very likely, you are.
If you leave a message saying you saw my ad in so and so ... and are thinking about a project and wonder if I might be interested and available... I'll call you back. You're treating me with courtesy.
If you leave a message saying you are desperate to find a specific trade ... you know it's not a project for me but do i know anyone ... I'll probably call you back. If it's a small job, one of my guys may want to moonlight ... or someone will know someone. If you can help people, you ought to.
Here's how this works in real life ... my last 24 hours.
1) Phone call from a guy who lives an hour outside town. Wants to do a bathroom. Needs a price on labour. He'll supply all materials and fixtures. Would I like to run out there and give him a quote?.
Told him I don't like to work with owner-supplied materials. He said he had quotes from two other contractors who would ... why the heck wouldn't I?.
2) Phone call from a past client (basement development and kitchen). Wants a larger, more modern ensuite. Could I book the work for April and swing by when I get a chance so we can draw up a plan and work out the materials. Cost plus .. same as the kitchen. 3) Call from a woman who saw an ad. Wants her basement developed ... high end stuff, three way fireplace, maple wet bar .. etc. What are my margins, so she can negotiate a price?
So stupid she doesn't realize how far off base a question like that is.
4) Meet with a guy who called from an ad. Likes the quote, likes the plan, can we start within the month. Yup, sign here.
5) Meet with a guy referred by a previous client. He's rude to his wife in front of me. Talk with the previous client --- yeah, he can be pretty abrasive but he's okay, overall.
Add ten percent to my estimate. If the job goes ahead and he's okay, I can always knock it off ... if not, I got an aggravation bonus.
6) Phone call from an ad. A guy who wants to add square footage. Says he has no clue what's involved, but his family has grown, they've ruled out moving ... and their mortgage is coming up for renewal so he'd like some information to talk to the bank.
We spend half an hour on the phone. Give him a ball park figure and a timeline .. make a couple of suggestions. He's says thanks. I figure there's a fifty percent chance I'll hear from him again.
7) Call from a client who let my guys eat lunch out on their patio and gave them cokes, some lino is lifting in a corner ... what should he do? Tell him to leave a key, it'll be fixed today.
8) Call from a woman, she knows the sister of a couple whose kitchen I did. They speak very highly of me. She might want a quote on her kitchen. How much insurance do I carry? How much is my bond?
I ask her what type of insurance and what types of bond she means? She doesn't know. I tell her it's a little crazy right now, but my tilesetter should get bail next week and if my cabinet guy canl get early parole, we could look at her project in the summer.
Look, lthere are good contractors and bad. There are good customers and bad. There are no guarantees, but what goes around does come around.
We do care about make a sale. We might not care about making a sale to you. As for those who say we'll pay for it in the next recession .. I doubt it. If y ou do good work, you will always be busy. And remember, we've had an entire generation who went into computers rather than the trades.
Ken
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True, there are no obligations either way. You find a good customer, you try to keep him. You find a good store, contractor, vendor, you keep him. Not everyone is suited to doing business with everyone else in the world. I'm in business myself (repairing musical instruments), and some of my customers are a pain in the butt. However, I always return a phone call, even if it's to tell the person I can't do the job they want done. I figure if I advertise, then I owe them a phone call if they responded to my ad. I expect the same from the people I buy from.
Bob
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