How to Tell a Contractor You Selected Someone Else

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated August 13, 2021
Contractor leaving house
Sue Barr / Image Source via Getty Images

With an honest, direct email, you can turn a contractor down kindly and respectfully

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No one wants to hear the tired “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse—so how do you tell a contractor that you chose someone else? Remember that this is not their first rodeo (or rejection), so don’t overthink it. With an honest, direct, and kind approach, there don’t have to be any hard feelings.

Email (Don’t Call)

When you’re telling a contractor that you went with someone else, a phone call puts you both on the spot. It also opens the door for emotions, which could easily turn a well-intentioned conversation sour. By writing your thoughts in an email, you can perfect the message and avoid any potential awkwardness.

Thank Them for Their Time

Always begin your email with a “thank you” to ensure you start on a positive, polite, and professional note. Thank the contractor for their time and effort in giving you a quote. Even if you don’t select that contractor, this will show appreciation for the work they already put in.

Provide Honest Feedback

Was there a specific reason that the contractor didn’t get the job? If so, providing feedback is a courtesy that will help the contractor understand why they didn’t get picked. It will also keep the conversation more objective rather than personal.

For example, if the contractor requested an unreasonable down payment, cite this in your email. You might even have chosen a different type of pro for the job, such as an architect. Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to explain your decision.

Stay Positive

You can soften the blow of a rejection email by adding kind words wherever you can. Compliment the contractor’s reputation, business, or whatever attracted you to them in the first place. Tell them that you received quotes from several great contractors, but you decided on another bidder. It’s not personal—it’s business.

Leave the Door Open

There are many questions to ask before hiring a contractor—and picking out good candidates takes time. When you’ve already vetted a general contractor near you, it’s always a good idea to keep them in your back pocket. After all, they might be a great fit for another project, or they could come in the clutch if the contractor you selected doesn’t finish the job.

Let the contractor know that you look forward to possibly working with them in the future. It might even help you negotiate lower costs for your next project, especially if price was your deciding factor.

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