Contractors are busy, but here are some tips to get them to return your call in a timely manner
Sometimes, connecting with a contractor for a home improvement project can resemble the budding stages of a romantic relationship. Should I text them or call them? How long should I wait to hear back? Is it time to move on and find someone new? It’s disappointing not to get a call back when you’re raring to go with your renovation. After all, how can you hire a contractor near you if you can’t get a callback?
Four Tips for Quickly Connecting With a Contractor
While contractors do tend to be very busy—seriously, it often is them, not you—there are some ways of getting a call back sooner rather than later. To get through to a contractor who is not responding, defer to their preferred method of contact, be prepared with decisive answers to their questions, and keep your project timeline as flexible as possible. Try these handy tips to keep communication lines clear with your contractor.
1. Use the Preferred Method of Communication
Good communication is key in any working relationship. Regardless of your preferred method of communication, defer to the contractor’s preferred method if you want a better chance of getting a response. A phone call is typically the best way to establish first contact. However, a busy contractor might find that reading a text is quicker than listening to a voicemail message. While this might seem like a casual approach to a professional relationship, it can work—just remember to include your name in the text so that they know who they’re texting with.
Once you establish contact with the contractor, ask them their preferred method of communication and the best time of day to reach them. Knowing both will keep the lines of communication open at every step during your renovation project.
2. Be Decisive
A contractor’s livelihood relies on a full project schedule. While it’s understandable that you might want to review a few different estimates before committing to a general contractor, you don’t want to take too long to say yes to starting the work. Otherwise, a contractor will view your job as something that isn’t a high priority and will likely accept a job with another homeowner who is ready to go with their project. It will always benefit your cause if you are ready to go when the contractor says so, though it likely won’t be the next day.
3. Be Flexible
Barring the need to have any emergency repair work in your home, it helps to be flexible about when the crew will show up to do the job. Your project is at the mercy of a busy contractor’s timeline, so it’s always better to build some room into your schedule. This is especially true if your project is more seasonal in scope, like building or repairing a deck.
Of course, you can always call up another contractor to see if they have availability sooner, but if your project happens to be a popular one, you may have to wait your turn. Sometimes homeowners can have unrealistic expectations of contractors during peak season. If you must get the work done during a certain time of year, call well in advance to have a better chance of keeping to that timeframe.
4. Be Informed
Your contractor is an experienced professional and should be able to answer any questions you have about the work performed in your home. However, you should educate yourself about some of your project’s major elements so that you’re not a complete babe in the woods.
For example, it’s your contractor’s job to install kitchen countertops, not explain to you the advantages or disadvantages of the different types of stone. That’s best left to the professional retailer who can show you different options that suit your needs and budget. Speaking of which, it will be helpful to know the cost of certain materials so that you know what you’re getting into. It’s OK to try to save money where possible, but a contractor will likely show reticence about working with someone who experiences sticker shock with everything because it means that they might stall or perhaps cancel the project.
An experienced contractor will always be in demand. While it’s good business for the contractor to return calls sooner rather than later, homeowners should be realistic in knowing that they might not get callbacks right away. These tips can help speed up the process.