Monday, April 11, 2005

Poor Follow-up

I’m not sure how contractors make any money. As a group, they have rotten follow-up skills.

Back in February, I had worked myself up into a frenzy over the muddy backyard. I was convinced I needed professional help and called five landscapers. I left five messages. No one ever called me back. Eventually, my ardor cooled and I lost interest in the project. If just one of the landscapers had called me back and stoked my fire, he could have made beaucoup de bucks. Instead, I’ve moved on.

This month, I noticed that the Norway spruces in front of our house needed to have their lower limbs lopped off. Although the bases of the lowest branches are far above my head, the ends droop low enough to whack an adult walking beneath them. I called two tree services and left two messages. I was heartily impressed when one called me back, asked for my address, and promised to drive by to look at them that evening. I haven’t heard from him since. Mike and I risked death, but saved ourselves money by spending this past Saturday trimming them ourselves (with a little help from neighbor Tim). Again, the contractor missed out on a job.

Unless homeowners are chasing these guys down, how in the world are the landscape/tree service contractors staying in business? Are the plumbers, electricians, framers, drywallers, etc. as bad at follow-up? The poor customer service just gives me one more reason to be a do-it-yourselfer.


Blogger Kristin said...

Maybe they have so many customers they don't have time for more? But who are these customers that are getting all their time, and how did THEY get service? Maybe there a waiting list for a good contractor like there is for a primo pre-school.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

It's their busy time of year- spring cleanup- maybe that's why. It reminds me of something one of my old bosses used to say (he was a tyrant), "If someone calls up and says I want to give you money, you talk to them, you don't put them on hold." I guess these guys never heard that one.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Heather said...

I know exactly what you mean. I recently posted a rant on my blog about contractors. I have just decided if they were better at following through on commitments and followup they probably wouldn't be contractors...they'd be "developers". :)

11:01 AM  
Blogger Scott in Washington said...

I've never been especially wealthy, and so have probably more often than was warranted thought, "If I only had some more money, I could just pay someone to do this for me." Dealing with contractors has made me realize that a lot of the time if I had a big wad of greenbacks and no home improvement skills or inclination of my own, I'd be in a much more helpless position than I am now. I've had the same experience several times - almost pleading with contractors to come (please please) take my money and do work for me and then getting fed up with waiting and just doing it myself and ending up being quite satisfied with the result.

2:55 PM  

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