Annoying Things [Building] Contractors Do

Posted by Devon Shryock

We know what the most annoying contractor behaviors are and we admit we've committed a few of our own over the years. We work hard to discover what they are, when they occur, and we take measures to chang them. Actually, we know first-hand just how annoying these behaviors can be. We've hired hundreds of professionals over 25 years and have experienced all of them.

Although we strive to shield clients from these infuriating behaviors, they are still out there, as ubiquitous as the common cough.  

Who Did We Survey?

Included in our general survey were: 

1. Homeowners who have interviewed or hired contractors (including us),

2. General contractors (like us) since they hire sub-contractors and specialists.

3. Project managers because they have the exacting job of coordinating everyone on a job.

We wanted to know what the top most annoying things all three groups tend to experience most about our industry. We found that all three groups actually share common themes. Turns out they all fell into two general categories - communication and attitude.

Here are the top 3:

1. Arrogance/talking down to their client.

This one is particularly offensive because it sabotages a homeowner's /professional's capacity to make informed decisions. Without talking at a client till their eyes glaze over, they are entitled to understand the way things work and exactly why (if they wish it explained to them). A contractor should never assume that the client doesn't need to know or won't understand. While general wisdom reinforces that most people don't want to know the why, only the What, sometimes the Why can seed fresh (even unconventional) ideas for alternative solutions.

2. Criticizing the competition- This is just plain annoying!

It smacks of sour grapes, doesn't it? No one wants to listen to one business criticize their competition. It's insulting to everyone, including the client who has to listen to it and it disrespects their time. Even when the criticism is justified it's unprofessional to belabor the point. Secondly, if the contractor is criticizing someone the client has hired in the past, it can be construed as criticizing the client, certainly their choices... a bit obtuse- right?

3. Telling you it Can't be done

OK, there are lots of things that can't be done on some budgets, but beginning with "NO" is just rude! All a homeowner wants is for their idea or question to be considered, thought through, held as important. Leading with "Hum, well lets see if we can find a way to get you what you're asking for and still hold to the budget... have you considered  (this, that, or the other thing)? is much better.

While earnest excellence takes work and vigilance we believe homeowners deserve to be served by true professionals; businesses who care about being in business 20 years from now and who are excited by the challenge of providing excellent value and the best possible individual service -every time. We also believe that whenever a professional works hard and gets it right, its good for the homeowner and the industry.

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