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Question DetailsAsked on 11/24/2013

Why can I not get a contractor to come to my house and give me an estimate for exterior remodeling? What am I doin

I need basic maintainence work done, plus a little remodeling if I have enough money. painting, power wash of pavers, step repair...

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Most contractors I know, myself included, are very busy right now. Despite what you might think the holiday season is actually a busy time of year. It is the time of year everyone decides to get work done that they have been putting off because they are off of work and/or because they have company visiting. I have a waiting list. It's unprofessional of any contractors you have spoken with to not, at the least, explain that you will have to wait x number of months before they can get to you. It could also be because you are calling handymen or fly-by-night companies that don't worry about what work they plan for the future. They live in the present, worrying about how much they are making now. Therefore, they don't spend the time to develop relationships with future customers.

Other factors that turn off contractors (I'm not saying you have done any of these):

- Talking about keeping the price low, or putting emphasis on price at all really, will turn many reputable, legitimate contractors away. What you are saying when you throw out keeping the price low is that you don't value our time and don't think we should be able to make enough money to support our families to the same degree that you can support yours. Essentially, you might as well as say you are looking for a day laborer, not a professional.

- "Polishing a Turd" is a common expression used when a customer needs a lot more than a few boards replaced but doesn't want to spend the money to complete the work that needs to be done. Many of us do have our pride and won't affiliate ourselves with a project that will still look like crap when we are done. I've had customers want me to replace a few trim boards on a house with the siding so rotten it won't hold a nail. That's not to say I don't understand being on a budget and needing to just get by until a future date when the project can be done properly. I do understand budget constraints. If I were rich I wouldn't be doing a lot of the work I do. The ones that have no intention of ripping the trash off and redoing the entire siding and trim on the house, when it is obviously beyond its useful life, is not a project I'm interested in. You, the customer, might be happy but everyone else looking at the job just thinks I was lazy and didn't do the work that should have been done.

- Are you the listed owner of the property? A good contractor makes sure he is dealing with the legal, listed owner of the property. If you aren't and you sign the contract, it is almost impossible to enforce should things go awry.

- What is your preferred method of contact? Email, phone, text? Make sure you can actually be reached in that manner. I have had customers give me email addresses with spam filters in place so they never see my emails. They think I haven't tried to contact them when I have. Since I don't pester my customers needlessly I have found out after the fact that while I thought they changed their mind about hiring me they thought I never contacted them. Most of us don't bother customers repeatedly. I figure if you want the work done you'll call me. If not, I don't need to employ high pressure sales tactics which can create a sour relationship. Communication breakdowns happen. If you've done your research on a contractor and like their work and ethics, call him/her. It may be that they haven't been able to reach you.

The first step to hiring anyone to visit your home is to research the potential candidates. Look at their website and check customer reviews. Ignore grades because they are always biased in some way. Read the actual reviews. Look for complaints and see if they were resolved. No company can make everyone happy but should at least attempt to make amends in some way. Do this and your chances of finding a contractor to call on now and in the future will be much greater than shooting at random or hiring based on price. Reputation and knowledge cost money but so does having to redo poor work. We are all human and make mistakes. It is just as important that you communicate with your contractor as it is for him to communicate with you. Look for someone you can speak freely with and feel comfortable with. Then have them bid or estimate the job. If you can afford it, hire him. If not, wait until you can. You stated you have enough money. Are you sure? It could be that the contractors you've spoken with don't want to offend you. If you gave them a budget they couldn't work with they should have said so. I believe in open discussions over budgets between contractors and customers. Things go a lot smoother that way. If the contractor can't discuss the budget with you then you haven't found the right one. Keep looking. There are plenty out there, the trick is finding the good ones. Don't settle for cheap and convenient. You won't like the result.

Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX

Answered 6 years ago by Todd's Home Services


Might I suggest that You provide US with your location !

In todays economy I can't imagine anyone having trouble in finding an interested contractor

to accomplish thier work, so please tell us where you are located and maybe that will prompt

some interest.

Answered 6 years ago by BentheBuilder


A long story short, Todd's Home Service answered the question very well. A great contractor doesn't want to be a part of a poor plan, or a cheap customer. The words, "Sharpen your pencil", will get you nothing but a high price or no response. I almost always check the customer off my list of people I want to work for, and so I may do the estimate if I'm still interested, but trust me it leave a question in your mind about what your in for with the customer.

Having a clear scope of work for the contractor will help you get what you want, and make it easy for them to give it to you. If you use the words, "I don't know", the contractor may think he has to do a lot of work just to figure it all out. Time is money and a lot of money can be lost over a years time spending another hour or two per day playing guessing games $13,050-$26,100. So it may not be worth their time.

As a remodeling contractor, I have offered some guys I trust the option of just working time and materials. Keeping track of what time they are at the job site and what hours were spent purchasing materials and material cost. If you settle this at the end of each day, there won't be any disagreements at the end of the week. And keeping the guys paid is very important to keeping them happy.

Carl Pfeiffer

Craftsman Connection, LLC

Super Service Award 2010,2011, 2012, and 2013 is coming in a few weeks.

Dallas/ Ft. Worth Area

Answered 6 years ago by CraftsmanConnection


I liked Todd's response - should be made into an Angie's List article.

Just from your question, I don't think you would find many general contractors interested in your scope of work, especially as it is essentiallymaintenance rather than construction.

Perhaps if you break it up - house pressure washing and painting and maybe a touch of trim replacement as one scope of work (for a Painter), then another contractor - probably Landscaper, Handyman, or small Concrete contractor or Carpenter (depending on material steps are made of) - for power wash and repair steps and other yard type work.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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