Disappointment with Contractors

No, not that type of contractor… At thoughtbot, we’ve been planning an office makeover of sorts, which involves space planning, equipment planning, furniture selection, paint planning. In addition to painting, we’re also planning to replace and fix many of the light fixtures.

We’re finally past the planning stages, and into the implementation stage now, and I’ve been attempting to find contractors - both painters and electricians. I’ve used both Craigslist and the phone book in my attempt to find people. I’ve never done this before, so I had no expectation about how its supposed to work, but many of the ads on Craigslist say things like we return your phone calls and show up for appointments, while that’s nice - it definitely implies that some of the other guys won’t.

Well, they’re right. I’ve called/setup appointments with five people/firms - I’ve set up appointments with three, only one showed up for the appointment, the other two never even called. The fifth, I called and left a message with, and never received a return phone call. This is annoying.

This experience makes me further realize how annoying and frustrating this can be for a (potential) customer, and while I think that at thoughtbot we’ve done a good job responding to customer inquiries, there has been a few times where I can admit that we’ve not responded in as prompt a manner as we could have - either because we’re extra busy, or we just don’t think its really an interesting prospect. Well, this experience has prompted me to think about that, and redouble my efforts to ensure that we always respond to inquiries and make appointments to potential customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Update, 11/04/2006: The electrician who hadn’t returned my call yet, did end up returning my call to set an appointment - we’ll see if he shows up. The painters who were the ones who showed up for the appointment, said they’d have a quote that night via email, and its been 2 days and I haven’t heard anything from them.