Have you ever been turned down by a remodeling company or a tradesperson?
You may have been rejected, but a savvy contractor’s manner of turning down clients may be so artful that you don’t even realize it happened. All you know is that you’re calling other companies.
First, why would a potential client be rejected by a remodeling company? Aren’t all remodeling companies desperate for clients?
No they are not. Well, not all of them, anyway. In my decades of reporting on the industry, I’ve heard these reasons for subtly turning a client away:
• The homeowners are obsessed with price, with getting a deal, and put that above all else, even down to questioning the cost of a single sheet of drywall.
• The homeowners may be excruciatingly picky and demand way more perfection than is problable or possible. While there are companies who cater to super picky people with high-end projects, the costs are proportionate.
* The homeowners may be rude or bigoted. I talked with a highly respected female remodeling company CEO who told me that if a client seems disrespectful of different genders, races, sexual orientation or whatever, she will not take the job and subject her employees to that.
• The homeowner may have a brittle personality and be just unpleasant to be around. Who needs that?
• The potential client may have tustled with or sued previous contractors. One way contractors find this out is to ask about past experiences with remodeling contractors. If a homeowners tells the truth, that reveals a lot.
In these cases and more, remodeling contractors are wise not to pursue particular jobs. But they must do so in a way that doesn’t anger the homeowners, as those homeowners might well refer other people who are more compatible with the companies.
If you are being rejected, you’ll hear phrases like this:
• We’re not a good fit for your project.
• I’ll give you some name of other companies.
• We’re too busy to take this on right now.
Or, a strategy used by some remodeling companies when they face a difficult client is to price the job so high that the bid is sure to be rejected. And if the high bid is accepted, at least there is extra money to make the painful job worthwhile.
The worst way of all for a contractor to turn down is a client is to shut down communications and not return calls. I hope no legitimate remodeling company chooses that tactic.