Avoiding contractor complaints

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allie hard hatContractors serve Customers. Customers vary from residential homeowners to industrial locations or mobile homes to government contracts. Contractors need to be able to communicate with a bevy of personality and customer types. Even the strongest and most experienced Contractor can still encounter Customer complaints. Below is a list of the most common complaints about Contractors and how best to avoid those complaints.

1. “The job was too expensive.” Or “I was overcharged.”

This is a common complaint with a simple cause, lack of communication. If you’re the type of Contractor who performs the task without asking for approval (and receiving a signed invoice agreeing to the work), you are setting yourself up for disaster. Work should always be explained and approved by the Customer before you begin the work. If you do not do this, you are leaving the door wide open for the Customer to decline the work. Then, you’ve done the work, used material and spent time and won’t be paid for any of it. Ensure you are communicating with the Customer at every level of the job to ensure their “buy in” and understanding of the work to prevent any later confusions.

2. “I was deceived.”

Customers are not Contractors, that’s why they hired you. Few Customers understand the enormity of a job and what it entails. Communicate with the customer to ensure they are aware of what you will be doing, how much it will cost, how long it will take and if there could be any issues along the way that may pop up once you begin work.

3. “The job was not completed.”

Ensure you inform the customer of the scope of work. Include the scope of work on your proposal or invoice and ensure the customer understands and signs off on the work and time frame. This will solidify the scope of work and a mutual understanding of the job needing to be done.

4. “The Contractor did shoddy work.”

This complaint can cause the Contractor major problems. The Customer has the right and authority to contact the State and inform them of their concerns with your workmanship and job quality. If the State agrees with the Customer, after a thorough investigation, you can have your license suspended or revoked. Most Customers are aware of their rights and will utilize this ability if they feel that the workmanship was subpar. To avoid this, be sure not to bid a job that you are not confident you are able to perform in a quality manner. You may lose the job, but it is better to lose a job you cannot do than to lose your license and tarnish your reputation due to pride.

5. “They didn’t finish the job.” Or “They didn’t finish the job on time.”

Always set a realistic time line of completion for the Customer. If the timeline for some reason needs to be extended, inform the customer of this change. Never assume the Customer can read your mind. If you are unable to complete the job in one work day, inform the Customer and schedule a time to return before you leave the job.

Allie Perez is director of operations, Mr. Plumber / Mr. AC, San Antonio (http://www.mrplumbersa.com). Her interesting viewpoints on the trades can be found on her blog at http://www.mrplumbersa.com/blog. She also is founder of Texas Women in the Trades (TWIT). Visit texaswomenintrades.com. Fortunately, TWIT is off to a strong start. If you have any interest in membership or mentorship, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at allie@mrplumber.com. Also, please like Texas Women in Trades on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/texaswomenintrades.

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