Contractors and Common Courtesy: Where Have All the Manners Gone?

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I have noticed an increasing trend of contractors of all sorts who just ignore you when you try to outreach to them to get information or a quote for work.

Many of them advertise, claim they are the best, and many come with online recommendations. However, what I have experienced, and many people around me as well, is the increasing lack of common courtesy to respond in a timely way, sometimes in any way, to a reasonable inquiry.

What I can gather is that contractors (name the service or industry) have more work than they care for up here in the Redding area. They are also having shortages of skilled laborers, sometimes laborers of any sort. Sometimes materials are in short supply.

I will use, as an example, trying to get chain-link fence repaired. We had tree damage some time ago (remember the snow?). My neighbor and I reached out to every conceivable contractor, left messages, wrote notes, sent emails, and with one exception, NONE ever responded for over a year.

What I would expect is that if you are a business, and a potential customer calls you and you have no capacity to help them, just tell them that! In my experience people will respect that honesty. It can go something like, “sorry Mr. Germano, we are booked out for over a year and we just can’t take on a small job like that”.

Like most property owners, we are not asking for a handout. We are offering to pay a fair price for a fair service. Now, I don’t want to say that every contractor does this, because I know several who do not, but, with increasing frequency I have experienced, heard and read from others this pattern of just silence and disrespect.

Mr. or Ms. Contractor, if a potential customer calls you, can you please take a minute to respond? If you have no capacity to offer the service or product, please pull your advertising for whatever period of time you need to catch up. Nothing drives a property owner more crazy than seeing adds over and over again, but experiencing a total blanket of silence when these same contractors refuse to respond to a simple inquiry. Remember, there could be a day (remember the recessions) that you would jump on a job if it came your way. That can happen again. It is just common courtesy and good business practice to let your potential customers know whether you can help them, or not.

Dean Germano lives in Redding.

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