General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

How to clarify why contractor was rejected? (long, sorry) (dog pic, post 29)

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Tree fell on my house during a storm in mid-July, but insurance is paying for repairs so that's cool.  I met with four contractors. #1 and #2 came out on 7/16, #3 on 7/17 and #4 on 7/20.  Please note that repairs will include a new roof and fixing three substantial holes that go all the way through my living and bedroom ceilings.  Contractor 1 came highly recommended from some friends, 2 and 3 were found on the BBB website and 4 is the father of a coworker at my PT job.  I made it very clear to each of them that I was looking at 3 other options.

Contractors 1, 2, and 3 each took about an hour to look at the damage to the house and answer my list of "contractor interview questions."  They all said that, because this is an insurance claim, they would simply work from the insurance company bid for the repair estimate.  For various reasons, I opted not to use Contractors 2 or 3, and sent them the following email within 3 days of their visit:

--- Quote ---Dear [contractor],
Thank you very much for taking the time to visit my home on [date] to evaluate the storm damage and discuss the repairs needed.

I would like to thank you for offering your services and bidding for the repairs needed; however, I regret to inform you that I have chosen another contractor to perform the work needed.

Should I require any work done on my home in the future, I will certainly be considering your company.  Thank you once again for your proposal.
--- End quote ---

Contractor 4 spent less than a half looking at the damage, though he did take quite a few pictures.  He told me that he hoped to have his estimate completed within "one to one and a half weeks."  At 1.5 weeks, which was a Monday, I emailed him the following:

--- Quote ---I just wanted to check in and see when you think the bid for my roof repairs would be ready for review.  I'm hoping to be able to select a contractor by the end of this week.
--- End quote ---
Two days later, I received this reply:

--- Quote ---Waiting to finish my “roofing” number. Hope to have to you by the end of the week.
--- End quote ---
So I waited.
I received nothing on Friday or Saturday, and so on Monday morning I emailed Contractor #1 to arrange for him to begin work.  I promptly sent #4 the same "thanks but no thanks" email referenced above.
Within an hour, I received this response:

--- Quote ---Have you received my telephone messages I have left for you trying to schedule a time to get together to get this pricing information to you? I only received the single email Monday morning, after I had accepted Contractor #1's offer  I have not heard back from you. Waiting to hear from you so we can get together.
It is disappointing to me that you say you have chosen a contractor without seeing “all of the pieces of the puzzle”. I would think that you would like to see all of your options before making a decision of this magnitude.
After expensing the time and effort to price this work you need, I would think you would want to sit down with me and see what I have put together for you.
--- End quote ---

End BG

What I want to say but know I shouldn't is, "You spent the least amount of time looking and the most amount of time putting together an estimate for what everyone else said was a cut-and-dry insurance job.  I accepted your intial 1-1.5 week time frame, had to ask after it at 1.5 and then still didn't get it, or an update.  I'm not comfortable with that in someone who will be working in my home for a few weeks.  You said end of the week, I waited until after the end of the week and then selected someone else."

I understand that he took time to put together the bid and wants to discuss it with me; however, because I have already decided that I prefer Contractor #1 for a multitude of reasons, I don't want to waste #4's time.

I'll take my eHell lashings for turning him down before seeing what he offers, but I'm hoping that the eHellions can help me politely respond to his email.

I would not mention that he looked at the damage for less time. Focus on the fact that his proposal was late, and took much more time than the other 3 contractors you spoke to. Emphasize that every day spent waiting for his proposal was another spent in a damaged home. "I appreciate the efforts you took to create an estimate, but unfortunately you did not stand by your original promise to deliver the estimate by X day, so I had to go with someone else."

I think you made exactly the right decision.

-He spent the least time looking at it (minor quibble)
-He didn't give you an estimate in the first time frame he gave
-He didn't give you an estimate in the second time frame he gave (after you asked him)
-He either lied about a phone call or called the wrong number

He seems unprofessional and you made the right decision. You were up front that you were looking at other contractors (not that you even needed to let them know.

How about

"Dear Contractor,

As I did not receive an estimate from you within the original time frame you stated verbally (XX date) or revised time frame (xx date) you gave over email, I made a decision based on the estimates that I had received in a timely fashion. Therefore, I have contracted for this work and I am unable to consider your estimate. I appreciate the time you put into this, but as I did not hear from you within either of the time frames you gave, I simply could not consider your company.


"Contractor -

I did have all the information I needed. The other contractor was prompt and courteous in their dealings with me. You were not.


I wouldn't bother replying. This is business. He promised you something (an estimate) by a certain time (1.5 weeks) and didn't deliver. You already were patient and forgiving enough to be lenient about that but your patience ran out. And now he is scolding you?

Getting estimates on work like this is like dating. No one's been hired yet so everyone is on their best behavior. Once you hire them then they relax and don't have to be on their tippy toes anymore. This contractor is showing you his best behavior. Imagine what he'll be like once you actually start handing money over!

You owe him not one more second of your time or concern. Ignore him.


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