Making Phone Contact and Preparing for a First Meeting With A Home Improvement Contractor

Making contact with a perspective company or individual to do a home improvement project can be tricky. If people are busy, getting a call back from a phone inquiry could be a frustrating experience. Many times I have heard people say, “I called 10 people for my project and I got 1 or 2 call backs!”

Accessibility and communication are vital to a home improvement project running smoothly. Here is some good advice to follow when it comes to communication and accessibility. Call during the daytime. It would be preferred that you hire someone who has someone answering their phone, either a secretary or answering service. This will keep the lines of communication open and accessible at all times.

If you get an answering machine that could be a sign of how the communication will be in the future. Here are some good reasons why a candidate may be using an answering machine:

o The candidate is out working on a project or supervising one.

o The candidate is keeping his overhead costs down which may be reflected in the price of the project.

On the other side of the coin a candidate may be using an answering machine for the following reasons:

o Screening their calls of dissatisfied customers or creditors.

o Candidate is not easily accessible. You may not be able to talk to the candidate when you need to. This could be a big problem if something goes wrong in the future. When you talk to an answering machine you never know when the call will be returned.
You may be best calling around 7:00 A.M., if a candidate has an answering machine. This is the time of day where most candidates are preparing the days work. I would suggest keeping a phone log when calls were made and when they were returned.

If you get no answer and no answering machine I would try back in several days just in case the answering machine was full or broken. If you still get the same results I would cross that candidate off your list.

When you hire someone put in the contract that all calls will be returned within 2 hours when the project is being done or there will be some type of monetary deduction from the project cost.

During the first phone call you have with a potential candidate you should briefly describe your project and ask these questions:

o Do they take on projects like the one you need done, and how often do they do your type of project?

o Can they give you a list of previous clients who have had similar projects done?

o Can they give you financial references from suppliers and banks?

o Do they work with subcontractors?

o How many other projects would they have going at the same time as yours?

o What is there availability?
Try to get a general feel for the candidate. Are they polite? What is your initial feeling? Your intuition?

Record your answers on a piece of paper. The answers to these questions will reveal the candidate’s availability and how much attention they will be able to give to your project.