Angie's List: Contractors appreciate etiquette when rejecting bids

It's a typical scenario for homeowners – they interview several contractors for a home project, they finally choose the contractor they want – but what do they tell the ones they didn't choose?

For even the best contractors , getting turned down by a potential customer is a part of doing business. What's more frustrating, contractors say, is not hearing back from potential customers after taking time to prepare a bid, or job estimate .

No one likes being rejected, but for even the best contractors, it's a part of doing business and letting the contractor know they didn't get the job is a great way to be a more courteous customer.

Not hearing back from a potential customer after a bid has been prepared is a common irritant for contractors.  Proposals for complicated projects can take contractors several hours or longer to complete, with them meeting with the customer, drawing up plans, estimating costs of materials and labor and then preparing a formal bid.

Consumers who do take the time to let a bidding contractor know he or she didn't get the job should also share the reason why, especially if it's because of a service issue. That feedback can help a company work to improve its service. Feedback should be constructive and not personal. At a minimum, a good practice is to notify the contractor as soon as possible that you've chosen someone else and thank him or her for their time.

Angie's List Tips: Rejecting a contractor's bid

  • Don't delay: While they knowingly take the risk, it's good to let the contractor know your decision as soon as possible so they can move on and try to fill the time they'd been holding on their schedule for your project.
  • How to relay the message? If you've communicated with the contractor primarily via email, then an email would likely suffice. If the contractor has been more communicative by phone, then it might necessitate a brief call. Your message to the contractors that don't get the bid can be as simple as saying that you want to inform them that you've chosen someone else and thank them for their time.
  • How much to share? Be prepared for the contractor to ask why they didn't get the job. It's entirely up to you how forthcoming you are or if you want to give feedback at all. It's also your decision to share which company you chose. If you do offer feedback, keep it constructive and professional.
  • Always be professional: You may need one of these contractors again in the future for another project or help with the current, etc. Don't burn any bridges; always be professional. It will be appreciated by everyone.    
  • Details in the contract : W    homever you hire, be sure to have a mutually agreed-upon contract that contains a termination clause, in the event things go wrong. Because you've already laid the groundwork for a positive experience, you're likely not going to face that scenario. But you might want to reconsider your No. 2 bidder to finish the work should something go wrong, or you might consider them for future work. Even if you don't ever hire the companies that were unsuccessful bidders, you'll have treated them with respect and courtesy.
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