Whats the proper way to reject a contractor

8 Replies

I'm working through my first rehab and as I'm interviewing contractors and getting bids some of them just leave a weird feeling afterwards. Sometimes the guys just comes in WAY too low on their bid with WAY too much confidence in their abilities, other times its bad communication, sometimes I just found a better price out there.

What are some of the ways I can follow up with them letting them know I'm not going with them. Some of these guys seem nice enough and may do quality work - my main thing is I don't want to burn bridges because they may know my next contractor. 

I'd love the input! Thanks!

Just say, "I found someone else for this job, but I appreciate the bid and I'll be sure to let you know if another project comes up where I think there's a good fit."

They'll likely ask you what the other guy bid (they will always assume your decision is strictly based on price), at which point you can say, "It wasn't just about price...they just seemed like a better fit for this particular job."

That is definitely the best thing to say. 

The contractor network is sometimes very small and probably a better move not to bad talk. J's suggestion is spot on. 

Most of the contractors give free bids and understand that owners have the right to contract with who they feel more comfortable.
But if you don't get the job a simple "thank you for the time you took on bidding my job" is fine.

We all get the same feelings when working on these jobs.  I've bumped my bids up 20% before because I got the feeling the customer was going to be a major hassle to work for and I just didn't want the job.  I typically ask where I came up short if it's a job I wanted and didn't get.  If the customer answers my question honestly I'm far more likely to sharpen my pencil if they call back for another job.  At any rate, I always say thanks for the opportunity to bid and good luck with your project.  Bridges are expensive to build so burning them never makes sense.  If a contractor get's an attitude when you don't give them the job..you probably made the right decision.

Thanks for the advice all. I like to keep it simple and to the point. No need to go into details.

I appreciate it.

And @J Scott , My first rehab is going quite well. Working with the contractors and scheduling is what I do in my real job so its transfering quite well. And of course your book did come in handy. Props to you!

It's good you realize the amount of work that a contractor might put in to his free price quote/proposals.  I certainly do not get all the jobs I bid.  Some of which I want and others I might not.  A simple email stating you have decided to use another contractor is sufficient.  I really appreciate that and will be happy to quote your next project.  It's pretty common for me to spend 6 hours figuring and writing a detailed proposal only to never hear from the person again.  Not even a "thanks, I'll get back to you".

If it's a price issue... say it's a price issue. 

If it's a issue of competency, or perceived lack thereof... say so. "I just don't think you have the capabilities to handle a job of this size/technical depth/finish level" is a perfectly reasonable thing to tell a person. Uncomfortable, maybe. But perfectly reasonable.

Originally posted by @Aaron McGinnis:

If it's a price issue... say it's a price issue. 

If it's a issue of competency, or perceived lack thereof... say so. "I just don't think you have the capabilities to handle a job of this size/technical depth/finish level" is a perfectly reasonable thing to tell a person. Uncomfortable, maybe. But perfectly reasonable.

 Agreed.  It's more an issue when there isn't any one thing.  For example, I recently got three bids on insulating my new build.  Two of them were very comparable (within 5% price-wise) and both of the guys that bid the job were very professional and responsive.  I honestly liked both of them and would have been happy to use either of them.

Ultimately, I made a gut choice (turned out it was the first guy I spoke with, as I had lots of questions given this was my first build in a new state, and he took the time to answer all the questions).  But, the second guy likely would have done the same if I had talked to him first, so I couldn't really blame him for that.

There are so few great contractors out there that it sucks to have to turn down a good one...but sometimes it happens, and there isn't always a clear-cut reason...

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