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The Contractor Coaching Partnership Blog

Why Do Home Improvement Contractors Have a Worse Reputation Than Used Car Salesman?

Posted by Mark Paskell on Sun, Sep 24, 2006 @ 05:01 PM

Do you know anyone who has had a nightmare contractor experience? Maybe yourself, a friend, relative or neighbor? Since 2001 according to statistics provided by the Federal Trade Commission and various consumer protection groups, home improvement contractors and the remodeling industry are responsible for the most complaints from consumers. Home improvement contractors are responsible for more complaints than used car salesman and mortgage brokers.

In a recent survey by Qualified Remodeler Magazine hundreds of homeowners surveyed said that they would never refer or use their contractor again. The most common complaints were poor communication, poor craftsmanship, delayed projects, dirty jobs, unmet expectations. Can you blame the homeowner for not trusting the contractor? Of course not. I have been a Design/build remodeling expert for 15 years and I have lost count of the amount of homeowners I met who have been the victim of a poor contracting job. As I launch my own blog I am astounded by the amount of ill-will that consumers have toward contractors. It seems almost every week there is another contractor nightmare story in the newspaper or on the news.

  • How can this change?
  • How can homeowners protect themselves?
  • Why are contractors so poor at servicing the consumer?
  • Why are our elected officials allowing this to go on?
  • What are contractors doing about it?
  • What questions should a homeowner ask before hiring a contractor?

The Stigma of the Industry
When I meet a homeowner who has been referred I usually have no trouble gaining their trust and confidence. However, when I meet a homeowner who does not know me through referral I find that I have to overcome the stigma of the poor performance of my industry before I can professionally service the customer. There are fine reputable contractors who have to bear the sins of the fly by night outfits. Many times homeowners are so guarded that their distrust of contractors in general causes the good contractor to lose interest in their job.
When this happens, homeowners end up with the less quality outfit. This leads to more bad contractor experiences.

Industry experts state that 90% of contracting businesses fail in the first five years. The reasons are many but it is clear that homeowners are at a distinct disadvantage when hiring a contractor. Only one in 10 contracting businesses make it. So how do you prevent a contractor night mare?

These are the topics I will talk about on my blog. I believe that the home improvement industry must do better by educating their employees to treat homeowners properly. I believe in 100% customer satisfaction.
Contractors must become better sales people and listen and serve the customer. The customer was not born with a construction manual in his or her head so the contractor must educate the homeowner. An educated and properly informed consumer will gladly hire the professional contractor. Education is the key to a healthier relationship between homeowners and contractors. Once contractors adopt a 100% customer satisfaction attitude then they will see less complaints against the home improvement industry and then used car salesman can regain their position as the most complained about industry again!

I welcome and encourage any feedback regarding this. If you have an idea or topic you would like to discuss please contact me.

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