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Do you trust (or love) YOUR contractor?

Having done jobs large and small in homes for over 30 years, I've come to value the trust of my customers. So much so that I would never intentionally do anything to make them question my judgment or character. This doesn't mean that I am always perfect. What it does mean is that I treat my clients as I would like to be treated... with honesty (even when they don't want to hear bad news), decency (pet the dog and hopefully have all my fingers afterward) and show respect for both them and their property.

So every year at springtime, when homeowners are most likely to open their pocketbooks and schedule all the repairs and maintenance they avoided during the winter months, the mandatory warning articles about crooked contractors spring up in the media like mushrooms.  Yes, the talking heads blather on and on about how you should never trust your contractor, cite a few horror stories of elderly people losing their life savings, and then acting as our saviors with a list of dos and don'ts when hiring.

Are contractor's really that bad??

Of course, they cite little evidence of there being an epidemic of corruption in the home repair business and use a few high profile anecdotes as sauce for their main course of road kill.  To my delight, Marshalls, a British company specializing in tile and stone products and installations, has done a rather interesting survey of homeowners in the UK.

Unlike most surveys, they put a more human face on an otherwise boring statistical study with some very creative questions.  Most surveys ask about issues of general satisfaction with the contractor.  Was the job done on time?  Did the builder clean up after himself?  Was the quality of the work satisfactory?

Marshall's survey, on the other hand, expands this focus' to what I would call the "contractor/homeowner relationship".  I find that many of their questions tell as much about the homeowner as the contractor. About the only question they didn't ask is "Would you consider your contractor to be a human being" with the options being "Yes", "No" or "Other".

Here are a sampling of the most interesting questions and the survey results. 

I think you'll find it fascinating. (All graphics courtesy Marshalls)

tea offered to contractor

Being an American, unless the tea was high octane a cup or three of java would be my preference.  I hope these generous homeowners would allow me the use of their privy (see two questions down).  Otherwise, this generosity could be torture!

half don't offer food

My wife would agree with this!  I have enough problems controlling my eating without having my customer's enabling my sloth!  But I must admit that some of my more elderly clients are wonderful bakers.

1 in 7 would not let contractor use toilet

Darn!  I shouldn't have had that third cup of coffee. 

1 in 4 think contractors untrustworthy

I may be the world's oldest teenager, but "laddish"?  From your lips to God's ears!  An optimist would look at this result and realize that 3 out of 4 clients think their contractors act like grown-ups.  The moral here?  Don't hire your teenagers to fix your house!  And keep the young one's away from your power tools...

About Marshalls:  Marshalls is the UK's leading hard landscaping manufacturer.  They have supplied innovative concrete products and natural stone to the home improvement industry since the 1890's.  Their core philosophy is that beautiful landscapes in tune with the environment can create happier and healthier communities.

 

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