Estimate on the estimate?

Photo by Marianne on

Working with contractors is a frustrating endeavor. Sometimes I wonder how some of these outfits stay in business since they apparently have a hard time following through with even the simplest part of the job – giving a potential customer an estimate or bid for a proposed project.

Now, maybe I am wrong (I have been know to do that once in a while) but I would think that these business would be falling all over themselves to line up jobs for the year. At the very least, get the estimate out there for consideration. Granted, not every potential client will choose them for varying reasons, but you can’t get a job if you don’t give the customer even the chance to consider you.

I am looking at having a concrete patio build off the back of the house (its not a small job) and I would like someone who knows what they heck they are doing rather than a few “weekend warriors” to tackle it with me. So, I have called about 17 different businesses in the landscaping to concrete categories. Of those calls, only 14 had the courtesy to call back, 11 came out to look at the project, and only 8 have submitted a bid for consideration.

Are these companies THAT busy that they just don’t need the work? Are they overwhelmed with job opportunities and can’t get the process started? I am confused as to why even the easy part is difficult to do.

I texted two of the businesses that came by to look at the job and said they would submit an estimate within a few days. Four days after they stopped by I asked for an estimated time on when they would get the estimate sent off to me. So, I asked for an estimate on the estimate. Only one has bothered to respond so far, and he has set his deadline for himself as “today.” I guess I’ll see.

Anyway, thought I would vent about a frustrating process I have been dealing with for over a month. I am hoping to have a decision made by the end of the week, so fingers crossed I get a couple more estimates to work with and compare.

Anyone else had a (or multiple) frustrating interaction with a contractor as of late? What has been your experience in the last year or so (setting aside that many couldn’t work for a short while because of “precautions” related to Covid-19)?


  1. G. J. Jolly · March 19, 2021

    Have you taken into account that everyone is getting money from the government these days? I’m getting $1400 extra because of the pandemic. People aren’t having to work for the money they get these days. Yes, I’m being overly melodramatic here, The point is society as a whole has become exceedingly lazy in the last 30 to 50 years. Find the people who want to work and you’ll get your job done.


    • backuphill · March 19, 2021

      Yes, I did take that into account. I know several people who work in home improvement area that are extremely busy because of all the “extra” money being sent out by the government (never mind that it isn’t extra, it came from our pockets-whole other discussion). But the one thing they all say is that the estimate process is important because it builds first impressions. They may not get the job this time, but they are kept in mind for the next job or when someone they know is looking for a recommendation. Such a basic part of the potential job procurement process that it is hard to fathom that people just blow it off.


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