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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking at a lot of jobs lately and I keep hearing "you are the first one to call us back" or "you are the only one to call us back" or some derivative there of.
Today I heard it twice, I answered with "you know, I've heard that a lot lately". I take a lot of pride in my business and I like to think it shows. I have been advertising in 4-5 papers lately in 3 towns and I have been getting a fair amount of work, a lot of new windows.

Is it just my area? I cover two states because of my local, I travel about 25-30 miles in most any direction, sometimes more.

This applies to all trades from what I have been hearing. Most won't even take the time to return a phone call. I have noticed that a couple of subs I have been trying to work with have been lackadaisical too.

If someone takes the time to call you about some work, be it big or be it small, please be courteous enough to return the call, even if it's to say "thank you for calling but right now we are too busy to help you". Who knows, maybe they can wait a month or two when you free up some time.

I always look at it like small jobs can lead to big jobs, and neighbors jobs and so on.

Take care,
dave
 

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I call everybody back, even if its to say I dont do that. I get alot of work because I was the "only one that called back" I never understood not calling back either...
 

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This is something I do need to get better at. Phone tag is the worst. I never used to give out my cell number but I have abandoned that idea. It's hard to return a call about a small repair but they could become a customer for life or it could turn into a larger job in the future. The majority of our leads are from our website and I find it easier to return an email. Good post.
 

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I do my best to get back to everyone, often it takes a few messages one way or the other though, and sometimes one of us gives up.

Other times I legitimately forget.

I looked at a job a few weeks ago, wrote it all down and then misplaced my pad. Went on with my schedule and got a call from the GC that sent me there saying he was still waiting.

I totally spaced on it and didn't even have a price figured out.
 

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It's common here too. (Chicago suburbs)

I used to answer my phone live every single time, but now I'm a bit more conservative and let it go to voice mail many times.

If I hear certain things including "free estimate" I don't call back anymore.

The out of area ones are all sales calls anymore and I hit the FU button immediately.

Google is the worst offender now.:censored:
 

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I hear this all the time also. I always wanted to be one of those guys that could pick and choose his work. Unfortunately I can't, so I call everyone back. Even if I don't do the work, just to touch base with them.
I can't answer this question. It happens all the time though.
Maybe someone that never returns calls will post. No, they will probably read it and then never reply since that is what they do with the phone calls.
 

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It is 100% not possible for me to call everyone back that contacts us. It simply can not be done. There are waaaaay too many. I have discussed this with other contractors also. Same thing. Many/most only call back if they are available or are on a sales blitz to book work for the next few months of work. It is a matter of getting run over by your own success while wanting to remain smaller scale instead of getting big and having headaches and severe lifestyle changes due to more management and less production of a running large company.

This thread will develop into another difference between commercial and residential and single trade versus multi-trade contractors. Like all discussions, it depends on the nature, focus and size of the business and the priorities of the contractor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I ran in to my OH door guy at lunch today and he says he hears it all the time lately too.

I think it's just good business practice to have the courtesy to return a call, it has nothing to do with commercial or residential.
If you were shopping for a new car and the dealer wouldn't return your call would you still go there? How about your cable provider? They are way bigger than any construction outfit yet they seem to call back.

dave
 

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I used to be one of those phone call evaders in the beginning. My father was like that so guess picked up bad habits.. There are tons of guys around that do what i do plus the mexicans so i make it a point to call everyone back always. But if i leave a message and they dont return my call its pretty much a goner..So much easier to get back to people todays day and age I used to come home from working all day and see who left messages then try to get a hold of them so can understand not wanting to call back some nights..With text and email there is no excuse not to get in touch somehow with that customer.
 

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I always return the calls just as a matter of courtesy if nothing else. Also, if going out for a meeting and I'm going to be running a little late (traffic on the road usually) always call to keep everyone in the loop.

I like the fact that other contractors don't bother to return calls as it's so easy to do and pisses people off which makes them more appreciative of our minimum effort put out.
 

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It is 100% not possible for me to call everyone back that contacts us. It simply can not be done. There are waaaaay too many. I have discussed this with other contractors also. Same thing. Many/most only call back if they are available or are on a sales blitz to book work for the next few months of work. It is a matter of getting run over by your own success while wanting to remain smaller scale instead of getting big and having headaches and severe lifestyle changes due to more management and less production of a running large company.

This thread will develop into another difference between commercial and residential and single trade versus multi-trade contractors. Like all discussions, it depends on the nature, focus and size of the business and the priorities of the contractor.
When I started out and ran jobs that averaged less than a day I had this problem too. At first I tried using an answering service with a text pager so I knew if the call was urgent. Evententually I simply couldn't keep up to evening return calls & had no interest in hiring more staff to meet the workload. What I ended up doing is leaving a message on my voice mail indicating 2 points 1) If they are an existing, booked client leave a message & I will return the call by next business day 2) I also left a message indicating the time it would take for me to look at & do the job ( often 4-6 months) & if they were still interested leave a message. This way I wasn't wasting time calling people I wasn't going to work for anyway. It worked well for the time. I've since grown to jobs that are 4-8 months long so the amount of calls are manageable & I return the initial call at coffee& lunch time.
 

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Hair Splitter
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When I started out and ran jobs that averaged less than a day I had this problem too. At first I tried using an answering service with a text pager so I knew if the call was urgent. Evententually I simply couldn't keep up to evening return calls & had no interest in hiring more staff to meet the workload. What I ended up doing is leaving a message on my voice mail indicating 2 points 1) If they are an existing, booked client leave a message & I will return the call by next business day 2) I also left a message indicating the time it would take for me to look at & do the job ( often 4-6 months) & if they were still interested leave a message. This way I wasn't wasting time calling people I wasn't going to work for anyway. It worked well for the time. I've since grown to jobs that are 4-8 months long so the amount of calls are manageable & I return the initial call at coffee& lunch time.
I never tell anyone what my schedule is up front. I want to sell myself and chose the jobs before they chose to go someone where else. I have many customers that would not have waited unless they met and learned more about me. But if you are okay with scaring good customers off then keep on doing what you are doing, I am sure that your competition loves it.
 

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When I started out and ran jobs that averaged less than a day I had this problem too. At first I tried using an answering service with a text pager so I knew if the call was urgent. Evententually I simply couldn't keep up to evening return calls & had no interest in hiring more staff to meet the workload. What I ended up doing is leaving a message on my voice mail indicating 2 points 1) If they are an existing, booked client leave a message & I will return the call by next business day 2) I also left a message indicating the time it would take for me to look at & do the job ( often 4-6 months) & if they were still interested leave a message. This way I wasn't wasting time calling people I wasn't going to work for anyway. It worked well for the time. I've since grown to jobs that are 4-8 months long so the amount of calls are manageable & I return the initial call at coffee& lunch time.
4 to six months??? You mean if I call you I have to wait 4 to 6 months for a call back, or 4 to 6 months to get a time with you can do my job and then after waiting 4 to 6 months you might tell me you don't even want my job.
 

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Most of the time that I don't return calls it's because I just plain forget. The other times they're out of my service area, or out of services (deck staining, tiny decks, etc). It bugs the heck out of me when people will call from our website while looking at $50,000 decks and be like "I've got a mobile home that I need a set of stairs on".
 

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i call everyone back

when i hire though i often never gets bids back or phone calls returned......i just got bids on some landscaping by 2 guys....guy #1 spent 1 hour here....and never sent a bid....that happens very frequently.....when i give bids i typically email them same day....

my work phone number is my cell phone...so its typical for me to answer right on the spot...its amazing how many people go with me because they are instantly talking to a master plumber and i can give specifics on the spot...vs leaving a msg or talking to a receptionist
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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Not that it's acceptable but it's not always easy to tell the difference between a solid lead and someone who just wants to waste your time.

But one thing that annoys me to no end is when I give someone a direct referral and they don't call the customer. Essentially I'll provide the referral on a silver platter.. meaning that he doesn't have to sell the job because it's already sold. All he has to do is name his price,get the contract signed, and pick up the deposit check.

That's like free money on the ground that they won't go pick up! :furious::cursing:
 

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Love me some Concrete
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I started off calling everyone back, looking at every job and then bid it ASAP! Yeah, that was years ago and I wish I called everyone back, it sounds bad and I know it is but I just do not have the time quite frequently.

This year I will call everyone back!:eek:
 

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Pro or somethin'...
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I don't always get potential clients called back, but I sure try. Now, one thing I've determined to NOT do-hire subs that don't answer their phones or reply to their messages! It is frustrating beyond measure! There is a thread somewhere dissing the guy fiddling with his phone on the job. Well maybe its not always the thing, but I try to be the guy that answers the phone and if that's not possible, than return the call. I figure that the client who I'm billing for my phone time likely also got some free phone time when I was on a different job. It just makes everything go smoother if you are available.
 
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