The home improvement season is now upon us, a time when many try to find good contractors to take on their projects, but at the same time ushering in the next installment in the ongoing soap opera that homeowners might refer to as Contractors of Our Lives. Few business relationships evoke such intense emotions as the homeowner-contractor bond.
Kimberly-Clark Professional DIY Business has examined this tempestuous relationship, and in the process discovered some strange behaviors:
Overall, the survey revealed a broad range of opinions. While many respondents were highly satisfied with their contractors, others complained about jobs taking too long to complete or coming in over budget.
Among the key findings:
Green considerations do not seem to play a major role in the decision to hire a contractor. In fact, 39 percent of respondents said they don't think about environmental concerns at all when hiring a contractor. Of the environmental factors that might influence contractor choice:
When homeowners were asked to choose from a list of unusual activities that contractors had done in their homes, the top selection was being asked to assist with the work (14 percent). Seven percent said contractors had suggested they get together socially, and three percent reported being asked on a date by a contractor. Four percent reported that contractors had either taken food or drink without asking or cooked a meal in the kitchen. Two percent said contractors had taken naps on beds or couches or used personal computers.
What about those worst contractor nightmares that everyone seems to talk about?
On another topic - job site cleanliness - opinions were mixed. Thirty-five percent said contractors had generally done a good job protecting their homes and leaving them clean and tidy, while 12 percent said contractors usually left a mess and expected customers to clean up when the job was finished.
Who decides which contractor to hire: men or women? Fifty six percent of respondents reported that male and female household members jointly decided who to hire for a home improvement job. Twenty three percent said the decision maker was male, while 18 percent answered female.
The survey also probed how contractor hiring decisions were made. The overwhelming choice, at 70 percent, was a recommendation from someone they trusted. After that, 16 percent of decisions were based on a feeling that the contractor could be trusted with the home and its possessions. A good price from the contractor came in third, at 10 percent.
Lastly, the stories consumers trying to find good contractors, only to discover that contractors won't return phone calls. But the survey results don't bear this out. While more than half of respondents reported problems with contractors returning calls, the vast majority said this pertained to very few contractors. Forty percent of respondents said that virtually every contractor had in fact called them back.