Ask Angie: Rejecting a contractor’s bid
Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List
Dear Angie: How do you tell a contractor that they didn't get the job? We interviewed several residential contractors about remodeling our house. A couple of those are off our preferred list before the bidding process begins. And when we finally choose the contractor that we want, what do you tell the ones that we didn't choose? – Samille J., Jacksonville, Fla.
Dear Samille: No one really likes being rejected, but for even the best contractors, it’s a part of doing business. I applaud your sense of courtesy. Not hearing back from a potential customer after a bid has been prepared is a common irritant for contractors. It’s understandable, too. Reputable contractors put a lot of time into preparing bids. While they knowingly take the risk, it’s good to let them know your decision as soon as possible so they can move on and try to fill the time they’d been holding on their schedule for your project.
If you’ve communicated with the contractor primarily via email, then an email would likely suffice. If the contractor has been more communicative by phone, then it might necessitate a brief call. Your message to the contractors that don’t get the bid can be as simple as saying that you want to inform them that you’ve chosen someone else and thank them for their time.
Be prepared for the companies to ask why they didn’t get the job. It’s entirely up to you how forthcoming you are or if you want to give feedback at all. It’s also your decision to share which company you chose. If you do offer feedback, keep it constructive and professional.
Whomever you hire, be sure to have a mutually agreed-upon contract that contains a termination clause, in the event things go wrong. Because you’ve already laid the groundwork for a positive experience, you’re likely not going to face that scenario. But you might want to reconsider your No. 2 bidder to finish the work should something go wrong, or you might consider them for future work. Even if you don’t ever hire the companies that were unsuccessful bidders, you’ll have treated them with respect and courtesy.
Angie’s List collects about 40,000 consumer reports each month covering more than 350 categories of home-related services. Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angie’s List to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at email@example.com