Thursday, January 31, 2008

Independent Contractor Marketing

I feel for small business owners - from my perspective, I hear their tales of woe and I am impressed with their initiative and drive. But every once in awhile I find myself on the other side of the equation as the small business customer and I really wonder how they function.
I have been trying to find a contractor to do some work. It occured to me that I had already met a person refered to me by a local architectural planning non-profit- someone I trust and have faith would do a fine job. So I emailed him - via his web site. He replied promptly - to say that I should call for an appointment. And I thought, why? This is after all a form of communication. But I called, and left a message. Then he called me back and left a message. Then I called and left a message and then he called me at work on a national holiday and left a message and so on. And I thought, this is ridiculous. If he had emailed me back and said: "I have time here, here and here: choose one." I would have and would probably be closer to getting my bathroom fixed. Or perhaps he could have said "I return calls/can be reached between this time and that time."
I understand that independent contractors don't have offices with staff to do this stuff, and I don't want him falling off a ladder because he's taking my call. But it seems that contractors - if they want new clients - need some method of scheduling. so, I had a look around online to see what was being said on the subject and apparently contractors are looking for new clients, especially sure-bet ones and there is scheduling software etc but I found nothing about good practices relating to scheduling. They all jump to the point where the estimate is being provided. I wonder how many people never become customers because they cannot get that appointment.

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