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Ask Angie: How to politely turn down a contractor

Angieslist.comJune 13, 2013 

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Angie Hicks

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Dear Angie: How do I end a letter turning down a contractor? I have three quotes for a home improvement project and picked one to do the job. I want to send a letter to the other two saying I went with someone else, but I don't know how to end the letter on a positive note. — V.G., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Dear V.G.: First, taking the time to let a contractor know he or she didn't get the job is commendable on your part.

I can tell you that, based on my experiences in talking with contractors over the past 18 years, they appreciate hearing back from a client if they've submitted a bid but didn't get the job. They're equally annoyed when they've spent time putting together a quote only to never hear back.

Putting together a comprehensive bid can take several hours of a contractor's time. Plus, contractors often take potential projects into consideration when planning their schedule. Letting them know your decision as soon as possible is a courtesy that allows them to free up their calendar for other prospective clients.

As far as how to notify a contractor that he or she didn't get the job, a short handwritten letter, brief email or a quick phone call should suffice.

Most contractors appreciate hearing why you didn't choose them, if you're comfortable providing that type of feedback. It can help them identify a service issue, or lets them know how they measure up against their competition.

You should keep your comments constructive and professional and not make them personal.

If you're not comfortable getting into the specifics about why the contractor didn't get the job, simply let them know that you have decided to go with another company for your project. You can end the message by thanking them for their time, which is a courteous and sufficient closing.

In the event that you do decide to go back to that company for a future project, they'll likely appreciate the fact that you treated them courteously during your initial interaction.

Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at askangie@angieslist.com.

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