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How to show appreciation to a contractor?
Who's gone the extra mile to please you despite problems beyond his control
MatthewHSE




msg:312976
 4:46 pm on May 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

We just had a couple decks built at our home. The contractor who bid the job sub-contracted to another construction worker, and we know he's not paying the guy exceptionally well. Throughout the entire job, numerous problems have arisen, mostly as a result of bad choices made by the general contractor. Despite all this, the contractor who's actually doing the job has been very attentive to our needs, spent extra time making sure everything's right, and in general, putting himself out to make sure we're satisfied with the job.

He's going to finally be finished this afternoon, and we've been wondering what some appropriate token of appreciation might be. Money? Some token gift? Other?

He's gone so far beyond the call of duty that we want to do something for him, but we're not sure what. Does anyone have suggestions or ideas?

Thanks,

Matthew

 

ska_demon




msg:312977
 4:58 pm on May 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Every subby I know would be happy with a crate of beer or an evening with your missus.
24 cans is always a good bonus and saves you having to rent the wife out for the night ;oP

Ska

iamlost




msg:312978
 5:11 pm on May 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Cash is best: I would go a minimum of 100$ up to 10% of project - the amount depending on your financial circumstances and what this sub actually saved you in aggravation and potential additional expense.

Along with a detailed letter of recommendation/appreciation.

Separately: I would also make a point to shake the subs hand and give a heartfelt verbal thank you in front of the general contractor.

<added>In my neck of the woods a crate of beer is normal at job end - this sub should get something extra.

Essex_boy




msg:312979
 5:37 pm on May 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

evening with your missus - it is cheaper than a crate of beer I suppose.

SlimKim




msg:312980
 11:16 am on May 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Don't do cash
it's gone in a flash
it will not last

My wife has an almost fault of giving extravagant gifts to people who are nice to us ... folks like the band director who allowed our daughter to play flute ... even though the school test showed her not gifted at flute ... and now at the end of the school year our daughter is first chair flute in the largest band in the state.

She goes way overboard in her gift giving ... it's really quite embareising ... like at Christmas when we loaded up the vehicle with gifts and drove up to the neighbors with so many gifts for each family member, that it was truly too much.

But she enjoys it and the truth of the matter is ... it's the thing I like best about my wife ... I know she will never read this, so it's safe to say : )

She would give them gift certificates (at least $100) to Red Lobster Restraunt ... she makes these huge gift baskets filled with all kinds of nice candies, nuts, and or gifts ... she would give one of those too.

You can order some nice gift baskets online and have them mailed out. One of the companies I work with sends me one each Christmas from WineCountryGiftbaskets dot com They have stuff besides wine and I've sent baskets from there myself.

Cash is nice and is appreciated, but it just gets absorbed into the budget and is quickly forgotten. By them something they will enjoy and give it to them. And maybe a little something they can remember you by.

Most of all, if they live closeby ... offer them your continued friendship ... you'll both be richer for it.

:) :) :)

weeks




msg:312981
 2:27 pm on May 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Professionals should be treated as professionals. Say thank you and present a reasonable cash bonus. Food, beer and such are fine at Christmas, but for what you are describing, only cash is appropriate.

defanjos




msg:312982
 2:38 pm on May 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Cash or a gift certificate to a restaurant - include a "thank you" card with either one.
Everebody likes money, and most people like to eat ;)

pendanticist




msg:312983
 3:22 pm on May 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do just like they do on This Old House. When you have the topping off / finished party (you are going to have one to show off your new area, ain'tcha) invite the crew.

This enables your friends and guests to see, not only the crew that did the work, (a little networking with new, potantial clients) it also more than shows your friends how you feel about that work.

So, break out the prons, fire up the pig and invite the crew. I promise you, they will never forget your generosity.

Oh, Give 'em a small envelope too.

smellystudent




msg:312984
 8:52 pm on May 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

You've already said that he's not being paid very well by the main contractor - so put that right first. A reference letter and a willingness to be a reference for future clients would also be good.

Any professional services you could offer in return?(bring on the nudgenudgewinkwink replies)

MatthewHSE




msg:312985
 3:22 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the ideas folks. He finished, did a great job, and will be getting as good a letter of recommendation as we know how to write, and something extra too. (As it turns out he didn't actually get to finish until this morning - another run-in with the general contractor, who, as it turns out, appears to have a reputation for being difficult to work for.)

Automan Empire




msg:312986
 7:35 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Don't assume that every blue-collar worker is wowed by a case of beer- some of us are teetotallers, or non-drinking hippies anyway.

I like the letter of referral and the $100-to-10% tip idea. Also, get his business card, and call him for smaller jobs so he can earn all the money, instead of the General who sounds to be in the way.
If he doesn't have a business card, get his name and number, and on top of the bonus today, surprise him in a few days with a box of cards. You may set him on the path of becoming the contractor.

Neo541




msg:312987
 8:23 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

As a former contractor, I can safely say that the best thing you can do for him is to actively refer others to him. Not just say that you will, and take a stack of business cards, but actively promote him. Each person you refer to him, then has the opportunity to refer others, etc., and really get the ball rolling.

Also, my partner and I each received a $500 tip one time because we knew he needed the work done by the beginning of the week, and worked through the weekend to make that happen.

As a very new business, we were surprised and extremely grateful that he took the time to acknowledge that we went out of our way, and reward it. From that point on, we pretty much smothered him with excellent customer service! :)

So, short answer, referrals & cash :)

Crispix




msg:312988
 12:06 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

A nice bottle of wine is sometimes appropriate.

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