Find­ing a con­trac­tor

Austin American-Statesman - - GARDENING -

My biggest hur­dle was a mental one. Af­ter my past un­suc­cess­ful deal­ings with a con­trac­tor, I was re­luc­tant to go through the process of in­ter­view­ing and hir­ing any­one.

The first per­son I talked with took mea­sure­ments and wrote up an es­ti­mate. He was pro­fes­sional, but (I felt) im­per­sonal. He didn’t have any ques­tions about the quirks of the site. He didn’t of­fer me op­tions, out­line al­ter­na­tives or dis­cuss an­tic­i­pated is­sues. He didn’t ex­plain the process or ask about my con­cerns. This one­size-fits-all so­lu­tion just didn’t fit me.

The sec­ond per­son I talked to stood me up three times — and that was just to give me an es­ti­mate. Each ex­cuse was valid and apolo­getic. How­ever, it both­ered me that he called to can­cel at the moment he was sup­posed to be meet­ing me, not when he first re­al­ized that he couldn’t make the ap­point­ment. I un­der­stand that the un­ex­pected hap­pens. What I eval­u­ate is how some­one re­sponds. Taken as a whole, his re­sponses seemed to in­di­cate some­one dis­or­ga­nized who didn’t think things through. This might not be a fair as­sess­ment, but all I had to go on was three phone con­ver­sa­tions. First im­pres­sions re­ally do count.

I ap­pealed to the Austin gar­den blog­ger net­work, and a fel­low blog­ger came to the res­cue. When I met with the third con­trac­tor, I was im­pressed by two things: He was at­ten­tive, and he was ob­ser­vant. He lis­tened to what I wanted, and he looked at the site. He paced back and forth as he imag­ined the process of putting up the fence and, as he men­tally dis­cov­ered is­sues, asked me ques­tions about how I’d like them han­dled.

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