When you go to buy a car, or a TV, or a pair of shoes, you shop around. You can go in and out of establishments , pepper salespeople with questions, say “thank you”, and then leave without feeling guilty for not buying anything.
So why should it be any different when asking for an estimate for putting in a road or a well or framing a structure and then not using the services offered?
The answer, of course, is that it shouldn’t be. That is something for me to learn in being my own contractor. How to say, “Thank you for your time but I have decided to give the job to somebody else”, without feeling bad about it. Therefore one of my first tasks is to establish a marketplace mind-set in connection with this project. Not particularly natural for me but necessary I think if I don’t want to spend a lot of time agonizing over possible feelings of rejection felt by someone I don’t hire.
I wonder if it has anything to do with being a woman and asking a man to spend some time doing something for you and then saying, “Sorry, but no thanks. Not good enough.” Hmmm – would I have the same reaction if I was asking for estimates from women? Maybe I should seek out women well diggers and roofers. Are there any out there? Just to see if I have a secret gender bias.
In the meantime, I am working on Lesson No. 1 – developing a professional attitude in approaching possible contractors. They’re not doing me a favor, they’re just doing business.