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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

The Right to Refuse Service

Most construction, remodel, and home repair professionals are very independent. Unlike many of the big-box retailers in America, if they do not like you or they feel you will be a difficult client, they will officially or unofficially refuse service. It happens every day and, for the most part, the homeowner does not realize they are being dissed by the home professional.

For instance, have you have been told one of the following when you inquired about getting some work done around your home?

“I would really like to, but right now I am too busy.”

“We do not have the equipment or personnel to do your job.”

“This job is more than we can handle right now.”

Even worse, they never get back with you or return your telephone call.

Finally, the quote is outrageously expensive, and they are unwilling to compromise on the price.

There is a good chance that if any of this has ever happened to you, then the home professional does not want your business, because they do not like you, do not trust you, or you have a history of complaining and being unreasonable. There is not much you can do about someone not liking you. You might remind them of a bad relative or neighbor, or it could be that generationally you are not a good fit. If you are a hip millennial trying to hire an old school craftsperson from the baby-boomer generation, you probably do not speak the same language.

It could be your political stance regarding who you support or a stand you have taken in the community, which has spurred the dislike. Several years ago, a woman who was extremely vocal in her support of the Lake County anti-growth movement, which supported restrictions and high impact fees, complained that she could not get anyone to work on her home. If you are against people in the construction industry, chances are the good companies will not want to do business with you. The other aspect is the bitter partisan divide in our country. A sign or flag in your yard might anger half the people, including the person you want to hire. Although you have a right to freedom of speech, it comes with consequences. People do not have to work for you.

Trust is an intangible that you must instill in others. If you meet a construction professional and you talk about how you believe everyone is there to rip you off or you mention withholding payment to people for not doing the work to a standard you desire; chances are, that professional will not trust you. The way your home looks can invoke or revoke trust. If your home looks like a mess and you do not have the details of your project well-conceived, then chances are the home professional will tell you goodbye. Great home professionals will not work for people they do not trust.

Okay, everyone gets it—you want it your way. You speak your mind, and you pride yourself on writing negative reviews on the internet if you are not completely satisfied. You should understand that most construction professionals will search the internet for information about you, scanning through reviews and social media posts to get a feeling as to your character and trustworthiness. If they find an abundance of negative online reviews and posts from you concerning the people you do business with then a huge red flag will go up.

Most construction professionals talk among themselves more than a group of older ladies at a church social. If you are disrespectful, refuse to pay, or treat another person in their group badly, then you will be blackballed by the industry and you will not be able to find anyone decent to work for you.

Eventually, you will find someone to do your work. This is how scammers and disreputable people operate. They prey on the people who are desperate to get work done around their home after they have been turned down by all the good craftspeople.

Your reputation is just as important as the person you are hiring, so be careful. Many of you are now realizing you have been refused service and did not even know it.

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at

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