By Bryan Caplan
Getting a contractor – plumber, painter, cable guy, whatever – to come to your house tends to be frustrating. You wait around for hours, he finally shows up, and then… he don’t do a very good job. Or, he finally shows up, and wants $300 for a seemingly simple task. Nevertheless, turning to the competition is not enticing. After all, how do you know that the service and/or prices of the next guy won’t be even worse?
Yes, if the quality or price are bad enough, you’ll react. But what are your thresholds of badness? There are several to keep in mind. Relative to your perceived distribution of quality, how bad does a contractor have to be before you will…
1. Fire him?
2. Never call him again?
3. Not recommend him to others?
Personally, my respective cutoffs are about the 15th percentile for firing, 35th for never calling again, and 50th for not recommending. But this is just a rule of thumb; I don’t have anything better to back it up. Anyone got a better handle on this?