Whether asked to do so or you volunteered, writing a letter of recommendation for a carpenter can be one of life's more pleasant tasks. After all, it's human nature to want to share good experiences with others, especially when they involve risk and an expenditure of money, and hiring a carpenter requires both. Even if writing is not your forte, following systematic instructions simplifies the process. Like the carpenter you're writing about, all you need is the right tools.
Select a suitable typeface for your letter, such as 11-point Arial, Times-Roman or Tahoma. Use 1-inch margins on the top, bottom and sides. Set up the letter so that it is flush left (with no indents) and for single spacing, knowing that you will double-space between paragraphs.
Write the return address heading, which includes your address only, not your name, followed by the date. Double-space. If you have a customized letterhead, with your name and contact information centered at the top of the page, you may skip this step.
Write the name and address of the person to whom you are writing. In all likelihood, however, writing an inside address will not be possible because the carpenter may wish to show your letter of recommendation to multiple people, perhaps in person and by mail, and perhaps even at the spur of the moment. In other words, he may not know the names and addresses of the addressees – rendering this letter of recommendation a "blind letter." Ask the carpenter for his preference. But rest assured; excluding the inside address will in no way undercut the value of your letter.
Write the salutation, followed by a colon, if you know the person's name. If it is a "blind" letter, simply write "Dear Homeowner:" or "Dear Fellow Weekend Warrior:" Double-space.
Write the first of four paragraphs. The first paragraph especially should be clear, direct and specific and convey your reason for writing: "I am writing to recommend (or highly recommend) the services of carpenter Mike Hammer, who remodeled my kitchen this summer with outstanding results. I'd like to share my experiences with you." Double-space.
Write the next three paragraphs of your letter, being sure to present only one main idea per paragraph. Begin the second paragraph by explaining the scope of the work Mike Hammer performed: "Mike helped me design a new layout for my kitchen, helped me select new cabinets and counters, installed both the cabinets and counters and installed new appliances." Details are also important, so explain how Mike went about his work and the attention he paid to the details in your kitchen. Think of yourself in the reader's shoes; what would you like to know about the quality of Mike's work that would lead you to hire him?
Devote the third paragraph to Mike's personal qualities and attributes. Avoid using empty or subjective words, such as "nice," "good" or "neat." Explain, as precisely and descriptively as you can, why you liked Mike as a person and as a carpenter: "Mike was punctual, polite to me and my children and cleaned up so well at the end of every day that there wasn't even a speck of dust to be found on my kitchen floor."
End the letter by saying that you recommend (or highly recommend) Mike because you are confident he will bring the same professional and personal skills to the homeowner's project. If you are so inclined, say that the homeowner may contact you if he or she would like more information about Mike. Double-space.
Write the appropriate closing, realizing that closings range from more formal to less formal: "Respectfully yours," "Yours very truly," "Yours truly," "Sincerely yours," "Sincerely," "Yours sincerely," "Cordially," "Best regards" "Warmest regards" "Best wishes" and "Best." Space four times.
Type your name and sign in the space between the closing and your typed name.