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 > mild rant, contractors and repair folks

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JRscooby

Indepmo

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Posted: 06/19/19 08:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most all my life I ran a trucking company, most years just a truck or 2 but at times I have owned 8, and hired others. When somebody called wanting a truck, if I said a truck would be there it was. When work was good, I would not answer my phone because I didn't want to commit to cheap work and miss a good job. (Most times, somebody else set the rate, I could take or leave) I would first call where I had the best chance of making best money. But after I had decided what I would do next day I would call each and tell them "sorry, I'm busy. But if something changes I will check to see if you still need help."
My brother had a auto body shop. Once somebody complained about his unlisted phone number. "I can't fix your car over the phone. I can't tell you what it will cost to fix your car over the phone. I can't fix cars while I'm on the phone. When you walk in, I will give you a estimate on the cost, and my phone number.

covered wagon

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Posted: 06/19/19 08:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm building a home right now and find getting the guys just over 60 are the best. Always thoughtful and always show up.

Another contractor seeing us sitting around for lunch says, What do you do to find these guys Mike..... call the old folks home? I said ya dog gone right, they know how to get it done.

philh

Belleville MI

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Posted: 06/19/19 10:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tvov wrote:

If you are calling around to get "bids" for work, please call someone else. I am too busy to go around "bidding" on jobs for people who only want to pay the absolute lowest amount for a job. If you got my name from a friend or neighbor, then you know at least some people think I am good. My prices are what they are, if you want to be a customer than that's my price.

That sword plays both ways, just because you're super busy, don't waste my time by quoting 3x the cost of the job because you're busy, or you think I can pay that much.

Several years ago, I had a house on a lake. Quote to do all the windows, keeping in mind it was 7 average to small windows and one doorwall, was over 50k!

I'm getting a quote for windows tonight. Company came as a reference from a friend and I made sure I told them who referred me. For me to buy the windows myself, would be about $1,200. Under $3,500 I'll probably sign the contract tonight. He hemmed and hawed a little bit when I made the appt... that sends up red flags he doesn't really want the business and I'll get hit with the "I'm too busy unless you're willing to pay" quote.

I've replaced two HVAC systems myself, due to ridiculous quotes. One even included all new duct and moving a gas line... but there's no way that job was $38k (lake house again). Cost me about 5k in parts and about 40 hours in labor.

Eric&Lisa

Scappoose, OR

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Posted: 06/19/19 11:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

winnietrey wrote:

...We have struggled of late with both contractors and repair folks, in terms of getting them to show up or call back...


Put 50% down on a shower remodel for a plumber. Got scheduled. Got screwed by the supplier and delayed. Plumber went dark. Phone disconnected. No address found. Eventually got connected with a friend who told me the plumber always has breakfast at the local greasy spoon. Tagged him that way.

I ended up doing most of the job. He was just a laborer. Did a crappy job on the plumbing he did do. I ended up having to replace a Y-section because it was cut wrong and leaked. And the shower drain was just wedged in at a 15 degree angle around a beam. I fixed it right with two 45 degree pieces to get around the beam.

To top it off.... This guy was recommended through the church Men's group.

Yeah, I am a little soured on contractors right now. Been doing the rest of the house remodel work myself. At least I know who to get mad at when it is screwed up.

-Eric


Eric & Lisa - Oregon
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JAC1982

Brighton, CO

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Posted: 06/19/19 12:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The other factor here is the the number of skilled contractors that are retiring are far outnumber the number of new people entering the industry. So the amount of work may even be the same as it was 20 years ago, but there's far less people doing the work. I think I read somewhere that the average age of a master electrician is 54 years old. Unless high schools start adding back in shop classes and encouraging trade schools for some instead of 4 year colleges, this problem will continue to get worse and worse.


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p220sigman

Tallahassee, FL, USA

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Posted: 06/19/19 12:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Supply and demand in play. Locally, we had some impact from a little storm named Michael, so plenty of roof work to go around. To the west of us, A LOT of roof work to go around. Talking with a roofing contractor friend, he has had an entire crew hired away from him over lunch. He went to lunch, crew was working on the roof. He came back, no crew. He called his crew foreman and found out that another roofing contractor from the area west of here, stopped by and made the crew an offer they felt they couldn't refuse to quit and go to work for him. Just like that, he is behind.

But I agree that it is very frustrating to have someone say they will show up and then just not show. Typically, they one get one chance after that. Fortunately, we are still small enough around here, that word of mouth still helps/hurts in many cases.

Jayco-noslide

Galesburg,Il., USA

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Posted: 06/19/19 12:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree. Same thing happens with contractors doing various home repairs. If fact, I would say it happens almost every time, that they don't call back, don't come when they say and sometimes don't even get out a written estimate without being harassed.


Jayco-noslide

JRscooby

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Posted: 06/19/19 12:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I guess I'm kind of lucky I guess. I bought this house from my Dad. He bought it new in 1958. And in all that time, there has been 1 contractor in the house for any reason other than guest.
I was on the road, the furnace would not light. DW called the repair guy, who came in and decided that it could not be repaired, will come back to write estimate cost to replace. Wife called me told her to go to motel. I got home, found the gas valve was getting power, but not clicking like it was opening. A couple hours hunting part, less time to change.

WTP-GC

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Posted: 06/19/19 01:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

philh wrote:


That sword plays both ways, just because you're super busy, don't waste my time by quoting 3x the cost of the job because you're busy, or you think I can pay that much.


As said before and which is pretty much common knowledge...good contractors are busy. The pricing structure of good contractors is based at least partially on their current workload. Its always best to get quotes, but if you have 3 contractors give you a price within 10% of each other and one guy who's half what everyone else is...avoid him.


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Hammerboy

Zeeland, MI

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Posted: 06/19/19 02:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WTP-GC wrote:

philh wrote:


That sword plays both ways, just because you're super busy, don't waste my time by quoting 3x the cost of the job because you're busy, or you think I can pay that much.


As said before and which is pretty much common knowledge...good contractors are busy. The pricing structure of good contractors is based at least partially on their current workload. Its always best to get quotes, but if you have 3 contractors give you a price within 10% of each other and one guy who's half what everyone else is...avoid him.


This is why I try to avoid competitive bidding and work exclusively from strong referrals. This reminds me of a job I almost lost about 15 years ago during a 3 way bid on a 400k house. During the initial interview I took notes of all their wishes for the house they wanted to build. When the prospective homeowner called he was a little confused and said we were over 100k higher than the other two builders. I told him that wasn't even possible. As it turns out the other builders low balled it, such as Anderson 200 series windows vs. 400 series WHICH THE HOMEOWNER WANTED. or the fact they WANTED CUSTOM CABINETS but the other builders put in a unrealistic budget for crappy off the shelf stuff etc. This went on down the long list of items. By the time he ended up making a spreadsheet with the 3 builders and adjusting for our items vs. the lowballers we were right in there and we still were the highest of the three but we got the job because WE LISTENED.

Knock on wood but I have been very blessed with my jobs and customers and do my best to take care of them. It does make a difference too who you work for too. There are people who are willing to pay for a job done right and those who are simply cheap. Ive been in this business long enough to quickly weed out the cheapskates and work for those who want it done right. I charge fairly and they never complain either, those people I go out of my way for. In fact a lot of my customers are either business owners or in the field of business and they understand what it costs to do business.

I always get a kick however reading people on our local Facebook groups looking for a businesses that can do xxx and it usually always says in there somewhere for a reasonable amount (code word for cheap) I always pray I don't see my name listed lol.

Dan


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