Author Topic: Should I go with this contractor?  (Read 754 times)

Healthie

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Should I go with this contractor?
« on: November 04, 2020, 12:46:24 PM »
Hi all,

getting a basement door filled in to be congruent with the foundation wall of concrete blocks. Received 3 quotes: $690, $800, and $850. I spoke with the $690 guy for about 15 minutes at 1130 today: He avoided giving me a referral for previous work when I asked. Claimed he has built most of the city. Would not give me a date to start the work; instead wanted me to ask him the day before. It just seemed odd he had the time at 1130 to talk for so long and wouldn't give me a date. Claims he's been in this business for 46 years. He also told me the blocks did not need to be filled with a product to insulate them

The other 2 quotes emailed me their quotes when I asked.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2020, 01:09:44 PM »
If he won't give you a few referrals, I would steer clear. What else won't he do?  What is that $110 to $160 savings really going to cost you?

waltworks

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2020, 07:19:54 PM »
This is a job that is so small that I wouldn't even bother chatting someone up about it for 15 minutes (I'm not in this business but my brother is a GC). Nor would I bother calling a bunch of references. Pick the middle quote and hire the person.

-W

Duke03

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2020, 03:09:22 PM »
This is a job that is so small that I wouldn't even bother chatting someone up about it for 15 minutes (I'm not in this business but my brother is a GC). Nor would I bother calling a bunch of references. Pick the middle quote and hire the person.

-W

Walt is right as usual. The guy isn't making any $$$ on this job and it probably really isn't worth his time that is why he blew you off when you started asking for referrals. 

Fishindude

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2020, 09:54:14 AM »
This is a job that is so small that I wouldn't even bother chatting someone up about it for 15 minutes (I'm not in this business but my brother is a GC). Nor would I bother calling a bunch of references. Pick the middle quote and hire the person.
-W

Yep.
The prices are all within $160 of each other, just go with the guy you feel most comfortable with.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2020, 12:46:59 PM »
This is a job that is so small that I wouldn't even bother chatting someone up about it for 15 minutes (I'm not in this business but my brother is a GC). Nor would I bother calling a bunch of references. Pick the middle quote and hire the person.

-W

Sure it's a small job, until they botch it.

From op:
He avoided giving me a referral for previous work
Claimed he has built most of the city
Would not give me a date to start the work


All the warning signs are there to avoid this guy like the plague COVID.

Few years ago I had a neighbour who went with a guy like this to install a couple of supplied windows on second floor. Small job - $500 range for the labour and materials to install. First rain they leaked bad causing damage to first floor ceiling. Contractor refused to come and fix it, said they were done perfect and that it's not his problem, then stopped taking calls. New contractor shows up and finds that windows were not flashed, cardboard pieces used as shims in a few places, screws were barely holding window in.

Cost about $1000 to fix everything. Small claims judgement against original contractor that was never paid.

waltworks

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2020, 01:39:28 PM »
You missed my point. OP is overthinking this. For any small job, just take the middle bid unless the person gives you terrible vibes. Not worth further thought/effort/harassing the low bidder.

-W

iris lily

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2020, 06:13:05 PM »
For any small job take the guy with the good reputation. A couple hundred  dollars make no,difference.

 In this time of building mania if you could even get a contractor with a decent reputation you are doing well. The cost doesn’t really matter.

draco44

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2020, 09:08:29 PM »
It's not worth your time pushing the low-bidder further to produce evidence of trustworthiness. You're already getting bad vibes from them. Go with the middle or high bids, probably the middle bid as Walt suggests unless you spot red flags there too.

beekayworld

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2020, 08:28:10 AM »
I've heard this:

In hiring the trades you can get 2 out of 3:
Timely work (shows up on schedule, finishes on schedule).
Good price. (lower than other bids)
Good work.

You pick which 2 you want.  You won't get all three. That would be like expecting to buy a house that is move-in ready, in your desired location, and at a good price. You're lucky to get 2 out of 3. (you pay more, or you get a fixer upper, or you expand you geographical search. Watch HGTV and you see this all the time.)

When I replaced my carpet with hardwoods, I paid a higher price as I wanted good work and wanted the job started and finished on schedule. I didn't want to clear out a bedroom, displace a child, and then find the workers wouldn't come because the truck broke down, and have the work on hold for 3 more days. It was worth paying more to not disrupt our lives longer than necessary (and it would have stressed me out having to chase after them.)

When I rebuilt my balcony flooring and replaced the wooden railings for glass, I chose someone who had done excellent work on our house siding for a good price, had great yelp reviews on quality of work and price, but yelp reviews showed inconsistent time management. It was huge expense and a huge difference in bids so I was willing to put up with half-finished work for some days when nobody showed up.

Both of these projects preceded as expected. That is, the floors were done exactly when promised, and the balcony was about 6 weeks behind. 

I didn't mind as they used a ladder to get up and down, never entering my house except at the very end to bring up the glass.

For example, the work was supposed to start in January.  I called in early January to ask if we were still on schedule to start and he told me they would be 3 weeks late starting.  "Is that ok?" sure!

When they came out, 4 weeks later (not 3), he explained that the previous job had a death in the family so they put that job on hold to give the family time to mourn, and then returned. 

So this seemed a strange excuse as they could have come and started work on my place during those 3 weeks they were delayed on the previous job.  Maybe he had a "one at a time" mentality where he wouldn't start a new job until the previous one was completed.  Or maybe I'm missing something like they wouldn't remove the old flooring and leave it exposed to potential rain too long.

So they started and did a few days work and then nobody showed up.  After a couple of days I asked what happened and he told me one of the crew got sick.  I didn't ask if that guy was the only one who could do the next step, or if he was the one with the truck. I assumed it wasn't the real reason so I just let it go.

Eventually the job was done beautifully and I paid a great price.  He even did a couple of little surprise gifts like replacing the balcony faucet with something shiny and moving the outlet away from the faucet to meet code.


beekayworld

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Re: Should I go with this contractor?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2020, 08:33:01 AM »
When I lived in Texas, a handyman didn't show up for 3 days and when I called he said he had to bail a friend out of jail which seemed like a half-day errand, but what do I know?

Another time I called him the day he was supposed to come out to see what time he would be there and he told me his horse was sick.  So I waited a week without bothering him as I didn't know how much tending a sick horse takes.

Why did I keep hiring this guy? He was my ex-husband's secretary's husband and my ex kept hiring him out of loyalty.