The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Personal Finances / Building / Maintaining a Home

URL:  http://boards.fool.com/what-not-to-do-if-youre-a-contractor-20613940.aspx

Subject:  What NOT to do if you're a contractor. Date:  4/9/2004  12:16 PM
Author:  HomeMoaner Number:  49092 of 128953

If you're a contractor, and you are coming to my house to bid on an 800 sq. ft. 2nd floor addition, I am going to assume that you are at least mildly interested in the job and looking for work. With that in mind:

* Show up on time. If we set an appointment for 8 a.m., show up or call. Thank you for calling at 9:30. Luckily our schedules permitted your coming to my house that evening instead. Give me some other excuse other than "my office assistant just quit." There is potential there for me to assume that she quit because she doesn't like working for you. If your employees don't want to work for you, why would I want you working for me?

* Do not complain about your current clients to a prospective client. That makes me think you will complain about me in the future. If you do complain about them, it is valuable information to me as to how you solved your problem with them. Do not wave it off as a personal issue.

* When I point out on the plans that the support for the second floor will involve verifying if we have a thickened slab under a supporting wall, do not say "I can guarantee that you don't." You don't know that. There very well may be a thickened slab to support the concrete block walls we have. You don't know they're blocks because you haven't asked, knocked on them, or measured.

* When I ask you for the names of a couple of your suppliers to check your credit, do not refuse and belligerently ask me if you can check my credit. Because I'll let you and tell you so; I have no secrets.

* Look in the attic where the addition is to go. At least pretend to care.

* Act like you like your job. So far I see no indication that you do, and that you consider homeowners to be an intrusion. It is my house, dude. I care about your workmanship a lot more than you do, apparently. Do not *sigh* every time I ask you a question, 'cuz it tells me you'd be doing a lot of sighing for the next five months if we hired you.

* I will give you as much information as I can. We have already chosen our windows, trim, tub, toilet, sink, vanity, tile, and faucets. I am about to zero in on the flooring. I spent two nights recalling the week in my college scenic design course when we transferred floor plans into 2-point perspective drawings so I could generate a bathroom tile plan. We are cocked, locked and ready to rock. Do not disparage the bid process by calling it "useless" and saying it's "impossible to compare" bids because everybody puts in different allowances. It is not useless; I am about to hand over more money than I will make in three years, and I have my contractor-comparison spreadsheet already designed.

* When I inform you that I will paint, both exterior and interior, do not look at me and ask, "If you bought a car, would you buy everything but the tires and transmission?" This is not a car. The extra $10K you say that I would save is enough to buy a car. That is not chump change.

* If I ask you, "how do you think you'd tackle this job?", don't give me a flip answer about how you'd "just tear the roof off." Would you deck, frame, roof and side half of the addition, then take off the other half of the existing roof and do the same? Or all at once? How about the stairs - would they go in first or last? What about closing off sections of the house to keep the dust down? Think a little bit and give me a reasoned answer.

* It is your right to ask me what our budget is. It is also my right to tell you that right now, our meetings with contractors are more about choosing somebody who we are comfortable having in our house for many months than about the money. It will cost what it costs. That's why we're interviewing several contractors and soliciting several bids, to find a good balance. If you don't understand this, that's a shame.

* As we walk around the exterior, don't tell me the house would look great with architectural shingles instead of the current 3-tab shingles. When I tell you they are already architectural shingles, don't tell me, "No, you have 3-tab shingles." Now you just look like an idiot.

Sorry, had to vent before I called to tell him I don't think we'll be requiring his services, and I hope he appreciates the professional courtesy of calling him before he wastes any serious time putting a bid together. But not likely.

"It's not you, it's me."
HM!
Copyright 1996-2014 trademark and the "Fool" logo is a trademark of The Motley Fool, Inc. Contact Us