Are there ANY contractors who keep appointments?

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My husband has been remodeling our house himself for the past 5 years. On the 3 occasions we needed someone to do some work, 2 out of 3 made appointments and didn't show up or call, and one showed up once, then never showed up again.
Is this the norm?
We are currently finishing a kitchen remodel and need to have a granite counter installed. Called a guy who was recommended, he made an appointment to come today at 1:00 and show samples, etc. And never showed up or called. What gives?
Any suggestions on finding someone reliable?
Thanks, Kim
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Pretty much.

You have to seek them like gold nuggets.
i
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Pretty much.>>
As a Southwesterner (California) returning to her ancestral stoping grounds in the deep South , you have just made me feel much better, although unfortunately I can't give you a magical formula, This sort of behaviour drives me round the bend. In three years I have found three craftsman who come when they said and did what they sign ned up for. I thought it was maybe cultural difference, as when I lived in and reported from pre-war Beirut. There just seems to be a deep streak of larceny ($1,ooo,oo camera and add-ons lost), laziness and unreliability in the building trades. You have my profound sympathy and the hope that hope your grandchildren will live and build in a better world.
Leslie
zemedelec
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It's much cheaper just to buy the parts yourself and find whatever Mexicans you can and hire them to do it anyway.
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Angie’s List
On 04 Jan 2005 03:08:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnojunk (Kim) wrote:

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On 04 Jan 2005 03:08:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnojunk (Kim) wrote:

No. It is not the norm, nor is it particularly unusual. The ones who don't show probably couldn't find a polite way to tell you over the phone they don't want your busienss; with the fellow who did show, I'd guess you said something that made hime decide you were not worth the trouble of following up.
This is not going to make me popular here ... but I'm a remodelling contractor, and I get a lot of people who want me to rush right over and give them a free estimate. Even after I give them a ballpark over the phone .. in the hope of establishing that they at least have a realistic budget in mind. Amazingly, they don't believe their project will cost nearly as much as the last ten identical ones did.... why, their brother in law told them not to spend more than five thousand ... on a twenty five thousand dollar project.
I won't make an appointment and not keep it. But I will come to your home, take a look, come to the conclusion that I don't want you or don't want your job .. and vanish. I'm not going to spend several hours costing out a project I have no desire to do.

Why would you not go to him with a sketch of your counter tops, including their dimensions? At his show room you can see any number of edge treatments, quality of granites, sink treatments, etc. And you can see the raw slabs ... and even the saw they use for cutting them.
He can give you a good estimate right there, zip out and make a template at a convenient time.

No. As I said, my guess would be there is something in your approach that is not sitting well with prospective contractors. But that is a guess only.

HTH
Ken
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A contractor will bail out if: a. everything that Ken said. b. the customer talks too much and/or doesn't know what he wants c. the customer hints that the project is worth about half. d. there's something funky at your house, like a botched mess created by the owner or a previous contractor. e. the job is too small. Contractors have "overhead" that you can't imagine, like an hour to get the paint stuff out of the truck and "re-tool" for woodworking or tiling. The highly specialized contractors who have a truck stocked up for a single kind of job, and who charge big rates like plumbers, ... they'll show up when you want. -B
(Kim) wrote:

On the

appointments and

again.
counter
come
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I concur with everything that Ken and B said. Homeowners feel empowered now from watching too many home improvement shows where it only takes an hour to remodel a kitchen and from the proliferation of home improvement stores that provide 1% of the materials available with salespeople giving out uninformed advice.
I'm an electrical contractor who does return phone calls and who does show up when expected. I do try and give out ball park estimates over the phone to keep from wasting my time on first time homeowners who get sticker shock when they find out how much it costs to do work.
I don't mind giving out a competitive bid price, but the customer should do his or her homework first. They should know exactly what they want. They should have the space in question ready to be worked in (If it is existing). They should have some written specifications regarding materials and time frame and anything else that they consider important. They should have a drawing with locations of lights, outlets, switches, alarms, and anything else that needs wiring along with dimensions of the room and heights for the devices. The drawing does not need to be done by an architect or engineer. A simple drawing on graph paper is fine.
I don't like to go out at night after dinner to meet a husband and wife and their three kids and two barking dogs only to find that the customer doesn't know what they want. For example: CUSTOMER: "We would like to put some more lights in this room. It's too dark don't you think"? ME: "What kind of lights do you want"? CUSTOMER: "We don't know, what do you think"? ME: "What do you use the room for"? CUSTOMER: "Right now it is an extra family room, but we may make it a guest room next year". ME: "So do you want lighting for a family room or for a bedroom"? CUSTOMER: "What do you think, how about a ceiling fan"? ME: "Is that what you want, a ceiling fan"? CUSTOMER: "Well my mother has one".
I think you get the picture. Now picture the above scenario taking place in the room in question filled with furniture and kids toys with constant interruptions by young children and dogs. Obstacles that will make any work in that room precarious and slow.
Now I call and give the above couple two prices; one for recessed lights and one for a ceiling fan. They say that they want to think about it. I never hear from them again.
Needless to say I am in business to make money. Giving out estimates is not profitable unless I get the job.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv
(Kim) wrote:

to
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As for going to his shop, I didn't know where it was. My friend had given me his name and number and I called him.
Well, I guess it could have been something I may have said, but I don't know what. I simply told him my name and said he came highly recommended from two of my friends who had used him, (I gave their names). I told him the kitchen was ready to go with new cabnits installed but no counter yet. He asked me what I wanted to do about back splashes and told me he could install tumbled marble. I said I would let my husband and he work out those details. He made the appointment, said he would bring some samples, and we could go to the yard and pick a slab. Then, nothing. Haven't heard from him since.
As for meeting people, it is just my husband and myself, our house is clean, and my husband always makes sure he has things well planned out. He had all the drawings ready as well as the sink template, and the location of the holes for the facuets, etc. We had made a decision on what we want for backsplashes (tile) and were ready to go. Seems like the right thing to me, but as I said earlier, we don't deal with contractors much so don't know the proper way, I guess. My husband is estimating about 70 square feet. Does that seem too small of a job or something? Thanks, Kim
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On 05 Jan 2005 05:58:54 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnojunk (Kim) wrote:

I dunno. Sounds like the right approach. Is it possible he lost your number/address?? Have you called him a second time, just to be sure??
If he doesn't have a shop you can go to, he probably is a one man fabricator ... working in his garage.
There are a couple of alternatives --- under granite in the phone book, look for the "yard", the distributor. Call, ask if you can see some samples, ask if they can recommend a fabricator.
Or. talk to your cabinet supplier ... he probably knows who does good granite work.
-------
In another thread, you suggested a price of ten thousand dollars for seventy square feet of granite. For mid-grade granite, I pay $55/s.f. plus $190 for custom edging. Underslung sinks run around $300 to $500. So my cost on your countertop would be about $45 hundred. I would charge you $5,200 for the countertops, and another $1500 to 2,500 for the tilework.
These prices are Calgary, Alberta, Canada. But by casual observation, they're not too far off for the rest of Canada and much of the USA.
HTH
Ken
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<snip>

Hey Ken... It was a while ago (year and a half?) so you probably don't remember, but...
You wouldn't have happened to be the guy who referred me to Steve the plumber a while back are you? I was looking at moving a bunch of PEX plumbing in my basement.
Steve did a great job. He definately knows his stuff. One comment that is relevant to this thread. While he was here I asked him about another job - just a rough idea of what it would cost to move a floor drain in my concrete basement floor over about three feet. He gave me a ballpark figure and I said it sounded good and I'd call him if I decide to go with it. A while later (months), based on my basement finishing plan, I decided it would be good to do and called him. He said he'd get back to me in a couple of days. He never called so after 10 days or so I called him and again he said he'd call. This happened a few times and I finally gave up. I wasted over a month just trying to set a date. It could have been six months down the road and it would have been fine. If he was too busy or not interested he could have just said so.
Another item you and I discussed was me finishing my basement. I was worried about how picky the city inspectors were going to be, etc. and you encouraged me to just go for it. I did and it went fine. The electrical inspector was impressed with my wiring and the framing inspector only mentioned one item... no box for the vent fan in a future bathroom.
The basement is definately going slower than I wanted due to some major foundation cracks that my builder is dragging their heels on and that Alberta New Home Warranty won't even look at... but it is moving forward.
Just wanted to say THANKS for the encouragement. I learned a few things and I know that the installation is good.
Take care!
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Yeah, that was me. I remember now.

That's too bad. But it kind of exempifies what we've been talking about.
Steve is an excellent plumber ... the best and the fastest I've ever seen. He's unbelievably busy ... he starts before seven and finishes well after nine five days a week, and often, six.
Because he's so good ... he has a number of large accounts ... I'm probably his smallest and I spend fifty or so ...
You'd be best to use the yellow pages .. call someone like Phil Sprung who has a number of staff plumbers and who does very good work.

Good on ya.

<Grin> You can vouch for me, when I say I'm a decent enough contractor ..and that pros don't mind helping homeowners where they can.
Ken
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.tnx wrote on 04 Jan 2005:

Ken,
I agree with everything you've said except this (and I know you were being at least partly facetious here. But.....
You're asking the homeowner for advance payments and progress payments. If the check bounces, you lose nothing. If the contractor doesn't show up or does poor work, the homeowner is SOL.
It's amazing (at least in this state) how many contractors get a judgment against them and immediately go bankrupt. They reorganize as a new business and the homeowner is stuck with nothing.
It seems to me that licensing, insurance, workman's comp, and bonding protect your reputation and set you above the fly-by-night guys. In many states, this is getting easier to check on the Internet anyway.
--
Doug Boulter

To reply by e-mail, remove the obvious word from the e-mail address
  Click to see the full signature.
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On Tue, 04 Jan 2005 12:50:04 -0600, Doug Boulter

Doug, not true from my perspective. Even with progress payments, I'm 15 to 25% behind by the time any job is seriously underway.
So if a cheque bounces, I am out the labour and material the cheque was intended to cover, and out the labour and material we have put in between the time the cheque was received and the time the bank returned the cheque. Often that can equal fifty percent of the job.
Happily, while I've had a couple of "leapers", the homeowner has put them right immediately.
It *is* true that we can recover by putting a lien on the property and filing a claim through the courts. But that is one of those games that nobody ever wins. I've never heard of anyone actually getting payment in full PLUS legal costs.
As I said, I''ve never had the problem and I doubt I ever will.

I can't comment. I've never done it, I don't know of anyone who has. Most of us are incorporated and make a point of having few personal assets, because of the risk of liablility. This, on the advice (even insistence) of our lawyers and accountants.

No, your reputation is established by the work you do, the way you do it and the way you conduct yourself in all your affairs.
The rest is simply compliance with standards set by government. Scam artists can meet them; are foolish if they don't.
Ken
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I say contractor to mean the person I'm paying to do get the job done. Plumber, electrician, drywaller... whomever I hire. I do not mean Uncle Joe or the "I know a guy"... I mean the person who has the tools and knowhow and depends on doing this work as part of earning their livelyhood. I guess I should say "professional", but I've seen too many hacks to use that term much anymore.

So, if I hire you, what you would do is bring in the proper workers who would get my project done.

But why advertise if you aren't going to at least try and get the job? As a new homeowner the advertising is pretty much all I have to work with when trying to find someone to do a job.

It doesn't make sense to do jobs where you don't make any money. Obviously I wouldn't talk to you if I needed someone to hang and finish drywall in a 12'x15'room. The problem is finding someone who would.

call
As I said, most of my calls are from the yellowpages, so this doesn't help me at all.

My posts here are based on experience. I don't have this attitude unless I'm actually discussing this topic with someone. You can't just one professional by the actions of another.

Most folks don't do it on purpose. They just don't understand what's involved. When I "talk down" a project, it's not to minimalize it, it's to summarize it.

But references and visits only prove that the CAN do good work. It doesn't mean that they WILL do good work. If only five of twenty projects are any good it gives the contract enough references and projects to visit. It doesn't help identify the other 75% of his work.

So you don't take deposits? You don't make contracts? These are why you'd trust me.
Asking for insurance, etc. proves two things... that you are serious about your job and that I won't get sued should you fall off my roof, etc.

I'm a learner. I like to watch to see how it's done. I do my best to stay out of the way and make sure that whoever is doing the work is happy. I offer drinks/lunch/etc. and do what I can to make them feel welcome.

Rescues are always more costly than the original job. Just price accordingly and make your money. If the DIYer doesn't like the cost he doesn't have to hire you.

Everthing here needs to be taken with a pound of salt. : )

I expect whomever I hire to have a reasonable education and have emphasis on what they do. It's great that you have a law degree, but don't expect me to cover it's costs when remodelling my basement.

I agree. If a person thinks that they need to tell their workers to "do a good job" they shouldn't have hired that person in the first place.

Unfortunately, it's not how "we" do business. You don't know how many times I had to tell my homebuilder that the trades screwed up on my house.

Not always true...
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scribbled this interesting note:

There is a vast difference between your homebuilder and someone who is a master craftsman, someone who insists on doing the job right the first time, someone who will accept nothing less than a job done properly, correctly, on time, and on or under budget.
We never work for home builders. Why? Because they don't pay well and there is plenty of better work to be found. Of course you had problems having your home built. Most big builders are little more than accumulations of accountants who have no experience or understanding of what actually goes into building a proper home.
-- John Willis (Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
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'The ones who don't show probably couldn't find a polite way to tell you over the phone they don't want your busienss;  '
ME: If they dont want the business for whatever reason, they SHOULD NOT make an appointment with the consumer ; instead , if they feel its going to be a waste of time or if the competition is too tough or its too small of a job or they are too busy.....they should simply say to the consumer on the phone :" I think im going to have to take a pass on this, but thank you for considering me" . Is this such a difficult thing to say instead of making an appointment so the consumer is left sitting around waiting for someone who doesnt have any integrity ???
Im an HVAC service contractor, and if i dont want to respond to a job that comes in over the phone, i tell them im going to have to take a pass , or, i cannot for 'x' amount of days/weeks.
Contractors , especially, need to have more courtesy. It would go a long way in how they are percieved by the general public.
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you ain't a HVAC contractor...
'The ones who don't show probably couldn't find a polite way to tell you over the phone they don't want your busienss; '
ME: If they dont want the business for whatever reason, they SHOULD NOT make an appointment with the consumer ; instead , if they feel its going to be a waste of time or if the competition is too tough or its too small of a job or they are too busy.....they should simply say to the consumer on the phone :" I think im going to have to take a pass on this, but thank you for considering me" . Is this such a difficult thing to say instead of making an appointment so the consumer is left sitting around waiting for someone who doesnt have any integrity ???
Im an HVAC service contractor, and if i dont want to respond to a job that comes in over the phone, i tell them im going to have to take a pass , or, i cannot for 'x' amount of days/weeks.
Contractors , especially, need to have more courtesy. It would go a long way in how they are percieved by the general public.
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Good thing. The only thing lower than a HVAC contractor is a lawyer.
Yesterday and today I stayed home because a "HVAC contractor" said he was coming to give me a bid on work I need done. I need a new system installed, not just a minor service call or tirekicking collar jerker.
Well, no show. But that's okay. I'm laying for them now, and hope they DO show up. I'll speak my mind, and won't mince words.
But I will do the worst thing I can do to them. I will give my money to someone else.
HVAC contractor! Harumph! A turd with a high sounding name is still a turd.
Steve
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installed,
DO
Hey, if he won't show up to give a bid for a job, what makes you think he'll show up to do the work? AND do you think he'll be in a hurry to do any warranty work you need after you've paid him?
I show up. If I'm going to be late, I call with a revised ETA.
Sorry about your problems. I can't do anything about the idiot not showing up.
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