Is it tough being a genius?
What makes you conclude from my post that I would consider hiring anyone who
wouldn't even show up for a bid? I merely stated that when and if this
person does show up to give a bid, they will get a shot of truth serum.
BTW, I would say exactly, "Why would I hire someone so undependable they
won't even show up for a bid?"
This is Turtle.
Your a what a contractor calls a dry call. A dry call is just another phone
number in the phone book looking for a price and the odds of getting it is next
to nothing or just maybe get it. Your asking for a mircle to get something done.
Now research the contractors in the area and talk to everybody you know to get a
grip on who the respectiable contractors are and pick the one mostly that you
heard good responces from and then call him. Tell him up front that you are
calling him only and wanted him to do the remodeling job for you did get some
good words said about his work. Then say I am not calling a bunch of contractor
for a bidding war but you are it on contractors and I want you to give me a
price on the work and if I can afford it YOU will do the work. Now I want you to
give me a reasoniable bid that would be concidered a reasoniable bid by any
other contractor in town. If the bid is reasoniable and i can afford it, you
will do the job. Now if you can't do it, Don't want to do it, or Not
interested -- tell me now and I will try to find another contractor that will do
the items and work I described to you.
Make it clear that he is doing the job if he is just reasoniable on pricing like
any other contractor in town. this takes you out of the dry call people and put
you in the good customer people. The Dry call people get the run around and get
EXCELLENT reply, Turtle.!!! I get so tired of losers calling every company
in the phone book for free quotes and especially free information!
I hate customers if it wasn't for their money I would drop them all..
And with this attitude I hope they all drop you.
If you went into a grocery store and there were no prices on any of the
items, would you bother putting anything in your cart? Would you spend you
time chasing someone down to ask prices?
I don't expect contractors to have a "menu" of services. I don't expect
contractors to tell DYIers how to do it themselves. I don't expect to get an
exact quote for free. What I do expect is to be able to spend 10-15 minutes
discussing what I want and ballpark amount that it may cost and not to pay
for that. If it sounds good then I'll pay for your time and move forward
This is Turtle.
NOOSE , your speaking about a grocery store and we are talking about the service
business. Call up your local grocery store and tell them to get all their prices
on the stuff in the store and bring it over to my house and I will see what I
want to buy from you. Now this is a free estimate and if I don't like your
prices i just send you on your way and call the next store to come see about
what prices they have. Secret here NOOSER , No grocery store is coming to your
house to discuss prices.
NOOSER , two totally different types of business which I see you do not
So it was a bad analogy... It was supposed to demonstrate that customers
make their purchasing decisions based on information that they can only get
from the person that they want to buy from.
What I get from this thread is that contractors expect everyone who calls to
know exactly what they want, how much it will cost and what work is involved
to get it done. Customers are expected to wait months before hearing back
from their contractor if they are at all good in their trade. Contractors
have no obligation to actually give their customers any idea of what their
project may cost, any idea of how long it may take or even when the
contractor will contact their customer to discuss the project, if they even
bother getting back to their customer at all.
As I said in another post, I do not expect to get a detailed estimate for
free. I don't expect to get more than 15 minutes of time with the contractor
for free, and that when he has the time.
If I call a contractor and tell him "I'm looking at getting a 24'x32'
garage, three door, with roofing and vinyl siding, no power or drywall. The
pad is already poured" all I want to hear back is "That should be between
$12,000 and $16,000 and take about 10 days to do. Right now we could start
in about six weeks."... From that point I can decide whether I want to deal
or keep looking. That shouldn't take more than a few minutes for someone to
Anyhow... the whole point for joining this thread was to post my
experiences. I don't expect anything to change.
The old rule of thumb is "get three quotes". If, and that is a big IF, you
know the contractor, his reputation, and maybe did work with him, you don't
need three quotes.
I have a plumber, electrician, welder that I can call and give them a job.
I don't usually ask the price because I have a feel for it and I know they
do good work, fast, and show up. Fair price and we pay them on time. Typical
homeowner does not have that luxury.
This is Turtle.
Just about every do it yourselfers will have to get 3 bids for they don't do
business with any of the crafts and have to search green with no hint as to what
prices are. I have a electrician , Plumber, and Carpentner and all three sub
contract to me in my HVAC business and we have a business relationship already.
The Do it yourselfers are just lost when tring to bid out a job for price is all
they have to go by.
The problem is that often you don't know what a reasonable price is,
except by calling a few people and comparing prices.
A while ago I needed to have my (street-to-house) water pipe replaced.
Had one guy look at it and give me a quote for $2800, then after seeing
the surprised look on my face he said $2500. I said I'd let him know.
He called 10 minutes later from his car and said "I can do it for $2000,
but you have to let me know today". That sounded like he was trying to
rip me off, so at that point I decided I'd find a better price, or do
the work myself if I couldn't find one. I called a few people from the
yellow pages, and got estimates anywhere from $1100 to $4300 over the
phone. Things like that tell me that some are just out to rip you off.
In the end I had the guy who estimated $1100 over the phone come out to
look at it, he showed up on time, stuck with the $1100 bid, was able to
do the job the next day, and did a fine job.
Needless to say, if I ever need anything else done, I'll call this guy.
If anyone ever asks me if I know of a good plumber, I'll mention this
Last time I dealt with contractors was 2 years ago when I bought a new
furnace and A/C.
Called 4 companies. They all came out when they were supposed to, and got
back to me promptly with quotes.
Maybe you somehow project that you are not serious.
sounds like it's probably considered too small a job by the local
contractors to make money on, had a similar probelm getting a concrete
driveway addition poured, called 4 contractors who said they would but never
showed up and never called to reschedule
this form of communication is becoming more commonplace in the "modern"
world, i.e. no communication or extremely poor communication
put it off for months then mentioned to a friend couldn't get it done
he knew a hungry concrete crew and got the job done in short order
keep trying till you find someone hungry enough, might help to get a friend
who knows a contractor who can do it, then you might have some leverage ; )
reading through other replies in this thread was interesting, and a few more
thoughts came to mind
if you are not a corporation, you are competing with them to get talent, and
talent tends to follow the money,,,in effect, corporations are making life
extremely hard on individuals
secondly, with 5 years restoration under his belt, has your husband
considered trying to tackle the job himself?
Welcome to the world of remoldeling!
In my last house I spent over $100,000 fixing the place up and had some good
and some bad experiences. What you complain about is very common. I got so I
would call 10 contractors knowing that maybe 3 or 4 just might call back and
probably 2 would come by for a quote. Just keep plugging away. If they are
flakes and don't show on time....forget about them...they will be flakes all
the way through the project. Just don't get desparate and hire anyone. If
they return your call, show on time and are licensed, bonded, insured and
have no problems with the licensing board....you may have found a good one.
Get a quote with a start and finish time "in writing" and only pay for
materials in advance and make certain they are purchased by you directly and
not the contractor because if they disappear, you can be liable for them.
Good luck with your remodel!!.........Ross
On 1/3/2005 10:08 PM US(ET), Kim took fingers to keys, and typed the
the fastest growing county in the state, they're all too busy building
new $1,000,000+ homes.
You might go over to Lowes or Home Depot and check out their counters
and installation schedules. They may have local contractors that work
exclusively for them.
based on many experiences, the typical contractor:
has about a third grade education (in america we call this a 9th grade
education). nonetheless, their way of doing things (taught to them when
they were still young enough to learn, a process which has long since
halted) is the ONLY way it will work, and any other way is just insane.
questioning anything they say will result in immediate price doubling, or no
has child support payments owed to two different women. its hard to think
straight with two screaming women calling you all the time asking for the
check. so if its near child support payment time they may have never got
any of your messages. they're hiding from the phone.
would never DREAM of actually doing the job. they have plans to hire it
out, under the table for 10 bucks an hour, to whichever alcoholic or college
student answers the phone that week. when you finally do reach them you get
some sort of 'well i told this other guy to call you back and schedule a
has or had a coke problem.
fortunately, if you look hard enough you can find an atypical contractor.
unfortunately this is a long process.
This gets to the crux of the problem. There just aren't enough
contractors out there. Despite the fact that remodeling and
construction are highly satisfying jobs most of the time, no one
wants their children to grow up to be cowboys...er, contractors.
Let them fix computers and networks and such.
The consequence is that there's no good contractor out there who
doesn't have more business than he or she can handle. If it's a
small contractor who swings a hammer during the day and does
estimates during the evenings, it's especially hard to spend an
hour with a potential client knowing that the likelihood of
actually getting the work is slim or none.
And if the contractor wants to hire help, it will be VERY difficult
to find someone who will show up for work on time every day and is
willing to learn. And if the contractor does find someone who will
show up, can read and do simple math, and is willing to learn, once
that person is trained they either want to go in business for
themselves or they get lured away by another contractor desperate
Bottom line - this is not going to be an easy problem to solve.
Home builders address it by building houses in a factory setting
and trucking the work to a building site. A decline in the new
housing market will direct more workers to remodeling. And as
prices for quality work go up, more and more people will consider a
But that's no help for the job you want to start next month.
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