I seem to be either really good at vetting contractors, maybe deluded (I know
some always pipe up - gotta be deluded if I dont' DIY....), or just plain lucky.
But, a job at my house is finishing Friday, and all is going well.
I pay the guy, get his business cards, and recommend him. Anything else
It depends on how appreciative you want to be. Those things you
mentioned are a good start, of course. Slipping the guy some money
isn't always the way to go. Unless it's a large amount of money, he
might be looking at it as an "insufficient tip" - even if he wasn't
expecting a tip in the first place.
To give you a lame analogy (my specialty), give your wife $3. one day
and tell her you appreciate her. She's thinking cheap bastard. Spend
the same three bucks on a Hallmark card and tell her you appreciate
her. You're now thoughtful and a great guy.
One idea, find out where he's working in a couple of weeks, have lunch
delivered or bring it by yourself if it's local. Call first so he
doesn't send the kid out for it and have two lunches on his hand. A
couple of pizzas and a couple of 2-liter bottles of soda goes a long
way. The fact that you're doing this well after the fact on your job
will stick in his memory forever.
Gosh how would you tip on a sizable foundation/drainage job... sure hope it
OK, OK, thanks for the compliment. I'm thoughtful. I'm nice. But I ain't got
no wife; that fact is most probably connected to the fact that I'm not a guy
Maybe I'll connect on Friday (last bit of concrete goes in...) earlier in the
morning: "Pizza's on me."
Speaking of wives, his wife was on the job a coupla days. Right in there with
him working on the block wall.
I offer to refer him, serve as a reference and keep the workers hydrated and
fed. Actually , the latter, I do while they are there. Call me crazy but I
think I get a better quality of work when they workers are happier.
When building my house I brought over a cooler with drinks and ice every so
often when I knew major subs were working. When I had some concrete work
going on, and it was just a couple of hours of work, I just brought out
chilled bottled water. Another project I brought out some beer toward the
end of the day. In all cases where I provided stuff, and built a good
rapport, I felt like I ended up with a quality job. When I'm not involved I
often end up with crap. (See my post "drive, garage floor connection" on
Good advice, but let me add one more thing. Buy the pizza or sodas along
the way also. Offering the workers a little appreciation in the form of a
cold iced tea can improve the quality of the job.
When the town was clearing some trees near my house, my wife took the guys a
pot of coffee. An hour later, a cord of wood was sitting in my driveway. I
had a hone repairman out for a problem. Turned out is was on my side so I'd
have to pay $50 for the call. How about a glass of iced tea?" "Sure. This
looks like it was defective when we did the original installation." No
Excellent idea...when I reroofed a few years ago I provided doughnuts,
cokes and coffee every morning for the roofing crew, and on the last day
brought in tamales from a local restaurant (it was a Mexican crew). I
ended up with the best roof in the neighborhood.
A friend had a house built in the late '80s. The general contractor
couldn't believe how well the subs were working together and when
problems were found (e.g. switches in the wrong place) they were
corrected immediately. One day the plumbing contractor showed up and
had no place to work, so left. The GC knew something was up so asked my
friend about it. He told the GC to stop by again at 4:00. Right at
4:00, as they were shutting down for the day, his wife showed up with a
cooler full of iced-down beer. ...did it every day. A motivated
worker is a happy worker. Beer is a cheap motivator. ;-)
Last week, a roofer told me my asphalt shingles weren't in as bad a
condition as I thought, and said I had 1-2 years before I needed to re-roof.
Gave me two tubes of caulk, said "Caulk where the roof meets the siding,
right up there, and be careful. Call me if you wanna do the roof before
winter, or hopefully we'll talk in the spring".
Very odd, but recommended by about a dozen people. :-)
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