Roofing Question

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says...

I use HD's credit to buy now and use their money for a year, free. Works out quite well (have $4K worth of carpeting on credit now). I've done it with a half a dozen appliance and furniture stores too. I even bought my wife a laptop and used their money. I like the free use of money. ;-)

Good for you! I like to hear success stories. OTOH, it's difficult to get someone, such as yourself, to give us the time of day here. When they do honor us by agreeing to give an estimate they usually don't show and *NEVER* call. Tradesmen generally *suck* around here. I do my own work, when possible.
--
Keith

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They spend a lot of money advertising showing happy people. They have the majority of people convinced they have the lowest prices to the point that they don't shop around any more. Given the size of the store, the same ill informed consumer thinks the big box stores have every possible piece of hardware imaginable and helpful "associates" will help them find what they need.
I've been to some plumbing and electrical supply houses that seem to have the surliest of clerks that don't want to be bothered with the consumer that has no clue what they want and they just re-enforce why going to Home Depot is better. .
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wrote in message

thinking about some of the replies.
I know a lot of people who don't hesitate to spend top dollar for contracting work, myself included, but oftentimes we find a few things that immediately turn us off.
1) The contractor has a great reputation and obvious talent, but the personality of a pit bull and I personally will suffer subquality work from someone less qualified as long as they have a decent customer face. A lot of people that I know feel the same way. When we can't find someone reasonably human, we then decide to give it a go ourselves.
2) To comment on what you said Ed, I know 3 electrical supply houses in my area (50 mile radius) who will deal with someone who is NOT a contractor and doesn't have a line of credit with them already established. So what that means is that I have to go to Lowe's or Ace if I want to do work myself - it's not that I don't want to deal with them or that they're unhappy people, they simply refuse my business. Or, when they do interact with walk-ins the help is so unfamiliar in dealing with single customers that their skills immediately turn us off. Seattle Lighting is one store that I simply won't do business with - simply because of the poor quality of their floor help. Yet I know lots of contractors who work with them all the time.
3) For many people working with contractors isn't a frequent occurance. So oftentimes we simply don't have any familiarity with their business, costs, or schedules. I sincerely hope that I will have to deal with a contractor at the most once a year. You aren't going to get any sort of familiarity with them at that level of frequency - couple that with what I outlined in 1 above and you can see why people balk at using them or make what a contractor considers an unreasonable demand.
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And we all know what good installers they use, and how easy it is to get satisfaction if there is a problem.
Steve
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wrote

You sure as hell don't fit that category!!!
Just read the post you made on running your business. The REAL truth comes out.
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What are the other nine?

I have all of those things, yet oddly enough, I find someone's resistance to making a deposit, in full accordance with applicable law, as a sign of distrust. This makes me distrustful. How do I know that they'll pay me when I'm done? Because they say so? Hell, I'm saying so, and you don't trust me? It's a two way street. I wouldn't work for you with your attitude, and you wouldn't work with me because I expect to run my business like a business. We're both happy.

It used to be that only larger contractors ran their businesses like businesses. Larger businesses have established ways of doing business, just as people have their individual preferences, and any individual customer's wishes probably won't be enough to convince the larger contractor to revise the way they customarily do business. As skilled workers are harder to come by, and as contractor sophistication grows (it's amazing how many tradesmen have college degrees nowadays), repair and handyman outfits are adopting the methods of the larger contractors because those methods are good business practice, provide security for the contractor and they work.
People who are scared witless when hiring a contractor and don't know how to protect themselves say such things as NEVER PAY UP FRONT. By the time contract signing rolls around, the owner should have done their due diligence and investigated the contractor and satisfied themselves on their business rating, reputation at supply yards, looked into their licensing and insurance situation and taken the measure of the man.
Trying to use money to protect yourself is nonsensical. If you're not satisfied of the contractor's ability, legality and honesty, you shouldn't let them work on your house in the first place. A bad contractor can nifong up your house very quickly, and do damage that will cost you far more than the amount of the initial repair. Repairing a bad contractor's work keeps good contractor's in work.

Let me see if I understand you. You want the contractor to front you money (that's what he's doing when he buys materials for your job before you've paid for them), but you don't want to front money to the contractor. Does that sound right to you?
You seem to be assuming that a contractor doesn't have a line of credit if he doesn't extend the line of credit to you. It doesn't necessarily work that way. A line of credit from a supplier is for the benefit of their customers. You are not the supplier's customer. The contractor is their customer. You are the contractor's customer.
If the contractor uses a line of credit from the supplier, and doesn't extend it to you, that now becomes a small profit center for the contractor. Contractors are in business to make a profit. The contractor can decide to extend the supplier credit to you or not - that is their call, just as it is your call to accept or reject the arrangement.
If an owner doesn't understand that a contractor weighs the value of the job compared to other potential jobs, the anticipated income and an owner's pain-in-the-ass factor, then the owner should not be negotiating with the contractor in the first place. They should have someone else do the negotiating for them as they are not in touch with the reality of being a contractor and are not up to the task of selecting a good one.

It is.
Note to the OP: if you're not up to the task of inspecting and insuring the work that goes on up on your roof, and you don't trust the contractor, I strongly suggest you find another contractor or hire someone to protect your interests. Contracting is all about risk. You pay for reduced risk. If you want full glass coverage on your car, you pay for it. If you want to rest assured that the work is being done correctly and the contractor is not out to screw you, you will pay more for it. That's how it works.
R
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I don't think they put any money out. That's the point. Contractors who don't pay their bills have to pay cash, they have to put money out. Needing money for supplies is a red flag.

Frankly, I've never had to assume anything. The contractor has always procured the products I ask for and when the job is done, I pay them. I would anticipate paying as the job went along, but if someone is a roofer and they can't even swing the cost for shingles and plywood, I would not be comfortable handing them the few hundred dollars.
nancy
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The number of assumptions in those four sentences is astounding. You have not let us know how you establish that the contractor "needs" a deposit as opposed to "wants" a deposit. You have assumed that there is only one way for a contractor to do business - by using supplier credit. What if the contractor only has an account at a place that has higher prices? Who do you think ends up paying for that? Hint - it's not the contractor.
Supply houses frequently give substantial discounts to contractors for paying at the time of ordering and in cash. Supplier credit costs the supplier. They're extending a short term loan to the contractor. It costs the supplier money and it increases the risk for them. Nothing is life is free - that cost and risk is added to the price of the materials. They reward people for not increasing the cost and risk by giving discounts. The same way you seek a good buy, a contractor seeks a good buy.
You said you don't "think" they put money out. You seem to have confused cash, credit and liability. I would imagine that you have a mortgage on your house like most people. Even though you are not paying all of that money at once, you are liable for paying all of the loaned money back plus interest. As soon as a contractor places an order, they are liable for payment of the dollar amount of that order. If you ignore your mortgage payment, or the contractor doesn't pay the supplier, the charge and liability are still there. While cash has not been laid out, there's still a nice fat red mark in the debit column. That's a liability. The contractor's debt goes in the debit column of the accountant's books. That debit gets canceled out when you make payment. Until that time the contractor is loaning you money.

I do not like the assumptions that the OP's roofer made, and said so. We are not talking about that specific situation - we're now talking in generalities. Saying "can't even swing the cost of" IS assuming.
I need to make a profit. That's why I am in business - to make a profit. That doesn't mean I will automatically make a profit. I don't need money to cover materials. That doesn't mean I won't charge you up front for the materials.
When you say you "would anticipate paying as the job went along", what do you think that means? When do you think the job starts? The project starts as soon as the contract is signed and both parties have agreed to the scope and price of the work, both are engaged in a _construction_ project. Not a banking endeavor. I can afford to cover materials. I won't cover materials. Why should I? I am not a bank. I am not in the business of providing no cost loans. If you'd like a loan to help _you_ swing the cost of the project, that's fine, knock yourself out and talk to you local banker.
There are plenty of contractors who operate differently, and that's fine as that is their business. However I do object to nonsense exclamations like NEVER PAY FOR WORK UP FRONT as that is misleading and will get nervous homeowners to throw out good contractors along with the bad.
R
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wrote:

wanted half up front, the painters wanted a token 'good faith' deposit, and the roofer looked at me like I was an idiot for asking if he wanted anything up front. So did the insulation guy. Plumbers and such got paid at the end, and the flooring guy (who was after-supper moonlighting on himself, from his one-man-company's day contract with the borg) got paid at the end, in cash. (No, I didn't ask for a receipt.)
On small work (under 5-7 K), if I know the guy has an actual local business location, and is in the real phone book, I'll risk paying front money. If the guy works out of his house in a plain truck, him asking for front money starts to set off my BS detector. Now if I ever do anything big where I have to get the bank's help to pay for it, I'll let them make the call. I do understand the concepts of draw payments at defined progress points- doing the punch lists to meet the bank guy's checklist was one of my duties as a kid. (Is the house 'dried in'? Are all the windows and doors set and lockable? Is the permit board current and legible, with the proper inspection stamps for each trade? That sort of thing.)
aem sends....
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(Clueless Mary) wrote:

You're not in business I see.
Almost everybody gets a deposit these days!!!!
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Only the derelicts and fugitives. Reputable contractors don't.
And I can see that you've NEVER been in business. Most companies and businesses will NOT pay in advance under any circumstances. They will make progress payments as stages of the work are completed, but they will NEVER let the workman get ahead of them.
Steve, a former steel erection contractor, State of Nevada for nine years
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Bullshit!!!
We're talking about a residential project here, MORON.
I see you've never worked residential jobs!

Oh my, a whole 9 years..... LOL
Come back when you've learnt how business is run in today's world.
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I sold out for a handsome profit for nine years work, and went back overseas for a few contracts where all I had to do was show up.
I was reluctant to do residential jobs because my commercial customer base kept me too busy for that. It also payed more.
Steve
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That still doesn't qualify your comments.
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The general contractor sure did. The mobilization and mechanization payment before the job begins is substantial.
--
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This would concern me. He should not need money from you to get the supplies. From everything I have read, a reputable contracter has a line of credit with stores. I have never had to pay for materials up front like that.
nancy
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Collecting a deposit does not mean the contractor _needs_ the money, it's simply a standard procedure for most and is a good business practice. There's risk for the contractor, same as the owner, so collecting money that's being spent on the _owner's_ project only makes sense. Whether a deposit is collected or not depends entirely on the contractor, but the maximum allowable deposit is usually spelled out by local or state law, so obviously it's OK with them. The line of credit at a supplier is there for the contractor's benefit, not the owner's. If the contractor decides to float the owner, that's up to them.
R
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wrote

Maybe, maybe not. Some small contractors do very good work, but are not fiscally able to finance much of a job. It is also protection for them against a homeowner that tries to stiff them. The guy that did my roof is a god example. I gave him a third up front. Of course, I knew him by reputation for a number of years.
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wrote

Never paid a deposit?
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Only on pop bottles and beer kegs.
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