I saw this thread from over a year ago. It brought up some issues.
Why are so many of the contractors upset that DIY customers *MIGHT* get their precious contractor discount? From what I have looked up, that could be as much as 50% or more.
I have heard that some stores will give the contractor a receipt with full price, say $80 for gardening supplies, while only charging $20. My nephew witnesses this.
Why do the contractors need to use scumbag methods to make money? In my area, they just pick up cheap labor off the street for $5 an hour and charge the customer $70+ an hour for labor. I got an estimate from a contractor to replace my bathtub a few years ago. I wanted an itemized list. One of the items was the permit...at $500! I got the permit for less then $50. I was quoted $5k and 4k to replace the bathtub with a 3-piece unit. I could have bought the parts at Home Depot for less then $500. The quote also said that it would take a week for demo...I did it in a few hours of my spare time, and thats without using the proper tools. I ended up doing the job myself. I put in a jacuzzi tub, tile bath surround, tile floor, new light fixtures and plumbing fixtures for the tub/shower and sink. I also added a 100amp sub-panel in the garage, ran 3-20amp lines, 2 to the tub, one to the office. (the second 20 amp for the tub is for a possible expansion in the future if I ever decide to buy a heating unit) The 20 amp circuits are overkill, but they are slightly more efficient then using 15 amp circuits. I even added a ceiling fan in my office. The building permits for everything cost me less to $100. The total cost of the entire project was around $2k. The building inspector even asked who did the work...he said it was BETTER then most contractors work.
So I can waste a month of weekends, get a huge upgrade and pay half the cost of a contractor, and I know that the work is done better then most contractors! I have seen several areas of my house that don't even meet building codes, and that is how it came from the building contractor that built the place. So why do I keep seeing messages that the contractors do such a good job, when in my experience it is utterly false.
I always see the message that time is money. I even had one contractor tell me that on the phone. Why is it that maybe 3 in 10 contractors even show up to make estimates even when they say they will be there. I have to take time off work to sit around and wait for a guy that likely won't even show up...HAH and they have the nerve to tell me that time is money! I will hire the guy that tells me that he is busy and can't make an appointment for a few months. I WON'T hire the guy that makes an appointment and never shows up. MY time IS MONEY too buddy.
Why is it so hard for the contractors to use fair and honest quotes? If someone lies to me in a quote, I won't hire him because I believe he will lie in other areas.
I know that many contractors buy a little extra and charge the customer, then they can use the extra supplies in the next job to make a bit more profit.
So whats with the attitude of some of the contractors on this board. I saw a message that most contractors have 3 prices, one normal price, one if the guy wants to watch, one for someone that seems to be shopping around. I can understand charging a little more if the guy wants to watch...maybe an extra hundred bucks or so for a bit of wasted time in answering some questions. Does it really matter if someone watches or checks in on you, at least the CUSTOMER can see if you are doing a good job. Or is it that the contractors don't want their customers to see their hack job and get scared away? See, I am an engineer, I am used to having people cooperate and double check eachothers work. I will probably never hire a contractor to do work that I know anything about. I know that they will hate me for being too anal. I EXPECT the work to be done AT LEAST as well as I can do it.
The home builders use the cheapest garbage components they can find and build for the cheapest cost and most profit...they don't plan much for future expansion, it doesn't cost much more to make things easily upgradable or easy to replace in the future. 3 bedrooms in my house are on one 15 amp circuit! Thats utter crap. It should be an individual circuit in each room...BAH enough of this rant.
How many contractors out there are actually honest? It is a business, they should be making money, but it seems like they lie and cheat far too much. To be fair, in my experience, most businesses lie and cheat, from auto mechanics to PC repair shops. It shouldn't be so and if I could find reasonably priced honest businesses, I would use them. I think lots of people will stick with a fair and honest business.