I have some jobs to do around my house.
What is the best way to find good help?
I live in Central TX and I've tried calling companies and having them come
out for bids but then they just dissappear.
I looked at Angie's list but at $70/year is it worth it?
Thanks in advance.
In addition. go to your local lumber yard or hardware store. They often
have business cards on display of the businesses they supply. Not quite a
reference, but a starting point so you can ask about them.
I agree...the "real" building suppliers -- full-service lumber yards,
plumbing/electrical/hvac distributors, etc., are a good resource for
finding them. The box stores, etc., not so much...
Most counter guys (other than the HS football players on their summer
weight program) will know those they deal with regularly well enough to
tell you who you might want to steer away from.
Obviously you have to get recommendations from people who have used them.
If you are new to town, etc. that might be difficult.
But I have found that a large percentage of contractors aren't any good.
Not that they are thieves, more like their notion of what is right doesn't
correspond to the human version. I have had to sue two contractors that
came highly recommended, and threaten three more. I expect most people
would just have taken the losses, but I also sued two auto shops. Won them
all. (sadly, I thought two of them were pretty good until their shoddy work
surfaced years later and they claimed their written warranties didn't
actually mean anything)
Crazy thing is, I have actually told several of them that I have a long
record of suing for improper work, and they assured me it wouldn't happen
with them. One even brought my warning up in court to show what a nut I
was. The judge asked him why he didn't take the warning seriously.
If you just call people off bulletin board or the phone book you will
probably have even worse luck.
Sorry I can't be more helpful, but it is just not a good situation.
Sadly you are probably right on. Congratulations on your lawsuits but I'm
sure you'd rather avoid the hassle.
I'd rather not pay Angie's list but it just maybe worth it. I was hoping
there was a free reliable website but I guess you get what you pay for.
BTW: I get irritated enough to take people to court also. But I've always
found the threat of a lawsuit is usually good enough. I usually compose a
letter that looks very official and send it certified. If necessary, have
your attorney write one for you. I specify my complaint and how I want it
remedied. Contractors, however, might only find them amusing.
As a side note: It is never a good idea to be considered overly litigious.
If you ever have a serious lawsuit, that could be called into question, it's
not *helpful*. That's why I'd stop at the threatening letter unless a very
large sum of money is involved. IMHO.
But thanks for your advice.
I'm not sure...I think some people simply enjoy drama and/or don't have
very good negotiating skills in resolving issues w/o confrontation.
Don't know for sure here, but a general observation...
I wouldn't bet on it on these kinds of things (getting what you pay for,
that is) -- you might want to google a thread here within the last month
or so specifically on Angie's list. Biggest problem I see is that
unless you're in an extremely large market, the chances are pretty
remote there are any more than one or two at most of what you need
listed and then there's no guarantee they do work in the particular part
of that metro area you're in. And, as I understand it, once you pay
your money, it's gone whether you get anything useful or not...
A noted in another response to Edwin, I'm in agreement on the personal
and tradesman references. Unfortunately, in any location that isn't in
a flatlined economic situation, good tradespeople are in short supply
and can afford to be selective. It takes perseverance to track one down.
In Toller's defense, (HA-HA, like he needs one) his claims were all upheld
in court. However, having been involved in a serious lawsuit (multi-million
$$), I know I would not want to reveal I've been involved in four civil
suits at a deposition.
I am in a large market, Central TX, but I know what you mean. I'd like to be
able to pay for the service as needed.
My initial impression with the contractors here has made me extremely
cautious. I had several over for a lighting job and most of them didn't even
follow up with a bid. One was clearly not qualified at all. One that did bid
said he'd do it in two week and he called me two months later. I don't like
to do business with people that don't follow up on their promises.
Is it a good idea to have the work done through Homedepot or Lowes? I had a
door installed through Homedepot and it went fairly smoothly.
As I noted earlier, don't think that experience is anything out of the
ordinary in any location unless you already have local contacts. I know
of no better way than to scout out recommendations from
coworkers/neighbors/church/organizations on folks they have used that
satisfied. Surely you know _somebody_? :)
As for HD, etc., imo it's a crapshoot -- negatives outweigh positives
from a contractual standpoint as they take full payment up front and you
deal w/ them instead of the contractor so dispute resolution is
troublesome at best if needed. Then there's the thing of who is
actually doing the work -- there you have no control, either.
This is a small enough location we don't have them and while folks are
busy, it is possible to know who is in the area that does what and can
eventually get to them. Whether I would even consider it would depend
on what was needing done, but I certainly would be at the end of my
rope, so to speak, before they would make the radar screen, even.
Thanks for your advice and I have been asking around but I don't hang out
much with people who use contractors, I'm retired, and haven't been to
church since I was 10. LOL
I was thinking of going to a lumber store and asking them.
Thanks again. :-)
Well, maybe it's time... :)
Senior center, Lions/Kiwanis/whatever...
Surely you associate w/ _some_ groups of folks???
That was Edwin's suggestion and my followup some time previously.
Full-line lumberyards good, HD, etc., not so much imo.
What are you wanting done? If it's wiring/electrical as opposed to
construction, may have better luck at the electrical supply distributors
although a large lumberyard probably can steer you where else you might
ask if not directly to an electrician, say...
good luck, be persistent...
Well that is certainly a matter of opinion. I could look up the Branch
Davidians and see if they still have a group going in my area. Not much into
young boys so Catholic's are out. Let's see shall I continue? ;-)
I'm a young retiree. I don't socialize much with the older folks. I just
barely became eligible for AARP.
I talk to a lot of realtors but they usually don't know much about houses
surprisingly enough. Musicians are clueless when it comes to power tools.
I'm the exception.
The lighting job I did myself while waiting for the electrician to call
Now I want to install some gutters, siding, and a French door in my master
b/r where there is a window now (HD won't do that anyway, no tearouts).
There is a large construction supply warehouse and lumberyard near by. I'm
going to see if they can be of help there. :)
We had tile done by a local company. The owner does tiling himself, but
actual work was by two of his employees. The owner made up the bids.
The work was done by two young guys who also moonlight for HD. We could
not have had a better experience and they took care of some issues that
we would have made a mess of if we had tried to do it ourselves. They
had another contractor who undercut the baseboards/trim .. one issue we
were sure of before we started talking with contractors because we
wanted the tile to look like original. HD or Lowes probably work with
same contractors who are available privately.
A busy contractor might have delays because they have another job that
is more critical, like closing up a damaged home, so if they have a
waiting list it might be a good sign.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.