I Pit Unreliable Contractors

Three different contractors came out over the course of a week to give us estimates on a couple of jobs we need done on the house. Out of those three, only one even bothered to provide us with a written estimate, and that was only for one of the two jobs.

Fast forward about a month. We realize before we can start on one of the jobs, we need to have some other work done. OK, so we contact the one contractor that actually seemed to want our money. Ask them to come out. The day arrives: no contractor. Email them and let them know. They say they’ll call on Monday. No call on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, but on Thursday, they call and set up an appointment. “Can I stop by Sunday afternoon?” Sure, no problem. Sunday arrives. No contractor. He calls on Tuesday, apologizes and says he’ll be here Wednesday afternoon (today). Guess what? No contractor. Oh, but he calls and says he stopped by and he’ll try to catch us tomorrow. Bull fucking shit. We were both home all day. The truck was in the driveway. Someone was here and awake the entire time. So I email them and tell them not to bother. We’ll go with someone else.

I’ve never had to try so hard to give someone my money.

We had the exact same problem. When I wanted to get our basement developed, I’d call four or five renovation companies. They’d all tell me they’d send someone out. No one would show. Call three or four more. Three promises, one guy shows up. Guy promises to get a written quote back by the end of the week. We never get one. After several calls, he gives me a verbal quote over the phone, and it’s clear that he’s reading someone else’s quote and trying to make it up as he goes along.

It took us months to find a contractor willing to do the work and who actually showed up when he said he would.

We had another landscape company, EDMONTON STONE DESIGNERS for those of you looking for a company to avoid, install $13,000 worth of brick work in our back yard. The city came out and failed the work. The grade was all wrong, there was no drainage. This company stonewalled us for two years, always claiming they’d be out ‘next week’ to fix the problem. Finally when I called them this year they said, “Hey, that was two years ago. We’re not responsible for that.” We had to hire another company to fix their screwup. And that company missed appointments twice before they finally showed up to do the work.

I blame the housing boom. These guys are all swamped. They have far more work than they can handle, so they feel no obligation to do quality work. It’s “do it fast and get out”. And once they’ve got your money, getting them back to fix problems is almost impossible, because they have other customers paying them money for that time.

I’m really busy right now. But I never skimp on quality. Fast, cheap, good; pick any two. Hint: You can’t pick cheap with me.

Actually, contractors like the OP and other post piss me off more than you can believe. Every time some fuck up alienates or rips off a customer, it creates a barrier for those of us who really do care to get through.

It seems the unreliability and willingness to lie is spread across the board as far as specialties go too.

You would think that that creates a need that some companies would jump in and fill. Higher prices, but reliable.

As a previous sewer cleaner I can say that being paid a commision made all the difference in the world for me. Getting a slice of the pie makes you want to stick around a little longer every day. I think the whole world should be converted over into commision based salaries so people might actually get paid what they are worth.

There is a practice that is of qustionable legality but tends to bring out the best of contractors (specifically ones staffed by immigrants of questionable legality themselves) wherein the guy performing the work doesn’t get paid until the customer signs off that the work is acceptable. I guarantee that this guy will do it right the first time (of course, there’s also the possibility that by signing off, you are waiving your right to callback work should something not immediately obvious be faulty and the idea that your typical home owner won’t necessarily know quality work).

Finding that contractor though, is a challenge.

I recommend calling your local union hall and having them recommend someone. It doesn’t guarantee better work, but it really skews the odds in your favor. Just expect to pay significantly more.

With rare acception, I’m totally with the OP.
We moved into a house under the assumption that it was “move in condition” only to find out it was a cleverly disguised, major fixer-upper. We’ve had just about every kind of contractor you can imagine out here. Electrical, plumbing, roofing, masonry, chimney repair, etc. And nine times out of ten you’d think you were dealing with mexican banditos.

“Professionalism? We ain’t got no professionalism. We don’t need no professionalism. I don’t have to show you any stinking professionalism…”

Up side to it all is that by neccessity I’ve become quite the handy man.
Hell, I should go into business for myself.
I’ve got my slogan all worked out:

:eek: “Seriousart Contracting: We Actually Show Up” :eek:

You’d never lack for work, especially when you add “And We Show Up On Time” to your slogan.

My husband does all of the electrical stuff himself. This, however, is something we need an electrician for, because it involves the wiring to the house.

The contractor emailed back. Apparently, they stopped by (three hours later) and left a business card on the door, but didn’t bother to ring the doorbell or knock (though he claimed to have done so). My husband was sitting at his computer not twenty feet from the front door, and the doorbell can be heard from almost any room in the house. Really, though, he showed up three hours late anyway. I wouldn’t wait on a friend for three hours; why would he think I’d wait for him that long?

So I’ll keep trying until I find someone who actually wants my business. I mean, my god, it’s not like I’m that picky. I gave him several chances; I’m easy to work with, polite, and nice. I pay my bills on time, too.

couldn’t you find a licensed bonded/insured contractor ? I have worked for a few and the only complaint I recall were about noise.

**NoClueBoy, ** that’s the exact problem my husband faces as he’s in the biz too - and he’s very busy right now as well. In fact, with all the referrals and stuff he is getting lately, he says he feels like he’s being passed around like a cheap yet quality whore. Sometimes he can’t get back to people as quickly as he’d like to, but he always does. It’s a tough business if you’re good - sometimes people don’t understand that.

Sure they might be swamped with work now, so don’t give a damn, but if these guys don’t watch it that work will dry up quickly. Businesses like Mr. Handyman Link make a big deal out of ‘showing up on time’.

There is a definite opportunity here for companies that get their scheduling act together.

(I’ve used Mr. Handyman, and the guy showed up right on time. Despite the fact his truck with all his tools in it was stolen only hours earlier.)