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-   -   Trustworthy Contractors? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f15/trustworthy-contractors-8617/)

klum00 05-22-2007 09:41 AM

Trustworthy Contractors?
 
I am in the process of looking for a contractor for my kitchen remodel, which I would like to have completed by the end of July. Being the computer nerd I am, I have searched online for good contractors.

Has anyone delt with the site www.allaroundthehome.com and others like it before? It seems like they are put together well, but I dont know if I can trust that they represent quality contractors? Has anyone hired a company from one of these sites? Was the work done on time and with little or no "babysitting" by you to make sure it was right?

Any help is appreciated before I get started. Thanks!

joasis 05-22-2007 09:51 AM

You do not indicate where you are from, but here is a suggestion. The best contractors are rarely "looking" for leads, especially from an online service. Ask around, friends, neighbors, local lumber yards...job sites where new homes are being built.

One of the best compliments I get is " I didn't pick your name out of the phone book, I looked for you".

I never advertise, I stay booked months in advance, and everything I do is by referal. If I were looking, the last guy I would hire is someone who came to me looking for the job...you cannot verify the quality of contractors sent be an internet lead referal service.

AtlanticWBConst. 05-22-2007 08:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joasis (Post 45855)
You do not indicate where you are from, but here is a suggestion. The best contractors are rarely "looking" for leads, especially from an online service. Ask around, friends, neighbors, local lumber yards...job sites where new homes are being built.

One of the best compliments I get is " I didn't pick your name out of the phone book, I looked for you".

I never advertise, I stay booked months in advance, and everything I do is by referal. If I were looking, the last guy I would hire is someone who came to me looking for the job...you cannot verify the quality of contractors sent be an internet lead referal service.

So true.

Same here, we NEVER advertise, always referrals. (In 22 years - not a dime spent on advertising)

Lately, we have actually, even been hesitant to follow up on numbers that have been passed to us, simply because we have too much work already and I don't want to make the average project customer wait too long for us to start any work....

(We are completely backlogged on getting estimates out - even for our repeat customers wanting to get more projects done...Personally, that gives me great job satisfaction. We never even mention something like this to people, even new customers. It's one of those things that you keep to yourself and appreciate, that your work and integrity is able to speak for itself)

Best tip:

Stay out of the phone books and the magazine ads....ask around; your friends and work associates...for recommendations. Is there someone in your neighborhood that recently had work done on their home? - talk to them about the company or contractor who did it....

send_it_all 05-22-2007 09:14 PM

Klum...are you in So. Cal. by any chance?

CrabBucket 07-04-2007 05:06 PM

referals
 
I install shower doors for a living and have talked to hundreds of customers and probably 70 percent of them have some horror story about remodeling and dealing with independant contractors. Using a referal from a friend or someone you know just had work done is probably best, but is not always reliable. I have met plenty of clients who had bad experiences with contractors that were refered to them. That can even damage a friendship.
Its kind of a shot in the dark, but once you find someone good, you can use them forever. I know some good ones in northern california if you are in this area, but besides that, just make sure you put them on some kind of payment deal that makes sure they finish the work the way you want it done. Also someone honest will be willing to take a loss to make you satisfied, but i dont know how to find honest people. Also make sure you go over in detail what work will be done and how much the money is. it can be awkward talking about money sometimes, but its part of the game. good luck.

Ron6519 07-04-2007 06:29 PM

I doubt you will succeed in getting a kitchen remodel done in that time frame. Any contractor worth anything will be booked in advance.
What sort of remodel were you planning?
Ron

AtlanticWBConst. 07-04-2007 07:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CrabBucket (Post 51523)
..... I have met plenty of clients who had bad experiences with contractors that were refered to them. That can even damage a friendship...

Funny, that is actually (referral of a good contractor - going bad) - a very rare and unusual occurence.....

If that were common, people would be wary of referrals altogether. However, the truth of the matter is, that this is the opposite of why people ask for a referral or for a referral list ..... they help to "screen" the poor contractors out ...

(?) Never heard of anyone "referring" a bad contractor - Must be something about the area your in....:whistling2:

AtlanticWBConst. 07-04-2007 08:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CrabBucket (Post 51523)
.....Also someone honest will be willing to take a loss to make you satisfied,....


Actually, that has nothing to do with honesty....such a situation comes up alot with inexperienced contractors.
When it does infact happen with an 'experienced' contractor (which it rarely should - otherwise, they need to switch professions)...resolving a situation at a loss, in order to make a client happy, involves......integrity.

joasis 07-04-2007 08:55 PM

Like I have heard from a few of my customers, we didn't get your name out of the phone book!

Like Atlantic, no advertising is done, my small signs on my trucks and business cards is the only way people know me. But my customers do my sales work.

Anytime you look for a contractor, remember, it is a rare day that a project start date will happen quickly...as stated, if you are good, you aren't sitting at home. We are currently 6 months or more behind, and always subject to the weather.

AtlanticWBConst. 07-04-2007 09:14 PM

In all honesty, I am actually a little uptight right now, because we have too many people wanting us to do their various projects...

I am nervous because we have a "completely" booked schedule 6 months out (also), and I don't want to take on anymore work, but don't want to say no. Worse case scenerio is that we will sub some work out to reliable and dependable skilled contractors (we have a small skilled network, that we use to swap workloads with each other when we each get too busy), while we handle the construction management of all of them.

All of this is the result of referrals..... I was just telling a potential client yesterday who was concerend about the quality of work, since the past contractors hired lacked the skills (and their works showed it).
I told her: " We have never been called back to "fix" the quality of any of our work. We have pages, upon pages of referrals with very happy clients that she is welcome to check out ... all can testify to the level of our work quality and our integrity".

Saying that is one thing, being able to back it up and prove it, is another.

Factual, satisfied, good referals - are worth their weight in gold.

They are the soft pillow that you sleep on at night, that tells you that you are doing what you should be doing as a profession, and that you are doing it with honesty and integrity.

yummy mummy 07-04-2007 10:29 PM

Atlantic
 
I wish you had done my house!

joasis 07-05-2007 08:50 AM

There is something else to add....if someone has a good experience with a contractor, they won't run around and brag on it, they usually will be happy to tell you if you ask. Now if they get ripped by a contractor, they will tell everyone they know...word spreads fast. And we are not perfect....there are some customers you cannot please...so I expect this also.......I had a lady tell me she was informing everyone how bad my company was since it she waited 9 months for her replacement windows to be installed....and then hired someone else. Ok...the problem? She contracted with a guy who does sub work for me, not me...and when I told her that, she still said it was crappy...so I ask, did you call me? And she said no....did you have a contract with me? Nope....did you ever try to call me and ask what was going on? No...she called the other guy....and I said you are telling everyone about me? Well lady, I am sorry for your luck, but you don't seem to be affecting my business....but if you feel like you actually have a problem with me, we can work it out with a lawyer if I hear any more out of you....she took the point!

Now that was in no way my fault....but I can promise you that contractors also share information on clients...and she made the A list.

CrabBucket 07-08-2007 07:45 PM

not that rare
 
[quote=

(?) Never heard of anyone "referring" a bad contractor - Must be something about the area your in....:whistling2:[/quote]

It's not that rare for a contractors quality to vary. The one case that i am speaking of was someone silimlar to your company (from what it sounds by reading your below posts) They did nice work on one house, then they got too busy. They took too many jobs because they were good at what they did and people wanted to use them. So they did like you said you might do and subcontracted some work and the people they hired botches some stuff. then their name is in the mud. When you cant handle the workload you will start to make mistakes so you have to either find more skilled workers or cut back your workload. And as far as the area im in, our work is all in the San Francisco bay area. its not like we are in some small town in Arkansas. But the more people, the more people trying to be contractors and the more chance you will hear a story about bad ones.

AtlanticWBConst. 07-08-2007 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CrabBucket (Post 52172)
........The one case that i am speaking of was someone silimlar to your company (from what it sounds by reading your below posts) They did nice work on one house, then they got too busy. They took too many jobs because they were good at what they did and people wanted to use them. So they did like you said you might do and subcontracted some work and the people they hired botches some stuff. then their name is in the mud.

:huh: huh?
Please focus on "reading and comprehension"...

What I wrote was:
"....Worse case scenerio is that we will sub some work out to reliable and dependable skilled contractors (we have a small skilled network, that we use to swap workloads with each other when we each get too busy), while we handle the construction management of all of them...."

1.) We don't take on any Joe Shmoe contractor. We network ONLY with people we know, trust, who have integrity, and are highly skilled with pride of workmanship.
2.) We don't dissappear, we are at the job and involved constantly. CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT.....(maybe you didn't understand that terminolgy?)
3.) Most recent job, that I had to hire out a PORTION of the work to a VERY good GC/builder friend of mine: The home owner is still thrilled to this day, calling us for more work (front door & remodeling his mother's house) and he and his architect are still giving our name out.

This is my problem:
I'm sorry, but you keep making negative, uneducated and inexperienced statements about General Contractors and the methods of conducting GC business. Subcontracting (to other contractors) is PART of GC-ing.
Hiring other contractors to help you do a job is going on at hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs in this country - everywhere. We don't have problems with the contractors we hire, because they are hand-picked, as is the case with many other General Contractors doing business.

You also criticize the industry-wide practice of getting references as being untrustworthy and a "shot in the dark" - You base this newspaper headline on.......hear-say* not facts)... These are also coupled with "blanket generalized statements" - also based on "HEAR-SAY". You sight an example of one person (your own words) that had ONE bad experience (your own words), that you "heard about" (you were not involved with it directly), yet, you use this as your foundation for a statement pertaining to the unreliability of "contractor references" .... as a whole:
Quote:

Originally Posted by CrabBucket (Post 52172)
"I have met plenty of clients who had bad experiences with contractors that were refered to them. That can even damage a friendship. Its kind of a shot in the dark.....".

You then proceed to expound on a "statement-thesis" categorizing how things happen and how they work throughout the General Contracting industry (without any experience as a GC):
Quote:

Originally Posted by CrabBucket (Post 52172)
"....So they did like you said you might do and subcontracted some work and the people they hired botches some stuff. then their name is in the mud. When you cant handle the workload you will start to make mistakes..."..

Interesting, I guess that every company, corporation, enterprise, chain, franchise, etc..etc....is doing it all wrong. Because they hired others to help them handle the work load....(according to you, the people hired are all botching things up....)

Again; Subcontracting (to other contractors) is PART of GC-ing.


* Hear say- What you heard from alleged conversations with others, but were not there to see and were not involved with.

Your statements are based on very negative & RARE (hear say*) case examples.

.....Yet you feel that based on your outside, hear-say observations, you can actually attach a case study evaluation making the following uneducated statement:
Quote:

Originally Posted by CrabBucket (Post 52172)
"I install shower doors for a living and have talked to hundreds of customers and probably 70 percent of them have some horror story about remodeling and dealing with independant contractors.".

70%...um ....ok...wow, I guess that's an accurate, industry-wide percentage number... since your indepth research says it as....:whistling2:


Quote:

Originally Posted by CrabBucket (Post 52172)
When you cant handle the workload you will start to make mistakes so you have to either find more skilled workers or cut back your workload.

"...Find more skilled workers"...

:huh: Ummm ....... isn't that what I already stated in the post previous to your response.... in CLEAR ENGLISH? .....we will sub some work out to reliable and dependable skilled contractors......we have a small skilled network....

..... :icon_rolleyes: .


If you own a business of any kind, you need to have some kind of management skills in order to be profitable.
If you have those skills, and hire the right people, you WILL NOT make mistakes. You will impliment a means of multi tasking, assign work to the right people, manage and oversee that work, always do ''follow up'', and maintain a reliable system of quality control and good communications....
I have a business partner, between the two of us, we are ALWAYS able to handle and manage multiple work projects very efficiently.
I am up at 4:00 or 5:00 am every morning, doing my organizing, research, order checks, schedules, re-checks and so forth (multi-tasking)

I walk out of my house with:
A canvas bag full of updated files for every active client and future client.
A canvas bag with a laptop, portable printer, digital camera.
A cell battery charger, with an extra battery.
A cell phone headset.
A GPS

All our listed numbers go to our cell phones (not an answering machine)

When I am on the road, I am using the down time to make phone calls, price checks, return calls, next day planning calls, etc...

About 2 weeks ago, swamped with work, I had a client compliment us on our efficiency, regular communications with them, our management and our follow-ups....

Maybe some people can't do it, but it seems we can and do, and we are doing it decently, based on our own customer's direct compliments.....

...and NOT.... on someone else's.........."hear-say"...

CrabBucket 07-09-2007 04:28 PM

??
 
i'm not attacking you. im just posting about finding referals and telling people to be careful. I dont know who you are and i dont know why you keep posting on my posts. Read my post. I just said that its tough to find a good general contractor and you started picking apart my post and insulting where i am from. I think you need a break. It sounds like your partner is doing all the work anyway while you are posting on forums. If you have a problem you can e-mail me directly at showerguy@gmail.com . Im just trying to post to help people on the forum. I dont care about your canvas bag or your headset.


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