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Old 12-29-2006, 07:48 AM   #16
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I will agree with other posters that when it comes to contracting, the more experienced and better workers will have a higher price. I also think it is very important to network! I will go with a recommended contractor from a friend or acquaintence over a random one in the yellow pages. This is a good time for you to start building a good reputation. Have business cards made up and leave a few to each customer and say that you would appreciate a reference if they were satisfied with your work.

When you eventually hire more workers, make sure they are skilled and don't take short cuts. As long as you are invested in your business and quality work, then you should flourish! Good luck to you!

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Old 12-29-2006, 11:29 AM   #17
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If I may pose another question regarding referals. Would you as a homeowner be offended if a contractor offerred a "referral rebate" to you? Lets say for every referral that turns into a job the contractor gives you $50 cash or $100 off your next job?
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by RAD Systems View Post
If I may pose another question regarding referals. Would you as a homeowner be offended if a contractor offerred a "referral rebate" to you? Lets say for every referral that turns into a job the contractor gives you $50 cash or $100 off your next job?
No, I would not be offended by that but not sure if that's appropriate though. Referrals should be because the job is superior and not because the homeowner wants to make some cash. I don't think that practice would be good for a contractor's reputation. I wouldn't advise it.
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Old 12-31-2006, 04:04 AM   #19
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I've had a few contractors here lately (new to me, old house with lots of things that need doing) and the one thing that is turning me off totally is whining.

My assumption is I am hiring a trained professional who has worked in all sorts of circumstances during their career. I also assume they have worked in much more difficult homes than mine but I am getting the impression that some are just not happy if things aren't perfect or easy.

Example: old bathroom needs new wall tile around new bathtub/shower. Some contractors are fine. They come in and look, measure, and give me a quote. Then there's the one who comes in and says 'oh it's plaster...sigh...the walls aren't square....sigh...we'll have to do a lot of prep...sigh...then we'll have to put up durock and that means trying to cut it to fit and make holes for the plumbing...sigh sigh sigh...do you know how difficult this type of job is?'. Well, yeah I kinda do which is why I don't want to do it myself but it's a basic bread and butter type job that's not being done by them that is for sure.

Another was really a great electrician in all respects but he whined a bit because he had cut an outdoor cable too short. Could he just put it over the top of the door instead of up in the eaves? Well, no because over the door was just too visible and exposed to the elements. So he whined for a minute or two because of the cost of the cable and and it was lucky it was the last thing he needed to do because that last bit dissappointed me. I don't expect to be made to feel someone is hard done by when they made a mistake and are only being asked to do what they said they would do to begin with. Sure ask me if I mind a change, but don't whine when I don't agree to it and want what we originally agreed to.

I am self employed so understand a lot of what contractors run up against, but I have zero patience when someone doesn't maintain their professional attitude. They are hired because they have the training, tools, and experience and should be able to handle average and more difficult jobs. If it's too hard for them, they should bow out beforehand.

About the referral rebate...not sure about this one but it is nice to get some acknowledgment or thanks for referring someone. A rebate is usefull if you will use the service again but otherwise a note or card or something simple (maybe related to the work?) probably wouldn't be out of line.
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Old 01-02-2007, 10:21 AM   #20
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Dusty, great input. I have been guilty of this one. You are dead-on and I will never make that mistake again. It comes across as completely unprofessional and makes the homeowner feel like he is doing something wrong or burdening the contractor in some excessive way.

I think what happens is, many contractors feel abused by homeowners that want Lord and Taylor quality on a Walmart budget. In my case, when I make comments regarding the job severity, it is to plant the seed that this may cost much more then you expected Mr Homeowner. I see now that this approach is a neagtive one and can give a homeowner a bad taste. Again, thank you for your insight.
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Old 01-02-2007, 12:32 PM   #21
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It comes across as completely unprofessional and makes the homeowner feel like he is doing something wrong or burdening the contractor in some excessive way
The other thing it does (for me) is to give me the impression that this contractor only wants/can do, easy/straight forward work and that running into anything unusual or fussy means I won't get a proper job because due to attitude or skill level, they just aren't going to cope with it.

I don't mind if someone explains the costs to me (maybe because I am used to doing it with my clients) or tells me that because of this or that some extra time or materials will come into it. It's all in the way it's done. Explaining (vs whining) helps me get my expectations in place because I may have no idea at all what the work should cost. Thank TV shows and their $1000 budgets that do not include labour for that I guess. Sheesh, it's a shock to the system to realize what things cost in reality, but you don't know until you get some quotes and education from the tradesperson.

I do much prefer when someone comes in, shows me where there's an issue, says 'takes more time/materials but no problem just added cost'.

Also, if it's any comfort, there are hard to deal with clients in pretty much every business. It's a universal issue when it comes to dealing with them so everyone is happy (and sometime that isn't going to happen either).
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Old 01-02-2007, 06:04 PM   #22
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oh have i got a good one for you, im not upset at all contractors but this one lied to me about pricing and i made the mistake of not having legal assistance with me through my construction of my home, but please please make sure if your doing any changes for someone that you make sure to set up on paper the costs of those changes!!!
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Old 01-02-2007, 11:46 PM   #23
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Get out your notebook! We recently had our bathroom gut-renovated. We live in the upper floor of a duplex - 4 small rooms and only ONE bathroom! (luckily we could borrow the one downstairs)

Problems started immediately: the contractor brought a boom box, which he proceeded to blast without even bothering to ask me if I would mind. I did. Very much, since I work at home! I had to ask, TELL him every darn day to turn it off! Very rude!

They did not cover the heating vents (forced hot-air heat) and now I have to get my ducts cleaned, due to construction debris falling in.

I specified greenboard for the walls and ceiling of the entire bathroom - they only put it up in the walls - NOT in the shower! Since we have low ceilings, moisture is a major problem. But the walls were up and there was nothing I could do about it.

Then I specified (and all of this was in the contract, mind you) cement board for the floor. They put in 1/2" plywood and tried to tell me it was 1". But I could see about a 1/2" gap under the door, so I knew it was BS. ( we had to be away during a few days of the renovation, so this is how they got away with it)

Worst to me was that they put up the wrong color tile!!!!!! I specified a particular color for the field tile, as well as the trim. I gave them a second choice on the trim, which was fine, but absolutely said that I wanted my color choice in the field tile. They said that they could not get the color I ordered for another week, and didn't want to wait that long, so they went to a different supplier who had something close. It wasn't. And there was no excuse for not telling me, because he had my cell phone number and I checked in several times while we were away. We walked back in after being away - and the wrong color was already up! If I hadn't been so furious, and never wanted to see them again, I would have demanded that they rip out the walls and start again. But this was after 11 days of noise, dust, tromping through my house, having to re-arrange my furniture so they could leave their tools, etc., etc., etc. They didn't even cover my stairs or floors with drop cloths - and I have parquet and hardwood!

I am still steaming, and every time I walk in the bathroom, I want to scream. Oh, and the wax ring under the toilet failed, and yellow gunk started oozing out from underneath. When I called the contractor, he said he'd never heard of anything like that and didn't know what to tell me. He said maybe the dog piddled on it. I said, "The wax ring has failed. Come over here, pull off the toilet and re-install it!" He did, and it seems ok so far.

Please don't treat your clients like this. And don't assume that women know nothing about home improvement. We do. If I'd had the physical strength, I would have done it myself. (my husband knows nothing about home repairs and works long hours, so he could not have helped) Treat all you clients as if they were family - imagine if someone had treated your wife or mother or daughter like that.

(to be fair, the quality of the work was very good.)

Good luck to you. And thank you for being so conscientious as to ask for opinions - you sound like a very decent person.

Last edited by lsheldon; 01-02-2007 at 11:57 PM. Reason: forgot to add something
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:57 PM   #24
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I had an electricians come to rewire my house. They spend all day with not much to show. Two of the outlets burned out an hour after they left and I had to re-do them. But the worse thing of all one of them started to ask me on a date, and became so obnoxious that I had to call one of my guy friends to get him out...

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