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knup342 01-12-2012 11:18 AM

Need your input- Sick of calling contractors for quotes
I'm new to the chat room. I was wondering how many other people get tired of calling different contractors to get quotes for things that can't be done DIY. I am fed up and thinking about starting a website that homeowners could submit projects on. The site would be the middle man and get prices from contractors and relay them back to the homeowner. This would be free to the homeowner. If the Homeowner found a price to be right then they could contract the contractor and hire them. Homeowner information would not be passed onto contractors. Do you guys would benefit from something like this?

Thanks for reading! Any feedback would be appreciated.


Willie T 01-12-2012 11:40 AM

Sounds kind of................. Well, never mind. Give it a try. Why not?

TarheelTerp 01-12-2012 12:06 PM


Originally Posted by knup342 (Post 820460)
The site would be the middle man and get prices from contractors and relay them back to the homeowner.

Too many variables to manage
Best you could hope for is the sort of anecdotal stuff that Angie does.
Very few contractors worth dealing with deal with Angie if they can help it.

Find another hobby.

knup342 01-12-2012 01:51 PM

Thanks for the replies. I'm only talking about simple projects not total kitchen remodel. I'm talking water heater, flooring, roofing, glass etc. Projects that have a quantity/unit and easily specified materials. I try and not call suppliers anymore I usually just email for quotes and it's gone smoothly in my own home projects. Thanks again.

chrisn 01-12-2012 04:29 PM

Still way to many variables for any qualified contractor to bid on, site un seen. At least it would be for me.:yes:

bbo 01-12-2012 04:34 PM


Originally Posted by knup342 (Post 820594)
Thanks for the replies. I'm only talking about simple projects not total kitchen remodel. I'm talking water heater, flooring, roofing, glass etc. Projects that have a quantity/unit and easily specified materials. I try and not call suppliers anymore I usually just email for quotes and it's gone smoothly in my own home projects. Thanks again.

all those require on site measurement and/or looking for variables.

I have no problem calling several contractors. Its getting the wife to unclench her hands and let go of the $$ thats the problem.:laughing:

joecaption 01-12-2012 05:02 PM

It would have to be an out of work fool to give give a quote like that site unseen.
Ask around at work, ask the building dept. Here's how you do it, tell them your thinking of hiring *** and ask them what they think about them. Here's the thing, they can not give references, but watch there face when you tell them who your thinking about hiring. They see these peoples work every day and know who is doing a good job.
Any local real building supply, see if you can talk to the owner in private, he will only suggest someone he knows and trust and pays his bills.
Find one person you trust that's done some work for you in the past and ask them who they would use.
When you do find someone that cares about there work, treat them with respect, not like a servant, treat them as an equal, tell your friends, it will come back in spades.
I've had some come here, rich people as new customers address me as "boy get over here and fix this door". Now I'm a white from way back in the wood yankee, it did not go over well.

ddawg16 01-12-2012 07:22 PM

It would be about par to getting a quote online to fix your car.

I can understand your frustration....been there....

But...I think your going to the wrong places for contractors. I think joecaption has some good advice...might be easier to read it if he knew how to use paragraphs.

oh'mike 01-12-2012 08:23 PM

Contractors try to weed out mismatched customers on the phone--some times it happens after the initial meeting.

If you are having trouble with contractors calling you back or getting you a quote--it just might be you.

It is a risk/reward situation for the customer and the contractor---You want good work done at a fair and reasonable price.

The contractor wishes to earn a paycheck and a profit in exchange for goods and services.

Are you creating a feeling that the contractor might not be able to earn a reasonable paycheck and a profit?

I turn down more work than I accept--Often a prospective client causes me to feel that I will not be able to make a living working for them.

Reasons---To much selling expense.
Inability to pay amount needed to perform work
Likely prospect will cheat me out of last payment
Mind changer /time waster/indecisive
No clear idea or plans for project
To many bids from others
customer wants job done in a fashion against my training.

These are just a few of the items that cause a good contractor to reject a potential client.

mae-ling 01-12-2012 10:01 PM

I'm with the others. Can't see it working. Hard enough to estimate when actually seeing it, never mind over a website.

joecaption 01-12-2012 10:43 PM

I'm with Ol'mike on this one.
How many times have we showed up and they want three differant prices or doing one simple job three differant ways.
Show up and there not there.
Show up and there busy and want you to come back later.
Say they want to pick up and pay for the materials to save money thinking were going to try and screw them. We know from the get go there not going to pick up the right things, or buy to little of something causing a job stopage.
Say they want to save money and do the demo, I show up with a crew and nothings been done and were suppot to come back some other day.

I answered the phone once and it was a reguler customer screaming that a tree had just fallen and crushed his roof, to come ASAP. I stopped what I was doing and rounded up all my guys and showed up within a 1/2 hour with 4 guys, chain saws, a dump trailer, osb, tarps, and my equipment trailer full of tools. He comes out of the house and says to shut off the saws, he just wants a price to fix it.
We packed up and left.

Another call from a guy in my area calls and says the driveway contractor had left a huge slab of concrete on the guy next door lawn and wants me to haul it away. This thing was 12' X 12'. I had to go get my jack hammer, dump trailer, generater and extra help. We worked for 4 hours. He walks up and hands me $20.00 and says that should cover it and walks away.
Let's just say that did not take care of it and he's not pleased I backed up and dumped the whole load in the middle of his new gravel driveway.
So you see it works both ways.

mae-ling 01-12-2012 10:50 PM

ALways gave a price before I started. If didn't know exact would give a ballpark with a high and a low and why it might be one or the other.

oh'mike 01-13-2012 06:30 AM

Knock on wood--I've in thirty some years I've only had two no pays--both bankruptcys.

But I have turned down a lot of potential work.

A customer must listen to the warning bells when meeting with a potential contractor---some are great craftsmen--some are not---

So research the work to be done before meeting---

have a very firm idea of the work you want done--

Pictures help---

avoid the words--cheap--save money--reuse the old one---and other cheap talk that will make the contractor think you are broke ---or expecting a miracle for nothing.

If you have a budget--tell the contractor.

If architects plans are needed ask if the contractor has an architect--or get the plans yourself first

Typical sales call will cost the contractor 3 hours---plus another block of time to write up a proposal. Don't be a time waster.

Never start a conversation with,"Do you give free estimates?"

As a contractor and seller for most of my life--I know the warning signs of a problem customer--or a time wasting tire kicker--

Problem customers pay the highest price---if a contractor want to be bothered at all with them-----The best will not---Mike---

knup342 01-13-2012 07:04 AM

Thanks again everyone for the feedback. This is exactly what I wanted to get. Even if the majority thinks it a bad idea at least I can see it's a problem both contractors and homeowners have.

My day job is in construction management. I've worked for large commercial/industrial contractors so I have some experience hiring contractors, however residential construction is night and day compared to what I'm used to.

No offense to any smaller contractors out there but some are just not organized or run to lean to provide quotes over the phone/email. I have contacted some larger residential contractors/suppliers(30+employees) that have dedicated estimators that are comfortable quoting, as a few people mentioned, "ballpark" figures.

I agree 100% with everyone that many projects will require seeing it before providing a quote like chrisn, who is a painter, said. The site would not offer those projects. Painting would be nightmare to quote.

I would hope that the site could help JoeCaption and OH'Mike weed out potential bad customers.

I just know that both homeowners and contractors lose a ton of time and money procuring projects. Maybe the site would be better suited to service companies like pool cleaners, snow removal cos, yard care, etc.

Thanks again for your time everyone!


oh'mike 01-13-2012 07:16 AM

Keith--I do think that aiming at more standard services like window washing--pool maintenance--roofing and such might work.

My primary focus is on bathroom remodels---this is complicated and site specific--

The identical job can cost thousands more or less depending on location--customer PITA factor--first floor or second floor---area protection---permits and fees---dumpster on site or haul away every day--daily clean up or not---hours of work (condos or neighborhood pretty committee)--and many other factors.

Good luck ---Mike---

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