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Old 11-17-2012, 01:40 AM   #1
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


Rant Alert !! This may be against the rules and if it is I apologize and someone can yank it but I wanted to share some experiences with the trades out there. my intentions are only to point out from our perspective some of the stuff that homeowners go through trying to get stuff done and not intended to insult anyone or the industry.

The below is part of what leads us homeowners to start dabbliing in things we probably shouldn't.
Issue one...get a quote back today from a company on providing, installing and finishing the drywall and installing the doors. This is not a small job we are talking 2400 sf of ceiling and about 2000 sf of walls. The price came back as follows...

70 dollars a board to hang and finish - no texture just tape and mud
21 dollars a board for 4 x 12 sheetrock
100 dollars a door to hang the door
140 dollars each for 6 panel masonite hollow core doors

me...you do know that the sheetrock you are quoting is 9.60 from the local supplier (not big box)
Him - yes, but it has to be delivered.
me - ummm they deliver it for free, you know that and I know that and oh btw the doors are only 75 dollars there as well, also delivered free. Can I provide the materials?
Him - no
Okay so we are marking up the materials over 100 percent. I know there is a mark up the materials and I expected that - but over 100%?? I'm not going to start a labor price argument but to suffice it so say this is mississippi and not LA or NY. Labor is not THAT expensive down here. This company calls me daily to find out when they can start so they can order the materials at the above mentioned prices....I haven't responded yet because I would be using naughty words at this point.
Issue two
Talked with a guy tonight that was supposed to quote a Trane heat pump and ac unit and complete duct re-do that has cancelled 2 days in a row (after waiting a week from the first call) conversation went like this...

Him - sorry maam I have people with no heat and I need to attend to them
me - do you remember our conversation on what I needed?
Him - Yup have it all written down here just need to get the people with no heat taken care of.
me - really?? then do you remember the part about where I have NO heat, NO insulation, oh and NO ceilings and I can't do anything until the new unit and ducting is in???
Him - earliest I can be there to meet with you is monday afternoon and then we can set up a time to get you a quote.
me - don't bother.


Issue three.....3 sparkies - 2 no shows and one that "will get to me when he is finished the job he is on' approx 3 weeks (this is just to get a quote) but at least he is honest and setting expectations.

I'm not an unreasonable person, in fact very patient..to a point. I worked for a builder for a few years so I understand the business and I know life happens but this is pretty much across the board. At $50 a pop for a quote I can't just keep throwing money away trying to get a reasonable quote. We are trying to keep as much of the $$$ locally as we can but wow, I am pretty much banging my head against the wall and contemplating doing some DIY stuff that I shouldn't or hiring people I shouldn't.......must resist looking at Craigslist.

Companies are screaming for work and are eager for your business but not willing to put the time or communication in to secure it or are way over the top to the point of gouging.

End rant and again if this is not allowed I will go to the principals office if requred.

That being said. I really do appreciate the input and advice that the trades here give freely on their own time. I have learned a lot over the last few weeks from this group but if this is even remotely like this elsewhere then I'm not suprised that people end up doing stuff they shouldn't.

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Old 11-17-2012, 02:38 AM   #2
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


I think with the weather you have had down there, all the trades are busy and you have had a bit of bad luck in the ones you have contacted. That being said, there is no reason for trade people not returning calls. Myself, I don't understand how they stay in business. You would be amazed( I am) at the number of jobs I get as a result of; "I called 4 painters and you were the only one who called me back"
Unbelievable.

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Old 11-17-2012, 06:57 AM   #3
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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I think with the weather you have had down there, all the trades are busy and you have had a bit of bad luck in the ones you have contacted. That being said, there is no reason for trade people not returning calls. Myself, I don't understand how they stay in business. You would be amazed( I am) at the number of jobs I get as a result of; "I called 4 painters and you were the only one who called me back"
Unbelievable.
It amazes me as well. But before the real estate bubble burst, it was almost impossible around here to get any contractor to return a call. They were all too busy building spec houses for Dan Ryan and other McMansion builders. I wonder where the're working now? Want fries with that?

BTY, I'm practically your neighbor. I live in Harpers Ferry.

Last edited by md2lgyk; 11-17-2012 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:21 AM   #4
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


It's very hard for a GC to find good quality subcontractors------

It's taken years to line up decent electricians--plumbers and drywall--flooring trades that do quality work at fair and honest prices----

The best source of skilled trades? The other skilled trades you have spoken to-----

Painters know drywall workers----excavators know concrete companies----framers know roofers and window companies----

Ask for referrals from the good trades that you have met---Nice tradesmen know other nice tradesmen----
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


The thing I see in the trades (and some other businesses) is that these people are capenters/plumbers/electricians/painters whatever they are, and they are not business men.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:14 AM   #6
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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The thing I see in the trades (and some other businesses) is that these people are capenters/plumbers/electricians/painters whatever they are, and they are not business men.

good ones are
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:16 AM   #7
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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The thing I see in the trades (and some other businesses) is that these people are capenters/plumbers/electricians/painters whatever they are, and they are not business men.
So very true----all to often a tradesman think he is passing up the big bucks that his boss is making on his hard work---

So he sets off on his own without knowing how to sell properly---manage the design--scheduling--managing employees--book keeping--advertising--financing the job and payroll--insurance or any of the dozen items that make a business successful---

The boss makes things happen---not many people can be a boss---
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:30 AM   #8
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


"The boss makes things happen---not many people can be a boss"..........

And to think someone once told me a boss was nothing more than a double S OB spelt backwards.....lol ( just having fun)
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:29 AM   #9
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That is why I am the boss---I have spel check
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:22 PM   #10
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


I hear ya forcedreno2012. We contacted 4 places for gutters, only ONE guy responded so he got the job. The other 3 finally called back weeks later and were bummed I had already hired somebody. Really?

Then there was the plumber -- one with good reviews on Angies List I might add -- we hired that didn't show on the appointed day. He called at the END of the day to explain he wouldn't be there. Thanks for the useful information there, buddy. Then he proceeded to work a couple hours each day and randomly disappear for a day or three. We fired him, paid his bill, and hired someone else to finish his job.

There is a glimmer of hope though... our roofer started on schedule and finished on budget and on schedule and did a good job. He wasn't the lowest bidder, but was worth every penny. Just wish he did plumbing and gutters too.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:29 PM   #11
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


As a plumbing contractor, I'd love to tell you some stories about customers- but I'll bite my tongue.
At the end of the day, I just shrug my shoulders and move on...
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:18 PM   #12
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As a plumbing contractor, I'd love to tell you some stories about customers- but I'll bite my tongue.
At the end of the day, I just shrug my shoulders and move on...
Oh, I know we weren't model customers either -- we failed to sign a contract, for one thing. And I had no problem with the work the plumber did... just the scheduling, or lack thereof.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:40 PM   #13
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


Tyler funny about the gutters I have gutter companies calling me non stop..guess its obvious that we need them when half of them are hanging on the ground.

Some really great points in this thread on both sides. With respect to customers yeah I'm sure there are some real idiots out there. Someone should write a book about them. Imagine some whackjob reading about themselves in a book.

I like to think we are some of the good customers...must have done something right, our plumber, tiler and electrician up north are considered very good friends and helped us to christen the man cave we did. I think we had weekly christenings. I think it was the home made cookies but probably more related to the beer from the hubby when done

I think communication is the key on both sides.

mike good point on building the network...we just need to start the network siigh.

I know we will get through this and I promise NOT to look at craigslist....well not for trades anyway but if the dam electrician doesn't call me back this week I'm going to tech school lol.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:27 PM   #14
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I think communication is the key on both sides.
You nailed it there.

I have been blessed with many great customers. Customers who paid more then asked, who gave my name to others and repeat work. Who waited for me when I was busy and let them know.

Really only had 2 who stand out as bad.
Had another who could have been bad, was bad for other trades. Painters I knew and told me - "talk to her, stroke her ego a little" it worked! My work and their work was perfect. everyone else had nothing but trouble.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:54 PM   #15
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


I've been on both sides of the fence. I've hired subs that never showed. I've had horrible customers that I still have nightmares about and a couple of law suits pending. I've tried to get people to come work on things at MY house and it was a nightmare.

First off, yes my company supplies all materials for every job that we do. That way we make sure exactly what we are purchasing, how much of it and what related items that will be needed. Yes we mark those products up on each job and sometimes it's even more than 200% on some items. We tie our money up in product and hope to get paid within 30-90 days from the time we purchase the products. Sometimes it's faster, sometimes it's longer. If we did not mark things up, we wold not have reserves to operate on until other checks come in. We have successfully operated this way for almost 20 years and it works for us.

Some contractors are very good at their trade, but are pizz poor business people. They typically learned and mastered the trade while working for a businessman and thought they could do it all for themselves. However, they have no clue how to manage their money enough so that if they do not have a job for a week, then they can not afford their beer and cigarettes.

Some are very good at their trade, have excellent business skills but are horrible when it comes to interacting with other humans (customers and employees). They might be some of the best in the trade, but nobody wants to deal with them.

It is rare that you will ever find one that is good at all three things. You'll be lucky to find one that is good at 2 out of the 3.

Then we have our customers. Some are delightful to work with. They know what they want. They have experience dealing with contractors and know how that game is played. They understand that we might be a week out before we can come look at a job because we are busy and not sitting by the phone waiting on it to ring. They know the actual scope of work related to the contractor they are dealing with (they don't ask their roofer to quote finishing sheetrock). They understand the order things have to be assembled and why sometimes multiple contractors have to work together on their schedules to make sure the job is completed with no conflicts. They understand the value of a contractor and are willing to pay for someone that knows what they are doing. These customers are few and far between.

I wont get into the other kinds of customers that we have seen over the years.

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