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Old 11-19-2012, 12:53 PM   #16
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


I would like to echo many of the comments above and add:
• In general I think customer service is dead, and I’m referring to just about every industry. I’m amazed in this economy how many businesses are willing to do so little to take care of the customer.
• It’s a war of attrition: if you want one price, call five contractors. If you want three prices, call 12.
• Many contractors work in the business but fail to work on the business.
• I agree to ask other contractors for referrals. Good electricians will likely know good HVAC subs. Good painters will know good drywallers. Good masons will know good concrete finishers.
• I would not purchase materials for your contractors to install. If there is a problem down the road, the contractor may try to blame your materials – even if their workmanship is clearly the issue. Also, they may not be as frugal with your materials as with their own, if the materials run short is it because they wasted too much or you ordered too little?
• Key on spotco2’s comment about the value of a contractor. The low guy is not always the best deal. Do your homework and give (or deduct) points for references, experience, licensing complaints, longevity, litigation/disputes, etc.
• A large part of issues, besides poor communication, is an inability or inattentiveness to managing expectations. Be realistic, especially about yourself.

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Old 11-19-2012, 04:16 PM   #17
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


I have always returned customer calls, even if it was to tell them that I was booked months ahead and would give them the numbers of other installers that I thought would do a good job for them.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:35 PM   #18
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


Go to the supply house and ask the counter men for names of electricians and hvac guys.
I've gotten a few jobs form my supply house.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:31 PM   #19
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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Originally Posted by rusty baker View Post
I have always returned customer calls, even if it was to tell them that I was booked months ahead and would give them the numbers of other installers that I thought would do a good job for them.
The problem I had is that when i was busy so were all the other decent guys!

Actually said to people. "There are a couple of guys I know who aren't busy, but there is a reason they aren't busy."
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:49 PM   #20
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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Actually said to people. "There are a couple of guys I know who aren't busy, but there is a reason they aren't busy."
Good one...

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:52 PM   #21
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


its very hard for TRADES to find good/busy GC's... a DIY'er will always have trouble lining up good subs because we expect trades to be like h*** Depo*, walk in, buy what you want, get it done. trades have to keep their GC's happy and put their GC's (who give them steady work) first. then, due to emergency jobs, change orders, etc, their schedules get all mucked up...

bottom line is keep calling, find one you can build a relationship with and get referrals too...takes time, but it will reward you down the road with faster service.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:04 PM   #22
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


Very true. Although I seldom subbed myself out.
I had a guy who hired me to completely redo his basement, then his brother had a bunch of work, then his son, Dad and Son both wanted more work done but I decided to change careers. I admit I went out of my way to keep them happy, they were great to work for.
Other people it seemed I was always busy when they needed me for some reason.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:17 AM   #23
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


This is one of the reasons why I do everything I can legally do, by myself.

Most customers are good, honest, paying customers. But not all.
Most tradesmen are good, honest, hard working people. But not all.

Things often get complicated when you're working with people.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:39 PM   #24
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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The very first mistake you are making is paying for an estimate. I wouldn't ever consider paying for an estimate on work and if I called someone who asked for me to pay for an estimate, I'd tell them don't bother. .... I had 8 replies come back, ranging from $3150 including taxes to $4900 plus tax. Really, a $2,000 difference? That's all profit and overhead. I wasn't sold on the $3150 guy...

I'm told I can be brutal to work for (from subs)....
So if you are not willing to pay for the estimate who is paying for it?
Everyone else, that is part (but not all) of the reason for the mark-up.

I probably wouldn't work for you. But you will find those who will.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:04 PM   #25
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


There is no such thing as a free estimate - someone somewhere is paying for it. It may not be you, but on another job the person giving you the free estimate has to make up for that lost time.

I do see your point - however the cost incurred by the trade for an estimate usually comes nowhere near the price charged to the customer for it. So if I was busy I wouldn't do the estimate because it is a waste of my time. Better off doing the jobs that I am busy on.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:29 PM   #26
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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Why would I pay you for an estimate when if your price is the right one I would pay you to do the job? It just doesn't make sense.

Say you charged $50 for an estimate and you were super busy, knowing full well you couldn't take another job no matter how big or small. What's to stop you from coming and quoting the job, charging me $50 for your estimate only to tell me that you can't fit me in right away after I told you "do it"? Alternatively, you could come and give me an estimate, charge me $50, and give me a ridiculously high price knowing you don't want the work, but collected my $50 anyway.

On the other hand, if you offer free estimates and you can't take the work, you could simply tell the person over the phone you can't take the work on but would be happy to call when your schedule frees up.

Free estimates keep honest people honest.
Often, if I find out the person is getting 5 or more estimates. I just tell them I'm too busy, and thank them for calling me.


Free estimates don't keep contractors honest. But it does often cause them to cut corners when they price match.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:39 PM   #27
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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Why can't people get more than 1 estimate?

Also, if you cut corners on my house you wouldn't get your final payment. Hard to cut corners when i supply the materials.
They can get as many as they want. I don't care if they get 3 estimates. 5, forget it. No reason for me to waste my time.


You wouldn't know if I cut a corner. Not for sometime down the road. And I would have my money. Material isn't the only thing that a contractor can cut a corner on.

I don't price match though. But I do charge even more to come and rip out others work, and do it the right way.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:48 PM   #28
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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Why can't people get more than 1 estimate?

Also, if you cut corners on my house you wouldn't get your final payment. Hard to cut corners when i supply the materials. In my book you're entitled to your labor rate and nothing more. I don't pay profit and overhead to anyone. That's reserved for General Contractor's and that's why I'm the GC.

You won't like my back charge for ill timed work because you didn't supply enough, or supplied the wrong type of material.
And why deny a business P&O? The contractor is a business and you are the consumer/home owner. He is entitled to a profit
Please don't call me for an estimate (and I offer them for free).....
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:56 PM   #29
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


Mr. Squished---

Some 'estimates' should be free---but a firm quote--???

I saw a house this Sunday---My estimate to get it habitable is about $45.000 to $60,000

In order to give her a firm quote---I must take a saw and open up the floor to access the three different crawl spaces----then meet with my electrician--plumber---building department---
Roofer---and make a trip to the window supplier---then get quotes on a new hvac system--
Visit the county office to check septic system records---

Then work up a price after I make some blue prints.

Would you seriously do that for free for a complete stranger? You surely aren't that naive---

That is four days work----Wait! Could you do this as a commission only sales man?
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:07 PM   #30
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This is part of the reason why people DIY when they shouldn't


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Not knowing me from a hole in the wall, how would you know that i would not know if you cut a corner?

And you would deliberately cut a corner in someones home that would deliberately cause a problem to the homeowner down the road just to "stick it to them" to make yourself feel like you're giving them what they paid for? Wow....
I wouldn't. but I could cut a corner and you wouldn't know it.

To think you would know if a corner was cut, means you would have to watch everything I do. And know when an how everything has to be done. And I don't believe you know enough even watching me to know if I cut a corner.

When someone wants to supply their own equipment and material, I charge more money for my labor. Why should I make less money because they are supplying their own equipment and material. That would be dumb.

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