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Old 06-17-2009, 10:37 PM   #1
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Controversy or normal?


I want to give my contractor the benefit of the doubt...thoughts?

Basics:
-less than 900 square feet of 3/4"x3" solid pre-finished maple nail down installation in a 5year old house purchased end of May and waiting to move in.
-Contract and deposit $7k of $12,500 (so he can order the wood floors) signed/paid on 5/29 paid with floor store owner.
-says 6/9 to start prep work. 6/11 floors scheduled to arrive/sit in house to acclimatize.
-6/13 planned to start install (says 2-3 days, 2-3 guys...1 guy so far, but figure better one craftsman than adding a couple of day laborers to the mix)
-6/12 p.m. (day late, not bad...) *most* of wood floors delivered 34 boxes
-*later found out 10 more boxes; I had to ask where they were 3 days later, he did not mention the shortage when delivered and I couldn't help but wonder if he was keeping them in case there was not as much waste as expected and could then keep them or return them and keep the refund for the materials for himself.
-last told the additional boxes would be put in house yesterday 6/16 (not done, no call, so I call this a.m. and says they will be delivered today, not done, called 5:45pm says he is busy before I can ask a question and says that he would call me back in a *few minutes* but still has not called so far after 2 1/2 hours). These 10 boxes also need to acclimatize before installing them.
-Installer is still on the prepping stage (no wood nailed down) but may be close to being done prepping and seems to be taking his time and preparing it properly.
-Also no sign of the other materials (especially stair nosing).
-Is this normal? I do not want to be mean period..but especially if it led to him walking out on the job with my $7k and the rest of my wood (or doing a poor job).
-I think I am patient, however it does look to be done (if I am lucky) by the following weekend 6/28 which would be a month after contract/paying $7k and 15 days after install was originally scheduled to start (versus 2-3 days). Of course I am excited to move in to my new home and I am paying a mortgage for a house that I can't live in yet (I know it is to be expected, but this long for less than 900 square feet of installation?)
-Again I am still giving him the benefit of the doubt, but am I being too nice or gullible?

-I did not go with the lowest bid (which was lumber liquidators and who only asked for 50% of material cost to order materials but their contract with "The Home Store" does not require a dime in labor until the job is done).

*My feeling tonight is to call tomorrow morining, stay friendly, tell him I understand delays are normal and tell him I will check back on Friday, and need to move in by next weekend. Staying friendly so that he feels he has a reason (keeping a happy, referring customer) to finish the job and finish it properly.

This is my first dealing with a contractor, so yes I am newbie. Sorry so long.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:45 AM   #2
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Controversy or normal?


I had a somewhat similar experience with a hardwood flooring installer and looking back I wish I handled it differently because it still bugs me to this day. My advice - be persistent, pleasant and FIRM. Pleasant is as absolute must because he who becomes emotional loses the leverage so you don't want to do that but if you're persistent (with increasing frequency as more time passes), the contractor should be motivated to get the job done and you out of his life. And by persistent, I'm talking multiple calls per day to "check in" and "left you a message earlier but wasn't sure you got it so am trying to reach you again" - basically, be your mother who calls endlessly who you ultimately call back just to get her to stop calling you. Also, be firm with your needs - ie, get the flooring you ordered in your house NOW (and if you never get it, get an adjustment to your invoice) and offer to speak to the wholesaler if that is helpful, etc. Also, to the extent you can, be there when they are installing - who cares if you're bugging them - it's YOUR house, you're entitled to be there. Naturally, you can't be in their way (they have to get their job done so resist temptation to be physically looking over their shoulders) but your presence will make it difficult for any monkey business. By the time I get done dealing with subs, and the exhausting process it always is with their unreliability, etc., I'm just so happy to have the job done I have become a pushover for poor quality, performance and price gouging. This is the biggest reason I became a DIYer - I can control so much more with regard to timing and outcome.

Go forth and get the service you're entitled to have. Good luck!
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