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Old 10-12-2009, 08:03 PM   #1
 
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How not to get ripped off....


Here's my story. I have become one of statistics of the housing bubble. Now my option is to rent or move into my Mom's really old (1910) home. This home has been sitting empty for 3 years. I need renovations galore. It would be cheaper to tear it down and rebuild but that's not an option. I am not sure about one contractor since his english skills are bad at best and foresee problems with simple communication down the road. Another guy who is a licensed contractor told me he would build me a new floor on the back porch which needed framing but it took him 3 wks. and cost me over $4,300 by the time he was done and he supposedly was my friend. 2 other licensed contractors told me it would be around $900 and should take a couple of days. Of course I paid cash and materials. This jerk also went up to the roof area and decided to pull off some of the existing roofing which will be replaced when I hired the roofer but he wanted to create work for himself and thought he could fool me to keep him on. So what I want to know is when on a budget and I need to move in really soon should I consider hiring a licensed electrician, then a separate plumber, etc. until I get to the point where I can actually shower and have the plumbing and basic's in or is it better to hire one contractor to handle all the projects. I'm thinking if I go with licensed help individually they I might save some and I'll also be covered when the inspectors come to check code.

I'd be grateful for your feedback. It's scary taking on such a huge project and this is money I've saved so i'm trying to be careful and not get burned further.

PS I had to fire the jerk that did the floor and ripped the roofing. Tommorow is the first storm coming and I'm freaking out.

Thanks
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:04 PM   #2
 
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Just so you know-all the 3 contractors are licensed by the state.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:09 PM   #3
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all that proves izzat kalee-fornia wants the $$$ same's any other govt agency,,, ck insurance, license, & references,,, hiring a contractor's always ' iffy ' when you have no benchmark OR don't know the work yourself.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:15 PM   #4
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The $4300 guy sounds the most reputable. The others sound like low-ballers (especially if they are quoting the job after the fact) Human nature I guess.

Here's the problem with hiring multiple people to perform work on your house. BLAME

As soon as you hire multiple trades on your own, you will have them blaming each other for problems then guess who gets to untangle the mess...you.

The only way for you to go is to hire one general contractor who is responsible for keeping all the subs honest.

Sorry for the news, but it will end up costing you more in the long run if you do it any other way.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:18 PM   #5
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Was the home uninhabitable?

If you could have lived in it and if the home was conveniently located, you should have moved into that home 3 years ago instead of paying rent all these years.

Then you could have done some of the work at your own pace.

Try to pay behind the work. That is, the work completed so far should always be greater than the amount paid so far. You might even pass up contractors who want money up front, and continue getting more estimates.
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Stick to your lawn watering schedule until it really pours. Otherwise the storm might miss and the part that gets watered last (3 days away?) will dry up.

Last edited by AllanJ; 10-12-2009 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:20 PM   #6
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You better start "networking"---Ask friends,co-workers,Local lumber yards(not the big box stores)
Plumbing supply houses,stop by jobs in progress--

It's hard to weed out the 'GOOD TALKERS' from the 'GOOD WORKERS' without references.

I've been a re modeler for 16 years--For me it's all referrals, I have had my local customers pay travel and expenses many times to work on their out of state properties.

It's tough -you can find many honest contractors,you will have to ask around.

BEST OF LUCK___MIKE----------
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:23 PM   #7
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Ditto on what Mike said.
There are alot of us contractors out there who are very reputable, but just as many who are out to rip off anyone they can lay their hands on. (Licensed or not)
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:17 AM   #8
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I think the guy who charged 4300 is not a "friend", and I'd never let him near the house again.

Like a used car salesman once confided, "if you can't make money off your friends who can you make money off of?"
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
I think the guy who charged 4300 is not a "friend", and I'd never let him near the house again.
You have no idea what was involved and/or necessary to repair the framing and floor and are not a licensed contractor running a business with overhead and profit to maintain. You also have no idea why the roofing material was removed but rather only one side of the story. Therefor you should refrain from commenting on such things and place your head back up your a** where it belongs.

To the OP: Get at least three bids for any work you want or need done that are based on the same scope of work. Get references, ask for pictures of past projects completed, get their license numbers and verify they are who they say they are and are actually licensed. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when reviewing the bids and the scope of work cited. If all three are relatively close to each other go with the one that made you feel the most comfortable. If their is a wide variance in the bids go with the one in the middle.

As far as whether to GC yourself or use a GC; unless you have the experience behind you to keep track of the individual trades, do the neccesary drawings or outsource them, apply for permits, schedule trades appropriately, keep the project on schedule, and know enough to identify what is correct and what is not, you are better off to use a reputable GC or hire a project manager to assit you.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARI001 View Post
You have no idea what was involved and/or necessary to repair the framing and floor and are not a licensed contractor running a business with overhead and profit to maintain.

Wait, is this DIYchatroom.com, or ContractorTalk.com? I'm guessing you hate "Holmes on Homes". Perhaps the title of the post shows the OP doesn't have the same impression of the work that was performed as you do.

Last edited by walkman; 10-14-2009 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by walkman View Post
A little sensitive aren't you? I think the title of the post shows that he doesn't have the same impression of the work that you do.
I think there is probably more to it then is being stated. I don't do contractual work for friends or family for several reasons. Some of the major ones are: They expect a deal and get their feelings hurt when you don't give them one. They forget this is a business for you and you have costs associated with running it. If you do give them a deal they quickly forget that when a problem arises that cost more then expected. Hard feelings are levied when the job is treated like any other job because their are expectations of a "deal" even when it is made clear there will be no "deal".

No pictures where posted and no in depth information given as to the nature of what had to be done. Structural repairs come with a good deal of liability and in remodeling and repair work sometimes you can not tell the full extent of the damage until you get in and start taking things apart. The figure stated by the OP does not seem outlandish considering the nature of the repair. Honestly, it sounds like he did get a pretty good deal but expected it to be less because this guy was a "friend". Maybe the OP should post additional information (nature and scope of work) and pictures to help clarify things a little better.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:17 PM   #12
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Walkman,

None of us know the entire story on this job but I cant help but feel bad for the OP's situation.

However, I must back up what ARI posted. Those of us who are legitimate contractors with insurance, work comp, hold licenses, pay taxes, etc. are always in "competition" for work with people who decide to become contractors during an unemployment stint and will inevitably disappear on the client when problems arise in the future.

The contractors who are not afraid to quote a higher price usually have confidence in the service they plan to provide. It is up to the homeowner to check references and licenses to make sure they are legitimate.

I along with other legitimate contractors are always frustrated with what we call "hacks" offering a low, low, price for services that they are not qualified to perform, and then messing it up, and contributing to the overall bad impression the general public has of us.

I understand ARI's frustration too.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by walkman View Post
Wait, is this DIYchatroom.com, or ContractorTalk.com? I'm guessing you hate "Holmes on Homes". Perhaps the title of the post shows the OP doesn't have the same impression of the work that was performed as you do.
Actually, I like Mike Holmes and enjoy watching the show. Obviously you are aware that many of the contractors from CT do frequent this forum and offer there advice and opinions here. If you where not then consider yourself now enlightened.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ARI001 View Post
Actually, I like Mike Holmes and enjoy watching the show. Obviously you are aware that many of the contractors from CT do frequent this forum and offer there advice and opinions here. If you where not then consider yourself now enlightened.
And sometimes we (I mean they) visit this forum under different names so you don't know who they really are
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ARI001 View Post
Obviously you are aware that many of the contractors from CT do frequent this forum and offer there advice and opinions here. If you where not then consider yourself now enlightened.

That's great, I'm sure your technical knowledge is much appreciated. But the condescending tone and personal attacks are better left in the other forum.

As to the contractor who made the OP feel ripped off, it sounds much more likely that he's a guy who does shoddy work and charges more than it's worth, than a contentious contractor like yourself who has legitimately higher expenses for a quality job that he stands behind.
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