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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Good One is Hard to Find

Bad contractors deserve all the crap they get (just ask my mom who is fighting to get a bundle back from one jerk who stopped answering her calls).

The good ones, though? They are priceless.

We are lucky to have a good one. Take this phone call today (for the purposes of this story, let's call our contractor "Steve"):

Me: "Hi Steve! Hey, I wanted to tell you that our bathtub came in and I've called the plumber to come install it but can't remember if we're supposed to put in green board first or after the tub is in?" (punctuation is left out because this is how I talk on the phone----fast and to the point lest some child decide to pitch a fit before I get off the phone).

Tiny pause and then,

Me: "Oh, whoops! I should've asked if this was an OK time to call? Am I getting you at a bad time?"

Contractor Steve: "No, no, not a bad time at all. I'm actually at (large New Hampshire) mountain skiing right now. But, I can talk."

Me: "WHAT? No, no, no, I'm not talking to you while you are on vacation with your family!!!! It's not that important. Call me when you get home, whenever".

Contractor Steve: "You sure? It's OK!"

Me: "No! I can't believe you answered this call while you are skiing. Forget it! I'll talk to you later!"

Contractor Steve: "OK, call me Saturday morning; I'll be home then."


I've experienced the 'other type' of contractor as well.

When we were redoing our master bathroom, we hired a guy to do our tile work. He came highly recommended and was a really nice guy (which is probably why I put up with this). But, time and time again, this is how our calls would go:

Me: "Hello?"

Tile Guy: "Hey! Listen, I know I haven't been by in a few days, but I'm on (nearby highway) and will be at your house in 15, maybe 20, minutes."

Me: "OK. Sounds great. We really need you here because the tile work is holding up everything else."

Tile Guy: "Totally understand. I'll see you in a few minutes!"

And, I wouldn't see or hear from him for a week.

It became a (sad) joke to see if his "proximity" to our house correlated with how long it'd take for him to actually show up. For instance, "15 minutes away" meant "1 week later". "I'll stop by on my way home from this other job" meant "See you in a month". Oh, and "Yes, I can do the job for that price" meant "I didn't mean I could do the entire job for that price!" (thank goodness for written quotes).

Isn't home ownership fun?



Blogger Robin said...

Sounds like Steve is a keeper.

Your proximity timetable is spot on too. Sadly, I know all about it.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

Our tree guy is like Steve. I called ours once to ask which day he'd be out because Husband works some nights and didn't want to be trying to sleep with chainsaws going on outside the bedroom window. I left a message and about 1/2 hour later he called back. From Maine where he was on vacation with his family. Even though I said it wasn't important.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

My contractor is my father-in-law, which means that all of our work is fit in when he's not busy - which is crappy. On the other hand, he's free. So hooray for us!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

My husband and I are starting to do research into bbuilding a house and being the general contractor and we are starting to get nervous. It seems like most carpenters, tile guys, plumbers are like that. Please give us strength!

1:07 PM  
Blogger OhTheJoys said...

This is why I married Mr. Handy.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Moments Of Mom said...

Wow, I have little patience for contractors. And luckily most of them have been pretty good. Lucky for me we haven't run into this yet.

And so far there isn't much that hubby can't do himself.... or atleast mostly himself.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Melani said...

We are almost finished with our addition, 2 bedrooms and 1 restroom, jeez it was a nightmare I am glad it is finally almost over! We have had problems with almost all the work they did, from the roof to touch up painting and the tile work in the restroom and the kitchen (oh we decided to have them do the kitchen,) but it kept us in California near our families, so for that I am happy!

3:11 PM  
Blogger Betsy said...

My parents built their dream house after being married 40 years and raising 7 children. It's a mess. The contractor totally cut corners. Big ones, too. For example, a main support beam holding the weight for the ceiling? It's. Not. There. Just not. We're suing, and it's a pain. My advice? Put a clause in the contract that if there are problems, it goes directly to arbitration.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The contractor putting a deck on my parents' house? It took him 1 1/2 years to complete the job. I'm not joking. Same thing... he was a "nice guy" and would promise he'd be there tomorrow... Finally he finished. Then he sent my parents a bill for thousands of dollars over what he quoted. They're fighting him on that one.

Do you think you can clone Steve?

Jane, Pinks & Blues

8:15 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I have the world's best contractor and he is worth his weight in gold. We had to go through two other ones, and some botched jobs, before we found this guy but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to maintain our relationship. And i do mean anything.

It's a good thing he's cute.

*wink, wink*

4:40 PM  

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