THE LATEST THINKING
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Where Have All the Good Contractors Gone?
Finding a contractor isn’t the problem. Finding one that’s good is.
Over the past 15 years, my wife and I have moved quite a bit. Multiple homes (four), multiple states (six); basically, we’ve been around. As homeowners, we’ve come across our fair share of general home repairs/improvements. From roof replacements to plumbing issues, to newly installed floors, we’ve seen it all, and then some.
Aside from the work we did on our own, we’ve noticed a common theme when it comes to contractors: It’s hard to find a good one. They’re either too busy to take on new clients, do shoddy work or are terrible at maintaining a good line of communication.
We first noticed this trend when we tried getting quotes from contractors on installing a window in our house. We had multiple contractors come out, provide us with rough estimates, then seemingly vanished into oblivion. We were dumbstruck. If they didn’t want to do the work or thought it was beyond their scope of expertise, why not just tell us? We would have respected that much more than having our phone calls dodged until we ultimately gave up.
As for the contractors that did follow through and completed various jobs for us, another theme emerged. It seemed as if they were only focused on completing the job as quickly as possible with little care of our overall satisfaction. We had one painter looking to get paid, when the old, darker paint color was still clearly visible through the fresh coat of paint he applied to the wall.
Only after we pointed this out to him did he offer to apply a second coat. That’s just bad business. Even though the second coat came out OK, and we were satisfied with the end result, we didn’t feel important as a paying customer should. Needless to say, when we had future paint jobs, we went with someone else — myself. I might have taken much longer to complete the job; however, I made sure the client (i.e., my wife) was satisfied with the finished product.
I can’t say the same for other contractors we used. In fact, it took us over a year to get one particular contractor out to fix a deck he incorrectly installed on our house. And the list goes on. We had to redo bathroom work we had someone do, conduct our own touch-ups on other paint jobs, and don’t even get me started on builders taking shortcuts.
It should be illegal for a builder to cut corners just to save a little money, which ultimately ends up costing the homeowner bigtime money down the road. My thoughts on all of this: If you find a good contractor, keep them. Secondly, if you have the time and the motivation, do as many jobs as you can yourself. And lastly, if you are a contractor, keep the customer in mind. If you do solid work for them, they may return the favor by recommending you to someone else. I know I would.
Florida residents impacted by Hurricane Matthew are urged to stay vigilant throughout the recovery process when hiring contractors...