How do you guys get anything done on your homes?

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MemberSince99
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How do you guys get anything done on your homes?

Postby MemberSince99 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:44 pm

I'm not sure how things are in the rest of the country but I've found trying to get people in the midwest to actually want to work requires damn near an act of Congress. I've emailed and called and over 50% of them simply never contact you back.


Assuming they actually do want your business then they want to give you a 2 to 4 hour window where they will drop by (maybe if you're lucky). I work for a living and i live alone, what the hell am I supposed to tell my boss, uh I gotta stay home this morning so I can wait for some dude to drop by and take 5 minutes to measure my shower for a door? His response might well be well hope you enjoy that door because you'll have LOTS more time to be using it now....


And of course it has to be between the hours of 8 and 5 you know when people are working for a living. None of this sissy evenings or weekends stuff. That's assuming they even want to work, which in my experience the odds aren't that good they will.


I guess I'm starting to see why a lot of people become do it yourselfers. My co-workers who own homes have told me plenty about the process and it's this and worse. Is this really typical? How do you manage to get anything done other than doing it yourself?


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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:28 pm

I do things that don't require a license. Putting in a door? Sure. I can drive screws. Replacing an electrical outlet? No problemo. Sweating pipes, running Molex, or installing blackpipe? Now I hire someone.

I've experienced the same thing as you. I've called electricians and fence people and have not received calls back. The only company who calls back and actually schedules appointments (so far) is the plumber.
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Postby darkguy2 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:37 pm

My parents recently renovated their old back deck and put in a new one with a screened in patio. He went through Angie's List and found someone that was highly rated. The build went fine but after 6 months the beams started to show cracks down the middle and warped some. My dad called them out to fix it and they gave the response that it was a natural process of the wood drying. What a load of BS.

He also had the roof re-done and did the same as before. Well after taking their time about it and then breaking the gutters it took him sending a complaint to the BBB and giving a bad review on Angie's List for them to come out and fix their mistake. Then they wanted him to change the review to a positive one. We were finding roofing nails on the property for quite awhile after that and they have horses that can get a serious infection if they step on one.

It seems now a days you have to know the owner of the builder and be there 24/7 to watch them work to make sure it gets done properly. My dad does A/V & security on the side and he makes sure that everything is neat and tidy before he leaves and all his messes are cleaned up. Hell many of the times we left the place a lot cleaner than when we got there.
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Postby darkguy2 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:39 pm

djrez4 wrote:I do things that don't require a license. Putting in a door? Sure. I can drive screws. Replacing an electrical outlet? No problemo. Sweating pipes, running Molex, or installing blackpipe? Now I hire someone.

I've experienced the same thing as you. I've called electricians and fence people and have not received calls back. The only company who calls back and actually schedules appointments (so far) is the plumber.


This is one of the things I worry about for the future. My dream is to build my own house from the foundation up. I would go out and get a architect to design it and a general contractor to build it. It seems that many of them out there do not do a great job.
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Postby djrez4 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:02 pm

darkguy2 wrote:This is one of the things I worry about for the future. My dream is to build my own house from the foundation up. I would go out and get a architect to design it and a general contractor to build it. It seems that many of them out there do not do a great job.


Everything is hierarchical in that type of situation. You (and the architect) supervise the GC and the GC is supposed to supervise the subs. So, you have to find a GC you trust.
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Postby darkguy2 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:35 pm

djrez4 wrote:Everything is hierarchical in that type of situation. You (and the architect) supervise the GC and the GC is supposed to supervise the subs. So, you have to find a GC you trust.


Well that seems to be a lot easier said then done. I will probably go find a good architect and have them suggest a GC that they have worked with before.
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Postby takeshi » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:50 am

Finding reliable contractors is a challenge regardless of one's location. As with other services, see if you can find suggestions or references and/or use a site with reviews.

MemberSince99 wrote:I work for a living and i live alone, what the hell am I supposed to tell my boss, uh I gotta stay home this morning so I can wait for some dude to drop by and take 5 minutes to measure my shower for a door? His response might well be well hope you enjoy that door because you'll have LOTS more time to be using it now....

An understanding employer helps as well. Mine is pretty flexible and I've certainly taken time off to meet with contractors.

MemberSince99 wrote:How do you manage to get anything done other than doing it yourself?

Additionally, my wife works weekends so her "weekends" are on Thursday & Friday. It's not unusual for her to meet the contractors that I can't meet with and she frequently also takes our 3 vehicles in for service.

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Postby djrez4 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:12 am

takeshi wrote:... and she frequently also takes our 3 vehicles in for service.


Reminds me of a story -

When my wife and I first started dating, she took her car to a Brakes Plus near my apartment to get her pads replaced. A few hours later, she calls me up, saying they want to do a ridiculous amount of work and won't let her leave without getting the work done because it would be an "illegal safety violation."

I drive over and let them explain what exactly they think makes her car a safety violation. After looking at the car and recognizing that everything they were saying was complete BS, I explained to them that if they did not perform the work she had requested and allow her to leave with her car, I would be calling the police. They told me she would need to sign a waiver. Fine, whatever. I assumed they had some sort of form waiver. Nope. The employee hand-wrote the most stupid waiver I've ever seen directly on her invoice and made her sign. It has been six years and the car has not killed her.

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Postby MemberSince99 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:55 pm

djrez4, I'm not at all surprised to hear that. I'm sure they lured her in with a low-ball price. If you think about it though, they can't stay in business doing the work for that, so they always find a way to upsell you and sell you things you don't need which they will not actually replace.


Sometimes they resort to outright fraud, which that sounds like they were trying to do. I had replaced the flasher unit in my mom's car so I knew what was in it. She took it to a garage shortly after who also claimed they replaced her flasher unit, and gave her a flasher they claimed was in the car. I was curious so I asked her to see the part, and it wasn't the flasher I put in it, it was something else - the one I put in was still there.
Now of course in court, it would be our word against theirs, and to a judge a couple of losers vs some fine upstanding rugged individualists like them would make it a no brainer as they would NEVER engage in lies and fraud. But it's the truth. I told her, and she never took her car back to these thieves, to her credit. They lost a victim, I mean a customer that day.


I've had the old upsell trick done on me. I took my car in the 80s to a Firestone, who were advertising a 19.99 car alignment. They put it up on the hoist, then the grim faced service writer came in to talk with me. My idler arm was bad he told me, and needed to be replaced, and they'd be glad to take care of that for me. I knew this thief was just trying to screw me, so I told him take my car off your hoist so I can get out of here. He says to me are you going to get that part replaced? I looked him right dead in the eye and said "If it really needs it" and left.
I took the car to another shop downtown, not a national chain but a sole proprietor. He checked the car out, did the alignment, charged me a fair price and never mentioned anything about needing parts. It drove just fine and I didn't have a loss of steering or other catastrophe, surprise, surprise. I thought about it later and realized the cheap alignment is just a loss leader that crooks use to get their hooks into your wallet so they can sell you stuff you don't need and that they won't replace, and I never went back to that sort of place again I stuck to the little guy who charges more for the work he does but doesn't try to rip you off for a whole lot more.


Yep, some of these places are crooks you really gotta watch your wallet or they'll bend you over and give you a royal screwing of the financial kind. They know that 99.999% of the time they will get away with outright fraud clean, because most customers won't even know, and even if they do know, they can't prove it. Knowing it and proving it are two different things as my dad used to tell me, and he should know, and he's right. And the 0.0001% of the time they actually get busted for it and have to pay, makes it still a winning proposition for them because of all the money they cheat people out of.


I should emphasize I'm not trying to say all of them are crooks - I mentioned the fine place I went to that did a great job, just that the fraudsters are pretty bad and they are out there.



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