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I...hate....contractors........

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  • #21
    We're finishing a project this month that we started years ago and this is all very fresh in my mind right now! we hired a great guy to do a kitchen remodel - loved him, great to work with, all that - not much of a GC because we hated the drywaller and plumber and countertop guys he worked with, but overall, we liked him. Later we needed some help with a bathroom and some closets. I don't know what was going on in his life the second time around, but the work was NOT up to his previous quality. Now we're trying to put tile over the uneven, crooked mess he made of our bathroom and are scratching our heads about what went wrong.

    Comment


    • #22
      We had to ask the guys who put in our concrete floor to not smoke in the barn. It is clearly not common sense to everyone that you should not smoke next to a huge pile of hay.

      Comment


      • #23
        I hope with the downturned economy the swelled heads of our local contractors have deflated a bit.

        Comment


        • #24
          I was looking up magnet sweepers, to point to a link, to suggest using it to find all the nails and I found this
          http://www.magnetsource.com/Solution...s/cowmags.html

          Comment


          • #25
            OH MY GOD! *jaw drops*

            Originally posted by Chall View Post
            I was looking up magnet sweepers, to point to a link, to suggest using it to find all the nails and I found this
            http://www.magnetsource.com/Solution...s/cowmags.html
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #26
              Boy, is this timely!

              We got an estimate from a licensed contractor (whom I had checked out with the BBB and also contacted some former clients before hiring them) for $49,000 to remodel an existing bathroom, reconfigure a hallway/master bedroom closet, tile flooring throughout and laundry area (approximately a 12 X 12 area), add a screened in lanai (cement pad and metal roof) and replace a bay window with french doors out to the new lanai. We accepted their estimate and actually budgeted $60,000 to care for any overages (did not tell contractor this).

              This is a husband and wife team, and we had worked with thier grown son and really liked both the son and the couple. They had some great ideas on the design for the closet, and I had a vision for the bathroom. Part of the estimate was to replace all of the pumbing in the house (we are in FL and the plumbing hangs under our house so was very accessible to replace). The pipes were old galvanized and we had no water pressure. We also replaced our well and pump, but that was separate from this estimate.

              Anyway, I was to order all of the fixtures for the bathroom (tub, toilet, faucets and shower heads) as well as the floor tile. I emailed him with my choices and kept asking him if that was within the materials budget for those items. Got "yes" for all and was told he budgeted $10,000 for that. I spent $9,228 total.

              Fast forward several months. We are 100% over budget and were not told until AFTER the work was done, so ended up being pressured into paying. We were very naive, and in hindsight should have let them lien this guy - our Homestead would have protected us from getting liened. B

              esides being 100% over in the budget, we cannot afford to get the main change done - the lanai. That was supposedly $14,000 of the budget, but since we have now spent $85,000, we cannot do it. So we have an ugly cement pad with french doors out to it and no roof or screen.

              To add insult to injury, we sat down with him and he CONTINUTED to overbill us (of course, you say - we PAID him!). He also used some substandard materials (rough plywood for the closet shelves so that the clothes catch on the wood when placing them on the shelves, re-used damaged door jams from the old closet and did not putty and sand nail holes etc before painting - you get the idea).

              We had one final sit down and got the final bill before the Holidays. Hubby and I said "This is your ABSOLUTE FINAL, right?!" Contractor: "Definitely - this is the final amount and none of the remaining work will go over it." The amount was $2,600. I came home from work on Friday, and there was a check from the tile place for a refund of $16.00 for tile that they returned (yipee lol), and a NEW FINAL bill of ................. $6,400!!!!!!

              We are done except for the inspection and the chandalier and TV install for the bathroom. I think he is trying to charge me for the one shower wall that had to be torn down and re-installed because it was crazy crooked (even they agreed it was terrible - was a sub-contractor that would not agree to fix the problem because they had paid him). Even so, that would not cost $4,000 more!

              Anyway - never again. HORRIBLE experience and we are now in serious financil difficulty over this. Wish I had not even done it.

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by witherbee View Post
                We got an estimate from a licensed contractor (whom I had checked out with the BBB and also contacted some former clients before hiring them) for $49,000 to remodel an existing bathroom, reconfigure a hallway/master bedroom closet, tile flooring throughout and laundry area (approximately a 12 X 12 area), add a screened in lanai (cement pad and metal roof) and replace a bay window with french doors out to the new lanai. We accepted their estimate and actually budgeted $60,000 to care for any overages (did not tell contractor this).

                This is a husband and wife team, and we had worked with thier grown son and really liked both the son and the couple. They had some great ideas on the design for the closet, and I had a vision for the bathroom. Part of the estimate was to replace all of the pumbing in the house (we are in FL and the plumbing hangs under our house so was very accessible to replace). The pipes were old galvanized and we had no water pressure. We also replaced our well and pump, but that was separate from this estimate.

                Anyway, I was to order all of the fixtures for the bathroom (tub, toilet, faucets and shower heads) as well as the floor tile. I emailed him with my choices and kept asking him if that was within the materials budget for those items. Got "yes" for all and was told he budgeted $10,000 for that. I spent $9,228 total.

                Fast forward several months. We are 100% over budget and were not told until AFTER the work was done, so ended up being pressured into paying. We were very naive, and in hindsight should have let them lien this guy - our Homestead would have protected us from getting liened. B

                esides being 100% over in the budget, we cannot afford to get the main change done - the lanai. That was supposedly $14,000 of the budget, but since we have now spent $85,000, we cannot do it. So we have an ugly cement pad with french doors out to it and no roof or screen.

                To add insult to injury, we sat down with him and he CONTINUTED to overbill us (of course, you say - we PAID him!). He also used some substandard materials (rough plywood for the closet shelves so that the clothes catch on the wood when placing them on the shelves, re-used damaged door jams from the old closet and did not putty and sand nail holes etc before painting - you get the idea).

                We had one final sit down and got the final bill before the Holidays. Hubby and I said "This is your ABSOLUTE FINAL, right?!" Contractor: "Definitely - this is the final amount and none of the remaining work will go over it." The amount was $2,600. I came home from work on Friday, and there was a check from the tile place for a refund of $16.00 for tile that they returned (yipee lol), and a NEW FINAL bill of ................. $6,400!!!!!!

                We are done except for the inspection and the chandalier and TV install for the bathroom. I think he is trying to charge me for the one shower wall that had to be torn down and re-installed because it was crazy crooked (even they agreed it was terrible - was a sub-contractor that would not agree to fix the problem because they had paid him). Even so, that would not cost $4,000 more!

                Anyway - never again. HORRIBLE experience and we are now in serious financil difficulty over this. Wish I had not even done it.
                I'm curious what your specifications said about allowances for fixtures.

                We build custom turnkey homes and everything that is an allowance (generally things the client will pick out on their own) is stated in the specifications. For things like plumbing fixtures, the clients not only receive the allowance amount, but a list of what was priced in order to come to that amount. Our plumbing guys used to price the cheapest crap out there and there was no way our clients could get anything decent without going over, so we had to make them start pricing higher quality items with better finishes so the clients wouldn't have sticker shock when they actually went to pick their fixtures. Everything that is not on an allowance cannot be charged as an overage unless the homeowner changed the plans or specifications after the documents had been signed. At that time, a change order is made and signed by both parties, with the stated amount of the overage or underage in writing. If your contractor does not do these things, I would run far away.

                The biggest issue that we have, where I'm sure the clients thought they were wronged and overcharged, is when the client can't afford the home they want. When we start the drawing/bidding process, we tell the clients to put everything they think they might want in the first draft for pricing. Then, if it's over there budget, we can start cutting things out and go from there until we get into their price range. Typically, after the revised plans and specifications have been gone over and signed, and construction has begun, we will often get "why am I not getting my 3 $10k a piece custom Amish handmade wooden doors?". Answer: because when we priced the house as you wanted, you couldnt' afford it and that was one of the that YOU decided you could live without in order to get the price down. In many cases, the clients usually end up adding everything back in and paying the overages for it, and they think we are the bad guys. When the client says they must have the house in this budget, things have to change to get the house into that price range, but then they act shocked when they don't have everything from the higher priced house in the house that's much less expensive.

                In the future, I would make sure to have a draw schedule. Ours is usually divided into 4-5 draws on a full house, or less draws on remodels/addons, and the money is issued AFTER the items listed on that draw are completed.

                I really feel for those of you that have issues. It's incredibly frustrating to deal with contractors like that, but I also know some people are never happy. One woman we built a house for bad mouths us like crazy, but there is nothing we could do to change her mind except pay the extra $250k for the house she wanted, rather than the house she could afford (which is still a very nice house, and she does say that she loves her house, just not us....lol).
                Rhode Islands are red;
                North Hollands are blue.
                Sorry my thoroughbreds
                Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  while I will totally acknowledge that a total house build is WAY more of a headache and rates much higher than my issues, (and you all have my shared sympathy, I swear!) I am talking a bid of $6500. So, in the state of VA that means legally, he should obtain a class C license. I've called VA board as this has progressed and they claim no such license. Uh, oh....if that is true? (as, of course it may not? be under his name, but rather under an incorporated name?, etc) then its a criminal offense.
                  ayrabz
                  "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                  --Jimmy Buffett

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    In our state, and I suspect it is true of others, it is really easy to do a search online to find out the current status of a contractor's license, including insurance info, and any past complaints or violations. Just FYI, something to check (along with references!) when hiring.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Chall View Post
                      I was looking up magnet sweepers, to point to a link, to suggest using it to find all the nails and I found this
                      http://www.magnetsource.com/Solution...s/cowmags.html

                      The magnet sweeper is great. We had one at a previous barn, and if you lost a she in the arena, you just rolled around with that and *klunk*, it would grab it out of the footing. I used one of the smaller, non wheeled ones here when building, that you can get at Home Depot or building supply stores. If we do any building again, I'm ordering one of the wheel types for sure.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
                        In our state, and I suspect it is true of others, it is really easy to do a search online to find out the current status of a contractor's license, including insurance info, and any past complaints or violations. Just FYI, something to check (along with references!) when hiring.
                        Yes - My SO is an A/C Heating and refrigeration contractor and you can verify he is licensed via the Florida Contractors website.

                        Sorry you're having so many issues. I can't tell you how many times my SO is called into a job where 2-3 contractors before him either couldn't fix it OR said both the inside and outside units needed to be replaced (think 5K and up) - and he repaired the unit for less than $500 (many times much less than that). Of course since he has an electronics and electrical background he can debug around fried circuit boards where most people just swap them out.

                        And he even had 1 lady (with a rental unit) stiff him for 5 months - til he walked into her place of business and told he to pay up or he would take his part back out. She paid up. (And he ONLY works on referrals from current customers so luckily in the years he was active he only has had 2 issues like this.)
                        Now in Kentucky

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          I also can report poor experiences with allegedly "honest, prompt" contractors. I'd find them down napping on the dock at 10 in the morning (having arrived on site at 8 am), using our washing machine without asking, not installing things to manufacturers' specifications, forgetting tools, messing up roof angles and and mismeasuring ceilings, not showing up, calling us to say they had truck trouble and then I'd drive by the lake and see that their truck trouble was that no one was in the truck because they were out on the lake fishing, etc.

                          There used to be a Diet Coke commercial (this was maybe 20 or 30 years ago) that had a bunch of white collar women ogling a construction worker's behind. Let me tell you, the only thing I ever wanted from our contractors' and subcontractors' behinds was to see their asses walking down my driveway when they finally finished the job, and not coming back.

                          But, I do respect and admire and apologize to the many reputable contractors who I'm sure are out there. Somewhere. My husband and I watch those DIY network shows where the contractor is amazing, and we just look at each other and sigh. :-)

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by SharonA View Post
                            I also can report poor experiences with allegedly "honest, prompt" contractors. I'd find them down napping on the dock at 10 in the morning (having arrived on site at 8 am), using our washing machine without asking, not installing things to manufacturers' specifications, forgetting tools, messing up roof angles and and mismeasuring ceilings, not showing up, calling us to say they had truck trouble and then I'd drive by the lake and see that their truck trouble was that no one was in the truck because they were out on the lake fishing, etc.

                            There used to be a Diet Coke commercial (this was maybe 20 or 30 years ago) that had a bunch of white collar women ogling a construction worker's behind. Let me tell you, the only thing I ever wanted from our contractors' and subcontractors' behinds was to see their asses walking down my driveway when they finally finished the job, and not coming back.

                            But, I do respect and admire and apologize to the many reputable contractors who I'm sure are out there. Somewhere. My husband and I watch those DIY network shows where the contractor is amazing, and we just look at each other and sigh. :-)
                            Ugh, i can relate. We build lake homes and one day we received a call from a neighbor that "our guys" were diving off of the pier belonging to the people we were building a house for and were swimming in the lake. We didn't have any of our men at the house that day, so we checked into it and it was a subcontractor who was doing it. Needless to say, they do not work for us anymore..lol.

                            Another funny story. We were building a house for a couple that lived several hours away. Unbeknownst to us, they had put up cameras on their RV so they could watch the home being built. They were recording it all and were going to do one of those high speed video type things to show the building of their house. We didn't know this at the time, but one day the husband shows up in our office and he's talking about how great our guys are and how fast and hard working they are. Then he goes on to say that he had put these cameras up to video the building of the house and that he logged on the other day to make sure they were still functioning and saw our guys working. He said they worked so fast that it looked like it was already in high speed and he didn't know how they worked so hard for 8 hours straight. He was tired just watching them..lol.
                            Rhode Islands are red;
                            North Hollands are blue.
                            Sorry my thoroughbreds
                            Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              My husband is an architect who sometimes will also pull from a stable (keeping it horse related :-) of sub-contractors to do a job. Over time he has worked out who is good and who isn't, thankfully. However, on my personal stuff I have learned that I now NEVER pay someone up front. I have the most power as I have the check book and I don't pay anyone over budget unless it was something I agreed to and they communicated to me. The experiences that have taught me this are:
                              1. Paid tractor mechanic $2k up front to get parts to completely re do our transmission, hydraulics and brakes - never saw him again
                              2. Paid shed builder 50% up front to build large run-in sheds - he came, cemented in 4 verticals (in the wrong place) and never showed up again
                              3. Gave a tractor mechanic (another one) our tractor to sell as he did some dealing. He sold the tractor for about $3.5k, I never saw 1c of the sales proceeds
                              4. Got fencing done - quoted $6.5k, final bill > $11k

                              It's all crazy.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Another funny story - my husband was having something built (I can't remember what) and it was taking a long time. One day, he went by the building site and from a long way off, could see all the guys lying around on the grass and the foreman nowhere in sight. He called the foreman and asked how it was going. The foreman said that they were working really hard, that the team was working full out etc etc. BUSTED!

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I lost $46,000.00 to a bad contractor (family business is ripping people off). I won't post the name here but if anyone lives in DE, MD, PA, or South Jersey wants to PM me I will happily give you the names. I won a judgment in court but I haven't seen a cent and don't expect to. Only good thing is that it is a criminal judgement not civil so it can't be discharged by bankruptcy. I'd still like to get some of my money back if possible. Anyone have a good (legal) ideas.
                                  "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by witherbee View Post
                                    I had checked out with the BBB and also contacted some former clients ..
                                    the BBB is really not a good clearinghouse, in my opinion.
                                    Last edited by clanter; Jan. 10, 2013, 08:58 PM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      All I can say is WOW!!! I am so sorry for all of you that have had these things happen to you. Right now I am counting my lucky stars that DH just does everything. We are just not trusting, that the job will be done right.

                                      That being said we put a new roof on the house last year. So did the neighbor up the road. The contractors crew came back 2-3 weeks after the job was finished and robbed the guy. Dont know how it ended up, but I do know the guy didnt get his stuff back, some of which were family heirlooms.

                                      After that DH totally swore of any and all contractors for life.
                                      Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        just sick with anger. as of now, my dear 79 yr old mom did contact a lawyer, and this guy lied and is not licensed or insured. He was directed by lawyer to collect his few items left at jobsite (wheelbarrow, ladder, a couple tools) at the end of the lane, that he is not welcome on the property. He was local, talked a big line, bragged on his integrity, how he'd do a turn key job, no other work taken until this job done, yada yada yada. WHO can LIVE with themselves when they take a kind 79 yr old woman and her money???? So furious.
                                        ayrabz
                                        "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                                        --Jimmy Buffett

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I once had a contractor come out and give me an estimate. I thought his estimate was high so I told him, I'm not ready to do anything yet, that I was waiting on a bonus check from work and I would get back to him in a week or two to let him know what my decision was. I didn't sign anything or agree to any service.

                                          I came home from work the next day and the work was done. I actually thought my dad and his friends might have come over and done it because I called him after I got my estimate to confirm with him whether my suspicions of it being high was correct. When I called him, he swore he had nothing to do with it.

                                          Turns out, the contractor came back when I wasn't home, did the work and sent me a bill in the mail. I called his wife, who was his office manager, and told her "No way did I agree to anything." And she had the balls to tell me "Well, we did the work and now you owe us for it. If you don't pay, we'll get a judge to put a judgement against you and get a lien on your house!"

                                          I was so ticked off! But, it turns out in my state, there is a law requiring a signed service agreement and any contractor who performs without one can be fined by the state, owe damages up to $5000 to the home owner and they can lose their license. I had my lawyer draft up a letter quoting this portion of the law and they shut up very quickly.

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