Well, here it is a week before Christmas and I still haven’t picked a contractor to do my renovations. I have sketched my house plan I’m guessing maybe 50 times. I know where I want my new walls. How my new kitchen and bathrooms will be arranged. I know the color of the cabinets and counter tops. The flooring. The style of light fixtures I want and where they will be placed. I’ve window shopped for plumbing fixtures. The garage door has been chosen and quoted. Yes, you could say I am more organized and decisive in that area than most people who are starting a reno. To date I’ve had four sets of contractors in my home. Honestly, the last contractor I had here, I really thought I was going to go with. I liked him. He was confident and I got along with him well.
After all the experience with contractors I’ve had in my home I’ve broken it down like this….
I think choosing a contractor is a lot like picking a mate. The chemistry has to be there. The feeling has to be right. Trust and reliability play a major roll in the decision. They have to understand you and when they do understand you, they have to accept you. Although money plays definite role in any husband/wife relationship, the one thing that’s different with the contractor/client one is…. I’m the only one forking out the dough. There’s no equal part in this regard. No sharing of the household expenditures. No, I’ll pay the mortgage and you pay for the groceries and gas bill…. So with that one fact in mind, yes, I am indeed their proverbial Sugar Mama. The contractor/client relationship is likened to having a giant honey-do list where the contractor can never feed you this next line….
“Hun, I don’t feel like fixing the toilet and putting in a new tap set. I’m going golfing with the guys, I’ll do it next weekend.”
Let me just say that this above statement just doesn’t fly when your hard earned cash somehow makes it’s way into their pocket book. By now you know I don’t like freely dishing out my money. That’s not to say I won’t, but there has to be good reason. If I’m going to pay for something it better be a fair price and it better be exactly what I was expecting.
What’s happened so far…..
Contractor #1 – I had these guys in prior to purchasing my home. At this point I pretty well knew what I wanted. I’ve tweaked it a bit from then but not a lot. This quote was a less than I thought it would be. They were more into drywall and finishing than the complete package.
Contractor #2 – This was the jerk I told you about who walked around with his chest puffed out like he was the, be all, end all of contractors. I also suspected he went behind my back to put an offer on this house to steal it. His quote came in for the interior of the home at around 10% - 15% higher than the first contractor quote.
Contractor # 3 - I haven’t mentioned him in my Blog yet. Peter was the one who fixed my leaking chimney in my last house. A friend, specifically for my chimney job, referred him to me. While he was fixing my chimney we got talking about my post and beam and he let me know he and his partner also did renovations. When I moved into my Atomic Ranch he brought his partner over to go through the house to do a quote. His partner looked a little scared of the amount of work that needed to be done. The quote came back, very late I might add and was very lax in what the price included. The price was a little more than my very first quote but was fair. I asked Peter for a more detailed quote into what was included for the price. It was taking forever to get that back as well. In the end I received a call from Peter saying he was very disappointed in his partner and that he was going to refer me to another contractor who he knew. This is where
Contractor # 4 comes in - This is the contractor I thought would be my Knight in shining Armor. The one who could deliver what I wanted for my house for a fair price. The one I could trust. The one who would be honest to this fair Maiden. He was going to be my Mike Holmes and make everything right….
After I got his verbal quote back, which was double what my very first quote was on the house I’m questioning everything! I asked him to write me up a quote explaining where my money was going. His exact words were… “I’m not spending my time writing up a quote if I’m not going to get the job”.
What!!! Are you freaking kidding me? I thought. I basically told him I wasn’t accepting any quote until I knew exactly what I was getting…ON PAPER! I’m not going to go into the costs here but lets just say I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting a fair deal for what he was going to give me.
I was now at the point where I’m sure any single girl would be
Yes, I was upset
Yes, I was panicking
Yes, I needed advise
Yes, I questioned whether buying my beloved Post and Beam was a costly mistake