Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Contractor Lessons

You may recall we had a seemingly long list of items our buyer required be fixed.  The vast majority were "handyman" projects.  We called to have the carpenter ants dealt with immediately.  It was nice to check something off the list quickly.  I fixed the door jams myself.  Steve contacted the roof contractor who'd roofed the house for the previous owner, but vent gaskets weren't warranted with the rest of the roof.  We had to call a contractor to handle the mold found in the attic, due to vents that had come unfastened from the roof.  Soon we'd found another contractor who was a very nice and had ideas to save us some money.  He was willing to handle everything left on the list.  He was quite a talker, very interesting and appeared down to earth and knowledgeable.  He was going to have his crew handle everything that was left.  He'd write up a good bid within a couple days.  We waited.  We waited longer.  On the fourth day I emailed him to see what was up.  He promised it would be here by the end of the next day.  Nothing.  It showed up the day after that, looking like a rough draft - and no $$ included.  It appeared perhaps this gentleman was just not comfortable using the computer.  However, it was also difficult to understand what he was saying in his writing.  Time to re-think this...

There's a principle in the Bible that came to mind - that being faithful in the small things is rewarded with being trusted with the larger things.  I think it's the parable of the gold bags in Matthew 25.  In any case, this contractor said lots of great things, but lacked in the follow-through.  And if he didn't come through in the early stages, what problems might have arose in the midst of the work?  In the end we lost a week of precious time waiting for him to fulfill promises.  It was time to move on.

Instead, we called a handyman we've used twice before.  He's not the fastest guy perhaps, but does wonderful work, and understands his own strengths.  He does good work, does what he says he will do, when he says he will do it, for the price he quotes us.  We decided to reward his behavior with any parts of the current job list he felt comfortable with.  Also, we'd stick with the mold specialists for that task.  We want it done right and want to minimize any chance those vents might become disconnected again.

There are two remaining items - flashing & gaskets on the roof vents, and putting a post in the ground to protect the natural gas meter in our RV parking area.  Walt (handyman) recommended we call NW Natural for a recommendation on the gas meter post, and call the roofer on the vent gaskets.  Steve called NW Natural and learned they actually have people who handle those things.  We're waiting for that call to be returned.  Steve also called the roofing contractor again who said he'd send someone out to handle the gaskets.  We're still waiting for the timing of those later things to be worked out, but it's moving ahead again!  As I write this, a contractor who will reattach attic vents and clean up mold has arrived exactly on time.  I love that in a contractor.

The lesson I've learned (again) is that saving a few dollars isn't always the best goal.  Sometimes it's worth a bit more money to reward faithful behavior.  For $19 more we got a year's guarantee from the pest control people.  That was a no brainer.  The lessons just keep coming.  Also, just perhaps......, we can be out of the house by the end of next week ...

No comments:

Post a Comment