After the recent rains, I have been getting calls from a number of homeowners who have had leaks in their homes. It has been my experience, after a little probing, that these leaks are a direct result of recent works by remodelers who have not used proper procedures in the application of various building materials. In fact, one of them was a person who had called me in 2005 to bid the installation of a pair of doors in their bedroom. The homeowners opted to go with a remodeler that cost less money than the estimate I provided. Then just recently I was referred to them by another previous customer. I noted that the door had been installed without a sheet metal door pan so the water was running into the bedroom and leaking down to the dining room. I felt bad for the homeowner as now they have damages to their home that could have been avoided. In the long run, it will end up being much more costly than if they had gone with Randal G. Winter Construction in the first place. There is not much glory for a contractor to go around and fix other contractors mistakes. Most of us like to do a job right the first time and have happy customers. Think of remodeling your home or office like you would in selecting a doctor.
In medicine, there are pharmacists, researchers, and doctors. The doctors are the ones who see the people.
In construction there are Architects, Engineers and are builders and remodelers. The builders and remodelers are the ones who see the homes or job sites. All of these players have an important place in these two industries. But when it comes time to choose a doctor to do an operation hopefully you have done your homework. The same holds true for selecting a remodeler or builder to build or remodel your home or office.
Why then do home owners only sometimes interview multiple contractors? They also get three bids, and then often take the lowest bid. This often results in the job not being done properly. Is that how one should select a doctor?
The truth is it is just a lack of education. Most home owners just don’t know what they are getting into until it is too late. They shop by price and sometimes personality. Some contractors just don’t know how to execute a job or estimate a job. Of course some home owners don’t know the difference in products and certainly don’t know the difference in skill and code standards. “It looked fine when he finished,” they told me, “but now the window leaks and his phone number is disconnected.” The circuit breaker in the kitchen goes off every time I use the microwave oven. I called him to fix it and he said that would be an extra charge. “The wall texture does not match the rest of the house”. “The tile is already cracking around the tub and he said that it is not in his warranty.”
The truth is that if you hire someone who does not know all the details and scope of the job, then that person is not going to necessarily do a good job for you. If things are left off the estimate then he either is not going to do it or he is going to charge you an extra for it later. Does it not make more sense to have a complete estimate at the beginning and not have any surprises? If he does not put them in the estimate then how can he afford to put them in your job? Hence, the short cut! Where can he save if he is short in the estimate? Make you wait for the cheaper sub contactor to be available, buy inferior products, use unskilled labor to perform tasks that require a certain skill level. The possibilities are unlimited.
Do your homework. Your house is too large an investment to hire some one to mess it up. You wouldn’t hire a quack to perform your surgical operation so why take a chance on your home?
If you can not afford to do the job right, then wait until you can. Otherwise you might be paying more to do it twice. Also, consider doing your home improvement projects in stages as your budget will allow.
So, just like selecting a doctor, get references and ask questions. Make sure you are happy with your selection before any cutting.
To check out the going prices for various residential improvements go to www.costvsvalue.com.