Thursday, May 12, 2011


So as I’ve mentioned before our house is 111 year old, approximately. As with any home that old or a home that is new to you there are going to be thing you need to get repaired. Some you can do yourself, others not so much. For us there were two issues that the selling bank agreed to fix that were beyond us and as a result we had to get two to three quotes for the work. The first issue was a two part issue in the basement there was evidence of termites on the steps:

This required us to get two estimates the first estimate was for treating the termites and the other for repairing the damage to the steps. So this is where I start to get baffled about how contractors come to their pricing. The first termite company quoted us $400 to treat 60% of the home (basically the basement), another termite company after providing us with a 50% discount because they forgot our appointment and had to reschedule gave us a quote of $800. But that’s not where the huge variations stop.

For the stairs we got three quotes: one for $400, one for $700 and another for $1,500.00. And yes all three quotes were for the exact same thing. Reading the quotes it’s word for word almost what they are going to repair, what they provide, etc.

Finding a contractor in general is hard time consuming work. It starts with selecting who to give you a quote, I first go to yelp, service pros and email a ladies group I’m in (this has 1,000 members) and inquire about whatever type of contractor I am looking for. I investigate their rating and any reviews, I research if possible whether or not they are licensed or have any complaints with the Better Business Bureau. I then contact the Contractor to schedule my estimate. For the most part the Contractors we’ve had have been on time for the estimate, IF they’ve shown up at all. And we’re running about 1 no show for every 4 that show.

So the Contractor arrives and some just walk around with us as we go through our list not taking a single note or picture (they must have better memories than I do because I still keep a list), others make detailed list and take pictures, some are in between. Then they leave and we wait and wait and wait. Finally after 10 days I email them and say “Hi we met 10 days ago, are you going to be sending a quote for the work on our house”…and then I wait. Finally we get the quotes and they vary not only in price but in how they appear. Some quotes are so poorly put together I think to myself “If the work they are doing for us would have this little put into it the house will fall down”. Others I think this is a fabulous quote, which is probably why they want 3 times as much as their competitors to do the job. Other’s never ever get us a quote.

What’s been your experience with Contractors? How have you found them?

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