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Old 06-24-2013, 01:58 PM
 
9,238 posts, read 21,030,210 times
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Just had to jump back in and share this. It's been 2 1/2 months of calling and calling 12 fence contractors in my area, and finally this week I have a few (3) coming out to do an estimate.

How crazy is that, that businesses just don't call back? I even keep them all in a spreadsheet, with the dates I called and left messages, dates I called when there was no answer, and dates I reached a human being who said they'd come out for an estimate but never did.

Here I am holding up 5 grand ready to give it to someone, and no one will get in line! Sheesh.
Even if they're busy, they could at least return a call and say "Look we're really swamped, can we get back to you in a few weeks? We'll give you a 5% discount." THAT I would appreciate, even if they called back and said they were busy and DIDN'T offer a discount.

One place told me on 5/20 that he'd do an estimate in the next few days, and a month later....nothing.
Another place told me on 6/6 they'd do an estimate in the next few days, and they just came today 6/24!

Then the first written estimate I actually received had the incorrect info in it (wrong kind of wood, wrong height) even though I had been uber clear. I hope the other two do better.

This is ridiculous! How do people get any work done on their homes if this is what contractors are like?
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:15 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
20,419 posts, read 42,131,920 times
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Not all contractors are like yours.
I am currently having a major exterior remodel, and my experience is totally opposite of yours.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:42 PM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,620,454 times
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I think the majority of contractors are more like Tracy's and less like Pitt Chick's. At least that's been my experience. Theyt just don't phone back. They don't show up when they promise. They don't send you the estimate in a timely manner. When we discovered a leak in the roof of the house we moved into six years ago (three weeks after the move), my heart sunk because I knew I would have to start dealing with contractors, and it was just as bad as I imagined it would be. It took a year to sort out the problemn, and I was left with a terrible anxiety disorder. No joke, that's how much I dread them. But I'm better now.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:57 PM
 
9,238 posts, read 21,030,210 times
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Tell me about it! Don't even get me started on roofers!
I had a leak in my upstairs ceiling a few years ago (to the point where I had to put a small bucket underneath to catch the drops). I looked up lots of roofing contractors, called a bunch about an estimate. Left messages. Didn't hear back, called again and left more messages. Repeat. Repeat. After like 4 months I just bought a can of "Flex Seal" from the "As seen on TV" store, and sprayed it on the roof where I thought the leak was starting, and sprayed some more in the attic over where I thought it was dripping. It probably isn't the best job, but it's not dripping in my bedroom for now. Good thing I didn't have something like a tree through my roof!
You'd think that if they were all that busy, more contractors would open for business to fill the demand.
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:45 PM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,620,454 times
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Ohhhhh....roofers. Our roofer in Chicago was a neighbor who had roofed half the homes in the subdivision. So before we put the house on the market, we had him do a new roof. It was an excellent job. But we were naive and didn't think to ask if he had pulled a permit. We didn't think to ask if he was licensed to do roofing in Cook County.

No permit. No license. The building department came after us bigtime. An inspector had been driving through the neighborhood on the day our roof was going up. We were reported. It was a long and very weird chain of events that culminated in our getting the permit after the fact, but the building department still turned our case over to the State of Illinois for suit. Yep, the State's Attorney sued us. The week we were set to close on the sale of our house.

It all worked out, but wow, I was on pins and needles for four months!! That whole debacle cost us $2000, and the roofer got off Scot free.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:28 PM
 
Location: NC
8,057 posts, read 10,890,283 times
Reputation: 17230
One surprise I had when getting estimates for a fence in Virginia was in the differences between how much companies wanted as "up front" money, and how they handled contracts. One place wanted 50% up front, but "didn't worry" about having a contract. Uh, no.

There also was a 2X difference quoted in the final prices. One group had high expenses, they said, because they used better wood from such-and-such lumber company. But they did a whole lot of higher end work, including for the city. Right.

I never did build the fence because I decided to sell the house, but I would have chosen the guy who specialized in residential projects, had an extensive portfolio of photos, made good suggestions, and also ended up charging the lowest price.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:07 AM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,620,454 times
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I just want to add here that if you're looking to hire a contractor, stay away from that popular website that charges you an annual fee. You know who I'm talking about: Angie. Not only are the contractors not nearly as upstanding as they want you to believe, you get charged annually for subscriptions you don't want -- and at doulbe the normal rate. I was charged $108 a year for three years running. I didn't notice the first two years and couldn't get that back, but I did notice it this year, and I didn't have to pay it. I also had Visa put a block on them ever charging my account again. We found our last contractor, a painter, on HomeAdvisor, a free service. We were extremely pleased. Do NOT pay for a contractor referral service, EVER.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
41,990 posts, read 54,773,523 times
Reputation: 118414
^^^ Great advice. We tried that Angelic list once, the contractors sent out were all sub-par. Some looked like they just got out of rehab. Few could give intelligent specifics.
We ended up getting contractors through referrals from people we know and then we vetted them.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,503 posts, read 49,161,872 times
Reputation: 47659
I wanted my yard professionally treated with pre emergent this year. I had to call 4 times to get the company we had used in the past to come by. Finally I asked to speak to the owner or have his e mail. I told him business must be pretty good for me to have to practically beg for my yard to be serviced. It was the next day he personally came out to do the work and he did it for FREE saying he had fired the woman who let phone calls go unanswered and business slip. so don't think the business owner is all the time at fault. Sometimes people put their trust in incompetent hired help.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,503 posts, read 49,161,872 times
Reputation: 47659
Also have to add that having a HOA and a good circle of friends does wonders for getting the best workers. Our HOA is very active with almost weekly e mails about people soliciting in our neighborhood, lost pets, etc. and folks wanting recommendations for a house painter, roofer, handyman. If a worker can get in good with a whole neighborhood this is better than any advertising.
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