Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What Is It With Contractors These Days?

It seems no one wants any work! I guess this is what happens when you live in an area that has a mad housing market.

I'm getting some work done on my house - we needed some drip irrigation lines installed in the backyard, my fountain is leaking and needs to be fixed, and I'm having a bunch of electrical work done inside the house.

I had to call 5 companies to get someone to install the drip lines. Three companies never returned my call and one said they only do work within a 10 mile radius from their office. The fifth guy returned my call after about 3 days. He missed his first appointment and, about a week later, came out for an estimate. The work was finally done yesterday.

Similar problems with the fountain - no one wanted to work on it. I finally got a referral from a local real estate investor. This guy came out to look at it, again after missing his first appointment (but, to be fair, he missed it because he broke his ankle). He gave me some things to try, which I did, and I verified it was the fountain that was leaking and not something else. I called him back and again, he didn't return my phone call. A couple days later, I got hold of him and he said he didn't call back because his dad had to go in the hospital for heart surgery. So that delay is understandable too. But he was supposed to have fixed the fountain on Monday or Tuesday and it's still not done.

The electrician I am using has great referrals and is doing work for some family members. However, it took him three weeks to come out and do the first half of the job. For the second half, he needed to order some parts. He was supposed to be back Monday to finish and he never showed up. He's a great electrician and works fast, but he is just really busy. It's frustrating.

So I've been spending the last 1.5 months trying to get these little tasks done. No one follows up on their own and I have to babysit each person. Argh!

Ok, just had to vent. I'm going out of town next week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so no updates here for a while.


Steve said...

I've noticed this in just about every service industry. When demand is greater than supply, the service stinks. When demand is less than supply, the service is (generally) better. A good example of this was when we went to a home improvement store on a Tuesday evening several months ago. I had several employees ask me if I needed help, while they stood there twiddling their thumbs. We went to the same store the following Saturday, and I couldn't get one person to even answer a question for me, let alone actually assist me.

Anonymous said...

Try using a contract that has very specific job detail, start and end date,a hold back of last payment amount of say 15-20% for 72-96 hours to allow final approvial by you for the work done and have a monitary penality for being past due. If they say the job will take 3 days, give them 5 and if it goes beyond that it's $150/day up to say to 7 days past due date, beyond that the rest of the contract is null/void. Make them accountable! They know what to expect, when to expect it, what the price and consciences will be if it isn't done and then FOLLOW THROUGH if they don't fulfill their obligations. No muss no fuss and no babysitting.:)

Shaun said...

The problem isn't really them not finishing a job - it's getting them to come out and start in the first place. I haven't paid anyone a dime yet - well, I paid the electrician, but only for the half of the job he finished.

The good news is the fountain guy came out and he did fix the fountain. The drip line guys did come out and install the drip lines.

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