Friday, May 25, 2012

The "con" in contractor

I have had almost everything in my little hut rebuilt, painted or fluffed up over the years. I have had reliable handy types and some sleazies.

Ellen James Martin (AZ Republic, May 20, 2012) says you almost have to hire someone sometime. Even if someone in the household is handy, that person (cough, my kid, cough) will probably stall and divert until you run screaming into the night.

Just calling someone plunges you into the Uncertainty Zone! The job could be botched, you may need to pay to get it fixed, the person could be a tool, you could get hit with change orders, overcharges, this, that, and the other thing!

On top of that—there is the “I was waiting for the other contractor, so I am running late.”

Now, with everyone broke, the annoying idiots are really coming out.

Some tips: Book ahead and let the contractor fit your job in. This can save you money.

Don’t go to Yellow Pages or random websites. Ask friends or your real estate agent.

Get more than one estimate.

Visit homes where the contractor has worked.

Get everything in writing. The work to be done is clearly noted. Start and completion dates. Penalties for not meeting those dates.

But even that only helps afterward.

I recently had my roof replaced—usually a crapshoot starring gypsies, Irish travelers, and scammers. But I went kind of on instinct and picked about the fifth person who contacted me. It worked out.

Getting some cuttings transplanted—well, they were put in upsidedown. So now—my little flower bed? Sticks coming out of the dirt.

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