Home Improvement

One of the most disruptive experiences in life has got to be renovating one’s living space.  Not only is it unsettling, it can, and almost always is, frustrating.  The cause for this frustration?  Contractors!

Anyone who has experienced renovation of any sort can attest to this exasperating service. Contractors will provide a suggested completion date and cost estimate for work and then go over the time frame and the proposed price. Count on it!  What is even more frustrating is that it’s an accepted practice.  The reason being once the job is started it cannot be stopped midstream; therefore you are up the creek without a paddle.

Contractors are in the service business.  It seems odd to me that this particular line of work is not held to the standards of other services.  I had my own business for close to 40 years.  I was expected to honor a contract once I identified the work and the cost for it.  It meant I had to get the work done in the time frame outlined and at the agreed price.  So how does this not apply to building contractors?

More times than not, and depending on the size of job, completion will be at best a month or so past promised and in more cases than not, it feels like a never ending process. The worker bees never finish the job.  Actually they are at the site off and on for weeks and more accurately, they are there for months.  Some days they show up; most days they don’t; and the rooms under construction are left uninhabitable.

Then there’s the matter of cost.  Within budget is not a recognized term.  Price agreed to is blown out of the water because upon installation of cabinets, plumbing or electrical work, that which was estimated is no longer valid.  It’s always over but never under the estimate. Curious!

I thought I was clever when I decided to redo my kitchen and a bathroom.  Rather than having the contractor purchase the cabinets, tiles, fixtures, etc. I would do it myself to save time. Everything would be arranged for delivery when the contractor would give me the date when work could commence.  Installation could take place without having to interrupt the work flow by waiting for parts and pieces.

And how did this work out for me? It was an exercise in futility.  I basically wasted my time.  Work can only be started when the contractor has the help he needs for the job and if he’s working on another (unfortunately contractors always have other work in progress) one has to wait until that other job is finished. And because that other job didn’t start on time …well you get the picture.

After what was to be at most a two- month in duration job is now in its fourth month and still no end in sight.  It’s like gum on my shoe.  Just when I think it’s coming to completion something else pulls it back.

The next time I want to update any room in my home I will first have my head examined.  It will be quicker and cheaper.

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4 thoughts on “Home Improvement

  1. Isn’t it the most frustrating experience you’ve had – EVER? In my 38th year as a Realtor I’ve seen it happen time and time and time again! There are contractors here in L.A. who bring a job in on time and on budget. We all know who they are and recommend them whenever possible. Yes, they are more expensive but there is money saved in the long run. I’ve seen homeowners sign an agreement with a contractor and offer a bonus to bring the job in on time and on budget.
    Many issues are often with the homeowners who make changes in the middle of a job which can halt the entire process with certain subs not being available due to the changes. There needs to be someone in charge and present every single day during the construction or it can be “Nighmare Alley!” Also three words work really well with a contractor who isn’t getting it together…. “You Are Fired!”

    • Just saw your comment Jay. Thanks for following my blog. The three little words are not applicable to contractors because the work started has to be finished. In the future I will have contractors sign an agreement that if work is not completed within a certain time they get a % less upon completion. At least it’s worth a try.

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