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  1. #1
    PM Goo with your concerns OLO's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 10:54 AM
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    Default Home project advice from OLO.

    To those of you that are going to have some project done on your home this summer please read and follow my advice. I am a General Contractor, our company is family run and has been in business for 40 years. If you are planning on spending any money on your home this year get proposals!! Get more than one, I would suggest getting three!!

    Some of you are wondering why I would start a thread like this. Its not to solicit your business, its to help you not get ripped off. We don't do all types of construction, so I do not consider my self a expert on every types of construction by any means. I do however have more knowledge than the average home owner. In the past week I have been contacted by two friends that wanted advice for a friend or family member. In both of these phone calls they my friend felt the person was being taken for a ride. My main job with our company is estimating and project management. I spend the majority of my time figuring out much its going to cost OUR company to accomplish your job. After I have covered every base we decide how much of a prof fit we feel is fair to us and you. Its a very specific process, certain things cost a certain amount of money they are not up for negotiation.

    Many Contractors just toss a base price out at you and leave things open ended, this is where you are going to get into trouble. Sometimes it cant be helped, in the case of dry-rot in the walls or bug infestation. the Contractor doesn't know were it starts and stops, its hard for him to give you a specific price in this case. My concern is the contractor that gives you half a bid and leaves the rest open. They don't bid every aspect of your project, but plan on doing it all. You are going to get nailed in the end.

    One of my best friends from high school phoned me up. His Mom is having her basement remodeled. She is having a bathroom installed, and one section of the basement turned into a spare bedroom. This involves some plumbing, framing, drywall, paint, finish work and flooring. the Contractor she has hired received $20,000 up front, came in did a bunch of demo and left for two weeks and had not been back. He kept telling her he was waiting on the plumber. He showed up with the plumber on Friday, showed him what was to be done and they left. later that night she received a proposal from the plumber for $3,000. She was lead to believe that the plumbing was part of the original contract. I asked my friend how much the original proposal was for and for him to get me a copy. The proposal was for $45,000e just !!!
    People this is outlandish!! I wish I could get $45,000 for such a small remodel. I asked him if she received other bids? He said no that she just dealt with this one company. HUGE mistake!! He asked me what I thought a job like this would cost, I said roughly without knowing the specifics $15,000. Turns out she went and got a bank loan for the remodel. He faxed me the proposal and contracts, This proposal is such a joke it isn't even funny. He basically says we will remodel the basement to the owners specifications based on conversations I have had with the owner.
    1 Frame three walls.
    2 Demo concrete floor for plumbing.
    3 Plumber to run new drain line and appropriate water lines.
    4 Drywall new walls, tape texture and finish to owner specs.
    5 Install new door and window into bedroom.
    6 Installation of flooring in bedroom, carpet. A $500 allowance is given for flooring, anything above the allowance will be charged accordingly.
    7 Plumber to install and supply all new hardware.
    8 New bathroom vanity and toilet installed.
    9 Vinyl flooring to be installed into bathroom. Anything other than Vinyl is considered a change order and will be charged.
    10 New 1x4 MDF trim to be installed, the same materials will be used to case and trim the door and window.

    She never asked if the plumbing was included in the $45,000. The contractor never specified that it was. She is being ripped off on more than one account. I offered to meet with her and go over some stuff, I guess she is embarrassed and just wants it done. I told him they need to fire this guy and find someone else to finish the project. He certainly has NOT done $20,000 worth of work at this point. She has some money coming back to her!!!

    Another family friend had some work done on a home they had just purchased. The deck on the back was rotten and needed to be replaced, as did some of the siding. They phoned a contractor, he came out wrote a proposal and they gave him the job. The deck was pretty cut and dry, his price was right were it should be. He did leave the dump fee's off from the old deck and said he would do the siding work on a time and materials basis. the dump fee's came to $1,200.00 - that's HUGE!!! The deck was not 200'x400' it was 10'x12'. The siding repairs went well and his guys did a good job, but the bill was not good. Most company's in the Seattle area charge a guy out between $35 and $65 per hour for a carpenter. He billed his men out at $120 per hour, this is very high. Turned out he had hired some guys from labor ready to do most of the work. Labor Ready charges there men out $12 per hour. They are still fighting with this guy, he has placed a lean on there home and now Attorneys are involved costing even more money.

    If you get more than one proposal you have something to compare to. if the contractor knows he is bidding against another company he will keep his prices competitive. Let them know you are expecting other bids. Don't be charmed by some guy with a shinny new truck!! Just because he has a new shinny truck doesn't mean he is honest.

    If you are having multiple things done involving carpenters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, flooring etc etc. You can save a shit load of money by contracting each of these guys yourself. If you leave it all up to me I am going to charge 10% to 25% on top of all of these guys invoices just for handling the paperwork. They will work together, they know how to schedule around each other, they have done this before. A few phone calls and your own time will save you a lot of money. Another way for you to save money is for you to furnish things such as cabinets, hardware, toilets, sinks, etc etc. By you furnishing these items you will save yourself a big markup.

    We had a client a few years ago that wanted us to handle everything, they lived in the SanJaun Islands and had just purchased a condo in the city. We had agreed upon term that I would mark up all furnishing 18% and supply them with receipts. The condo was a second home so they could be close the there daughters. I phoned up our cabinet guy, he meet with them they chose cabinets. I received the bill from the cabinet company. I marked up the cabinet invoice 18% and made $2,600 for signing a check to the cabinet company. I turned around and invoiced the client. They could have saved a ton of money on this remodel had they just handled a few of the sub contractors themselves.

    The moral of my little rant here is dont be affraid to ask questions, get more than one proposal. Dont be afraid to handle some things yourself.

    I am more than willing to help any linker with any Construction questions. Please feel free to contact me.
    ((Just My Two Cents))
    And thats about what its worth.

  2. #2
    Damage your reputation seenbad's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 10:48 AM
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    Um, could you repeat that please?

    Thank you.
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  3. #3
    PM Goo with your concerns OLO's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 10:54 AM
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    I need to make a correction. I am more than willing to help any Linker Except Seenbad.
    ((Just My Two Cents))
    And thats about what its worth.

  4. #4
    Banned! pfloyd's Avatar
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    Labour Ready should be outlawed.I dont know how that can be legal.Carpenters up here in Vancouver (like me) are finally getting up to the 30 dollars range, which is only fair after the wage raping in the 90's.People gotta realise its bloody hard, and sometimes dangerous, work.If a computer programmer can make 70 an hour sitting in a comfy chair, why cant a Carpenter whos hanging of a roof putting up fascia? I say, the actual workers are the victims of bad contractors as well.

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk fast98dodge's Avatar
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    08.07.17 @ 08:14 PM
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    Listen to OLO, people!!!

    OLO, as you know (I think) I work in appliances. I see people all the time that are building/remodeling/etc... and hear horror stories all the time about people getting screwed over. I can honestly say if I was ever getting a house built or remodelled, there's only two or three people I would even think about using down here...

    For those of you who don't listen well...

    Listen to OLO, people!!!
    Last edited by fast98dodge; 02.27.06 at 07:39 PM.
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  6. #6
    Eruption lal5150's Avatar
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    06.16.12 @ 03:16 PM
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    i guess getting tim the tool man taylor is outta the question.

  7. #7
    Eruption lal5150's Avatar
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    on the serious side . i know somebody that had the same thing happen too him. finally went to court to get his money back.

  8. #8
    Baluchitherium Guitar Shark's Avatar
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    03.01.10 @ 10:22 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLO
    I need to make a correction. I am more than willing to help any Linker Except Seenbad.
    LMAO!!!

    This is a good thread. In my experience it is very difficult to find a good contractor. By "good" I mean a contractor who will charge a reasonable price and get the work done in a reasonable amount of time. I hate when contractors start a job and then leave it for weeks while they work on other jobs. Start one and finish, THEN move on to the next!!

  9. #9
    PM Goo with your concerns OLO's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 10:54 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Shark
    LMAO!!!

    This is a good thread. In my experience it is very difficult to find a good contractor. By "good" I mean a contractor who will charge a reasonable price and get the work done in a reasonable amount of time. I hate when contractors start a job and then leave it for weeks while they work on other jobs. Start one and finish, THEN move on to the next!!
    The main problem is the good ones are booked solid. We turn down a ton of work because we just dont have the time. I find it best to honest and let them know it would be three months before we could even think about starting. Right now we are booked until June.
    ((Just My Two Cents))
    And thats about what its worth.

  10. #10
    Baluchitherium Guitar Shark's Avatar
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    That makes sense. It is frustrating, though.

    Dear OLO,

    Please PM me if you can recommend any exterior painting contractors. We need to get our house painted this summer.

    Thanks,

    GS

  11. #11
    PM Goo with your concerns OLO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Shark
    That makes sense. It is frustrating, though.

    Dear OLO,

    Please PM me if you can recommend any exterior painting contractors. We need to get our house painted this summer.

    Thanks,

    GS

    I will get you a couple of names.
    ((Just My Two Cents))
    And thats about what its worth.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk BREW CREW's Avatar
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    08.27.17 @ 09:39 AM
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    In my line of work, I know that 2 out of 4 contractors are thieves or have guys on their "team" that are thieves.

    I recommend asking contractors where they get their supplies. If they let you know, go to that place and get an estimate on the same materials and compare the prices that were quoted to you by the contractor. If they are honest, like OLO, then you will expect a certain amount of mark-up or labor costs involved.

    If they refuse to let you know where they get their supplies, ask them why. If you do not get a good answer, then take your (hopefully free estimate) and go to a home center and ask a help desk or contractor sales rep. to make an estimate of all of the products that are included in your estimate from your contractor. Now, a lot of fly by night contractors DO NOT include every building materials or hardware type product in their estimate....so you need to go to a Home Center that you trust....or go to someone that knows wtf is going on. Remember, this is your money, so you need to make sure what you are paying for is what you are getting. There are a lot of options to making sure you are safe.
    After you get your estimate, compare that to what your contractor bid. Expect a little mark-up but then check your labor charge. IMO, all contractors should list all charges separately...meaning: Materials, picking up, handling and shipping, removing and labor. Ask for references, ask a lot of questions and see how they act.

    Like OLO said, get more than one bid!!! Be careful so you can enjoy your hard work getting the best home improvement.

    Ask OLO and I more questions, we have answers.
    seenbad, you are banned from this thread....
    Actually, I do believe seen has a lot of expertise in the "do it yourself" aspect of home improvement. So we have it covered. Just ask!
    Just go for it!

  13. #13
    Good Enough Phatie's Avatar
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    Here's a bathroom I remodeled for $1200. Do it yourself!



  14. #14
    Banned! pfloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Shark
    LMAO!!!

    This is a good thread. In my experience it is very difficult to find a good contractor. By "good" I mean a contractor who will charge a reasonable price and get the work done in a reasonable amount of time. I hate when contractors start a job and then leave it for weeks while they work on other jobs. Start one and finish, THEN move on to the next!!
    Thats good in theory, but in practice near impossible.The problems? Permits can take any amount of time to clear, and sub contracters arent always available when you need them.Then you may run into supply shortages.In the meantime, you got employees waiting to work , so you start another job to keep them busy, then the first one is a go and the second one is on hold cause you dont have the time to hire new guys etc.etc.It can snowball into a lot of delays.The general is still really just one link in the chain.......And then some are just slimey pricks......but those are in all walks of life.

  15. #15
    Atomic Punk BREW CREW's Avatar
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    Well, if you are a good experienced contractor, you have the permits cleared before the job, have your "team" of subs ready to go, and YOUR guys available for the job you promised. In theory, that is reasonable to expect for what we pay to get the job done. That should be the goal.

    I know reality is different, but if the contractor is organized, then there should be very little delay and no excuses for the customer that they did not know about up front!
    Just go for it!

 

 

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