Author Topic: Reliability of contractors  (Read 1467 times)

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Offline Deke

  • Posts: 236
Reliability of contractors
« on: May 21, 2016, 08:19 AM »
Just need a place to rant. I realize there are some contractors, of all types, who this doesn't apply to, but I am sick and tired of people I am paying to do work failing to show up on time, failing to show up at all, and failing to communicate about any of it. Who else can be like this in their work and keep their job? Not me. Not anyone I know. Even if I could, I wouldn't, because I take some pride in not only my work, but those I am supporting or serving. It is 2016 and we are all connected to the entire world 24/7. Even a simple one line g&d d%$^ text isn't too much to ask for.

I have a mason, highly recommended by neighbors that I trust, to do a $5-6k job. That's real money to me. Said he would start last week, nobody in sight, then an email, he will start Thursday, then he emails he will start Friday, then he doesn't show up at all. No email, no call, no text. In the mean time my wife and I moved a ton of stuff our of our garage and have it piled up in the back yard. I'm tempted to email him, "You start on Monday, or you don't start at all."

What is it? I try to be friendly and polite, but maybe that's my problem. Do I need to be a obnoxious jerk to get good service? We shall see. I just sent an email saying I need better reliability and communication, and that sending me a text takes about 30 seconds.

Sorry, end of rant.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 08:34 AM by Deke »

Offline bobfog

  • Posts: 838
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2016, 08:44 AM »
Caveat: Not all contractors are bad, blah, blah...

However, I've NEVER met a contractor who did what he said he would 100% of the time. I think it's a universal truth of contractors that they take on 10% more work than they can actually handle, underestimate by 10% how long a job will take and between the two run around like headless chickens leaving no time to communicate. They then get themselves into a catch 22 situation where they are so busy trying to keep customer's happy they don't have time to communicate properly and because they don't communicate their customers aren't happy.

Wouldn't beat yourself up over it. My tactic is to be Mr Nice Guy 95% of the time so if they really are starting to take the P!$$ and I start getting a bit nasty they know I've reached my limit.

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1257
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2016, 10:53 AM »
I would put everything back and start over looking for a new mason. My issue with contractors that don't do what they say is the pattern is likely to follow through to the job and after. So what do you think the response will be if an issue arises during or after a job?  Cut your losses, you've lost time and no money so far. But I hear you. This is exactly why I don't like hiring contractors. Often times I'm not saving time because I still have to invest time to find someone and 99% of the time there is some chasing involved. Very few businesses can run their show this way. Boggles the mind as you say.
-Raj

Offline windmill man

  • Posts: 671
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2016, 10:58 AM »
 [popcorn] [popcorn] [popcorn] [popcorn]

This could be interesting [unsure]

Offline Jozsef Kozma

  • Posts: 113
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2016, 12:47 PM »
As a contractor I feel lots of times the costumer is unreasonable
When the I take on a job I have timeframe
Most of the time when I don't finish in the timeframe the costumer wants and gets
additional work done
If I leave after completing the original work ,they are upset because they will have to
wait to bee rescheduled ( most of the time additional cost for set up also)
If I stay to finish , next costumer will be upset
I am very open with all of my costumers . I am always reachable
by phone , text and e- mail
Most of the costumers are returning costumers
Emergencies take priority at any time
Oh and if you want to talk bad costumer service please don't forget the car dealerships
If you own a van you a nobody
Ask how I know

Offline tony_sheehan

  • Posts: 110
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2016, 02:21 PM »
Deke, I don't pretend to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but if there's one thing I've learnt in my fifty-whatever years it's "if in doubt, walk away"

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3662
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2016, 03:54 PM »
When I as learning the (yes, mason trade) i wrked for several small contractors who were somewhat behind schedule due to over loading at the estimating stage.  When I first started me own business, i decided I would level with my custmers and give an honest starting time estimate.  It did not take long before i found that often, when i gave a starting date a month or so down the way, I would get a go ahead.  When i got to the job on day promised, others were already setting up, or the job was half finished. I had never been notified. Of course, those were the days when we did not necessarily have a written contract before starting.

Once I learned that writen contract was the only way to go, I made the discovery that customers liked to bug the sub well before starting date.  Once i got a good grouping of contractors and private parties to keep me busy, i would finally insist that they should not bug me for a starting date.  Just give me a completion date to work for.  from that point on, I never let them down.  We all got along fine from then on.

If I was working where I had to work my schedule in with other contractors, we would work out the schedule for the convenience of all.  But we did communicate with each other if there was any tie up expected along the way.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Peter Halle

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  • Posts: 11559
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2016, 04:14 PM »
He should have communicated better.  Also, as a contractor primarily working outside where his schedule would be affected by the weather he should have always note that his schedule may slide due to weather influences and work already in progress.

The weather on the Eastern side of the US has been its usual tough to schedule outside work for a contractor.  I too am experiencing issues with customers because I am booked and then you have a week long job elongation due to rain and everything gets bumped.  Communication, and honest communication is essential.

Peter

six-point socket

  • Guest
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2016, 05:26 PM »
Hi,

In my experience, with every project I hire a pro for comes one bad apple. (Speaking for Germany here ;) )

Most recently: Canopy for the front entrance. So I ask a highly recommended "contractor"/carpenter, who I have also bought some timber from in the past (hassle & trouble free) for a quote. He comes by, I show him what I want, he takes pictures and measurements promised me a quote & layout/design by end of the week. By that time I receive a quote from one of his sub-contractors (roofer) for roofing that canopy. I gave him another week before I called, his wife answered - oh yeah, he's on a job will get the quote done over the weekend. After another week I called and he's out again. After another 2 weeks, I was driving my car to a carwash wich is exactly vis-à-vis his offices/workshop, once I realized that I went over, rang the door bell, the wife (who else?) opened and told me how sorry she was, she knew I was promised a quote - and she'll make sure I get it fast.

Well that's been over a month now and I think 3 times, very politely asking for a quote is enough pampering. He doesn't want the job and could have said so - I still don't understand why he made his sub-contractor give a quote for their part if he obviously never intended to do the job.

Had another "contractor"/ come by yesterday, called today with the number, will receive his written quote on Monday or Tuesday.

Like I said, for a hundred good guys there's that one bad apple - and I tend to find those bad apples with extreme pinpoint accuracy ;)

That said, I have a lot of different trades/types contractors in my phonebook that are top notch. And one little mistake or mishap doesn't scare me away immediately - it can happen to everyone. But stuff like the above drives me up the wall...

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline Doug S

  • Posts: 394
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2016, 05:52 PM »
Unfortunately some very skilled tradesmen are not great at public relations.

It's very hard sticking to timescales, my wife thinks I should be able to program in my work 2 months ahead knowing exactly where I will be on any given day but it just does not work like that. I am guilty like everyone else of taking on too much work but it is hard to turn some jobs down.

The most important thing is communicating with clients and letting them know exactly what is happening.

Doug

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3664
Re: Reliability of contractors
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2016, 07:26 PM »
He should have communicated better.  Also, as a contractor primarily working outside where his schedule would be affected by the weather he should have always note that his schedule may slide due to weather influences and work already in progress.

The weather on the Eastern side of the US has been its usual tough to schedule outside work for a contractor.  I too am experiencing issues with customers because I am booked and then you have a week long job elongation due to rain and everything gets bumped.  Communication, and honest communication is essential.

Peter


I'm with Peter.  Communication is the key.  When I have a sub and they fail to show up on time with no notice, they're in default and they'll never be on my job again.  No exceptions.  When I'm the prime or the sub, I consider it to be a moral obligation to let my customer know of any issues that prevent my appearing timely.  Yes, weather does sometimes bear on the job to be done, but failure to communicate is inexcusable.  End of story. 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young