Contractors... Sheesh, can we hold people hostage with our skills any more adeptly?
Part of my self assumed duties in the Rail Museum is to deal with contractors. Finding them, managing their quotes, tracking the jobs and authorizing payment when the work is complete to MY satisfaction. OK I got some skills but there are some things that I just don't want to do because they are beyond my skill level. I can build a cabinet, put in a hardwood floor, refinish fixtures (wood fixtures that is) but I will not do plumbing, electrical repairs, masonry nor anything to do with metal forming or welding. Just ain't got the chops.
I have to find these people and get them to give me a quote in the first place. This is painful because it requires them to put down the doughnut and make their way to a potential job site. And following the consult which takes all of maybe a half hour of their day, there are some who want to charge me for their time.
Next comes the fun part... After working their bid into the budget and getting approval from the city, I have to actually get them to the job site. Now if you are relying on your skills to get paid, does it not behoove you to show up and actually do the work? The last guy missed the first appointment, did not work up a quote, did not do a follow-up with me to say there would be delays... Nope he went to Florida for vacation for a week instead. Followed by a trip to Atlantic City for another week, and when he finally did show up (three days after his equipment was delivered for the job) he found out that the job was too big for him to complete with the equipment he had. He and his crew used the man lift to haul a chunk of our broken chimney off and LEFT! He has not been back since except to collect his manlift in the dark of night.
Today I had a pair of real craftsmen in to complete a job involving repairing our main entrance following a fire. Yep we can get people to destroy the place but fixing it is another story. Well after taking the job in September I called the supervising contractor to get the doors every Monday, Then Every Monday and Friday. Then every other day including the weekend. Well the doors arrived yesterday after 5 false starts and though they were well made and rather beautifully done, not everything arrived for the installation and these guys were acting like I was bothering them. Hey I even bought doughnuts to get them there. Well for the last two days I have hosted these prima donas as they short cut the door frame, did a sloppy job of trimming the doors and cut the doors too wide for the opening. And today they actually asked me when they were gonna get paid as they packed their trucks after the sloppy unfinished job was left in their wake. Well The hardware is not in the doors, they wanted to leave a shim holding the transom window closed with a nail, didn't puddy the nail holes in the trim nor caulk the door frame. Paid???? "If you get your shit together and finish some simple no-brainer crap then maybe I will think of signing off the job so you can get paid." They did put the transom window hardware on but the rest is still unfinished and I had to nail into my hardwood floor to keep the doors closed. Did I mention they have had the doors since the fire in July 2006? AGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!! is contractorcide a crime or will I get off on a technicality?
Maybe a creed or an oath is in order for people to qualify for a contractor's lisence.
We who have skills should not take money for a job we are il-prepared to do.
We shall ensure we are prepared with the proper materials and tools to complete the job.
We shall take pride in our work and let it show in the end results.
We shall create, repair, finish or cobble our projects to the best of our abilities.
We shall take responsibilities for our mistakes and correct them without incurring additional cost to our customers.
We shall humbly accept criticism from those who we serve. And if they are right take action to correct what our customers find wrong. And if they are inccorect we shall explain the discrepancy and ask if they would like us to correct them for a fair price.
We shall provide a bill and ensure we accept pay when it is available and not because we over extended ourselves or need to pay for our next job with money from this one before we complete it.
I do not believe the customer is ALWAYS right but they sure get the right to have an opinion if they have the check in hand.
Ok boys and girls if you got a skill and the confidence to use it for cash think twice before you tread down this path. It's a lot of responsibility and you should be fair and responsible to the customers.