Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Here's the Plan...

This morning I am sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee waiting for yet another contractor to arrive to provide me with an estimate for our patio. In the past month we've had four contractors visit and promise us a quote and drawing of plans. To date, we've received (1) drawing + quote, (1) email with quote, (1) quote, and (1) contractor who has yet to contact us with anything in over a week. I'm beginning to think these guys play games with people and I'm getting annoyed.

The first guy who came over was the uncle of a friend of ours who owns his own company. He was great. After coming over to do a site visit, he left and promised to fax us the plans within two days. The following day he called me, asked for a fax number and sent us a drawing (similar to below) and a quote. It was a little higher than we'd like to spend so we hung on to it while we collected more estimates.

As you can see, we want most of the yard to be consumed by the patio. That was our original intent, until the stairs on our pseudo-deck collapsed on one side last week. [The deck is more or less a 5x7 landing with stairs leading into the yard. No worries though, Jared got deck screws and bought us a few more weeks with the old stairs by securing them back into place.] I figured it was a sign from up above that we should look into replacing the deck while we're at it. So I called a contractor who specializes in decks and patios. He seemed promising and got me really excited about making the deck larger and moving the stairs to the far right side nearest the fence to provide more storage beneath the deck. He even talked about a track solution that can be installed under the decking to keep rain water from draining onto items we store down below. I envisioned a lattice gate hiding our lawn mower and storage box from plain site. Of course, this is the one guy who hasn't called, emailed, or providing any sort of quote or plans, even though he said he would email me last Monday. (Now I'm annoyed.)

Initially I'd heard that contractors are looking for work due to the slow economy and we'd have to trouble finding someone reliable. Now I'm beginning to think they are waiting for someone with a bigger house to request work and they don't want to bother with our townhouse. Maybe I'm being ridiculous, but I think it's reasonable to follow up on your word and provide a potential customer with the information you promised. Am I alone on this? Does anyone out there have any advice to share? This is our first outdoor project so I have no idea what to expect as far as budgets go, which is why I'm getting multiple quotes. I'd love, love, love to have the patio and deck done before the summer ends... but at this rate, I'm losing hope.


Whitney said...

I know exactly how you feel!! This same exact situation happened to me, I wait for them to come over, and try to communicate with them (my spanish has deteriorated over the years) and they say they will fax me over an estimate within 24 hours and nothing, and after 2 messages left by me on their "phones" I just say to heck with them. I honestly was just persitent with a referral from my mom. His english was very minimal but I just kept calling him constantly (every day) until he gave me a quote which was by far the cheapest I had found. He is already starting the work and should be done tomorrow! I don't have as much work as you do, but I also suggest maybe going to a nursery (plants, flowers, and trees of course) and asking if they have any one that you could use that was reliable and afforable. I was at the nursery yesterday near my house and there were about 6 signs up for contractors for patios and decks. Just a thought. Good Luck, and sorry for the long post!

Anonymous said...

ugh! That's terrible! My husband is a contractor and he's constantly putting bids any for ANY kind of work. There is no excuse right now not to! I hope you find someone truly reliable. I'm not sure what state you live in but have you checked your builder's association listings? Or other listings of that sort? Maybe you can find some better contractors there. Either way, to just not call back or do what you say you're going to do, is not a good indication for how their workmanship, and efficiency are going to be. These non-callers sound like you'll eventually be going to Mars and back to get your work finished and done properly. You don't want that!