Working toward exterior improvements....


  #1  
Old 09-22-07, 03:04 PM
T
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Working toward exterior improvements....

A few years ago, my mom bought an old farmhouse. Improvements have been slow... a new roof one year, windows the next, etc. However, now she's now ready to move along -- and is needing a few repairs, a new porch floor and siding, soffits and facia all-around.

The problem seems to finding a contractor (there is only one certified vinyl installer in the entire state!); only one that's come is licensed and insured. We live in a rural area... the two largest towns of 10- to 12,000 are about 40 miles away.

We've talked to several local contractors... given each a list of the things to be done (so there'd be no question), along with a note explaining how the bank wants the quote broken down, and specifics on what siding products we've chosen, etc. -- All typed up and plain.

It's turned into frustration... We might wait a month for a quote; or the quote is not broken down; or major materials are left off; or they have no contract ("my word's good"); or promise references, but never send them; or don't have workers' compensation insurance for their helpers (the state requires it); one substituted plywood for treated 5/4 on the porch floor (how smart is that?); another wants to side over rotten wood ("you won't see it"); and three now want me to shop for and buy all the materials, etc. I could go on and on....

This is my first experience at hiring a contractor. What gives? -- How can I trust these folks to do a good job? Am I expecting too much?
 
  #2  
Old 09-22-07, 03:24 PM
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It is always difficult to include every detail in a proposal and/or a contract that satisfies all of the parties involved. Especially in a rural area, many times things are done on a hand shake.

Why not write the contract yourself, with a list of requirements that the prospective contractor must be able to meet in order to get your job.

List the materials, brands models and styles, when available that you want to be used on the job - after all its your house.

List the work that you want from demolition to finished product.

Instruct the prospective contractor to include all of the listings in the proposal/contract and give them a time limit
to get back. Be bold, be fair, but above all don't be taken advantage of.

Obviously, this approach will require some legwork on your part. But in the end you will get what you want not what someone else thinks you want.

Make copies and give it to the prospective contractors

Good Luck
 
  #3  
Old 09-22-07, 03:37 PM
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I would add....... ask and check references. Not all contractors have good verbal and writing skills. The main thing is to hire a contractor that is honest and does good work.
 
  #4  
Old 09-22-07, 07:02 PM
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Thanks for your replies and suggestions. I'll re-work the job description with more details/requirements and try again!
 
 

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