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Discussion Starter #1
This is more of a venting thread than anything. Lately, I've been spending a lot of money renovating my kitchen and ordering my new tank. In every instance, it seems nobody wants my money. I have to chase people around to get quotes and even after I get quotes, they don't return my calls when I order, or once the deposit has been paid, they don't follow up.

The stuff I'm ordering is all custom too, so it's not like it's cheap Home Depot stuff. So I don't understand it. Is it because of the change to HST? Or is the economy so good nobody needs my business? Just curious if everyone is finding this or is it just that my money is no good? :mad:
 

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I hear your pain, its crazy isn't it?

My personal philosophy is that if I need to chase them up for a quote, then I will need to chase them up to deliver the work on time so I avoid them.

I'm okay with someone telling me that they are busy and they will get back to me at xx date but not getting back to me with a quote is a big warning sign for me.

I don't do line ups to spend my hard earned $ either

Nor do I travel too far from home to shop for anything

:D
 

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Sorry to hear your frustration with this but its all too common. Not to paint everyone with the same brush, but most trades that I have dealt with will do the same. A few were exceptions. Once they got you hooked with a deposit or a started job, they drag their feet. They usually have many jobs on the go and I guess they jump around to each job. It's a real pita not knowing when they will be done.

I've dealt with one cabinet company that was fantastic. Not cheap but reasonable. (I had a 4x6 kitchen island ,cabinets only, put in for about $1800.) But they were able to quote me exactly, come out to my house to take a cabinet door for color matching, give me an exact delivery date, and install and deliver as promised. In comparison, Home depot wanted about $4k for the same thing. Let me know and I can pass the contact to you if you like.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey Gary - if you're having problems giving your money away, I'll take it ;) Hell, I'll even return your calls :p:D
Hahaha...thanks Shelley, I knew I can count on you, but I'm not giving it away. You have to sell me something. :p

I've dealt with one cabinet company that was fantastic. Not cheap but reasonable. (I had a 4x6 kitchen island ,cabinets only, put in for about $1800.) But they were able to quote me exactly, come out to my house to take a cabinet door for color matching, give me an exact delivery date, and install and deliver as promised. In comparison, Home depot wanted about $4k for the same thing. Let me know and I can pass the contact to you if you like.
Thanks Tony. Actually, we are redoing the whole kitchen, and everything is custom. The cabinets are being made by a guy I know, and it's all finished. The problem is the stucco guys and the granite countertops. Both are taking about 3 or 4 weeks longer than we wanted. I now have all cabinets in and the tile floor is being laid, but the walls are still tar paper outside and we won't have a sink for another 4 weeks since it's undermount. :( This job started on June 1, so it'll be about 11 weeks without a kitchen by the time we're done. That's the frustrating part. We were hoping it would be all done by now, but it's hurry up and wait.

And as for the tank, if I don't hear a call back today, I'm going to do something else. As Joseph said, I'm not giving money to people who don't want it.
 

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typical

don't mean to generalize, but isn't it true and typical for construction/renovation industry (regardless what state of the current economy is in)........
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think that generality stands for all contract work. They need to balance enough customers so they are working all the time. I've done consulting work, so I know how it is. But not calling people back...that's just bad customer relationships and something I am not handing my hard earned money for. As an old friend of mine once said to a salesman," I'm going to walk across the street and buy it from that guy for $50 more so just I can p*ss you off".
 

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Yeah, I dunno why this is so widespread. My dad and I were our own general contractors for our own house back about six years ago and what was supposed to be a six month project became a one year project. Trades just didn't care that they didn't show up when they were supposed to cuz they knew we were a one time deal. Before you know it, one trade backs up another and another. It was extremely frustrating. Even with substantial cash holdbacks to ensure completion and quality, a few trades just walked away from a decent chunk of cash.
 

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Its common for the home renovation sector of construction, not elsewhere. Commercial, new residential, industrial and institutional, you drag your feet, you lose not only a customer, but a general contractor. If you are ordering lighting, do yourself a favour, don't order it, go to the wholesaler, see what they have in stock and choose from that. I've been on jobs where we are held back because the 400 luminaires we needed are 3 months late.

As for Quotes, if its labour + materials, pay per hour and get the materials yourself, just have the tradesman make a list for you to get. Also pay daily, and get someone else if the person drags their feet or don't know what they are doing. My father only would do electrical for people under those conditions. Often times when it comes to quotes leave room for error, so its a fine line of seeming too greedy and not making money for the trademan, or if it's an italian it would be in multiples of $5000 only.
 

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I would definitely get a price fixed quote on labour. Paying by the hour just opens up a huge can of worms in favor for the vendor. If its price fixed, then any overages or feet dragging becomes the vendor's problem. Although really, I guess when things don't get completed on time, it is still your problem.
 

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I think the reality is that home renovations are not that much money for contractors. And not only that, because we ask for quote from different contractors, it's hard to be competitive in a market where there is too many contractors bidding for the same $2000 job. It's not worth spending half a day out at a person's house trying to figure out what needs to be done, and then sending in a quote for $2000. If a contractor charges out at $60, he just spent (or lost) $240 just to give you a quote. And at 10% profit margin, he only makes $200 on that job (i.e. he's pretty much losing money). And if another contractor low-balls at $1500, the first contractor lost all his investment ($240). Even though the reality is that the $1500 contractor bid too low, so he'll some how have to figure out a way to make up the $500... (i.e. make extra claims because there was "issues" with the original piping in the house). And really it may only keep one of his staff busy for 2 days for that job (i.e. if he can find a job that'll take his 5 man crew to complete in 3 weeks, it makes more business sense for him).

If you are really concerned about this the best way to deal with it is to have a proper contract in place. Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a good sample contract : Sample Renovation Contract | CMHC
The trick is to make sure that the contractor fills out the Payment Schedule. So if you have 5 windows that need to be replaced, you tell him to quote for every window he installs (that's pretty detailed by the way. A contractor might not like it). If he installs the first one very bad, and you are not satisfied you call a job stop. Tell him he's fired, pay him for that line items he completed only (i.e. starting up work, and the installation of the first window). Obviously this needs to be spelled out in the contract, and you both agree to the terms... Same goes for schedule
 

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I hear you on the lack of sevice .......they tell ya anything you want to hear and have no balls to back it up or follow through....I refer to it as LIP service
Big jobs little jibs....doesn't make a diff. The shop I worked at built a 30,000 sq,ft, building and the screw ups were stagering and people would not show up and cause other things to fall behind.
The one thing that blew me away was the building was to be 13 feet high but they made very steel I beam post 12 feet and had to add a foot.( discovered that after 23 of them were put up :eek:.....simple yep. but they added a foot to the bottom of some and a foot to the top ( what ever was easiest ) so all the brackets welded on in the first place were out of wack big time. Nothing fit right ...doh!!...6 months turned into just over a year :eek:.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, the latest twist in this is that I am no longer ordering my cube tank from the place I was working with. Apparently, even though I called 3 different times, the last 2 times to confirm that I wanted the cube. When I called today, they said they were waiting for me to confirm my order and put down a deposit to order my glass and that I had missed the bulk glass order, so now the price will be a one off order which will be at least 100 dollars higher.

That's just ludicrous as I had called last week just confirming that I wanted the tank and was waiting to hear a final price. I mean how hard do I have to work to give these people my money? Local businesses wonder why people do mail order. This is a golden example of why. If there is no personal service anyway, then why not go elsewhere to get the best price. I'm all for supporting local business, but not if I have to bend over backwards to give people my money. I'll take it to where my money doesn't stink.
 

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I hear you Gary. We've had a lot of home renovations done in the two homes that we've owned, and we've been through a lot of what you're saying here. For run-off-the-mill things like windows and roofs I found that it's pretty easy to fing out who is good and serious and to have the job done. But for more custom jobs, it can be crazy.

Each time I end up trying really hard to find someone that comes recommended and that I feel comfortable with. Start with a small-ish job and see how it goes. When it comes to the bigger jobs you can never really know where you'll get the best price anyway, so I'd rather stick with someone I trust and being happy with the work. To me the most important thing with a contractor. Trust. It might cost me more money at times, but I'm not even sure it always does, and it's worry free. I guess I've been lucky enough to find someone I end up trusting blindly. Otherwise it's a pain.
 

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WOW Gary!! That's just insane!
I can't believe that! You're better going off to somewhere else!

This is what I always say at work "We're pretty much all selling the same thing this time of age! You can go down the street and buy the same thing for the same price, at the end, it comes down to the service, it's not the product you're buying, it's the service" =/ Hard to believe people can be idiots! Good luck on your find!
 
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