She went on about how shady all contractors are and how this guy was really “shifty” from the onset but hired him anyway. I asked her why she went with him. She said because he seemed to know what he was talking about and didn’t want to spend the extra time interviewing contractors. (Big mistake.) Just wanted to get on with the project and get it done. He said the remodel would take about three months. “Getting started” was over a year ago.
She gave him half the money down. He got started ripping the bathroom apart. Then he was gone. Three months went by with no contact. He was no where to be found. Would not return emails or phone calls. Then he shows up again and starts working with no explanation of where he’s been. Prison maybe? Who knows. He did about half the job. She says it is really lousy work. The floor tiles are installed crooked and lifting, the wiring is non-functional; overall it looks shabby. Then he disappeared again, but not before demanding more money to complete the job. Luckily she refused his demand.
So she brought in another contractor. He said everything needs to be torn out and started over. Said it looks like a kid was working on it. Everything is wrong. Nothing is done to code. No permits have been pulled from the city and there have been no required inspections at various points along the project.
She owns the home and has roommates. 3 bedroom, two bath. It was her master bathroom that was dismantled. For over a year she’d been sharing the common hall bath with her two other room mates. She says there’s tension in the house and her quality of life and her enjoyment of her home has dipped dramatically by this bathroom remodeling debacle. She’s lost room mates because of it too.
Now she’s wary of the new contractor because she thinks he’s cutting corners on materials and labor. She doesn’t trust anyone. She had locks installed on every door, room mate’s bedrooms, closets, and even a few cupboards because of theft and “mysteriously missing” items. Cash and other small valuables missing from her and her roommates. Things that were in drawers and closets, far away from the bathroom being remodeled.
She was very distraught over the entire situation. Not just the time and money she’s lost, but her trust in people and faith in humanity. All this distress and ill will from a seemingly simple bathroom remodeling project gone bad. So sad. And I’ve heard similar stories over the years.
I hate to see bad things happen to good people. It’s disgusting to me when one person treats another so badly, especially if he’s supposed to be a legitimate professional being paid for his service!
Finally the conversation turned toward me. She asked what I do. I told her I’m a home remodeling contractor. She turned red and said “Oh my gosh why didn’t you stop me from going on like that!” I told her I was not offended but would actually be happy to help her sort out her dilemma.
You see, it doesn’t have to be this way. A true professional should conduct himself accordingly, as a pro. As a respectable home remodeling construction advisor, as one trustworthy enough to be left alone in someone’s house and have the owner feel confident that their belongings are safe and sound.
A reliable contractor should show up when he says he will and do the job right to the best of his abilities. And in a timely fashion too! Get it done when it’s supposed to be done. Use high quality materials, have the right tools for the job, get all the required permits, etc.
So bottom line, if you want your bathroom remodel done right then do your research first. Find the best contractors you can and interview them. All of them. Don’t just hire the first one who shows up. Ask for referrals then take the time to call them. All of them. Check their online reviews too. Pick the one you feel can do the job the best. Don’t even worry about money at this point. Because with a GOOD contractor you get what you pay for. He may not be cheap, but he shouldn’t be overly expensive either. And you’ll find he saves you money by doing the job right the first time.
Think of all the time, money and hassle you can save in the long run by hiring the right contractor for a fair price before the job starts. Call me if you need anything. Ask me for referrals. Watch me show up on time and be professional. I’ll always be upfront and honest with you. Not ALL contractors are bad. I promise.
Marc Gieselmann, contractor
Location: Poway, CA