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Catch a Contractor TV

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  • Catch a Contractor TV

    I'm watching the show now. It never ceases to amaze me how intelligent people get ripped off by these fly by nighters posing as contractors. There is still no legislation here in Ontario protecting people from unscrupulous con men, and women. The only recourse is to try and get blood from a rock in civil court. My wife says it's staged but I know guys that have had it done to them. And these are not stupid people, many are professionals. I have a saying, of course, " Stupidity is a DNA thing, it is passed down through the gene pool so it's not the fault of the stupid one, however those with a semblance of intelligence that does stupid things are ignorant." Including I over the years.
    Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

  • #2
    Do hear/see these kinds of things happen way to often. I to could have been taken a couple times if the contractor wanted to pull a fast one. Research is the best bet, and amount of money up front is the key, at least for me, as to how much. You only need a small amount to make the contract legal. Someone wanting 1/3 or more up front is either doing work out of their own check book or their is an issue
    94 Formula 27PC Custom 509MPI MEFI3 , B3 XR
    95 Rinker 232 w/ 7.4L Carb 0F425011 B1 0F486471
    07 Seadoo GTX
    Merc Adults Only VP Adults Only
    G-Dad always said "First Liar doesn't stand a chance"

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    • #3
      I think the safest bet is to hire locally. Our little 130K metro area/county has plenty for any work needed. Get at least two quote/estimates against your simple work specification to insure an apples-apples comparison. I pick a well known TV advertiser and at least one established small guy. I saved 17% on an HVAC upgrade last fall by going with the small guy. Same Rheem furnace & condenser. Great service. And apparently adequate margins for Mr. Small. Smaller overheads I guess.
      '96 Larson 174 SEI BR. 4.3LX 4 bbl Weber s/n 0F786604. Alpha One Gen II s/n 0F709315

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      • #4
        Referrals and carefully reading contracts has been the only things that I feel make me confident in the people I hire. I know some folks who hired a "friend" and wound up in court for five years fighting to keep from paying him thousands of dollars.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by southkogs View Post
          Referrals and carefully reading contracts has been the only things that I feel make me confident in the people I hire.
          Ive spent the past 30 years in contract management and negotiation.

          Reading a contract and understanding the implications of what you just read are two different things. I.e. consequential and incidental damage exclusions.

          With 30 years experience under my belt, I still have a corporate lawyer on speed dial

          Keep in mind, the contract is designed to protect the company from you. Not the other way around.

          Your typical “consumer” contract is as worthless to you as a roll of toilet paper if push comes to shove in a court of law.
          ....

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          • #6
            Agree, check local small against bigger, and spend the time to get direct comparison, as much as possible. Don't forget about insurance considerations. A small/local/quality contractor with local referrals can be good - if they're good, they want to maintain good reputation, and may even have to drive by your house often. Agree, using friends can be trouble - even if they're good, can you get 'em to show up, or are they prioritizing another job that has (or might have) a better margin, need to keep other workers busy on another job, etc?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dingbat View Post
              Keep in mind, the contract is designed to protect the company from you. Not the other way around.
              Exactly why I read them! I had a (not) short (enough) stint in the apartment industry. Taught me a lot about contracts - and why often you need a lawyer to help you figure out, just as you said.

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              • #8
                I had a contractor bid on an addition on my house. He told me that they have been in business for over 35 years had all kinds of experience and knew all there was to know about a renovation project. Then we got down to the numbers and the final $ amount except there was not a real final $ amount he told me to expect 20-30% more for overages and unexpected. I told the guy 35 years experience and you still reserve the right to be wrong by 30% of the total cost?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by harringtondav View Post
                  I think the safest bet is to hire locally. Our little 130K metro area/county has plenty for any work needed. Get at least two quote/estimates against your simple work specification to insure an apples-apples comparison. I pick a well known TV advertiser and at least one established small guy. I saved 17% on an HVAC upgrade last fall by going with the small guy. Same Rheem furnace & condenser. Great service. And apparently adequate margins for Mr. Small. Smaller overheads I guess.
                  I agree 100% harringtondav, but the problem out where we are in a county of 45,000 if anyone has any skills they are booked up for months or more. That leaves "contractors" that can't read the business end of a tape measure and people hire them. I don't know if you guys know a TV guy here in Canada named Mike Holmes. I met him when we were in business and told him this. A guy loses his job in a mill or what not, throws a skill saw in his truck, a tape and cell phone on his belt and a pencil behind his ear and calls himself a contractor. He stole it and says it on TV often. Where's my cut Mike?
                  Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                  • #10
                    I can do most things myself and at least know enough to test knowledge prior to hiring. Never had a big enough project do worry much about a contract.. I did hire out the dry in work for our just completed back patio. I always buy materials myself and pay cash along the way as work gets completed. Tough to find good people but think I finally did. He's done a few minor thing and helped the boy on some ductwork.
                    1979 Carver Montego 2357 | 260 Mercruiser upgraded to Alpha | 2006 Nissan 15hp kicker

                    Girls cry and boys fart in front of friends, but girls fart and boys cry in front of true friends.

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                    • #11
                      Talk about timely. Just today a new episode of Judge Judy dated 2019, a Lawyer is suing a "contractor" for ripping him off. All Judge Judy could say to the Lawyer more than a few times was " How can someone that has 2 degrees be so stupid." The lawyer did get his $2750.00 because the so called contractor made up a phoney invoice where he spelt the name of the material supplier incorrectly.

                      I hope I never have to appear in front of Judge Judy. Law doesn't come into play often because she has ESP.
                      Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by redneck joe View Post
                        I can do most things myself and at least know enough to test knowledge prior to hiring. Never had a big enough project do worry much about a contract.. I did hire out the dry in work for our just completed back patio. I always buy materials myself and pay cash along the way as work gets completed. Tough to find good people but think I finally did. He's done a few minor thing and helped the boy on some ductwork.
                        That is my frustration Redneck joe. I know exactly what to do and how to do it but my body won't let me. This getting old sucks. Going on 4 months since I woke up with a stiff neck. Arthritis everywhere, no cure and it might not get any better. I'm 2" shorter than in Sept. Either that or everyone is 2" taller
                        Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Old Ironmaker View Post

                          That is my frustration Redneck joe. I know exactly what to do and how to do it but my body won't let me. This getting old sucks. Going on 4 months since I woke up with a stiff neck. Arthritis everywhere, no cure and it might not get any better. I'm 2" shorter than in Sept. Either that or everyone is 2" taller
                          That's my predicament. I've learned to do it all. 24 yrs ago I finished my lower level. Everything, framing, plumbing, elect. drywall, etc. Never hired appliance repair. I beat myself up for four years with two large retaining walls and two decks at our river place. Then the piper came for payment. Scolliosis, spondylosis, stenosis.

                          I'm waving off to a contractor for another retaining wall. I'm going to try a 600 sq. ft. lower level finish job at the river place. Thinking I'll hire my pal's kid for closely supervised work once I get over my head - er, back.
                          '96 Larson 174 SEI BR. 4.3LX 4 bbl Weber s/n 0F786604. Alpha One Gen II s/n 0F709315

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                          • #14
                            It's hard to admit, but I got taken by a contractor for over 10k a couple years ago on a post fire rehab job that I'm still recovering from. In Wisconsin, if the contractor does ANY of the work it becomes a civil matter instead of criminal. Turned out the guy lost his license just weeks before I contracted with him. All the State Attorneys office could do was fine him for some contract violations. I'll never see a penny of it.
                            - Eric

                            Somers, WI

                            Old enough to know better - but crazy enough to try anyway

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                            • #15
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                              I hope I never have to appear in front of Judge Judy. Law doesn't come into play often because she has ESP.
                              Only watch the show maybe 2 times, and have seen the start of the show more before I change the channel, but do remember something about the parties have to agree to go on TV, and all cost are covered by the TV show

                              I'm waving off to a contractor for another retaining wall. I'm going to try a 600 sq. ft. lower level finish job at the river place.
                              The Admiral and I installed about that distance a couple times using the interlocking stones. If your going that route, the hardest part is get the first row flat and level and buried. Once that's done, its easy
                              94 Formula 27PC Custom 509MPI MEFI3 , B3 XR
                              95 Rinker 232 w/ 7.4L Carb 0F425011 B1 0F486471
                              07 Seadoo GTX
                              Merc Adults Only VP Adults Only
                              G-Dad always said "First Liar doesn't stand a chance"

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