Estimates

I feel like I’m dating again.

I needed to have some work done in my master bathroom.  It’s been needed for a long time, I just finally got fed up with it, and decided to look into getting it done.  That meant budgeting and figuiring what I can do at this time (not much).  Budgeting meant estimates.  Estimates meant contractors.  And you may remember how I feel about contractors.

This time, I was determined to learn from my experiences.  I went to a website called servicemagic.com, into which you can enter the details of the job you need, and they will pair you up with local, pre-screened contractors.  I got calls or emails from 4 contractors, and set up appointments to get estimates.  I was able to read reviews of their work, and make sure they were licensed and insured (not some fly-by-night thief).  I posted messages on the FTS boards to get recommendations.  I took my time, made sure to ask questions, and wrote down everything, so when I compared estimates I could compare apples to apples; for instance, when I called back the guy who came in a few hundred dollars lower than everyone else, I asked to make sure what was included.  Turns out he was planning on using a plastic shower base, instead of a stone or tile base.  I didn’t really love showering in camp, so that was an experience I was looking to avoid.  It’s not this guy’s fault; I told him I was trying to save costs wherever possible, so he assumed I wanted it the least expensive way possible.  Once I clarified that, it added those extra few hundred to the estimate.

So far, so good.

Meanwhile, I guess many contractors don’t have a lot of work right now, given the state of the market and the inability of many people to refinance or get equity out of their homes.  Which means they want work.  So in the process of getting the estimates, some contractors got back to me really, really quickly, and seemed eager to start.  Of course, since I wanted to get a full portfolio of estimates, my answer was always “I’ll let you know.”

And then there was one or two that called me back every couple of days, really eager to start work.  I exploited one of them to knock a significant chunk of $$ of his estimate, and told him he was hired (this was the guy I wanted to use anyway, so neogtiating was a bonus).  He called me two days later to set a date when he would start.  That was today.  He’s starting tomorrow.  Nice.

Anyway, once I hired someone and got a start date, I felt like I had to make a couple of calls to guys who thought they would hear from me.  This is where it gets awkward again: I feel like I am dumping a girl.  “Sorry, I just don’t think it’s gonna work out.”  “You’re really nice and really sweet, just not what I’m looking for.”  “It’s not you, it’s me.”  Or, in this case, “I think we’re just gonna go in a different direction, but I really appreciate your time.”

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3 responses to “Estimates

  1. fly-by-night thieves are the way to go. could of saved yourself more money and you don’t have to drive them home afterwards.

  2. General R. Blie

    I see how its like dating – except this time you are the one doing the dumping.

  3. Making fun of me for getting dumped while I was dating is like chanting 1940 to a Ranger fan after 1994 or 1918 to a Red Sox fan now: just plain dumb.

    What do I care how often I was dumped? I’m married. Done.

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