Hiring a Contractor - hoo boy

So Against My Nature

Because my porch roofs looked like this:

And because, in my dotage, I find myself less and less interested in heights...this morning before going to work I did something that totally goes against the grain of what I do (with my house that is!).  I hired a contractor.  In an earlier post I bemoaned the fact that it's pretty hard to find a contractor you're comfortable with, and getting one to actually show up for an estimate.  Luckily by word-of-mouth I found one that at least said all the right things.  Here's how it went...

Sad people dislike the happy, and the happy the sad; the quick thinking the sedate, and the careless the busy and industrious. - Horace

I had asked a couple contractors I saw in the neighborhood to give me an estimate on how much to repair or replace the roofs on my front and back porch, a bump out on one side of the house, and the gable skirts on the front and back.  One guy came by, and without getting up on the roof at all, said he could replace the porch roofs with asphalt shingles, for about $2000.  Hmm, didn't sound too awfully bad...so I asked him to write up a contract and he said he would drop it off the next day.  A week later I called him and he said he got busy and forgot (!) but would email me the estimate THAT NIGHT.  A week later I ran into a neighbor whom this guy had done some work for.  She said that the contractor told her that he had dropped off the estimate the FIRST day.  The nerve!  I didn't say much to my neighbor about it, but it really showed his true colors...secretly I wish for the best for my neighbor.

Then a friend's husband was recommended.  And of course I was pretty leery of that situation!  But I asked him to come out to the house.  AND HE DID!  WHEN HE SAID HE WOULD!  Turns out he didn't do the kind of work that I needed done - AND HE SAID SO!  Here's the really cool part - he said he had worked with a guy on other jobs that did roofing.  He called him, right then and there, and I was able to speak to the roofer - right then and there.  TOTALLY new experience for me.  Anyway...this roofer guy says he'll stop by the next day (while I'm at work) and look the job over.  He'd write up an estimate and email it to me (I've heard that before!), BUT, it was going to be a holiday weekend so he probably wouldn't get the estimate to me before the following Tuesday (heeeere we go...).  The next day when I got home from work, the roofer's business card was on my front door, and get this - on the back was his cell phone number!  On Monday, the actual holiday, and a full day BEFORE he said he'd get the estimate to me, I received a detailed estimate in my email!  NOW we're talkin'!

After some delays (on my part due to work commitments) I met with the roofer this morning.  A couple things of note - He showed up 5 minutes early, he went over the contract with me, walking around the house and showing all that was included in the price and how it was documented on the contract, he asked for a reasonable down payment and said the balance would be due when all the work was done to my satisfaction!  AND he took a check.  That's right - a check.  I know it sounds funny, but my limited experience with contractors had been cash only!  

Some Fun (?) Contractor Horror Stories
⚬ My Contractor Horror Story by Judy Costello
⚬ Hair-Raising Contractor Horror Stories by Jon Gorey
⚬ A Contractor Horror Story? Join the Crowd by Kate Stone Lombardi
⚬ Nightmare Contractor Stories Can Happen to You Too by Karen Shoenfeld

A couple other things of note...on the contract was a statement that he was insured (I don't remember, something for liability and worker's comp or something).  I guess this would help if for some reason (God forbid) I ended up in court.  The other thing was the roofer explained his plan for weather contingencies and the products he would be using so I could look them up.

Okay, no work's actually been done yet, but for my first time in dealing with a contractor I have a good feeling!  I'll keep you posted...

PS:  Remember the first contractor I told you about?  He was gonna put asphalt shingles on my porches?  Well, turns out my roofs (or is it rooves???) don't have enough slope for that kind of application!  Gotta do our homework!!

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