One-Size-Fits-All Estimates? What's Your Opinion?
You call for a bid from a company you've never dealt w/before. Say you've got X number of windows need replacing. Give them sizes, tell them EXACTLY which brand you want, all specs (triple pane, double, argon, krypton, wood, vinyl, screens, no screens, and whatever else you do and don't want, including all the extra bells and whistles.)
The guy gives you a price on the phone w/o even offering to come to your home to see just what he'd be dealing with. Take it or leave it. Period. Only time he'll come out is when we're ready to sign contract - and THAT has to be assured beforehand. IOW, he doesn't come unless he KNOWS we're signing. And his price is fixed. No haggling. No leeway. "My way or the highway" so to speak.
I don't know diddly about this guy. Did as much research on him as I could. Got reference names but no way to get in touch and he didn't offer any. Been in business for quite awhile. No complaints listed. BBB certified (big deal as I've found out in the past). But, heck, I'd like to see him in person and ask some (what I consider) pertinent questions that can only be addressed up close and personal in my home. He's never in his office. Always out on a job. Not that he works out of the back of a truck. He has a legitimate office & showroom. Only business manager was available to sit with - who readily admits is clueless about install, product and onsite operations.
Would you do business w/an arrogant (IMO) guy like this? My past experience w/ contractors told me that this is not SOP. What's your take? Oh, and he want's 1/2 up front.
I'd get some additional estimates from other contractors. With this recession, it is still a buyer's market. You could save a lot if you find a contractor with some down time and bills to pay.
Plus, if you are treated this way now, how much better will it be when he has your money and you have problems?
Personaly, I would pay double for a contractor that is worth his salt to come out and talk man to man about what YOU want. Even though old boy has probably installed a million windows, every house is different and every CUSTOMER is different.
Being a contractor myself, I have a love/ hate relationship with the "Cookie Cutter" services. One size fits all, as long as it is the size they want you to have. I get a lot of work from people who can't talk to their contractor because he is just following instructions from the estimator, who is sitting in the office and has no clue, apart from what he was taught at the franchise class, what the customer wants.
Nope, give me the old guy with the beat up truck that walks with a limp and knows all to well what a sore back is. I want the guy that lives by the creed "The customer is always right". The guy that is knowledgable and makes me feel like I can drink a beer with him gets my buisness.
Your talking about a project that will signifigantly change the look and feel of your house and the guy that will be actually doing the work wont give ya the time of day? No way man. They don't care about you or your house, just getting the contract signed, product installed and out the door. Have a problem? Call the manufacturer. Feel a little breeze coming in? They tell you at the completion of the job you signed a statment of satisfaction that is legally binding. Poor service and no work ethic.
Please, in the name of all that is holy, do not use that company. If you do, lie to me. Tell us you did the job yourself or hired a really nice disabled veteran to do the work. :rolleyes:
What they said....:mad:
Use a contractor you feel comfortable with, and that has a hometown feel.
This guy may be in business for a long time, he is just cruisin the #s and has a 50/50 customer following...some good, some bad.
I can just imagine my doctor acting that way......:eek:
Thanks to ALL of you for validating my instincts about this "diva". (Can you call a guy a "diva"?) Well, IMO that sums him up.
But, out of sheer curiosity, I called him back for a price on just a new patio door, which we also really do need. Told his manager we'd rather do just that now and hold off on the windows till after the holidays.
Once again, I know exactly what I want in the door, all the specs to the "T", and the door is standard size 6'8" X6'. No surprises. Have the company's catalog, spoke to the company directly and got all the info and skinny I needed, plus they even sent me an email w/that and more info.
Manager (who I could tell was checking w/him in the background cause I could hear his voice) says: "Well, now, that'd be a 'special order' and he'd have to charge more. But, lessee, what he wrote down here".... **sound of papers shuffling**Oh, it'll be $$$$"
"Special Order?" I asked.
"I'm looking right at their catalog and just got off the phone w/the company rep who assured me I could order any door, any way I wanted, with any options I wanted. No door is special order. They make each door up as they receive the order."
Now he gets on the phone, "My manager gave you the wrong price. I'll take off the price of the inside casing, so it'll only be $$$$. But it's still a special order and that's why it'll cost me more up front to order it. I don't know where you get your information. But that's my price. I'll measure for the door opening and show you what I'll do when I come out for you to sign the contract for the door."
The second price he gave me, btw, was only $150 less than the price his manager gave me. Wow! :eek: $150 bucks for approx. 16' of 2-1/4" colonial trim? That must be some heckuva trim! I could get that at Lowes or Home Depot or even a straight lumber yard for less than $10/8 footers.
Then he tells me he's really doing me a favor because he'll charge less than his usual price for labor, so that way I'll benefit more from the energy-stimulus tax credit which is only on the price of materials. (He's a real humanitarian this guy and going out of his way, too!) :rofl:
While he's telling me this I'm looking right at the catalog and the confirmation email from the company that completely debunks his 'special order' crap. I wanted to say to him: "You want to know where I get my information? Have your manager open the catalog and turn to page XX plus I'll send you a copy of the email from the company's sales manager who SPECIFICALLY handles the sliding/patio door sales".
But I figured why beat this anymore. It's not worth my time and neither is he. Call me masochistic, but I just had to go that one step further to see if this guy would still behave the same with one little ole, double-light/single door slider as he would w/something more involved like the windows.
Tell me something, though: If I'd just called him for the door only w/o mentioning I needed windows in the first place and he gave me this song and dance about just a door, would his response and behavior have been a bit more acceptable or understandable w/a job that's pretty straight forward like putting in a slider?
I think I'm calling the old guy w/the work boots and Carharts on who's actually been in business longer than Mr. Wonderful and who actually came to our house the week before and actually sat down with us to go over everything...with no expectation of a signed contract. Just left his card and signed bid and told us to call if we decided and unlike the Prima Donna who wanted half up front, this other guy only required $200 deposit.
Sorry for the novel. Maybe I should turn this into a book. ;) "How To Recognize An Arrogant S.O.B". :D
They always tell you they're doing you a favor when they have their hand in your back pocket.
Hopefully, you put this in your folder as a learning experience. But your not done yet....also ask for references of past work from past clients for any contractor you hire.
Ask the questions, where they on time, called back in a timely manner, do they keep the job clean as they work, and when they are done....you know, actually act like a professional?
Then you can feel better about hiring someone, and be a future reference...use that in your sales pitch to the contractor to do a good job.;)
Jef, if you have a bad feeling about this contractor before you even sign a proposal for work why are you even spending time with the diva. There are a lot of qualified contractors who would be more than glad to help you with your project.
Inspector brings up a good point about being a future referral, but more importantly ask how they handle a problem they have encountered on an installation. ANY installer can give you someone who was happy with their work. Any one who does anything sooner or later has a problem and solving it to everyone's satisfaction is critical.
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