I recently remarked to Aaron that hiring contractors means spending thousands of dollars to be disappointed…
I really wish I could post something entirely positive about the contractors we’ve hired for work at the house. I know the frustration of projects and communications between layperson and expert exist on both sides of the equation. That said, working with them is often a “bang head against wall” kind of experience.
Due to a variety of things, we’re working with 4 different contractors for 4 different jobs within a very short time: landscape, fence, furnace, and stain.
Furnace – While more costly than we expected, this one was pretty straight forward. We had Pine State Services come out for a routine furnace cleaning. He found a couple of problems so our quick and easy cleaning tripled in price but it was fixed promptly. We had them send over a rep who also did plumbing, so he could price out and fix our outdoor faucets (did you know that those are called hose bibs?). The house had been set up with only one water shutoff so fixing them meant shutting off water to the entire house. I wasn’t up for Aaron learning something new when any hiccups meant no running water, so we paid the plumber to get it done.
Verdict: I’d call it a win with a ding. We’ll definitely be using them again. In the meantime, we’ll be following his advice so the next routine service can be just maintenance.
Landscape – We hired Nelson Property to get the backyard evened out before we put the fence up. This one was tough because you can’t really draw out what we wanted done. The back right corner of our lawn drops off and had a hump and several large tire ruts. We wanted things built up and smoothed out. I marked the beginning and end of the area that we wanted blended with flags (Delta was spinning with excitement and so disappointed when she realized we weren’t tracking). I thought the agreement was clear, but after the first day, the only clear thing was that there had been a misunderstanding. Thankfully a call and an early morning visit had us actually on the same page. What I’d expected wasn’t possible (at least in our price range), but we were able to agree on a compromise that worked for both sides. Unfortunately, we’ve got some new (albeit very shallow) tire ruts in the yard, despite the driver’s assurances that they would disappear when the grass recovered… sigh…
Verdict: This round was “eh” but I’d be willing to give them another shot on a project where we could have a clear picture of the end result. Which is likely to happen – we have a lot of ideas for this place. Also, they did dump some dirt on the driveway where a hard rain had washed it out. It may have been for their own sake, but it was a pleasant surprise.
Stain – This is still a work in progress. After 20+ years without a fresh application, the wood is a little thirsty, requiring extra coats. CertaPro Painters started with a thorough power washing that had the house looking a little naked. Followed by 2 coats of stain that look nice on the sheltered northern end of the house, but leaves something to be desired on the south side.
They’ll be doing a third coat on the south and back side in the coming week, as well as finishing all the trim. Also, they replaced the squirrel-chewed trim on either side of our chimney with composite boards. Take that, you flying rats!!
We’re about halfway through our big month of projects and I’m looking forward to the end results. I hope the rest of the work is smooth sailing, but I’ll settle for only minor waves. What I can say about the contractors we’ve hired is they do make an effort to soothe our frustrations and make things right when communications don’t go smoothly. I appreciate it and I hope we are able to have a relationship that allows us to work together in the future – minus the irritation.