By Ron Pestone
If there is one thing in life I am sick of it is internet sites that evaluate and grade contractors. I’m talking about the sites where anyone can cry their eyes out and complain about almost anything; sites that have become the unnamed weapons of choice by many home owners and unscrupulous builders. These sites are very popular and they let anyone who has ever contracted for any work vent their experiences. Not necessarily share, vent. Oh, I know there are many good grades out there but how many of the bad ones are really deserved? How fair and reasonable has the customer been? How many times have the grades been used by customers to get what they are not entitled to? The grades range from good to very poor and they tell the story from the customer’s side, supposbly real objective and fair. Or the little innocent lambs story. I am a contractor and have been one for most of my adult life and I it think it is way overdue for somebody to give the other side of the story. And many times the real story is one of a wolf in a lambs fleece. Now don’t get me wrong I have contracted with some great agencies, construction managers and individuals who it was a pleasure working for and who appreciated the project that was done for them but I have also worked for some real lowlifes and cheats and hell would be too good of a place for them.
Well what about the contractor. He is the guy who takes the time to estimate the job, who spends his time and money doing it. He goes out and purchases the material and finally he installs the work. Sometimes he gets a little money up front and sometimes he receives payments as the work progresses. No matter what the method of payments is, in the end the contractor is usually behind in the money. Collecting is never easy and collecting the last chunk is worse than having a root canal.
The reason it is necessary to pay up front in a house of ill repute is that after the customer has gotten what he wanted he loses interest in paying for it. Same goes for contracting, once the job is complete and the owner has gotten what he wanted many owners lose their desire to pay. All of a sudden they become experts in the field they previously knew nothing about. They become very picky and go on a campaign to find anything wrong with the installation. In fact they put the job under a microscope because in reality they simply do not want to pay.
Then there is the group who contracted for a Chevrolet and now want a Rolls Royce. There is no shortage of characters in this group. You can find them in every town and city in the country, champagne taste and beer pocketbooks.
In commercial and industrial work it is common for contractors not to see any money until they have manned the project for 60 to 90 days. If the project has to stop because of an unforeseen condition the contractor might not see any money for a year. And I’m only talking about money, what about the huge sea of resources that have been put on hold.
There is every kind out there: kind, mean, happy, grouchy, reasonable, unreasonable, decent individuals and cheats. The list goes on and on. In the commercial and industrial sector many times contractors have to deal with individuals with power who don’t have the vaguest understanding of construction, individuals who are steeped in bureaucracy and technical specifications, who wouldn’t know a hammer from a trowel. These characters if left to their own devices couldn’t build a dog house. They are all sure that if a contractor has a job for $50,000 he must be making $49,500 profit. So it’s their duty to squeeze everything out of every contractor they can.
Don’t Forget: We Build America