Let's face it. The trade has changed over the course of many long years. There was a boom of building and then a boom of remodeling. In these years the business was crazy and finding contractors was not so difficult. Now, once again, I'm referencing a "long time ago"...at times, it seems like "forever ago". Now, as we face where we are today contractors are few and even fewer if you calculate the "integrity and quality" issue. I have found, being the wife of a contractor, that I am truly blessed. The fact I do not have to go searching for someone I can count on, someone who knows what they're doing, someone who will stand by their work and provide a solid customer service experience is beyond being grateful for...it's a down right miracle.
So "yay"! for miracles. But on the other side of that I watch as clients call us cautiously, not knowing what to expect even when they are referred. It's a scary thing! You are inviting an unknown person into your home and it helps when it's a referral, but when it's not, well...one does not know what to expect. Jim and I have watched how the business of construction has changed. We have watched as those who claim themselves to be contractors, even have a license, go into people's homes and create bigger problems than what was originally there. And in some cases we have seen where dreams were turn into nightmares as contractors who did not have the proper education tore apart rooms, taking money from the client, and then leaving them with incomplete projects. I still have a fresh memory of Jim losing a bid based on price back in the Bay Area. The client was going to save money by going with another contractor. We understood, money is an issue when we're talking about construction. Unfortunately, this client had a less than favorable experience and called Jim back about 3 months later asking if he would take the job over. The contractor that had been hired had left the project a mess. In our years together I can honestly and sadly say that this example is not a solitary one.
The price of remodels, handyman work, multiple construction projects can be significant. We own a home and even with Jim being the contractor there is still the expense of materials as well as the time invested in the project. It's not taken lightly when making a decision to go forward on home projects. So we sincerely understand. However, what I have observed is that when making a decision to move forward it is worth evaluating the long term "worry" investment. Some of the things to keep in mind are the following: does the contractor have an active and clear license (check the Contractor State License Board), do they carry insurance, are they bonded, and do they operate with a contract. Still, having all this doesn't guarantee you the perfect experience. But basing the decision solely off of price is not the best guarantee either. Another good way to feel safe about your contractor is how long they have been in business and has that business been stable - location wise. For me this is a solid reflection of success in the trade in that the contractor is not packing up and leaving every time a problem arises. These are all the ways in which Jim and I judge our own business and Jim's passion is what leads him to remain steadfast in these guidelines.
Now you knew I would not go through this blog without giving my full on "wife/friend of the contractor" prejudicial statements. Jim is the most fabulous craftsman I have ever met. His integrity as a person, his loyalty as a friend is shown throughout his work and business. He does not leave his clients hanging. And although we have experienced times when we have missed appointments and/or phone calls - this is not our norm in business. We work hard to meet all our obligations and in the most timely way we can. It was nearly 22 years ago, July this year, that I married Jim. It was without doubt that I did so. And it's without doubt that I stand behind Jim in all his work - it is without a doubt I can say that if you want work performed efficiently, with incredible integrity and by someone who truly believes in a job well done - Jim is your guy.
So, although this is not real "Contractors Talk" in the sense that I'm not discussing the latest news in construction - I wanted to offer up a females view on the construction trade as we knew it and know it today. This will not be the last you hear from me...smiles...and we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to visit us on our Facebook page and ask questions, get a recommendation, etc...or fill our "Contact Us" form and we'll response as soon as possible!
Our Best to you!