I have not had many good experiences with contractors. My first contractor experience came when I owned a house in the DC area. An unexpected opportunity for a contract job developed while I was working an exercise in Korea as an Army Reservist. The contract job required I be back in Korea ten days after returning to the States from the exercise. I had ten days to get packed up, figure out what I would do with the house, and get back to Korea to start working. I decided to put the house on the market to sell. I knew a contractor from the gym who said he would be able to do the work needed to put the house on the market. I wrote the guy a check for $5,300. A couple days later I was on a plane going back to Korea.
The guy told me it was a simple job and would only take a week to put in new flooring on the main level and bathrooms. A month passed and the guy never even started. I asked him to refund my money so I could find someone else to do the work. Instead of refunding my money, he ripped up the existing floors. Two more months past and he did maybe $3,000 worth of work. I was paying the mortgage and needed to get the house on the market to sell. I ended up paying another contractor to finish the job.
I was in Korea during this entire process. I contacted two lawyers and both told me their fees would be higher than any money I would be awarded and good luck actually getting any money from the guy. The guy did about two-thirds of the job I hired him for. I ate two mortgage payments due to the delays. He never felt any need to refund any of my money. Do what your conscience can handle.
I bought a house when I arrived in Colorado. I wanted a garage built and found a contractor for the build. A large reason I went with this contractor was because he said the garage would be finished by Thanksgiving. I hired him the end of October. It took them a month to demo the existing one car garage but he told me the job would be done by Christmas. I didn’t have a garage until March. The garage was well built. I just don’t get why it took over four months. I felt like I was in the Money Pit with the contractor telling me, “Two Weeks.” Maybe I could have fired him and hired someone else but figured this would just result in more money and even more delays. I was in a bad situation and the contractor knew it. Do what your conscience can handle.
After about a three week delay getting engineer drawings, I have been trying to find a contractor for the build. The first contractor walked through the space the week of 09 MAY. Despite a reminder email, I never heard back from them. I had two more contractors walk through the space on 17 MAY. I also never heard back from one of them. The other submitted a bid for over $200,000. All the equipment and furniture are being paid for separately as well as the shelving, benches, and finishes. $200,000 only covered putting in electrical, plumbing, mechanical, building the bar, and installing the other finishes that I already paid. The space is 1000 sqft. There is nothing structural being done. The floor needs to be saw cut for plumbing. We are putting in a panel and running exposed conduit for electrical. I am amazed that this company is charging $200/sqft.
I briefly looked into building a house. I was told figure around $120/sqft based on what fixtures are going in the kitchen and bathrooms. $120/sqft included a foundation and stick construction. Again, I am amazed that this company is charging $200/sqft. Are the guys swinging hammers and doing the work getting paid more? Is the money going right to the company executives? This is Ayn Rand capitalism - my only goal is to make as much money as possible. Do what your conscience can handle.
Right now I’m looking into finding a GC to just pull permits. I figure I will have much more control over the process if I am the one hiring the subs. I don’t want to rip anybody off and take money off someone’s table. I want to pay a fair price for honest work. So far I have just been shocked by what people’s conscience can handle.