Today my husband planned on having a showdown with the deadbeat contractors. They told him that they would be there by 9 AM. He told me this as I was leaving at 9:30 AM and he was still in bed. He had felt so confident that they wouldn’t be there that he had bet them a full breakfast and they still didn’t show up.

By 1:30 PM he called and left a message not to even bother showing up. This was 2 hours after they called and said they were on their way. At 2:45 I was on my way out and they pulled in the driveway. I informed the husband. He came out and told them that he had told them not to come today and other things that I shouldn’t repeat. I got in the car and drove off. I don’t like conflict.

When I got back at 5:30 the contractor’s truck was gone. I was proud. I went in to see how the husband had fared. No husband. I had a sense of foreboding. I called his cellphone.

Me: Are you at Lowe’s with the contractors?
Him: Uh, yeah.
Me: Why?
Him: I’ll talk to you later.

He came home and told me that he had had a good talking-to with them and they had an understanding that the next time they didn’t show up on time they were fired. I believe this is the same talking-to they had before. I got the impression from the husband though that he did not want to discuss this in detail or perhaps at all. We are going out to dinner so I’ll see what he says.

3 Replies to “Good-bye deadbeats?”

  1. Yeah, I am willing to bet that all of you “victims” hired the cheapest slime ball you could find, instead of being a responsible customer and hiring a quality contractor, who was capable of doing work that you could be proud of, at a fair price.
    Dr. Denning once said, if you are having problems with the hired help, take a good hard look at the bonehead that hired them.

  2. I had horrible dealings with deadbeat contractors in Connecticut. Our remodel should have been straightforward and easy. However, the plumber, electrician, and other deadbeats were consistently “no shows” on days that they had agreed to show up and finish their work. It was so bad that we finally fired the plumber and threatened the electrician to straighten up. These two Bozos were the least of my worries…. we had to fire the first deadbeat General Contractor who robbed us of over $200,000 with overcharging for things not done yet and for doing shoddy work that had to be redone altogether. we sued him and won, but then he filed bankruptcy. He is a horrible deadbeat.
    The second contractor must have thought it was a free for all with us while we were in such desperate shape to finish our home and also started to over charge and became argumentative… so we fired him.
    The third contractor was a snake and also overcharged but a much more smooth operator yet equally abusive. So, he got fired.
    Now, the fourth guy was just a simple carpenter. He worked out fine but still had some greed issues [we must have looked like real suckers since we were first time renovators.] But in the end, he got us to “hobble” across the finish line and get back into our home.
    The disappointments with the blue collar people and with [surprisingly] the white collar people such as an architect who made sexual moves on me and also banged on our door to get paid on saturday mornings at 8am for a couple hours of work done the week before…. unbelievable bad behavior everywhere we turned.
    MY ADVICE TO EVERY INNOCENT HOMEOWNER: DO NOT BE AFRAID OF CONFLICT. LEARN TO BE A “SAMURAI” AND FIGHT OFFENSIVELY. FIRE PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY WHEN THEY IGNORE YOUR FIRST REQUEST TO DO SOMETHING. IT ONLY GETS WORSE AND WORSE IF YOU KEEP BEING TOO NICE. There are good people out there, but YOU need to establish yourself as the boss from day one with YOUR OWN contract written up with the help of your attorney or Independent Project Manager to protect yourself. Get Lien Wavers for EACH progress payment, and make sure that any shoddy workmanship is repaired before you hand over any payments.
    There are many ways to protect yourself. But the slick “deadbeat” contractors are preying on the people who are nice, decent, honorable suckers who don’t live in the world of contractor cockroaches.
    Stand firm and don’t back down to any outrageous demands or bad behavior.
    More homeowners need to stand up for their rights, because the local governments and other “consumer” agencies are too lazy at this time to do anything about the many millions of contractor victims.
    Don’t be a victim. Be bold and demand the best journey because when you finally get the end result you will only remember the journey: whether it was good or unbelievably bad.
    Take action.

  3. What *is* it about contractors? Do they have to pass the Deadbeat Degree to get their license? I haven’t yet met or dealt with one that showed up on time, used the materials I paid for or followed directions. The last time I had someone work on the fence, I stayed home and watched them the entire time. Even while I was watching, they broke up a brick sidewall that then needed to be repaired–by another contractor (a mason). And try to get the first contractor to pay for the damage they caused that had to be fixed by second contractor, who wanted me to put money up front and then get reimbursed (no way–do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?)

    Good thing I was watching — I took pictures– I had my camera at the ready, since I’ve been through similar things before. Even with photos and first-hand observation, his first impulse was to try to claim he didn’t do it; it was there before. His coworkers realized it was a bad move, though, and agreed with me. Good thing, too; I’m more than willing to go to small claims court, even though I’d have to take off work and fill out a million forms.

    Isn’t there an honest, on-time contractor anywhere?

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