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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Son of a bitch. I needed to do some work on my place. I was fixing up one of the bedrooms to turn it into a workshop for my GF. And I needed one of the bathrooms painted and a little molding work done. Minor stuff, but detail stuff. And time consuming.

So I decided to hire this guy.

He's a nice guy, if a bit rough around the edges. Neighbor's kid. Mid-40's, broke, no car, no money, lives in a motel. Divorced, kid he never sees, glass eye from when he got shot in the face. Pitiful, really. He's got a college education, but no job. He just can't seem to hold on. Before the job even started, I gave him 5 old suits that were left behind by the old renter of the bedroom we were gonna work on... they seemed to fit him well, and the guy told me to do with them as I pleased. I thought "man, maybe if this guy cleans up, he can get a decent job!"

Then I hired him for the job!

So I pointed out the work that needed to get done immediately. My girlfriend's bedroom. Walls needed to be painted, drywall hung on the ceiling (4 pieces total), some crown molding put up, and the doors and molding painted and finish work done (new electrical outlets, new A/C diffuser, new door stoppers, etc). 150 square foot room. Tiny. I asked for a quote. He said "don't worry about it, I'll take care of ya. It's a few days work, I'll usually charge 150 a day, but I'll cut ya a deal." So I figure it's gonna be a few hundred bucks plus materials, right? Cool!

So he gets started.

Two weeks later, he's finished with the job. He decides to do a few other details around the house, which add up to another day... in the end, he's got a total of 7 days of labor WITH MY HELP and he didn't even do the detail work! I had to spend a day doing that **** myself. Then he comes at me trying to charge me $20/hr LOL. I'm like "what kind of deal is that ?!? that's MORE than your usual rate of 150 a day!!!" We work it out to $1050 (PLUS $200 materials) total. I'm a little ticked, though, because one of the tape joints in the ceiling is obviously visible. He says he'll fix it if I'm not happy with it... a little agitated. But then when I call him a couple days later, he says he showed it to his mom and dad (my neighbors were in my house without my permission ?!?) and they said they couldn't even see it. LOL!! Ok, well I could probably fix it in a day or so, and the room will be perfect. So I'm not ecstatic, but I'm satisfied.

So he asks about the bathroom.

Ok, I figure I went over-budget on the bedroom, but I can make it up on the bathroom. I tell him "man, I'll tell ya what... I had set aside $1500 for this entire project, and that leaves me $250 for the bathroom... if you'll do it for that, we've got a deal... I'll pick up the materials cost". Well, so we work it out to $400 plus materials. Still not too bad... puts me 150 over-budget. Well I tore out my shower enclosure and drop-ceiling and Wanted a drywall ceiling in there plus crown moulding and some patching up of a few tiles to prepare for the new shower enclosure. He finished the ceiling well. It looks good. But the guy has no freakin clue about crown molding. He didn't even know what a compound mitre saw is... so he screwed up about $50 of molding in the process. I had to eat that expense. And of course, he didn't do the detail work (tiles, etc.) and left a huge mess. He got dust all over my clothes, because he forgot to put up visqueen.

So I'm a dumbass.

My kitchen has been bugging the crap out of me since I moved in to my place. It's one of these 1970's drop ceilings with the fan in the middle. I hate it. I knew this guy didn't have any work for a while, and I really wanted this thing updated, and he told me he'd cut me a deal. So I asked him for a cost on it. He said "$500 plus materials and I'll build two soffits with high-hats for the lighting". Sweet. Well I ended up doing all the electrical, because he just doesn't have a clue. So he did some demolition, built two soffits about 12' long each and put up some drywall and painted the ceiling for $500. Oh, and he ****ed up the baffles on the lights, because he put them in before he did his joint compound. So now there are paint marks of paintbrush all around all the high hats. To fix it, I'd have to rip out all the baffles and replaster, repaint, and add new baffles (approx $100 of materials). Ya know... it's to be expected, though. I mean, he's not the best at what he does. And it looks better than it did, so I'm a little ticked at the imperfections, but not pissed.

So here's the kicker.

He calls me yesterday and tells me he's finished with the project and wants to get paid. I said "ok, well I owe you $300, right?" cause I paid him $200 when the project started. He laughs, loud, and says "yeah right". I'm confused: "didn't we agree upon $500 for the project?" He says "We agreed upon $500 for 35 hours... I've put damn near 70 hours into that project". I'm starting to get pissed. "70 hours of work? How much of that time was spent smoking or bullshitting with your dad?" I didn't mention that he's lazy, did I? He says "At $500, I'm getting $5 an hour... you think I'm worth $5 an hour?" Then he asked for $1000 !!!

So I try to catch my breath.

I retort: "You gave me a fixed price estimate... you never specified terms for overage... you never told me when you went over your estimated hours. How are you going to come at me with $1000? I've been completely forgiving with you on this job. Your work is sub-par, but I accept it, you haven't completed one of the projects that I've given you, but I keep giving you more work, even though I don't really NEED it. I'm doing this to help you out, because you're between jobs and could use the money. I have now dipped into MY SAVINGS to pay for a project that I don't need just to help you out. I even gave you 5 suits just out of generosity!" He said "suits won't pay my rent."

So now he's suing me.

PS - I forgot to add, that he forgot to put visqueen up in the kitchen, too, even though I specifically reminded him to do it. My girlfriend and I have been cleaning the dust out of my place all day, and it's still a disaster area. I think I'm gonna have to pay a professional crew to come in here and clean it all. AND I've got the little details to finish up. I guess I'm gonna have to pay someone else to fix this guy's imperfections. Word to the wise, if you're gonna hire someone to do this kind of work, be very picky about how you select.
 

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We are at the 90% completion mark in a substantial remodel. We have had walls torn out since December.

And through it all, the contractor we hired has been incredible. Always showing up and happily taking care of all the dumb changes we made. He put in moulding all around and we decided it was too "busy" so he ripped it out and replaced it.

He has only asked for payment for the things he had to buy, submitting receipts for them. He agreed to a fixed price for his labor and now 4 months later, I think he is way underpaid.

It contrasts with your experience in that the guy I hired was recommended and professional. Agreed that you should be picky about someone messing with your home.
 

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I have had excellent luck with contractors at my house in Houston and the house in Atlanta. Great people and realiable, we had around $50K of work done on both houses and it came out great. You need to get references and go with your gut feel about them, if they don't seem right don't hire them.
Really Steve you knew this contractor was risky (no money, no car, no job, no house or apartment) but you took a chance trying to help him. I applaude trying to help him but I have never had any luck at all trying to be a good guy or trying to do the "right thing". Get good people with good reputations, the low cost "deals" never seem to work out.
 

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What a shame. You tried to help him out, but he's obviously stuck in a rut, and not likely to ever make it out. Sad.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I guess I shouldn't say construction workers are from hell... I tend to over-dramatize. :p

Anyhow, I really feel bad about this thing, because the guy really is a nice, good person. I just can't allow someone else's failure cost me money. :( What a crappy situation.
 

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I believe that bad luck can happen to good people that can leave them in akward situations. However, I also believe that people choose their lifestyles, and the fact that he can not hold a job, etc etc, is a warning flag.

Its great that you gave him a chance, but when he showed his incompetence early on, you should have said "thanks for the job," paid him the money, then never dealt with him again.

If he is sueing you, I hope you took photos of all the problems with his "finished product." Also, you should have had the terms of your contract in writing. Everyone on this board stresses the importance of getting a written contract with our lotus dealer, and that applies to all situations when conducting business.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't think he'll sue after all. I think it's all talk. He told another neighbor what happened, who I just had a long conversation with. I think his feelings are hurt, but that's about it. I'm struggling with the decision to give him a little extra money, though. I know it would make him feel better and iron out whatever issues this situation might have created with my neighbors, but it will only teach him that if he does shoddy work, he can still get whatever he wants by being an ******* about it. There are enough contractors like that in Miami already. I'd rather him learn to be better at estimating his time.
 

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it could be worse!!- this just happened here in San Diego.....
and no this is not an attempt to start a thread on gun control

Workers beat, try to rob homeowner

By Pauline Repard
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

March 27, 2004

LA JOLLA – Two construction workers beat and tried to rob their client in his home yesterday, but he chased them off by grabbing a gun and shooting at them, police said.

The workers pistol-whipped the victim and at one point handcuffed him and covered his mouth with duct tape, police said.

"They figured he was rich, and they would rip him off," said San Diego police Sgt. Rich Nemetz. "They all know each other."

The victim, in his 50s, had hired a contracting firm to work on his house. Two workers came to the home on Avenida Chamnez about 5 p.m. and first talked about the job, Nemetz said. Then, when the man left the room and returned, one worker pistol-whipped him.

At some point, the victim's wife drove up with their two children. Her husband got outside, but the robbers caught him again and threatened the wife with a gun, Nemetz said. The woman and children drove away and called police.

Meanwhile, Nemetz said, the robbers ordered the homeowner to open his safe and give them money. He opened the safe, but pulled out a handgun.

The robbers ran outside, toward Via Espana, with the victim behind firing his gun, police said. Neighbors called police after hearing two shots and seeing him return home with his head bleeding.

Robbery detectives were investigating last night. No arrests had been made by press time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bwahahahahaha !!! Thanks for the laugh :D

Not that I find their misfortune funny, but the situation is just absurdly comical.

PS - Thanks also for the insight. It can ALWAYS be worse, and I'm very thankful for what I have.
 

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When I saw the title for this thread, I thought Transio was going to go on a rampage about the construction workers on I-95!

I've gotten 3 flats in the last 6 months from road debris due to all of the road contruction around here.

It used to take me 30 minutes to get to Boca Raton ,and now it takes me over an hour because of all the lanes being shut down.
It took my friends in Miami over 2 hours to get to Boca which is only 60 miles away.

Steve- I think you might want to take the Tri-Rail to the dealership when they tell you its time to pick up your car, it will probably be faster than waiting in traffic for 3 hours. It will seem like the longest wait in your life.

PS. I talked to Palm Beach Motors and they are going to be having a party next month when they get the demo in, hope to see you there!
 
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