MATTHEWS: The contractor blues

PQ: After showing pictures to others who have experience in the field, they confirmed I was overcharged between $300 and $400

With it approaching 50 years of age, my mom’s home needed some long overdue upgrades.

She and my dad bought it in the late 1990s, but there were some things they never had done to it.

For instance, they never put in new carpet or kitchen/bathroom flooring, and they never got around to making the laundry/utility room more functional.

After selling my house earlier this year, I told Mom I wanted to have her house inspected to see what issues it had before we decided whether to keep it and fix it up or to sell it and move on.

The home being as old as it is, there were of course issues found in the crawlspace, including those related to the home not being up to code by today’s standards, according to the structural engineer who we had come in a couple of weeks later.

After finding out what needed to be done (mold remediation, full encapsulation, termite treatment, a significant amount of wood replacement and supplemental piers), we set about bringing contractors in to make their assessments so we could begin reviewing estimates.

With the amount of work, it was going to be a nice job for someone. But one of the bids we got was way out of proportion based on the ballpark range we’d been told by inspectors.

When I let that contractor know that their quote did not meet our budget, incredibly, they told me that if need be it could be done in phases and that parts of it could be scaled back to fit our budget.

Needless to say, a project being done in phases does not change the cost of it. And I was not going to scale back what needed to be done just so this contractor could get the job.

Another contractor expressed interest in doing the work but kept disrespecting our time by delaying the day they could get out here to make their assessment.

When I received a text message telling me there would be another delay and letting me know the representative would be at the house the following day, without consulting with me first so I could review my schedule, they were marked off the list.

Fortunately, we’ve had good experiences so far with the company we decided to go with on the house repairs, which will be starting soon.

But imagine to my surprise and frustration when another issue cropped up last week.

Someone we had picking up yard debris after the storms informed us that our sewer pipe cap was missing.

I called an HVAC/plumbing company we’ve done business with for years to take a look at it. They told me because the pipe was cast iron, they’d have to upgrade it to PVC to “make it right,” and that “some digging” would be involved.

I assumed by digging he meant he’d be out here for hours, which is why I agreed to the $600 price. Normally, I would have had a couple of other companies come in to price it, but I trusted this one and after over a month of dealing with multiple contractors, I didn’t have the time nor patience to do it this time around.

It only took him 15 minutes. When I called the company to complain about the price, I was told that I was undercharged.

After showing pictures to others who have experience in the field, they confirmed I was overcharged between $300 and $400.

The crawlspace work is scheduled to start this week. Needless to say, we’re praying we don’t get hit with any more surprises because we’re eager to get to the fun stuff, assuming we have the money (and patience) left to do so.

Please pray for us!

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.