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Home Contracting 101

October 23, 2012

It’s been two months since I started my kitchen renovation. I’m now on my fourth contractor (with two more on a list in case this one doesn’t work out) and not a thing has been done. The first contractor showed up early and said he could do the job. Then I never heard from him again. The second and the third contractors scheduled appointments and never showed up. The fourth one showed up on time, said he’d send me an estimate the next day. It’s been a week. I’m still waiting. So as I prepare to call my fifth contractor, I’ve been wondering if maybe this is the norm, that this is what contractors were taught at Contractor College. I could only imagine their syllabus to look something like this:

Home Contracting 101 Course Syllabus

Instructor:             TBD
Office Hours:        Mondays 1-1:15PM
Office Phone:       Don’t bother.
Email Address:     People still email?
Class Hours:        Tuesdays and Thursdays if I feel like it

Description of course:
Home Contracting 101 delves into the intricacies and secrecies that cloak the world of home improvement contractors. In this course you will learn:

  • How not to return phone calls without feeling guilty
  • How to schedule appointments with a straight face, knowing you have no intention of showing up
  • How to decipher between the big “pay day” jobs and the small insignificant jobs so you’ll know when to blow off the small jobs
  • How to make a client believe you really do care about the renovation of their tiny kitchen

Course Objectives

  • To introduce students to the fine art of misleading clients into thinking you will actually show up.
  • To provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge of how to come up with excuses for being late, not showing up, and not returning phone calls.
  • To orient students on the proper way to handle a tape measure to trick clients into believing you really know how to use it.

Course Supplies
Cell phone that doesn’t return calls
Stub of a Number 2 pencil
Expensive designer jeans
25 foot tape measure that only opens to five feet

Required Reading
Precision Estimate Padding
Promises You Know You Won’t Keep
How To Lie With A Straight Face

Grading Plan
Course work will be weighted as follows:
Coming up with excuses             75%
Not following through                  25%

Attendance
Attendance will be graded as follows:
Four or more absences:      A
Three absences:                  B
Two absences:                     C
One absence:                       D
Perfect attendance:              F

Disclaimer: If you are a person of your word and are reliable, this course isn’t for you.

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9 Comments
  1. Thomas Evans permalink

    This one is GREAT, and should be a web hit!!!!

    Tom

  2. Ariel permalink

    Damn! If you would live here in Italy they would jump on you, happy to find a client.
    It just seems that who has teeth doesn’t have bread and who has bread doesn’t have teeth.

  3. Wow! I have never seen this side of you! A woman done wrong is a dangerous thing. The contractors are fools as working for you could only be a good thing and they are the losers in this situation. I hope this gets resolved and you get the kitchen you want.

  4. Ojae Beale permalink

    Hilarious! Well done.  

  5. Leslie permalink

    Felice, you are right on! I just redid my kitchen last year – and it was not a puny job – and it was awful. I state dome from work one day for the plumber – who arrived with no tools. He figured that out after about 1/2 hour at my house. Then he went out for an hour and came back with the tools. he stayed another 1/2 hour and then it was time for a three hour lunch. Seriously. I do not envy you! Now I am trying to put dormers in my closets – a tiny job – and the contractors ignore me. Make sure you do everything at once so the good people – when you find them – don’t ignore you for little jobs.

  6. Auntie M. permalink

    You need a “Ronnie” in your life! Honest, responsible, reliable. Keep trying!

    Auntie M

  7. Shelly Cohen permalink

    Makes you wonder where all the unemployed contractors are? I hope this blog helps you get someone skilled and eager to take on the challenge! Either way it gives you a chance to perfect your design and product choices……..Mom

  8. Susan Simon permalink

    Have you tried Angie’s list yet? All the contractors I used that I was happy with I wrote glowing reviews. If it’s available near you you might find it helpful. We had great luck with our unending remodle but also knew some folks in the trades and asked for recommendations. Is there a voc school that might be helpful?

  9. Thinking of you this evening as the storm hits NYC. Stay safe!

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