Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Madame Sunday chooses a contractor or "How to NOT Find a Contractor: Saucy Style."

Cue the chorus of Camille Grammer back-up dancers and pop that bottle of Andre you've been saving because I found a contractor for the upcoming kitchen remodel!!!! *jumping and clapping and glitter raining from the heavens*  It's been so long since I actually posted anything about my remodel that maybe all you ones and ones of new readers don't even know I'm doing a remodel. Well I am.  And I need it.  Badly.  And now that there's an actual start date that, you know, is real and doesn't exist in my head I'm going to bombard you with every fucking piece of minutiae about it because this is what I think about all gawddamn day and therefore I want you to suffer too.  I mean delight in it.  Yes definitely the last one.  But first I gotta find some poor schmuck to install some cabinets and a few other small chores.  The hunt begins...

Overall I found this experience to be quite fucking miserable.  I started making inquiries last SUMMER.  If you don't know it's now the end of January.  The following year.  Part of this was my fault - the Madame could win an award for procrastination as long as I didn't have to enter an essay by a reasonable deadline.  In my effort to bore you to death with previously mentioned minutiae I wrote a really long and boring post about this process.  Like to hear it?  Here it go.

I don't have any relevant pictures for this topic so I'm just throwing in some random crap.

June:  I started by calling subcontractors directly and a few recommendations given to me by friends.  This was all a disaster.   No one that a friend recommended returned my phone call.  What a great start!!  The subs I spoke to were relatively nice but I realized I needed a project manager and I did not want it to be me because I have a job and I will most likely lose my shit at some point during this process.  I will pay for someone else to organize and it'll give me one single person to yell at.  I like to be efficient like that.  Also, subs and I generally do not get along.  I hate to generalize (except as a punchline to a hilarious joke) but I don't trust these redneck fuckers as far as I can see them and I really hate looking at them for long periods of time.  Where are all the hot handymen with strong hands and hearts of gold???!!  I don't want to pull out the vagina card but I'm thinking being a young single Madame probably isn't helping.  When I talk to them I always have the same feeling when I leave my car to be serviced - that uneasy reluctant ball of "please please don't fuck with me" feeling that never really goes away because I have no way of knowing what goes on underneath the hood until I'm stranded in Murdertown on the side of the road or my ceiling collapses while I'm making Totino's Pizza Rolls seared salmon on a bed of local organic greens.    

I can't help it.  It makes me laugh every time.

July:  More research, more recommendations, more phone calls, more waiting.  I got a few nibbles but they were pretty lame.  Once I ask a construction dude how long the electrical work will take for installing a few more outlets and light switches.  This is a trick question because I obviously know how long this will take and I'm just testing him.  He responds by asking me if I've thought about what I want the edge on my counter to look like.  "They have round ones and roundier ones and ones with two round things..." he says as he draws edge profiles on a napkin.  Fuck.  You.  Get out of my house.

August: I have a new list of names and make more phone calls again with no call backs.  I'm not on a deadline but hell aren't we in a recession?  I begin to drink more.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  A friend tells me to use Service Magic which is like the eHarmony of contractors.  I resist.  I'm not to that point yet am I???  

my thoughts exactly Dude

September:  I hate contractors now and even just men in general make me squinty-eyed because I think they're all flaky misogynist liars out to steal my time and money.   I don't know what happened this month - I waited a lot, turned 30 and probably did a lot of evaluating my life, indulging myself and very little kitchen work.  Well, that's a lie because I did kitchen stuff but only the fun stuff like work on the cabinet plan and shop for tile.  That's really all a kitchen is anyway, I tell myself, pretty things.  La la-la la-la...

Will you help me find a contractor?

October: The irrational desperation has set in.  I realize my friends must hate me because why are they doing this to me???  Why is this so damn hard??  I start making cold calls - I'd rather have a trusted recommendation but when you're surrounded by frenemies you learn you are all alone and to trust no one except google.   It's just you and me, Charlemagne, and you're really only with me when there's bacon involved.  I talk to a few receptive people on the phone but when I send them my floorplan, scope of work and budget they never talk to me again.  I'm cheap but organized - they're assholes.  Way to be professional, dicks.  I'm a big girl and if you don't want to work with me do me the professional courtesy of texting me like a normal person.   I call more people - they aren't accepting new work.  Is the recession over and no one told me??  Fuck.  

I've lost all track of time:  But my luck is turning!  I find someone legitimate that an ARCHITECT friend recommended.  Faan-ceee!  They are nice and have a clipboard and don't smell.  I think I cry from relief.  Despite wanting to giggle and hug them inappropriately a nice consultation ensues, they bring subcontractors by to see the project and seem excited for the business.  Sure we can meet your budget - no problem.  This is a great project - fast and easy!  My heart soars.  Then one day I get snubbed when I see them in public - oooohhh...  This makes me want to shove his clipboard up his ass.  When the bid comes in it's double where they said it would be with no explanation.  Methinks you overbid because you didn't want the job.  Thanks for stringing me along for three weeks and making me take time off of work multiple times to meet you when you really didn't want the project.  I hope you get a really nasty intestinal parasite, fuckwad. 

here.  I have no idea...

November: I have perfected my cold call speech except now it is devoid of all emotion or hope or politeness and apparently this all works.  I have a great meeting with a company that works in the cool part of town and they guys laugh at all my jokes except the one I made about a seance.  Note to self: do not let your freak flag fly so early.  I anxiously await the bid but don't want to put all my eggs in one basket.  I ain't dumb.  I search for more options.

Still November:  I go to Service Magic in secret.  Somehow I feel it's the place of last resort for losers but I AM 30 now...  It's an awkward site.  They're supposed to "match" me with up to three contractors but I only get one because this ain't a big city y'all.  My match?  Sears home improvement services who eerily call me within 30 seconds.  They can only offer me HVAC work, Ty Pennington and tires and that's really not what I need so don't act all pissy that I don't want to use you, Terrance!!!  I search more on Service Magic and find a list of local contractors that for some reason they DIDN'T match me with.  WTF????  #magicfail  Found one cool one out of the list but his bio says he runs his business following his Christian principles. *cringe*  However the consultation was good and he was normal.  Beggars can't be choosers but I really do NOT need to make seance jokes with this dude.

December: Bids come in.  They are reasonable and I'm positively buoyant that I actually made progress!  Except for the fact that no one itemizes a bid to my satisfaction I can whip these fuckers into shape.  I make a spreadsheet for an official saucy side-by-side comparison.  The numbers aren't that far apart and they both have good references which means I have to rely on my psychic abilities and convoluted personal feelings about each company.  However by now it's Christmas and I'm distracted by sparkly lights and glittery things and eggnog.


Gawd I need some cuteness right now

January:  Ok for real, I need to quit stalling and pick a dude.  I've talked to references, seen their work and although they each have pros and cons I feel like they could each do a good job.  But which one is best for me??  Is the anticipation killing you?  Are you still even reading this?   Company 1 has a lot in common with me - they're kinda professional hipsters who dig vintage homes, the project manager is a ginger (bonus points), are always good to follow-up with me and we always have a great time when I see them.  Whhheeeee!  But even though they are good at communicating with me they don't answer my questions like I would want them to and I'm always just a tad disappointed after talking with them about the project.  Company 2 is rather bland - we don't have that shared warm and fuzzy feeling like Company 1.  Sad face.  However they are nice guys, very professional and the way they answer my questions is incredibly thorough and I always feel relieved after I read their answers.  I WANT to work with Company 1, I'm excited to work with Company 1 but I have a feeling that I like them too much.  My stupid girl personality is not listening to the rational brain part of me that says laughing over shared Family Guy jokes is NOT an indication that they'll do a good job.  I have a very real fear (that perhaps only another girl would understand) that when problems or important decisions arise in the future that our funny fun times will get in the way of me having to rip them a new asshole.  I'll be too nice because I won't want to hurt ginger's feelings.  Fuck my polite Southern upbringing!  Since I don't have a personal connection with Company 2 I can feel much more free to bitch when necessary or makes outlandish demands or other general diva-like behavior with no remorse.   I'm kidding, I only bitch at you people here on the blog.  I'm practically a saint in real life.  *innocently bats lashes*

Are these random pics getting awkward yet?  Replace Facebook with my reader and that's pretty much my day.

Despite all my asking the 8 ball research there's really no solid way of knowing how someone will perform until you experience it.  That sounds way sexier than I mean it especially if you've seen my shithole of a kitchen.  So I chose Company 2 and broke up with Company 1.   I felt like I killed a puppy.  Company 1's owner emailed and we talked and talked and talked and deals were offered and people were upset but maybe they should have put forth that kind of effort BEFORE it was time to make my decision.  Too little, too late.  Also their bid was still a mess.  But we can all totally go out for a beer sometime.  Meanwhile Company 2 is still answering my questions to my satisfaction.  Mostly...   Time for a madame to nut up or shut up or whatever the girl version of that is.

In the end I probably called about 15 general contractors plus subs.  I spoke to maybe 6.  I received 4 bids.  Two were legitimate.  This ratio is pathetic.  If this was my industry I would be embarrassed.  Or perhaps I have no idea what the hell I'm doing (a VERY likely possibility) and it will continue to be made clear over the next several months.  Of course any contractors that are reading this obviously have an internet connection and incredible taste in blogs so I bet they're  doing okay which means I probably couldn't afford them.  I want a contractor with really low self-esteem so he goes above and beyond what is necessary because he feels inadequate and won't charge me hardly anything.  There was no where to indicate that on Service Magic.  I looked.

I'm sure I'll have plenty more insights as this project progresses so stay on your toes.  Construction begins February 28.  Mark it on your calendar.  Right now I'm just cranky about this whole process and the fact that my GC is down with JC.  Think I'll go drink some wine and text with the ginger while we watch Family Guy reruns.


  1. Oh dear... I don't mean to laugh at your expense, but I did(still am).

    Don't feel along, though- everyone has those experiences with GCs, even those of us that have to deal with them on just about a daily basis.

    Chin up, and give 'em hell!

  2. *addendum*

    Could I type ONE comment without a typo?



  3. I love the flower photo. Now it just remains to be seen if your GC is more Mother Teresa or Oral Roberts. Good luck.

  4. Nick - go ahead. Laugh at my pain while I reach for the Andre to wash down the bottle of pills! Not before I send you a check of course. ; )

    David - pray for me.

  5. You surely are made with cotton candy, glitter and rainbows. All joking aside, I was tearing my hair out by the end of the post and I only had to endure this tragedy for 5 minutes or so. Working within the industry (broad sense) I hate the way there is such a disparity in professionalism, tactfulness, and organization between companies and contractors (subs or GCs). Anyhow, I'm pretty excited to witness the progress of the remodel because I'm basically, right this very moment, nominating you to throw the party (bagel bites and all) when some publisher picks up our 2012 PPL of Twitter Swim Suit Calendar

  6. Jamey - how do you know I am made of glitter and rainbows?! You must be psychic. Or have a sweet tooth for sugar and lots of cussing. Honestly I knew the jokes about contractors but was pretty surprised that they were true!! I'll make sure to keep everyone updated - and hell yeah I'll throw a party for the fake calendar launch! You like Taco Bell right? ; )

  7. Having been one of those C-words in my storied past, I am heartbroken to hear of your travails with the Chattavegas variant. "I" have never heard of such behavior! *squirms uncomfortably*

    Maybe that's why I made an abrupt about-face and switched careers, becoming a kitchen countertop contractor Bwahahahaha! I think your drinking tactic is a wise one: is there a wine box-erator in the new kitchen layout?
    I could make you one.

    The field of flowers pic made me snarf my coffee and I didn't even mind, once I got my pants changed. Hate that feeling...

  8. Rich - ooh the dreaded C-word. *makes squinty eyes* Yeah when you don't return a phone call there's a real live person on the other end - crying. And drinking. And stomping on fucking flowers.

  9. honeymoon in chattavegas - bring it! I'll send you a bible, ok? that will bring the magic w/ this one. You quoting scripture, him rhapsodizing about construction and voila! dreams do come true, they could happen to you... wait a minute, that songs about growing old w/ grace. don't worry MS - you'll still be young when he serves his last praise the lawd. same tune, different words - you're gonna win. I'm betting on it - you are Madame Sunday, his most favorite day. even if he doesnt know your true identity. ssshhh. remember, bible words, no cursing.

  10. cindyfw - ha! "true identity" - lawd if he knew about this blog he might break up with me! And I obviously don't take rejection too well... Don't bother sending a bible - we got plenty down here. Remind me to leave a few laying around. Praise Jeezus!

  11. Madame, I love your wit and humor. You are probably going to need. I am the Huntsville equivalent to Nick (obviously the female version) plus I was married to a GC for over 32 years, but, that is our little secret, ok?

    I can't tell you how much I hate it when people don't call you back and all of that other crap that some contractors are are so notorious for! Just one of MANY reasons the ex is an ex!

    Having worked in this industry for way more years than I will even admit to being old enough to, I will offer you advice and someone to grip and complain with and sympathize with if you need me.

    Good luck! I am looking forward to reading about your adventures!


  12. I once managed a project with a GC who was down with JC (no biggie, we got along well enough). One day, during a meeting, he discovered my atheism which resulted in a lot of "under-breath" jokey statements and chuckling between him and his "buddies".

    While they laughed it up I grinned and said, "the difference between an atheist and a christian, is the atheist has to live right the first time."

    The speed at which they stopped laughing was oddly humorous.


  13. Obviously Nick isn't the only one with typo issues this morning!

    **"You are probably going to need [it]."

    **"...I will offer you advice and someone to grip {gripe!} and complain with and sympathize with if you need me.

    ** and other various mistakes in the above!

    Jeesh, I really need to proof read!


  14. Brenda - your secret is safe with me! What happens at the Sauce stays at the Sauce. Except for the stuff I post on Twitter... Thanks for the moral support - I'm sure I'll need it when I'm crying on the subfloor one day.

    Izzy - ha! I can sense your smug satisfaction from here. ; ) You are adept at delivering one liners, my friend! I'd probably count myself an atheist except for the fact that I believe in ghosts and unicorns and I'm pretty sure those might be mutually exclusive.

    As someone who lives in the bible belt I've discovered there are two types of Christians - the good ones and the ones who want to get away with murder because they apparently do get to do it again. I hope I got a good one...

  15. Laughed my way through your entire post. And boy do I feel lucky that we have good contractors here in sunny CA. My hubby was one before he became a teacher. Great ones do exist, just not in Chattavegas I guess. Probably Charlemagne scared them off. Check the claws for skin and DNA. LOVED izzy's atheist ripost which I plan to implement from now on with all righteous ones. Do keep us up clued in on progress. Will you be adding a drive through window for your catered parties? Kymberly

  16. Kymberly - I think we might have good ones here too but I just don't know where they are and can't afford them. Yes Izzy's a smart one he is!

    I'll alert Nick immediately about the brilliant drive-thr window idea - we need to get on this ASAP!

  17. I followed a link here from a contractor's forum. Arduous, but worth the effort:>) Your story is sad but true and often repeated. But your writing style transforms it into worthy entertainment. The random photos are great, especially the flowers.

    I look forward to more details as it develops and truly hope you end with a positive experience that lacks any real disappointments.

    Good Luck

  18. DavidC - welcome to the Sauce! I hope getting here was arduous and not the reading part although damn, this post WAS pretty long!! Thanks so much for your encouragement and I hope I have zero problems but if I do I'll make sure to tell y'all about it using lots of cuss words and more random photos. ; )

  19. Wow. Just freaking wow. Love your wit and I totally know what you mean about not wanting your GC to be down with JC. I swear when I see the Jesus fish in the phone book, I go right past them, even if they are the only game in town. I know they'll smell my heathen blood and try to take me to the Jesus side. No way, Jose. They can suck my butt before that happens, and you know they'll want to.

    Anywho, "Hi" and love the blog. I need to get my balls enlarged a bit to cuss like you do on my blog. So... um... love your blog, wit, style, etc. I'll have to add you to my reader, fo schnizzle.

  20. Alycia - welcome to the Sauce! I know we're twitter tweeps so thanks for making your way over to this craziness. And I think you don't need any kind of corrective surgery because your giant lady balls are doing just fine. Keep it rockin, heathen sista!

  21. Hey, you sound like a fun girl, I mean you know how other people should act towards your very realistic expectations, right?
    If only you could have found a Swedish massage mind reading Finnish carpenter who digs chicks you might have been enjoying your remodel by now.
    Being a misogynist Mother Fucker (the exception being my Mother), "Hello Mom"! I feel your pain, the fact contractors and construction workers are human, like yourself, and given to having personalities it must be difficult to understand the depth of character a tool bearing caveman might have, but hey, you can be the judge of that as you seem to be good at it.....

    Congratulations on making your choices, I hope it goes well, just remember, we have to work with you also and contractors are no different than people in other professions, some are good, some aren't and some care and some don't.

    Paul Lesieur

    Good writing by the way, you are smart and funny, I would like to buy you a coffee someday, I'd offer a LOng Island tea but that frightens me somehow.

  22. That was a very entertaining read!

    It is my first time reading your stuff...

    As a contractor and a GC down with JC, I look forward to reading future posts on this topic.

  23. Paul - Welcome to the Sauce and thank you for your comment! Do you KNOW any Swedish psychic carpenters cuz that'd be great?! ; ) While it might seem that I'm some boozed up hussy making unreasonable diva-like demands I assure you that's pretty far from the truth. I am in fact well-organized and professional with reasonable expectations and give every single person I meet the benefit of the doubt until they give me a reason to think otherwise such as calling me baby, talking down to me or being unprofessional. I expect the same from the people I'm PAYING to be the same. I am a LOT more prepared than most of their clients. During the rough summer I even asked friends who deal with contractors on a daily basis if they thought the way I was handling the situation was the right way to approach it - they told me to be tougher. I have zero experience with a project like this and am presenting my story just like it happened (with a few more public f-bombs)because this is the real world and there is plenty of goodness and rainbows just like there is plenty of misogyny and assholes. And lemme tell ya, down here we got both.

    You're on for the coffee! You're right to stay away from Long Island iced teas, we called them 'panty-droppers' in college and I'd like for you to remain fully dressed during our conversation. ; )

    Ryan - thanks for stopping by! Always love a first-timer. ; ) I have no problem with anyone being down with the JC but please please don't put it on your business card!! Unless it brings you more business and then that's just smart I guess - it's a real turn-off for us heathens though. ; )

  24. Stop by my site sometimes, make sure you watch the Welcome to RC video.

    I truly enjoyed your article and never for a moment thought you were anything but a smart and interesting person with reasonable expectations.

    The F- bombs, that life as it goes.

    Please visit www.remodelcrazy.com, we have some members that visit you from time to time.

    Ok, that's all the serious I got at this time.

  25. Thanks Paul! I DO visit your site although I don't think I've seen the video... I'm glad you think I'm reasonable - I was concerned for a minute. ; )

  26. I, what, huh? I got lost in your Bermuda Triangle picture. Every house I've lived in has been in the middle of a remodel, but guess what? It's my own fault because I always said, "sure, we can afford this lovely house as long as we do ALL the work ourselves." I think I'll just organize one big Glittertastic party and invite all my Twitter friends over. Once they're bombed, I'll talk them into "helping." Here is my new mantra - condo. Yes, as soon as the kids move out and I finish the remodel here! Pass the Cheez-Whiz.

  27. Not to be the pessimist here but, did you think at some point and time that maybe you were the reason that no one was getting back to you?

    Just saying, bless your heart.

  28. I have similar experiences to what the Madame describes. Different gender (I'm assuming that MS is not a 15 year old boy in Dubuque), different part of the country, different types of jobs (bathrooms, patios rather than kitchens). I don't think she's the problem.

    In our master bath remodel, we wanted a stone and glass shower. One contractor told us we didn't want that, we wanted a one piece shower enclosure. We assured him that we didn't. When we got his bid, it included a one piece enclosure. (I ended up running that job myself and with lots of work found fantastic subs to work with. And the shower was fantastic.)

    For our brick patio project, we had a hard ceiling on the budget. It was a very reasonable figure - we weren't looking for something cheap. One of the contractors asked about budget. I gave him the number. He asked how high we'd be willing to go. I gave him the same number. His bid came in 2/3 higher. And he seemed shocked when I told him we were going to go with someone else.

    I've thought about this and my conclusion is that some contractors get set in doing jobs a certain way and they bid that rather than what the customer says they want. It must work for them at least sometimes or they wouldn't do it. The bathroom guy did one piece enclosures so that's what he bid. The patio guy had a certain vision so to him our budget didn't matter. (Another contractor stayed in budget and gave us exactly what we wanted so I feel confident that it was reasonable.) What I'm saying is that I think it comes down to a bit of tunnel vision and a lack of communication. And to repeat, SOME contractors.

  29. Mr. Green - Yes! Yes I did! I wrote a post about it: http://modernsauce.blogspot.com/2010/09/madame-sunday-calls-construction-dude.html

    If a 30 second voicemail turned someone off then I'm fucked in more ways than this kitchen remodel shows! Beyond that I should at least get the courtesy of someone telling me thanks but no thanks. Right? RIGHT??!!

    David - I am not a 15 year old boy from Dubuque. I'm 45. Just kidding! Maybe... Thanks for your support and I'm sorry to hear about your contractor woes as well. I think you're right though - the contractors I met came in with preconceived ideas about what I would want because that was what they were used to doing and were puzzled when I handed them my specific scope of work or said no to their ideas. Being good at one thing is a learned skill, being good at figuring out new things means someone is good at their trade. Yes, just SOME contractors!

  30. There really must be something missing.

    I love it when a potential client has all their ducks in a row, it makes my life easier. Maybe they thought you had champagne tastes on a beer budget? I will also say that over the years I have invested a lot of time with people, only for them to realize they were in no way prepared for what something was going to cost.

    Just as you need to make sure your carpenter fits, we need to make sure the customer is a good fit as well.

  31. Mr. Green - that's very true, the interview goes both ways and I tried very hard value the time that everyone put into the bid process. It did cross my mind that my over-preparedness may have come across as high maintenance rather than helpful but I wouldn't want to change that - it's my ID background! Maybe the budget was a turnoff - it is a small project - but I was very upfront about it and it wasn't unreasonable. I guess we'll never know! Thanks again for your input and comment.

  32. God damn that was some funny stuff there. I was a GC for ten years now doing drafting & design, I saw a link to this on the Remodelcrazy talk forum and glad I did. Lots of GCs and subs are looking at it now and laghing their asses off.

  33. Madame: Damn. My cheeks hurt from grinning like an idiot while I read this, because it rings so perfectly true. I am yet another heathen who is uneasy about hiring anyone with a Jesus Fish in their advertisement - the whole practice of one using earnest ideals to sell one's work creeps me out. (Maybe because it's too close to how I marketed my eco-decor services? Wince.)

  34. Anonymous Andy - Welcome to the Sauce! I'm glad that all you construction dudes can laugh at this along with me. It's 'with' right?! And I don't hate all of you. Yet... ; )

    Deborah - I am so happy to know that there are other people/heathens like me! I think these guys might be more guitar playing, sandal wearing Christians so maybe that's good. I don't know... Yeah us bleeding heart green liberals NEVER get preachy, am I right?! ; )

  35. I have to be all earnest now because I'm looking at the same process in the next few years, and this strikes terror into my heart. All the designers/contractors I know typically do bigger & more expensive jobs than mine, and I will have to buy Rosetta Stone in Polish so I can communicate with the good workers I can afford, who are probably without green cards, thus ruining my chances of running for public office.

    Also, is it wrong my first thought was "mmm, Totino's"?

  36. Madame: I must say- this was a very intriguing and interesting (and hilarious) point of view coming from a homeowner that uses ServiceMagic. I am the online customer liaison here at Servicemagic and it was a refreshing inside look to the homeowners experience. I primarily only work with our service pros; and I am happy to hear you found someone from our network and I do hope it works for you. I've subscribed to your blog because it is just too funny to not read! Thank you for the great "twist" on things and we all enjoyed reading your blog.

  37. Kim - somehow I feel like you'll be alright since you're in a big city. My friend that recommended Service Magic lives in DC and uses them all the time (and craigslist) and is able to find good workers on the serious cheap just because there's so much more competition. Me? Not so much. But even if you have to hire illegals you're in Chicago so I don't think it really matters... ; )

    mmmhhh.... pizza rolls.

    Angela - thanks so much for commenting! I do think your service is cool but seems like it didn't ACTUALLY work for me. ; ) Hit me up at madamesunday at gmail dot com if you want to talk more. I promise not to cuss. Unless you want me too...

    And honey there ain't no twist, this is real life! Thanks for the love and glad to see you'll continue reading! Welcome to the Sauce!

  38. Perfect- will do! I'm interested in speaking to you about your amazing blogging skills.

    I'm glad that you warmed up to our service and we were able to match you with someone else.

    And for Kim- you can submit service requests for as many pros as you'd like so you don't have to settle for someone that doesn't have the right credentials. We have a vigorous screening process before they can join our network.
    Madame is absolutely correct- larger areas= more pros.

    I will absolutely continue reading (especially now that they come straight to my inbox!) I also saw that one of our guest bloggers- Leah Thayer enjoyed tweeting about your blog!

  39. Angela - yes amazing, right?! (barf) You are too sweet and I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

  40. blynyrd (pronounced bleh nerd skin nerd)March 11, 2011 at 9:44 AM


    A very funny and enjoyable read, although mixed with a small amount of shame for laughing at someone else's home owner induced misery.

    I'm in the specialty trades/ subcontractor biz, and I totally agree with the frustration of un-returned calls.

    If only the non calling back MF'ers knew the angst and suffering in self analysis they caused. Maybe one could set up a "bait" call for them and leave them with no reply, so they can share the pain. You could (mis-re)present yourself as a tool rep giving away free tools, or for really severe cases, as a representative from their insurance agency asking about a "claim".

    Anyway, thanks for the laughs. I hope your project goes smoother than a freshly washed baby's butt. And when the drive through window is finished let me know I thought I read something about bacon...

    ...mmm, bacon.

    Wait, what?

  41. blynyrd - please laugh it up and feel free to thank gawd it's not you! I think I will take your advice and start using trickster phone calls - you have to fight fire with fire, ya know.

    My project is actually going really well now, thank you! Apart from a few incidents outside of my control (thanks a lot Mother Nature) I think some of those guys are WISHING they'd called back!

    I'm sorry, did you say bacon...??

    mmhh... bacon.

  42. Your article on "How not to find a contractor", still has legs on RC.

    Must of touched a sensitive spot with a few of the members.

  43. Paul - apparently, right?! I think it's cool that there's a space that we can openly talk about it - thanks for nudging me to jump in! I'm not looking to blast on all contractors - I want to know what I did wrong too!

    Thanks Paul.

  44. Franco and I hadn't read this post until now. It's great!

    We're going to pull up Service Magic right now. I want to see which painters are listed for our area.

  45. Zrzuce - good luck! It's an awkward site but I thought it was pretty useful.

    I tried to read this post again and it's soooo long. I don't know how anyone actually made it through it!! ha!