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MLB Construction
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a couple that just bought their first house called and asked me to price out some things they wanted done around their house. they closed on the house two weeks ago. i priced out everything they wanted done including refinishing floors and painting the entire interior. they ended up going with a flooring guy that was a recommendation from a family member. i got a few of the small jobs and they were thrilled with my work. i kept my mouth shut about the flooring job after i saw it. well, today the wife asked me what i thought about the job that the flooring guy did. i asked her if she wanted me to be brutally honest and she said yes.

this guy did a job that an ape could have done better. they had all the floors sanded, stained and two coats of poly. there is stain everywhere and i mean everywhere. every stair riser, every baluster and there's about 250 of them, the toe kick of the kitchen cabinets are a mess, the cove molding below the treads were not sanded but they wiped stain on them and on each stair half the cove molding is covered with stain and the other half isn't. i told her all of this and she agreed with me and brought up the same concerns with her husband and her parents. i met this guy by chance today prior to this conversation i had with the owner. what a MEGA-DI*K he was and a huge racist. i couldn't believe some of the things he was saying after knowing me for about 3-4 minutes. anyways, an hour after he left i had my conversation with the owner. she asked me what to do about this and i told her to call him and voice her concerns and ask what he's willing to do to rectify this problem.

she called me a little while ago to tell me about her conversation with him. she said he was rude, crass and said he wasn't going to do anything about it. he kept making excuses and finished off his conversation by calling her a F***ing C**t. i couldn't believe it. i've been in this business for about 15 years and this has to be the worst case of customer care i've ever heard of. it's people like this that give us a bad name. i live by the credo that the customer is always right and do what it takes to make them happy even if it's not the smartest thing to do from a construction perspective. i have a nit-picky customer that we did a small job for and everything came out just fine, she's had be back to her house about about 5-6 times since we finished to do little minor things, touch ups, etc. i went over happily and did everything she asked for at no charge and i was aggravated but i have a happy customer that has already referred me and i have since booked 3 jobs because of her.

i'm going to report this guy to the BBB myself for just the conversation we had that i found offensive and believe me, it takes one hell of a lot to push me over the edge. this jerk should go join the KKK and get out of the construction business, he gives us all a bad name.

thanks for letting me vent.

A. Spruce
Re: Ready for this story???

Sadly, there seems to be more apes like that out there than good guys. Like you, I went above and beyond for my customers, the one caveat, I chose my customers more than they chose me. I was very picky about who I took on. I liked the ones who would comment "you're not the cheapest, but [insert person's name] said you were really good." :o

In this particular instance, I don't know if I'd have taken the job, since it seemed like the meat and potatoes was the floor refinishing. She was probably trying to save a buck, and look what it got her. Bet she already paid the guy off too, which means she has ZERO recourse, other than taking him to small claims court, which is just as much of a joke as the BBB. This guy needs to be reported to the contractors board for his bad work and bad attitude. Since places like Angie's List are gaining popularity, your client should lodge a complaint there as well, any other place she can think of, Yelp, FB and other social media, etc.

Re: Ready for this story???

Don't bother with BBB, it's a joke of an organization. Yelp would be better.

But the best is contacting the contractors board, not because of this guy's temper or dirty mouth, but because of the incomplete job he has done. If he is bonded, the boards has his funds to correct a lousy work he has done, if he refuses to fix it. Tell the owner to flex some muscle.

In all my years of doing this, I've always avoided contact with crappy contractors like this one.

MLB, life's too short to engage or do business with a person like this.

Re: Ready for this story???

Not the first story I've heard about flooring contractors including a franchise that advertises on tv in my area.
I bet his bid was the lowest by a lot.
After that exchange the owner wouldn't want them back in the house anyway. Problem solved for the contractor. :rolleyes:

Re: Ready for this story???

You're not alone.

Went to see a new house yesterday- well not a new new house, but a 1920 bungalow which was taken to the studs, then a HUGE addition to the rear of the house. (round these parts we call that a camel back) The HO has been in the house a few months. The siding is leaping off the house. The GC didn't use Hardie plank as contracted, but substituted southern yellow pine 1x6's and not the nicest grade.

1- The paint is peeling off as they used drywall compound to smooth the original plank wood siding, and did no prep on the cheap SYP boards. The paint doesn't seem to want to adhere to the dusty boards. Go figure.

2- The SYP boards are checking, warping, shrinking, cracking, and bending off the house. Some are nearly falling out. The house looks 20 or 30 years old, not 3 months old.

3- The original section has new ridge venting but no soffit venting.

4- About half the outlets in the house don't work

5- The walk in shower is already showing signs of leaking.

6- The HWH metal pan is 6 inches lower than the emergency drain pipe.

7- The hall bath tub tile isn't waterproofed.

8- The garage slab was poured so low it floods at each rain.

9- The underside of the original house holds about a foot of water, breeding mosquitoes.

10- The kitchen backsplash tile has one sheet of mosaic that is a different shade than the rest and sticks out like a sore thumb. The rest of the BS tile is cracking.

That was after an hour's chat with the HO. Friday I go back to examine fully and write a report. Anyone know where I can find it written down that you don't use ultra crappy SYP as siding ?

Re: Ready for this story???

I've been in similar situations, but my approach is a bit different though. If I see someone else screwing up, I'll see if they want some friendly advice. If so, they learn and a good job gets done. If not, then it's not my problem. If the homeowner wants my opinion on things I try to smooth it over but I will not lie- if the work wasn't done well I will say so, but I will also say that the only opinion which counts is theirs and if they think it's OK then it's fine. My most loyal customers are those who used someone else for part of the job instead of me, then had to call me in to fix things after their chosen idiot either wouldn't or couldn't make things right. I'm always asked why I didn't speak out earlier and my answer is always "I gave you my bid and you chose someone else. It was not any business of mine after that, nor would you have liked hearing that kind of thing from me while I was still here working as you'd have thought I was just trying to get the job from them." When they understand this they no longer try to run the show without my advice, and after they see how well the job could have been done after I'm finished, they never bother to call anyone else. Life-long customers are easy to make when you do things right.

And I've run into these idiots afterward when they found out I had to fix their crappy work. They are not happy to hear what I think of them but I don't care because it's true. And I ask them if they used 'my' customer as a referral since they 'finished' and if not why was that? At that point where they can give no good answer they sulk away for we both know what happened and there's no getting around that. Their reputation generally sinks them pretty quick. I'll advise the homeowner of their possible methods of recourse but I won't get personally involved with that- I don't have time to spend in courtrooms.

While I don't always go with "the customer is always right", I do go with giving them what they paid for and more with nothing ever being done wrong. I don't mind fixing anything I need to for the job to be right- I plan for that in every job because we always forget or overlook something it seems. What I leave behind is always good work at a good value but if they haggled the price down they won't get my very best- they're not paying for that so they don't get it. If they want me to cut corners then they can get someone else thank you- I don't do that. Nor will I go back and patch at that level but I will redo the whole thing correctly for my price, not theirs. From our perspective as craftsmen, the way I see it is this: If you do work for someone and you are not the first person they call for their next project, you've done something wrong somewhere. And if you're really good then you will be the only one they call because they won't want to deal with anyone else. When this is the norm for you, you've got it right.


A. Spruce
Re: Ready for this story???
Mastercarpentry wrote:

I've been in similar situations, but my approach is a bit different though. If I see someone else screwing up, I'll see if they want some friendly advice. If so, they learn and a good job gets done. If not, then it's not my problem.

Friendly advice is all you can ever give. I had a 20 year long, loyal customer ask me to do a walk through on a house she wanted to purchase. The entire time, all I could do was to badmouth the quality of the workmanship throughout the house (DIY remodel project ) . I finally apologized and said that for me to be focusing so hard on the visible, aesthetic, flaws throughout the house, what was hidden in the walls that we couldn't see? This place was a turd, and I advised her as such, she ended up buying the property, and has spent a very, VERY, large sum on all it's flaws, and still hasn't made it worthy of living in, 5 years later.

Mastercarpentry wrote:

My most loyal customers are those who used someone else for part of the job instead of me, then had to call me in to fix things after their chosen idiot either wouldn't or couldn't make things right. . . . Life-long customers are easy to make when you do things right.

Been there, done that! The thing with me is, unless you have been a long time, loyal client, I am not so forgiving, and not as likely to take you on as a client. I fully understand the need for value, tight budget constraints, etc., however, I have not, and will not, compromise quality, neither in material, nor workmanship. My favorite clients are those who tell me that I was not the cheapest choice, but the best choice. I have NEVER tried to be the cheapest, only to be the best for the price paid. I give 110%, and only charge a fraction of what others do providing the same level of quality and service aI do. Use me and you will never have a call back, unless you need more work done. I built my business on my loyal customers, NOT the public sewer (phone book, facebook, print ads, paid membership to industry organizations, etc. ). I do an honest day's work, I want honest people who appreciate my efforts.

The real difference between me and you, Phil, is that I won't use silicone . . . :p;):cool:

Re: Ready for this story???
Mastercarpentry wrote:

I've been in similar situations, but my approach is a bit different though. If I see someone else screwing up, I'll see if they want some friendly advice.

A somewhat moral question to follow that up with. The house Houston mentions above happens to be the house behind me, literally. I watched it go from a little bungalow to a a little bungalow with some legos stacked on the back of it and a 2 story garage.
Let me preface what follows by saying I am NOT a contractor, but I do have a very good memory and I am very observant of conditions, materials used and situations/conditions, that is part of my job.
I watched the new portions of the house being built using every leftover scrap of plywood to sheathe the garage, resulting in overlaps and thus not a smooth surface. I observed undersized posts holding up a 2nd level balcony/staircase head down to ground level outdoors. I saw the inferior siding material mentioned above be applied to the home, using every piece that I hope would be rejected if it were my home and no patches applied.

So what do I do? This is new construction, done by "professionals." Do I tell the realtor s/he is selling a turd? Do I tell the owner/designer that bought to flip it that his subs suck? Do I find every perspective homebuyer and say "don't buy it, it's built like crap"? I could find myself with a lawsuit if I do the latter. I did nothing, and I have had a few conversations with the new homeowner who now lives in a lemon. A very expensive lemon. Fortunately the homeowner has been proactive, seems to be taking it well, and is taking appropriate legal action. I hope they win the suit and stay, because I like them, and they are now my 5th string babysitters.

Re: Ready for this story???

Offering unsolicited advice can land you in legal trouble, its called "tortious interference"

Now if the homeowner / client / prospective customer asks you, then you can speak without repercussion

Re: Ready for this story???

Just to be clear here, my 'friendly advice' goes to the guy(s) doing the work. Anyone else has to ask or I keep my mouth shut. Function, it's a tough moral dilemma you speak of. If I were about to make a costly mistake I would want someone-anyone- to try to stop me. But only I am me, and others may not deal with reality as well as I do. So since it was not of my doing, and since it passed the Codes Inspection, should anyone ask all I would\ say is that I personally would not have it, and then I would say no more. I am legally entitled to my personal opinion and I am safe in stating it so long as I am not disparaging anyone or anything in my statement. To say why I wouldn't have it opens that legal door which I like keeping shut.

No, I can't tell you why I wouldn't have it- only that I personally wouldn't. You do whatever you want to.


Re: Ready for this story???

MLB suggest to the homeowner that she should write a review for Angie's list.


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