Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Contractor Circus

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, 
come one, come all and watch the 
Magnificent Misha and Mia 
as they juggle electricians and leap through the gas guy’s fiery hoop of death!

So, we have decided to be our own general contractors and hire individual trades and it really is like being the Ringmaster in a three ring circus.  If you haven’t been following along, we planned to do the reno back in April but due to life circumstances we rescheduled to August.  We had done a lot of research and obtained at least 3 quotes on all the jobs. 

When the time came we did not go with any of the contractors we had received quotes from.  They were either not available on the dates we wanted or too expensive.  Armed with the knowledge and experience from the previous months we had 5 days to arrange the electrical and gas and coordinate with our carpenter, tiler and cabinet maker. 

The electrician search was like being in a tiger cage where you are never certain if you or the tigers are in charge.  I called about 5 electricians; our top and most expensive pick was not available on the day we wanted, our second quote seemed great but when it came time to send us a quote we got a major run around but no quote. We finally went with a small local company who had a guy willing to start on Sunday and keep us on schedule.  

The gas guy was a completely different adventure.  We got phone quotes of $300 - $400 dollars that ballooned to $700 - $800 once they came out to see the job.  We were in a rush and not in a great negotiating position.  We went with a family business that quoted us $800 to do the job.  The crotchety, decrepit patriarch of the family did the ever fluid quote.  It seemed high to me and I was able to negotiate a price of $600 with the grandson. When they came to do the work, Gramps real or feigned memory issues resulted in a bill of $650 plus an additional $50 to come back and hook up the stove.  A quick meeting with sonny in the furnace room got us back to the $600 all in price.

Lesson: Know what animal you are dealing with before you get into the cage, let them know who is in charge and never let them see your fear.

Result: Electrical and gas complete and ready for insulation and drywall.  We are walking the tightrope of home contracting, over the tiger pit, while juggling and all without the aid of a safety net!


Electrical and gas done

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