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Old 01-29-2015, 12:20 PM   #61
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Being a contractor in a skilled trade I may be able to offer an explanation as to why some contractors do the things they do. You never want to tell a contractor that you are getting several bids or estimates. This is huge turn off, simply say that you are thinking of doing a project and are looking for a professional to do the job. Why would I want to come out and educate you on how your project needs to be done, share my ideas, spend all of the time to properly estimate the job, put it in a form that you can understand, then present it to you when you have already done this wasting the time of numerous other people? If I feel like I have a legitimate chance at getting the job and the customer doesn't talk down to me like I am a used car salesman or a member of congress I will do whatever I can to get the job.
The dry rot repairs per my previous post were in various places throughout our house, some on the second story, so the bids ranged from $3.5K to over $8K. There is no way I would get one bid. It might have been the $8K bid. Plus a couple of contractors were not just expensive, they were outright shysters - telling us we needed extensive work done when we had already had a structural pest report completed by a licensed pest company and were just getting bids on the work. One contractor told us we had termites based on some peeling paint on a part of the house that was stucco. That was interesting because I had never heard of stucco termites before.

I agree on not getting bids for $200 worth of work. That is not what I was referring to. We usually do around one big project a year, like replacing the fence, remodeling a bathroom or a new roof, and that is where we get the competing bids, not on handyman type work. The difference from high to low bids is often several thousand dollars or more. We also check Yelp reviews, Consumer's Checkbook, the BBB, a local ratings company and factor in ratings, complaints, years in business, BBB grade, BBB membership, etc.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:30 PM   #62
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So were the workers also the owners? Sounds like you tipped employees to do extra work for you that they didn't charge you for - but if that was the case, you ended up shortchanging the owners! Not fair at all to the business owners....unless the workers stayed late on their own time and didn't charge the business owner for time and used their own personal materials (which I doubt).
We didn't ask them to do the extra work. They weren't expecting any extra pay or any tip. They were just a company that had great reviews online for providing quality service. The workers were very conscientious. We gave them a nice tip and called the owner and told him what a nice job they did and how they took care of all the little odds and ends. If you think that is a bad thing I guess that is your choice.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:41 PM   #63
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I bought my first house shortly after I started my medical practice. One piece of advice that my professional partnership gave me was not to identify myself as a physician when buying a vehicle or seeking estimates from contractors, as seeing "MD" could jack up the price. Fortunately, the partnership kept a list of good contractors based on referrals.
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Old 01-29-2015, 12:45 PM   #64
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This past year we spent about $60K on a major landscaping makeover and repair. It included demolition of a raised paver patio put in 12 years ago by a low bid contractor. These guys weren't cheap, but I feel much more confident they did it right. I also appreciated how they did try to keep the cost down where they could.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:02 PM   #65
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I bought my first house shortly after I started my medical practice. One piece of advice that my professional partnership gave me was not to identify myself as a physician when buying a vehicle or seeking estimates from contractors, as seeing "MD" could jack up the price. Fortunately, the partnership kept a list of good contractors based on referrals.
We have a lot of that happen on house sales in these parts. If the seller knew that the real person interested was some notable celebrity/athlete/wealthy person the price would've gone up considerably.

So usually a dummy corporation, or straw-person (usually the lawyer) will buy the place and either re-sell it to the person or it is held by the corporation for a while.

Also one of the reasons that 'quiet money' likes to stay that way.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:05 PM   #66
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We have used the same roofing contractor for four replacement roofs on family homes over the last 5 years. He specializes in just doing replacements and don't mess with new construction. The reasons we chose him (not the lowest bidder) the first time were:

1. He is very professional and provided a quote and material spec that was exactly what we asked for.

2. His crew is timely, does good work, cleans up after each day.

3. He is a member of the BBB (the only roofing contractor I found that was around these parts).

4. He informed me that as a veteran, I can get a $300 check from GAF if I use their shingles (which I was going to anyway). He also provided the GAF submission form and filled out his parts.

5. When I call or e-mail him, he is prompt in returning the request.

6. He personally inspects the job after the crew is done.

I don't use contractors often as I do a lot of my own work, but when you find one that does a good, quality job and you are thrilled, stick with him.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:09 PM   #67
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Back to the OP ... I'd rather be financially successful and have the problems you mentioned than still trying to be FI .
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