Count your fingers. Count your
blessings and for Pete’s sake – Count our money. My mom’s house sprang a
small leak last summer which expanded into a cross between a Marx
Brother’s movie and a modern version of Dante’s Inferno.
First, no one could find just what was
leaking, then the most logical answer by the most competent-looking
plumber turned out to be neither on both counts.
While they were fixing the wrong
pipes, they loosened the top of the water heater and flooded the house.
Add non-responsive insurance agents, slick, slow and soon-invisible
contractors, mirror mishaps and financial chicanery and you have Mom’s
Fall and Winter.
Now, when you realize this is
happening to a smart woman with involved family members, the landscape
of past and present caregivers who are open prey to this horror is truly
frightening.Please understand that I am not suggesting the vast majority
of home improvement specialists fall within this grouping. They do
not.We just got lucky.
Hard Learned Lessons.
to impart some hopefully helpful hints for those of you with home repair
Check ‘em out! Call the Better
Business Bureau and our state to check on any complaints against
their license. Talk to previous clients.
Make sure they have a license.
Many times, even if there is a license associated with the business,
you never deal directly with the license holder.
Make sure that the person is aware you will refer them to the
proper authorities, if necessary.
Bid! Bid! Bid! Prices, as well as
qualifications, will vary. GREATLY!
Insist on a time and payment
schedule, with penalties for missed scheduled commitments and
rewards for beating the schedule with competent work.
Do not give anyone cash. Never.
Not for any reason. Get receipts and when the work is done-get
Do not pay in advance.If you are
asked to pay too much before the work is done –worry.
Watch the paperwork. Retotal
figures. Ask questions. Demand proof. Demand receipts. It is your
money, after all.
Make sure you get “Release of
Liens” from all subcontractors. If you do not-and the contractor
fails to pay them-you are liable.
“If in doubt, don’t lay it out!”.Get good advice from your
attorney if you feel that someone may be taking advantage of you.
Trust yourself. Don’t settle for
answers that don’t ring true.
Now that you’ve passed Contractor 101,
may you never have to take the final exam.
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