Friday, November 3, 2017

Great Contractor Gone Bad

Beautiful Bathroom by the Contractor (last project)
Remember my 30K mistake? I was lucky to find an amazing contractor who helped fix that property at a very short notice. He went far beyond my expectations to turn the unit around super fast. I really enjoyed working with him.

But guess what? Apparently, there is an issue with great contractors. They become very popular! Then, they start having capacity issues.

New Job

At the end of August, we completed Summer property inspections in all of our self-managed rentals. Most issues we found were very minor and my husband took care of them. See details here, if you'd like to know the specifics.  

In one of the units, tenant reported several more substantial issues during the inspection including:
  • Because there is no fan in the bathroom, ceiling is getting dark (aka moldy) 
    • New fan needs to be installed. Ceiling needs to be sealed, cleaned and re-painted.
  • One of the eavestroughs is clogged to the extent that trees are starting to grow out of it.
    • Eaves have to be cleaned.
I received a quote from my hero contractor and a text that he can get the job done in the next 3-4 days. 

58 Days Later

My job is too small. The contractor is in high demand and has a higher priority bigger job every week.

Here is what happened:
  • Sept 6 - Quote finalized and accepted. Contractor commits to 3-4 day timeline
  • Sept 6 - Contractor requests full up-front payment. I ask for smaller pre-payment.
  • Sept 7 - We agree to 50% deposit. Deposit sent
  • Sept 8 - Contractor confirms he'll contact the tenant and schedule a date/time
  • Sept 12 - I follow up with contractor. He was crazy busy; work not scheduled yet; he'll get to it
  • Sept 21 - I follow up with contractor. He was crazy busy and is going away for a week. He will handle as soon as he is back.
  • Oct 4 - I follow up with contractor. Tenant not happy with mold. Please fix ASAP.
  • Oct 5 - Contractor apologizes for not having enough hours in the day and promises to get to it
  • Oct 10 - I follow up asking if contractor had a chance to schedule a date. Contractor responds that he will call the tenant tonight. Visit is scheduled for Oct 12th. Hurrah!!!
  • Oct 16 - I check in with contractor regarding the status. Contractor sealed the ceiling and is going to install a fan and then paint bathroom. He will do it this week.
  • Oct 24 - I follow up with contractor. It's been crazy busy and he should be able to get the fan installed early next week
  • Nov 1 - I ask if contractor had a chance to schedule a date. If not, can I please have the money back?
  • Nov 2 - Contractor is aiming for Friday or Saturday this week. Tenant confirms that a date isn't scheduled yet
  • Nov 3 - I follow up with contractor... no response

Next Steps

I plan to find a replacement contractor on Monday, November 7th and get the job done ASAP.

I asked my friend who had recommended the contractor not to recommend him again. I felt really bad about it because I really liked the guy. On the other hand, I have to do the right thing and save other potential victims from losing their time and money.

Do you have any suggestions?

Please share in comments below.

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