How A "Great Price" Became A Nightmare

Tempted to go with the lowest price? Don’t be. You requested three prices for a kitchen remodel and you have received quotes for $15,000.00, $27,000 and $31,000.00. You get to thinking “Wow! I can get a new kitchen for $15,000.00 and the other guys are ripping me off.” Well, consider what happened to someone who has become a good friend of mine.

Joe* needed a new kitchen as well as some other interior work done on his home. So he asked 3 contractors to look at the project. One of the contractors was the father of one of his son’s friends and had often chatted with him at their son’s sporting events. As it turns out, this fellow had the lowest price and Joe had talked to a couple of other folks who had used him and they said “Oh yeah, he’s pretty good to work with” So Joe decides to go with his friend whom we’ll call the “low-price guy”

Joe meets with the low-price guy about plans for permitting He and this low-price guy hash out what Joe wants to do. Low-price guy says “No problem, I’ve got a buddy of mine who will hand draw the plans cheap.” A few weeks go by and Joe calls the low-price guy inquiring about the progress of the plans. “No problem,” the low-price guy tells Joe, “He is almost done.”

2 more weeks go by and Joe again calls. “Give me another week!” The low-price guy promises that he would have something for Joe. Finally, about six weeks after he had given the low-price guy the go ahead, Joe was going to see what his newly remodeled home was going to look like. Joe and his wife are sitting at the kitchen table as the hand drawn plans are rolled out, and as the low-price guy starts to go into details, Joe holds up his hand and say’s “Wait a minute, this doesn't look like anything you and I talked about.”

To make a long story short, the low-price guy had told the draftsman what HE thought Joe wanted. And to top it off, the low-price guy told Joe, “Oh, well I’ll need more money to pay for the revised drawings”

The project started late and was delayed by the infrequent comings and goings of the low-price guy’s crew and, as Joe told me, he was willing to put up with this as it was still a good deal so far. But it was starting to wear on him and his family.

At a meeting for the granite counter template, the low-price guy and his carpenter were arguing about who should go for coffee while the template technician was asking questions about the countertop. Fast forward to AFTER the installation of the granite countertop: Only then was it discovered that no one had bothered to tell the template tech that there was to be a downdraft unit behind the range. As a result, the granite needed to be RE- CUT to accommodate this unit. The low-price guy told Joe, “No problem, the fabricator can cut it in place”

When Joe called the fabricator to ask him when he was coming back to re-cut the granite, the fabricator chuckled and said “Sure, we can cut it out if you don’t mind us making a big mess with water and dust.”

As it turns out, they had to remove the top to take back to the shop to be cut and in the process the slab broke. The low-price guy tried to get the granite fabricator to glue the piece back together and not tell Joe, who subsequently found out about it. Joe then told the low-price guy that he needed to own up to his mistake and have the slab replaced at his (the low-price guy’s) expense.

About two thirds of the way though the project, Joe decided to relocate to a rental home he owned so that he and his family would no longer be living in a messy construction zone.

The low-price guy told him “Great! We’ll be done in two weeks!” Can you guess what happened next? 2-1/2 MONTHS later Joe and his family finally moved back in. To add insult to injury, the low-price guy presented Joe with a bill for $23,000, (Yes, $23,000 dollars!) for the items not in the original contract.

I asked Joe, “Well, why did you pick this guy?” He sheepishly hung his head and said “He had such a great price and I thought because he was a friend of the family he would treat me right”

I Then asked him, “Would you have been better off with any of the other contractors you asked to quote on your project?” “Absolutely,” he responded. “One of the other contractors gave me a more detailed and complete quote. His price was not far off from what I ultimately ended up paying and his references were impeccable.” I just wish I had resisted the siren call of a lower price. “Believe me,” he said, “my wife reminds me all the time!”

It would be beneficial to consider what Joe went through. In trying to save money, he ended up paying a lot more then he planned, and on top of it, he and his family endured significant stress and emotional turmoil as the project dragged on and on.

While it is tempting, and more so in our current economy, to go with the low-priced guy, inevitably, you will end up paying more: Either for the project or in the toll of stress/mental anguish or both. Don’t Be Tempted!

*Not his real name.


A Thought For The Day...

In buying just about anything, there is always the risk you'll pay too much.

There is however, a much more significant risk in paying too little.

I bring this up, as we're getting many folks looking to purchase on price only. Then we're hearing stories about requests for more money and projects that are left unfinished.

Remodeling is expensive in any economy. If you cannot afford to pay someone to do it right, can you afford to pay to get it fixed when it goes south?