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DIY impression-contractor costs/quality

junkhound's picture

First to admit I'd never be able to build a set of stairs like Stan Foster or a deck like Prodek or cabinets like Blodgett.  Pretty sure 90% of the pros here likely do a better and faster job than any of my DIY, but also think that the pros here are in the top 5% of contractors/tradesmen in general. Positive that 100% do  better drywall <G>.

There have been a couple of posts recently alluding to these comparisons in the opposite direction .

My own impression is that the skill and proficiency level of the pros on BT are so far above the norm that it is hard to make comparisons with what the normal person encounters.

Anyway, this post primarily to start a discussion on the topic of DIY vs hiring, as I personally have zero experience in hiring anybody but DDS or MDs. (I dont consider building inspectors or vehicle smog inspectors as being hired, I'm forced to pay by gov reg. to 'avail myself of the 'servce').   

Only experience with anybody being hired is 3 episodes with Mom's house in central IL. If others have had similar experiences to these, the building trades(apart from those on this board) are typically a real sleazy bunch. Have never even called anyone myself for any type work other than medical.

1.  Just before he died, Pop hired a group to EPDM about 1-1/2 square of low slope roof, cost $3k. Spent another 1/2 day (during #3) repairing their screwups (mostly on poor corner treatment) on a trip back.

2. Just after pop died, brother traded a contractor who owed him $4k to paint Mom's house for the balance - guy sent out 2 illegals with a pressure washer and spray gun - godawfulest paint job I'd ever seen - washer gouges in the siding, lots off loose chips left, etc.  Would have been better if they had never touched the house. Probably gonna need to scrape and re-paint myslef next year although 2000 mi away.

3. Mom's house also needed new roof.  Brother (in same town) first called 8 roofing outfits for bids, only one guy came by and he did not bid.  Roof needed built in gutters torn off and eaves extended, quite a bit more work than a simple re-roof.  Younger son and self went back (from 2000 mi away) and to do the re-roof/framing, out of pocket cost was well under $2K including airfares for selves and DWs. Son is retired, but say 120 hours total at $60 hr is <$10K total.  Admit I did a relative 'hack' job (e.g. tar vs. flashing) on the roof as the house is probably worth < $50K and Mom is in late 80's.

Also, any experience with co-workers and auto repair show great disparities. - e.g co-worker got a bid to replace a timng chain and WP of $550 on a 350.  Told him to come over with a six pak.  45 min and $30 worth of parts later we were drinking a beer, his car ready to roll...... nealy all own car repairs take less time than it would take driving down to get a bid.   

Maybe will get some interesting comments??

(post #80086, reply #1 of 48)

I think a real problem for people is that they don't even know what they need to look out for.  Even from past conversations here, it seems that homeowners need to be their own GC, just to make sure their GC is doing their job.

Last year we were replacing our furnace.  After some pestering on HVACtalk I felt I had enough information to know what to look for in a quality install.  When I got the bids for the job, I told them that my signing with them was contingent on my seeing an example of their work on a previous client - they got to choose the client.

The low bidder sent me to his sisters house.  She was very happy with the job the workers did.  Then I went into the attic.  Besides just being a mediocer install, there was one line that had popped off the plenum.  Niiiicee.  I thanked her for her time and suggested she call he brother to get that fixed.  I left her a $20 bottle of wine for her trouble.

The next bid, at $1800 more, had a great installation.  All the details I was looking for were there, and there seemed to be great care taken in their work.  Sold!

The thing was, each example customer was equally happy with the company who serviced them, but only one had the quality installation that went with the customer recommendation.  How are people told to evaluate contractors?:  Get recommendations from people you know.  But how does a dentists recomendation of an electrician qualify as being worthwhile?

Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA

Also a CRX fanatic!

If your hair looks funny, it's because God likes to scratch his nuts.  You nut, you.

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!


(post #80086, reply #21 of 48)

"t homeowners need to be their own GC,"

That would be from my POV, laughable, if it were not so sad.

There are some HOs who are capable of serving as their own GC, but 95% are not.

I had a customer who cconstantly got in the way, changed things, made bad decisions and tried to 'help'. He ended up ading at least fifteen thousand to the cost of the job while making it a a lower quality overall, yet he is ignorantly under the impression that he saved himself some money by getting in the way.



Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #80086, reply #22 of 48)

dave had a good point:


Good subs can go bad in a second. They hire a new guy who sucks, they get into marital trouble, they get into money trouble, they burn out. Same with employees. Hell, if I don't watch out, the same could happen to me.  >>>

the best advice i can give is ask for references and check them out

Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore


(post #80086, reply #23 of 48)

>>I had a customer who cconstantly got in the way, changed things<<

I had one of those before,  I was framing his house and on the back corner it had a half octagon that tied into the roof.  I had to hang alot of trusses off a double LVL header in the ceiling.  Then over frame the octagon. 

Well it was a bad design,  but the top of the beam had to be cut a little to not stick out of the roof.  I had cut it off even with the top of the sheathing. 

I come back the next day and he had taken a chainsaw to it and sut it too shreds. The beam had 1/2" of bearing now and tapered back 20". Making it worthless.  He wanted me to scab in a new piece of sheathing over the old hole for the beam. 

I accidentally called the inspector,  anonimously.  He showed up and red flagged it.  $5k later his roof got reframed the same way and passed. 

Matt- Woods favorite carpenter. 

Matt- Woods favorite carpenter. 

(post #80086, reply #24 of 48)

Some ccustomers learn from something like that.

This guy would go right from one stupid mistake to another.....I ended up yelling at him at first, then finally let it become a daily amusement. For my own sanity.

Then I quit



Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #80086, reply #25 of 48)

This guy was along those lines,  took all I had not to quit.  After a while we were placing bets on what he would change while we were gone at night. 

Then finally after I had enough of fixing what he thought was right,  I said "One more time I have to fix something of yours I am done with you.  You want to act like an employee,  then I'll treat you like one. 

Matt- Woods favorite carpenter. 

Matt- Woods favorite carpenter. 

(post #80086, reply #35 of 48)

I think you got caught up in the first part of what I said, but missed the second part: seems that homeowners need to be their own GC, just to make sure their GC is doing their job.

Anybody who is a GC better dang well be qualified for the job - obviously the guy on your project was not!  A GC not only has to understand the work involved, but has to know schedualing, budgeting, personel management, blah blah blah.  You of course know many more things to tack onto that list.  The point I was lamenting is that ordinary people are truely screwed if the GC isn't good at his/her job, and most ordinary people cannot tell if their GC is doing their job until it is too late.

Unless you know enough to do their job, you'll never know if they are doing their job.

Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA

Also a CRX fanatic!

If your hair looks funny, it's because God likes to scratch his nuts.  You nut, you.

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!


(post #80086, reply #2 of 48)

I'm a contractor.  I hire people to work on my projects for a living.  Its what I do.  Of course, I also provide a lot of work myself, and by means of my employees.

My point, 'tho, is that the interviewing, hiring, and supervising of professionals to work on a construction or remodeling project is a skill that is learned.  No way someone who doesn't do it for a living could do it as well as a seasoned pro with a proven track record, unless by blind dumb luck, or a huge investment of time and resources.  DIY is probably less fraught with danger, if you are reasonably patient, skilled with tools, and able to trouble-shoot.

To me, many of the posts I read about problems resulting from a homeowner hiring their own subcontractors reveal as much about the deficiencies of the hirer, as it does the hired.  A good contractor spends years building up a network of quality subs, and years learning what to look for in new subs, and ways of weeding out the jokers and poseurs.  And years learning how to bring out the A-game in the subs he has.

I could list numerous examples of this.  One guy I worked for was acting as his own GC.  He hired a contractor to do some concrete work, and the guy showed up in an SUV, and all his tools were brand new, with BigBox stickers still on.  I called him up right away, and told him Red Flag alert.  He ignored me, and went on to experience all kinds of grief and problems with this sub.  Yet I knew immediately that something was wrong with the picture.

I gave him the names of some reputable plbg. contractors I deal with.  He ignored my list, and found a cheapo lowball plbg. contractor who didn't show up to complete the job.  When a dispute arose over payment schedule, he ended up with $4K worth of vandalism to his rough plumbing.

One customer decided to hire his own floorcovering contractor, to save money.  I did a room addition, minus the floorcovering.  He ended up unhappy with the result and involved in litigation over it, and spent more money than he ever would have if he had just let me handle it, with my own floorcovering sub.

Not to say I don't have problems with flaky subs also, but since I have to be responsible for their work, I tend to spot problems quickly and fix them thoroughly, and I have 18 years' experience doing just that.

 “Good work costs much more than poor imitation or factory product” Charles Greene

Edited 11/12/2007 1:30 pm by Huck

(post #80086, reply #30 of 48)

Huck, I agree completely with your outlook on working with people. The way I see it, any relationship is a two way street. So if you are consistently getting poor results from people you need to look in a mirror. And yes, it will take time and money to weed out the ones who just don't play well with others.

I think a lot of people have lost the skills it takes to work with people in the trades. It comes from an overall lack of respect for the trades. People want to approach it like buying a car. It's not some nice neat package you can buy that was manufactured.


______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ There are three kinds of men: The one that learns by reading, the few who learn by observation and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

(post #80086, reply #32 of 48)

So true.  And even the good guys have bad days.  We're not just buying a product, we're buying people - well, people's time and skills, anyway.  Its like a coach - he can't just hire a bunch of skilled players, and turn 'em loose. 

So, like it or not, an important part of my job is getting acquainted with the people working on my project, and trying to determine what issues they have that might present a problem, and how best to deal with those issues without alienating them.  Getting the workers on any given project to get on board with your goals is a real challenge.  The good news is, once a worker becomes motivated to produce a quality job for a client, he or she will often surpass even their boss'es minimum standards.



 “Good work costs much more than poor imitation or factory product” Charles Greene

(post #80086, reply #3 of 48)

From my own observations, if you as the homeowner know anything about building, you will do a better job then 80% of the contractors out there. You will not be as quick and it won't be as elegant but it will be a better overall job. My one caveat here is "if you truly know something about construction and have actually done it in the past." This would apply for simple re-roof jobs, painting, most plumbing installs, a good deal of electrical (assuming you also know the codes and what and what not to do), and a lot more. In my own case I would not attempt inground pool install, HVAC, flat roof repair/install, Photo voltaic panel installation or any roof work over two stories in height (Slate roofs also out of my league). There's a bunch more that I would leave to the professional, I know them when I see them, the trick is knowing, honestly, when they do and don't exceed your abilities.

The reason you'll do a better job is simple, when it's your house you'll make the effort to do it properly or try just that much harder to get it right.

(post #80086, reply #4 of 48)

Your negative experiences with contractors are not uncommon.  Often when friends ask me why I don't just "write a check" I ask them to provide the name of a good contractor.  "Oh gee, that's a tough one" is usually the response.

I believe there are different levels of DIY'ers just like contractors.

1.  Low Level DIY - Cheap and quick no matter what, dive in without research, duct tape it to fit.  Thinks contractors are stupid thieves almost without exception.

2.  Mid Level DIY - Cost still an issue, readily believes people at Big Box stores and DIY TV shows, but will call in a Pro if a mess is made.  Thinks contractors are 50% thieves and/or 50% stupid.

3.  High Level DIY - Quality is main issue, researches methods and materials before starting, knows when to hire a Pro to avoid steep learning curves.  Knows some contractors are thieves, some contractors are stupid, but can actually spot the good ones.

As for myself, I naturally like to think I am a High Level DIY'er.  I have tackled every aspect of building you could name mainly because I enjoy it and like to make my own messes.  I easily fall into analysis paralysis in an effort to avoid making a critical mistake.  (Yeah I am the idiot who ordered the wrong size window in another post, so mistakes are always a fact of life.) :-)  Through my experiences I now know the areas of building I will tackle, and those I will contract out to a pro assuming I can find one.

My own experience hiring professionals over 30+ years (including MD's etc.) has been that you MUST understand how 90% of how something should be done before you can really judge a potential hire.  I can make an informed decision hiring a pro only if I can speak his trade's language reasonably well and understand what he'll be doing in pretty darn good detail.  Any time I have relied on trust in the form of cursory explanations, references, or reputations alone, I have been disappointed.  Trust, but verify.  (Quite frankly, this is more true IMHO when picking an MD than a roofer!)

For a good contractor/mechanic/MD, I am an ideal client who understands quality and workmanship and is willing to pay fairly for something to be done right.  For an average to poor service provider, I am their worst PITA know-it-all DIY'er nightmare who will seemingly be on their backsides for every little thing.

The biggest disappointment I have is that the building trades seem not to be viewed by our society as a generally admirable career choice worthy of a lifetime's effort.  This steers the majority of the brightest and best in other directions.  It was not always so.

The people who post on this forum are usually the notable exceptions who could have become professionals with letters behind their names (practicing) in other fields, but chose to excel building structures.  Thanks to them for sharing their knowledge and experience.  I only wish they were more plentiful.


(post #80086, reply #5 of 48)

"The biggest disappointment I have is that the building trades seem not to be viewed by our society as a generally admirable career choice worthy of a lifetime's effort.  This steers the majority of the brightest and best in other directions.  It was not always so."

Just before reading your post, I came across this in the January 2007 "Preservation" magazine regarding the construction of the Latrobe-designed basilica in Baltimore, started in 1806:

"The builders at one point read Latrobe's plans upside down.  Piers and walls ended up too short; foundation stones that wouldn't be visible were hand-hammered, inexplicably and expensively.  Unneeded marble was delivered for the granite-walled shell ... The builders were incompetent, hostile, possibly drunk, and corrupt."

I got a chuckle out of that, but I definitely agree with your premise.  I tried to talk one of my own sons into a more "hands-on" career, but he couldn't be pursuaded.  Besides society's view of the trades as somehow being "lesser," I think a lot today's youngsters are put off by the physical demands of the labor itself.


(post #80086, reply #40 of 48)

excellent post

"it aint the work I mind,
It's the feeling of falling further behind."

Bozini Latini

"it aint the work I mind, It's the feeling of falling further behind." Bozini Latini

(post #80086, reply #6 of 48)

I have real mixed feelings on this issue. It's a very interesting question to me.

I have been doing a lot of DIY house fixing over the last 3 years, since I bought a 200 year old house in need of lots of work. I have hired experts whenever I can find them but I have had a hard time finding (and identifying) experts. I have also done a number of things myself that I had never attempted before. I have a tendency to think I know a thing or two about building and repairing - I think I'm a better than average DIYer, but not extraordinary. I'd probably put myself in ... mmm... maybe the 85th percentile among DIYers that I know.

I'm an engineer by profession in a fast changing technology field so my career is built upon researching new technology and applying it. So I think I know how to learn the stuff I need to know.

But MAN! Every time I do some job and think I know what I'm doing and think I've done a good job, I later find I missed something. Or there is a better way. Every time. Or I find that when I have to do it under time pressure I have to settle for a less elegant outcome than I would like.

I have come to believe that nobody (no pro and certainly no DIYer) is always going to get it perfect (i.e. the best possible job given the current state-of-the-art). But somebody who does it for a living and especially somebody who specializes is going to have a much better chance at getting it right than somebody like me who does each job once - maybe twice or three times, but not every day.

My philosophy used to be that I could do the research and do a job just as well as a pro most of the time and often do better than most. I don't believe that any more. Sure, I'll be able to do most jobs better than 40% or 50% of the pros out there because they are not all at the top of their profession. But in my house, if I can afford it, and I really care about an item, and want it to be the best possible, I'll hire an expert if I can. I don't want to settle for the job that's in the 50th percentile if I can afford better.

The other thing I've learned is that these jobs require knowledge AND manual skills. A smart person can acquire the knowledge as fast as they can find and absorb information. Acquiring the manual skills often takes much more time and practice. You can't google up a steady hand with a paint brush.

So that leads to the question of being able to find and recognize an expert. Having done a lot of DIY certainly helps me to spot them when I see them but not always. So it's still a crapshoot as far as I can tell.

So now my philosophy is to spend my DIY hours on jobs that give me the greatest personal satisfaction (and where I'm content to accept the quality level that I can achieve, even if it's not as good as what I could get by hiring). This is the "Junior's finger-painting is a Picasso to me" theory of DIY. For the rest I hire somebody whenever I can afford it. I try my best to find true experts to hire and I learn about individuals through my experience. But it's still a crapshoot.


(post #80086, reply #17 of 48)

One of the best things I did when we bought an old house was find a reliable company to do plumbing, heating, electrical work.  They installed a new heating system, rewired most of the house, fixed the plumbing, etc.  I can fix most stuff if I have the time and tools, but there is nothing like a professional who can come in an emergency with a well-equiped truck.  One New Year's day I needed help figuring out why the toilets wouldn't flush and they came, diagnosed the problem and helped me (in a snowstorm) dig up the broken pipe to the septic system.  Those guys aren't cheap, but they are on call 24/7 and do a good job and never have a call back.  I refer everyone I meet to them.

I tell my (college) students that they can go through most of life without needing a lawyer, but the first thing to do when they buy a house is to find a good plumber and cherish him or her.

(post #80086, reply #7 of 48)

I trust my mechanic.  It helps that he, his wife and children are a couple of our closest friends.  Here's the clincher-he's a very good mechanic and has spent his life doing just that.  We usually arrange our exchange of talents with no money changing hands.

For any other repairs I might need that I don't really do, I have subs whom I can call.  These guys are the best and most reliable in the area.  I pay their bill when it comes.

If I hadn't accumulated this network over the past 30/40 yrs I don't know how I would do.  For even people that talk a good game are often times full of hot air.  By being in the trades for all these years I think I've come across about every configuration of talent imaginable.

And you are right as rain about the talent on the board.  There's some pretty qualified folks around here.  What is even more remarkable is that they are almost to a one-an every day type of person.  Their talent added to the belief that their work is their name gives their customers something that most don't find.

A great place for Information, Comraderie, and a sucker punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


(post #80086, reply #8 of 48)

The more of this I do, the more I realize that price is not necssarily reflective of quality. I have hired subs and laborers. Sometimes, it was hard to know the difference. (G)

I can see how some people could pay too much and not get the quality they should. I am yet to see a situation where one pays a little and gets superior quality.

I feel that too many "contractors" charge more than they are worth, largely because the quality is not there in the materials or the assembly. On the other hand, if the cistomers pay it, then it is they who make the decision of what it is worth.

Don K.

EJG Homes     Renovations - New Construction - Rentals

(post #80086, reply #9 of 48)

Very interesting topic. I am like Huck, I hire contractors for a living. It is not something that can be perfected, made easy, or run on cruise control. I am constantly vigilant against problems, and constantly educating myself on how things are to be done. I watch what everyone does, inspect work before and after the day starts or ends, and generally stay on top of things all the time.

In spite of a huge commitment to this, I STILL have problems with work done, sometimes big ones. The guys that just drywalled my shop did a mediocre job. They started out strong a finished weak, late, and in a hurry. So now that the first line of defense has been breached, what is the second? We're starting with backcharges to I can pay the painter to reskim their work. We're withholding money. We're maintaining a friendly disposition but insisting that the work be right, one way or another.

Good subs can go bad in a second. They hire a new guy who sucks, they get into marital trouble, they get into money trouble, they burn out. Same with employees. Hell, if I don't watch out, the same could happen to me.

Anyway, a high level of awareness, technical expertise, and vigilance. It is anything but easy.

(post #80086, reply #11 of 48)

I hire contractors for a living. It is not something that can be perfected, made easy, or run on cruise control

Hoo-boy you said a mouthful there.  Its my feeling that to do it effectively you have to be part dictator, part building inspector, part therapist, part friend, part parent, part probation officer, part coach, part student, part teacher, and maybe part crazy!

 “Good work costs much more than poor imitation or factory product” Charles Greene

(post #80086, reply #41 of 48)

someone post his in the BT Qoutes thread. It's a perfect job description.

"it aint the work I mind,
It's the feeling of falling further behind."

Bozini Latini

"it aint the work I mind, It's the feeling of falling further behind." Bozini Latini

(post #80086, reply #10 of 48)

I often hear comments along the lines of "I can't believe that they want so much to do so little." I also hear "Why can't I find anybody?"

The short answer: Don't blame the world for your own ignorance.

Contractors cost money, because running a business costs money. A man may put in 10 hour days, yet only be able to bill for 6. During all that "down" time, the bills still need to be paid. Don't think that is time spent at the bar, either ... it's time lost at city hall, driving around, meeting with customers, preparing bids, etc. Not to mention all the other costs a legal contractor has, that are not shared by his trunk-slamming competition.

A pro has the training, tools, and experience to do the job a lot better, a lot quicker, than the DIY. Notice I said a "pro;" there are a lot of pretenders out there. If he suddenly needs the help of another trade, or some strange part, he's got a 'network' to call upon.

Time has its' own value. Perhaps the most extreme example is one I recently learned of: A mother and teen-age daughter have been completely without a shower (or tub) since last March. Why? Their SLIT (slum lord in training) is too cheap to call in a plumber. He's been working in fits and spurts, during odd moments in his busy schedule. Now, I don't care how ugly the problems are; I'm pretty sure even the worst plumber in town would have fixed it back in March!

There is a flip side to the customer / contractor relationship: the customer. A lot of unhappiness seems to be the result of the customer having unrealistic expectations, not knowing what it is that they want, or changing their mind halfway through. The customer needs to ask themselves: What is more important? Do I want the roof fixed before it rains - or get the cheapest price in town? Sad to say, but most of the 'advice' put forth by sundry 'consumer advisers' is simply wrong; no wonder the customer is left wondering if he got a bad deal.

(post #80086, reply #12 of 48)

Sure pizzes me off to pay someone to do something I could have done better myself.

Bought a fixer one time and hired out the tile work. Entry, dining and kitchen floors.

First thing that caught your eye when you came in the front door was how crooked the grout lines were.

Too late by then, one of the biggest and best tile companies in the area, but screwed it up anyway.

Joe H

(post #80086, reply #13 of 48)

I am a high level DIYer, but its not fun. You guys in the trades that do your work well earn your bucks. I find my own good abilities curse me in that I know that in the time it takes to find a contractor, get him to come out, estimate, return, and finish, I could do the job myself. My wife and I work so the opportunity cost of staying home and hoping someone shows up is also very high. Thus, I do my own stuff. Finish and simple electrical, appliance install, fixture install, finish and some copper plumbing, build a fence, outbuilding etc.


Here is the hardest part for me: I can't hire people who will work with 'my' products. On some roofing, I asked for the Graco rollout/stickdown watershield instead of tarpaper. "Nope, we don't like that stuff" "Nope, that costs too much" "Nope, never heard of it" "Nope, don't know where to buy it" Gads, its wet in Seattle. Tarpaper may be ok, but if I wan't to pay the extra bucks for what I want ,humor me! I would hope the trades would embrace newer products if they could. Its tough when you look back at failed LP siding and other fiascos, but new stuff can be better.


(post #80086, reply #14 of 48)

"I can't hire people who will work with 'my' products"

I have run into this problem on many occasions.  Some so-called pros I have run into don't even know products are available in manufacturers catalogs they already use.  Nobody can always be up on the latest and greatest, but you're right that they should at least take a look at new materials.

Sometimes I chalk it up to the old "it ain't broke" routine, but many times it's just classic ignorance.  You will see the same issues in the medical profession when docs are still doing things the way they learned them in med school and refuse to try, or even read up on a new method.

Experience - doing it the same way over and over again or progressively better skills leading to excellence?  Sometimes it's hard to tell ahead of time. 

At least the pros with letters behind their names all admit to be 'practicing' their craft. :-)

(post #80086, reply #15 of 48)

I am a doc and you are correct. It is a 'practice.' We have continuing education requirements but its not always enough. One of the best way to stay current as you age in your practice is to simple surround yourself with other new people who you can learn from or refer to. You sort of become a traffic director, a coordinator of care. There are several areas where I have literally had to change everything from what I knew due to new meds, new testing devices, new protocols. Its exhausting to be a perpetual student if you will. I think this is why lots of guys reduce the practice time when they get older. You just can't keep up with everything and see a full load too.


(post #80086, reply #18 of 48)


there are several reasons why a "pro" may not want to use "your" materials.

1)I have spent 20 years doing much the same thing-over and over. I have arrived at the combination of specific materials that give me the results I want----based on experience with THOUSANDS of preceding roofs. I KNOW my way will work- I have no such gaurantee doing it your way will work( hey- I don't tell YOU what meds to prescribe-right ??? :>)

2) I constantly experiment with (and usually reject) different materials on the market. chances are excellent that I have already used "your" material-- and have found it's limitation/drawback---and already rejected it from my usual  practice. I may be simply too tired to explain to you specifically WHY  "your" material is problematic.

 Often -new materials are "solutions" in search of a problem

3) Most professionals have a large "bag of tricks"- to be used to get the desired result.- flat roofs are a good example.- I might suggest to a homeowner on one side of the street an EPDM roof--------- but might insist on a modified bitumen roof for  a highly similar house on the other side of the street( based on overhanging tree limbs, color, expected foot trafffic, flashing details-whatever)

"your "Material may simply not be the right material for the job--- yes-- maybe I "should" sit you down and walk you through all the reasons why your idea may be a bad one---------- but, in reality- I didn't go into this business because of my overwhelming charm and people skills----- I have areas I excell at--and areas I don't--so I pick my battles carefully----- I am simply not interested in debating with customers!!

4) your problem is not my problem------------- but if I do it your way( instead of MY way-which I know works)----and problems arise--suddenly YOUR problem becomes MY problem.---and the customer ALWAYS forgets--that they were warned of this problem ahead of time

and so on and so on--------

 Best wishes, stephen

(post #80086, reply #20 of 48)

Well said.

I see ether's point also, hacks that aren't educated or up to date on technology.

Two sides to every coin?

Heads or tails.

Remodeling Contractor just on the other side of the Glass City

Remodeling Contractor just on the other side of the Glass City

(post #80086, reply #42 of 48)

there is also the third thing that I come accross, folks stuck in their ways and not willing to try something new. I've always done it that way. well sometimes new products can be good. it's worth being openminded. I agree that if I know something is not all it's cracked up to be or problematic, then I will in fact refuse to use it. I will however state to the customer that I had mediocre or bad experiences with that product and cannot in good concience use it and warranty it.

"it aint the work I mind,
It's the feeling of falling further behind."

Bozini Latini

"it aint the work I mind, It's the feeling of falling further behind." Bozini Latini

(post #80086, reply #28 of 48)

All very good points. I have found over many years that the best way to deal with people who bring me their ideas is to acknowledge what they bring. Often, people read stuff(like I do) and want to know more. Simply telling someone that you have seen a new product but note that its oversold or not that great satisfies them. People often just want to know that they person they work with has an open mind and keeps up on stuff. Its all about reassurance.

Different personalities take different career paths. I have to be a negotiator all day. A lot of folks(try concrete pourers) tend to be rather gruff. I can relate to that. But when dealing with the public, its best to be assured of what you know but relate that in a way that reassures them that you are a smart guy.

One other corrollary is salesmen. I used to be in sales so I don't find salesmen all that bothersome. I can tell them "no" without guilt. But I respect the fact that they may be the only conduit to new things. When I sold business telephone systems I was amazed at biz owners lack of knowledge. That's when I realized that sales is part education as well. I now set aside time for sales people and tell them to go ahead and give me the pitch. I have learned a lot from these guys.