I’ve recently been dealing with one of the more irritating aspects of working as a General Contractor and that is Sub Contractors who go M.I.A. or more specifically don’t do what they say or say what they do. Now I don’t know if it’s that I expect too much or maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I am just not able to wrap my head around these guys that think it’s ok not to return phone calls, texts or emails or say they are going to do something and then turn right around and not do it. These are licensed contractors mind you, licensed and regulated by the state and are under contract and have pulled permits for jobs that I am responsible for and have been paid. These are guys with whom I have even worked with in the past on previous jobs and yet it happens consistently and constantly.
I’m not the only one it happens to. I ask my colleagues in the trade and they too complain of the very same issues and are as equally frustrated. “What do you do?’” I recently asked my friend Paul Rossini who owns Kitchens Etc in Framingham MA. He said simply, “you just ride it out. What are you going to do? Fire em? That’s even more of a pain in the ass.” Letters and lawyers and court and lawsuits and time and money. So if you are in the middle of it, just do your best to ride it out, but if you can sniff out a contractor early who indicates any of these early signs I would drop him like a lite beer, because it’s only going to get worse!
Like the old chinese proverb- “How it starts it how it ends” and when it starts with not returning phone calls or emails in a timely manner and then turns into broken promises don’t be surprised when it ends badly. “I’ll be there on Monday” and Monday rolls around and no electrician. Then he finally answers the phone on Wednesday and hopes that you forgot and he assures you he will be back tomorrow “first thing.” Little do you know is that first thing for this piece of crap is 11:30! Nonetheless he is there and finally starts working and you breathe a sigh of relief only to find out that he left at 2:00 and told one of your guys that he’s not going to finish because it looks like”we’re not holding you up.” We haven’t even finished the rough yet! Whats the rest of the job going to be like? A freakin nightmare, that’s what!
It starts with bad communication which leads to broken promises which leads to forgetting details of their job and then lying and then shotty work and more lying and more shotty work and more bullshit and it finally ends when the job is over. No wait it doesn’t end there because you never figured out the real reason why your relationship and your job with this seemingly good, professional and honest contractor ended up like this. Because, he got busy with 6 other jobs that’s why, and your job became small potatoes and so you stopped getting his full attention and now he’s put 2 new guys he just hired on your job to try and keep his head above water, but little did you know that while one guy was wiring all the switches backwards the other new guy was downstairs stealing computers from the basement! So just when you think the job is over the customer starts calling and asking why his plugs don’t work and why his lights flicker and why his AC turns on when he turns on the bath fan? Then it’s only a matter of time till he gets fed up with the bullshit and hires his own electrician to try and fix what your guy did!
Life happens, kids get sick, vans don’t start, employees don’t show up and plans change and sometimes things get delayed. I accept this as a natural occurrence in this business and it happens all the time. And if your contractor isn’t professional enough to pick up the phone and send you a simple text that says, “something came up and I can’t make it today”, run to the hills and run for your life!
Take my advice, delay the job, pay more, hell, buy a book and do it your self if you have to, but don’t hire this guy! Keep looking for the right one who stands by his word, answers an email and communicates with you as a professional.