MIA Contractor Remedies

>> 9.29.2009

Well, it has been two weeks since I last mentioned my excitement about finishing up the bathroom renovation ... and zero work has been done on the room. Including this time, we are officially a month over the estimated completion timeline.

I’ve found that there are two easy ways to remedy this type of situation:
*Never pay in full until the job is absolutely completed. When my contractor asked for money, I gave him 2/3 of the job’s cost. That amount was plenty to compensate for the work done, but with enough of a balance remaining so that he would need to come back again.
I learned this lesson from my mom’s recent renovation. She paid off her contractor with one drawer front and cabinet face unfinished. The contractor hadn’t been paid for the $200 or so remaining balance, but he found a bigger job in the meantime and left her stuck without a finished space.

*Reel him back in with your wording. Being rude or acting extremely upset never solves anything. Remember, although you are paying them, they are still helping you. At the same time, they need to sense that you are serious about holding him to his promises.
After a phone call that I made last week solicited no response, I knew that I needed to use more serious wording when communicating with my MIA contractor. In an email that I sent to my contractor, I included the sentences: “I’m ready for this job to be completed.” and “If you don’t have anything lined up, I can go ahead and call so-and-so to do the work.” in between more lighthearted, understanding sentences that would keep him on my side. Guess who’s coming back to take care of the final projects today… :-)

I don’t have any big reveal moments to share (yet), but let’s look at a mini before and after of the space:

The boyfriend modeling in my tiny shower.

And I quote, "I've never been able to stand under the showerhead before!" (he's 6'3)

Have any good MIA contractor remedies?


Danielle and Clint September 29, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

Ugh...what a bummer that you had to go through that! Great tips though. And the mini after looks fab!

laurelstreet September 29, 2009 at 4:26 PM  

Loving your blog. AND the subway tile in the bath. I'm jealous!!!

rachel blazer September 29, 2009 at 7:06 PM  

yay! i'm glad i found your blog- we (my husband & i) are renovating a home on a budget as well. some similar experiences- doing the demo ourselves, me becoming renozilla (only on occasion). : )
i started blogging about our experiences just to keep my sanity- i'm enjoying reading about your journey as well!
good luck!

Graham at Chadwell Chronicles September 29, 2009 at 8:37 PM  

Wow... this hits home for me on so many levels.

1) My parents did a major renovation of their house when I was about 12. They paid in full and to this day (10 years later) there are still a few jobs remaining.

2. I know exactly how your boyfriend feels in the shower. I'm 6' 4" and have been struggling with this my whole life. I may even be developing a little neck-arthritis from all the bending.

Fortunately, the shower head in our house's master bath came pre-raised and I only have to duck down a little bit.

Can't wait to see the full finished product. :)

Marcy Tate September 30, 2009 at 4:05 AM  

I think you handled the situation in the best way possible and clearly you did as they are coming back. My mom always told us to "kill with Kindness" in these situations. Your firm and kind (sort of!)was a great idea.

LizzieBeth September 30, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

Thanks for the advice! My poor grandmother was left with her bathroom wall knocked out and a non working toilet after a contracter left for a bigger job.

Why aren't there laws to protect people from this???


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