Where in the world is Waldo?

>> 1.08.2010

Honestly, I have no clue. I do, however, know where Mario is…

Remember Mario, the painting contractor who did such a great job with one of my mother’s projects that she offered to have him do paint work for me as a Christmas gift? Yep, that Mario is apparently in Mexico. Since my last update, Mario did actually have some guys come in and do work in my home. I was very happy with how quickly they began work and accomplished some of the drywall patching jobs that were on the to-do list…. but then they just stopped showing up (and that was two weeks ago)!

After a few days of unanswered calls, my mom received a voicemail from a woman. Apparently she was Mario’s sister calling to let us know that Mario couldn’t (ever) finish the job because he was stuck in Mexico (?), but her uncle could come finish it if we would just pay the amount we promised Mario. The whole story sounded a little fishy so we didn’t call back immediately. Later, the woman called again (apparently now she’s Mario’s wife) with a new story and a new plan for meeting up and finishing the job.

What was the motivation for this woman to try to coordinate the project for Mario? Oh, because they didn’t have any money yet. That’s right, we hadn’t paid for the job… you know, the #1 remedy for a MIA contractor… it apparently worked again.

At this point, we’ll probably end up cutting ties with Mario and just pay him for the work completed. By refusing to pay upfront, we stayed in control of the situation and will walk away without losing a cent :).

Wow, my kitchen is making so much progress... the holes are patched, walls painted, backspash tiled, countertops updated.... I'm so excited to share the updates (soon!).

What do you value most in someone you hire for home improvement work: dependability or affordability?

…and because I know you’re wondering: Yes, I did host party #1 of the Ten Party Project last night! As promised, I’ll post a full recap next week.


frugalapolis January 8, 2010 at 10:33 AM  

dependability anyday! If they're dependable, they're probably trustworthy too, and do good quality work.

Danielle and Clint January 8, 2010 at 10:38 AM  

o goodness!! That is crazy! Doesn't sound like they were too smart, though, with remembering their stories. lol.

ashley morgan January 8, 2010 at 10:43 AM  

So smart not to pay anything up front. Good for you. Can't wait to see the first party recap!

Maura January 8, 2010 at 11:02 AM  

Kasey, That is a bummer about mario. But so glad to hear things are moving along and congrats on your fist party! Yippie you are already plugging away!

dolores @ "Welcome to My Humble Ablog" January 8, 2010 at 11:25 AM  

Dependability for sure! Plus, I like to pay in check form; no cash! If they won't accept a check, I won't hire them. I just like to keep a paper trail and the ability to write "final payment" on my memo slot so I don't get another invoice a week later.

Carly January 8, 2010 at 11:26 AM  

Wow..what a bummer, but it sounds like you're definitely handling it well and not paying it all up front is so smart.

I definitely think I prefer dependability. There's many ways to makes something affordable, but you can't make someone dependable.

Meg January 8, 2010 at 12:31 PM  

It sounds like Mario racked himself up some bad karma. Insane! I'm so sorry that he flaked like that, but am so glad you still hold control over the situation! I really like the idea Dolores uses of only using checks to keep a paper trail. Smart!

I cannot wait to see kitchen updates! It's already yet another kitchen that I am super jealous of.

Amy@TheLemonCottage January 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

What a bummer! That is so frustrating. Good for you for staying on top of it, though!

Mrs. Adventure January 8, 2010 at 1:27 PM  

Wow totally crazy... good thing you didn't pay first!

Amanda January 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM  

Both- but mostly dependability. I'd say TRUST is the most important- that way, they show up AND won't rip you off. I always use someone my brothers know- if they screw me over, they have to answer to the bros, who know a lot of potential customers. But even if you don't have contractor brothers, just using someone recommended by a friend or two can help keep them motivated to do a good job and charge you fairly.

Anny January 8, 2010 at 1:51 PM  

I'm glad you hadn't paid any money yet!

Jon January 8, 2010 at 2:39 PM  

From a paint contractor's point of view, I almost never ask for any money down or a signed contract if the job is under $1,000 and thankfully I haven't had any problems getting paid (yet). But all my business is from referrals.

Also, beware if a contractor charges half what others are charging. He may not have liability insurance or workers comp, and if something were to happen on your property, you'd be liable.

Angie's list is good for finding good subs, and if you're looking for painters, the PDCA is good too (painting and decorating contractors of america)

Amanda January 8, 2010 at 8:55 PM  

My husband is very hands-on and DIY, but if we did hire someone to do home improvement work, I'd say dependability would be a major factor!

The kitchen is looking good!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic January 8, 2010 at 10:55 PM  

I wouldn't think badly of Mario. He went to Mexico for the holidays, right? Between the attempted attack on the plane in Detroit and the guy walking through the exit at Newark, I wonder if travel has become difficult for everyone who isn't a native of the US.

This happened to our favorite chef in town. We looked forward to celebrating our first date anniversary and Valentine's Day at his restaurant every year, but this year, we found out that he went home to see his family and he wasn't allowed to come back. He wasn't a permanent US resident, I guess, and whatever visa he was given was taken away.

Okay, that was too long a story. Is the wife saying he's back or are they hoping you won't notice yet another cousin coming by to do this work?

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog January 9, 2010 at 8:36 AM  

@Jeannine~ The wife/ sister just give some vague story about Mario never being able to return. I wouldn't be surprised if he was actually back, but wanted to use this as an excuse. Before this, he had made plans to meet me at my house twice and decided to not show up without calling... but later gave random excuses.

LizzieBeth January 9, 2010 at 9:42 AM  

Holy crap- how awesome are you for keeping control of that situation! I am takin' those nuggets of info and tuckin' them away for a later date!


Tovah January 9, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

As someone who hasn't remodeled yet this is valuable advice. I can't believe he just left and didn't say anything! How frustrating.

Jane January 9, 2010 at 9:17 PM  

Sorry to hear about Mario and the shady stories. I am glad to hear that you didn't pay anything before hand. I would definitely go for dependability. Cost is easier to see when comparing contractors and dependability is something that is more difficult to get at though.

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