need advice, does this sound right to you?
The old house I recently purchased had an illegal wood-burning stove in it that I had the sellers remove. When I took possession of the house, I called in a well-respected chimney company to look at the chimney and make it ready for burning wood in the fireplace.
The company came in, removed the liner that was still in place from the stove, and swept the chimney for $230. There was also a cap on top of the flue that went to the fireplace that the company removed and took away. They said they would send me the estimate for the work that needed to be done but told me that the chimney to the oil burner needed a stainless-steel liner, though my home inspector thought the oil burner flue looked fine.
Well, I received the estimate, which totaled $6,089!! Now this is a small, one and a half story house, so the chimney is not particularly tall. When I reviewed the estimate, it seems like their labor is exactly half the cost of the materials. Is this typical? This company wants a 50% deposit before they will schedule the work. What's more, the letter they sent me specifies that the bill could be higher because they won't know the extent of the work until they begin to do it.
Anyway, I got the name of another chimney guy from my general contractor. He was supposed to come by the house last week at a specific time. Well, about an hour before he was supposed to show up, I went to take my dog for a short walk. By the time I got back, I had received a phone message from this guy telling me that he got to the house early and took a look at the chimney and would get back to me with an estimate. I was pretty angry. First, I don't want somebody climbing all over my house with me not there. I also want to meet someone I might potentially hire, and I had some questions for him as well. I called him back, and asked him about the need for a liner, and he told me I didn't need one and he would get back to me with an estimate. He later phoned and said the final cost would be about $1,000 and he also wants a deposit, though I'm not going to send him anything until I've met him face to face.
So most recently, I've been trying to find a third alternative but I've had no luck. One company wants $75 just to come out, another one doesn't serve my area any more, and two others I've tried haven't returned my calls. So, now what? I'd appreciate any and all suggestions.