New wooden porch (deck) over concrete slab

kimcocoMarch 11, 2009

This is more of a statement than a question, but had to share this with everyone.

We live in a trendy area of town, nice homes. We have received some outlandish quotes from contractors for various projects, and I think much of it has to do with the area we live in.

For example, we needed our chimney tuckpointed and one contractor came out and insisted that it was a safety issue and tried to scare us into thinking that we needed our entire chimney rebuilt. The quote was $25k. We finally had it tuckpointed by another contractor for $300.

I just got a quote today for a small deck (porch). We currently have a concrete slab off of our back door that has sunken considerably - I think it's the original slab from the 1920's. I've had quotes to replace it which were really expensive, so of course we opted to just build a small wooden porch over the slab, as that will match the wooden airing porch just above it anyway. I had a contractor come out, came back with a quote of $1795, which is $100 less than a quote I received LAST YEAR when the economy wasn't at an all time low, and I know that the price of materials have gone down since last year as well.

I don't have a problem with any contractor making a profit...within reason. My response to him was, "Ouch" - I think it's overpriced and I will not pay that. I told him my spouse and I will try to build it ourselves. He called back a few minutes later, said he was driving and that he inadvertently quoted me the "wrong" price, and came back at $1095 - a MUCH more reasonable price. He's still making a profit without robbing me, so we're both happy. BTW - I can use the software at a local hardware store to price out the materials, and based on that I can determine a ball park figure of the profit the contractor will make off of the job. And, most contractors get materials at a discount to begin with.

Just wondering how many others out there run into this, and if anyone actually pays these outlandish rates without doing their homework?

We didn't get a raise this year, and we're happy to have jobs considering all the people who are losing their homes and jobs, and were lucky enough to be able to afford home projects in this economy. Still, were conscious of our spending habits as we watch our 401k dwindle.

So, my thought is that you would think in the state of our economy contractors would be inclined to cut the consumer some slack. Luckily, mine did, but I had to refuse the original offer first.

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My cost for material has not come down from last year same with my insurance/advertising cost.After I give a bid price I call back one time just to check on the job not to come down on the price doing that would express the first bid was not an honest one.

Im sure there is a good bit of stastifaction for you geting a lower price for the work from the robbing outlandish tradesmen who cut poor little you some slak. J.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 7:42AM
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John, I think the tone of your post speaks for itself, and I find it really unnecessary.

There's a distinct difference between trying to talk a contractor down FROM a fair price vs. talking them down TO a fair price.

Consumer protection, John. It's my right to do my homework. I don't know anyone who doesn't obtain several quotes for comparison or at least go by word of mouth, and for good reason.

My observations and experiences are based on the contractors I've dealt with, not with the general population. When quotes for the same work come back with figures ranging all across the spectrum, it is evident that something is skewed. That's my observation.

If you aren't one of "those" contractors, then don't get your panties all up in a bunch.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 7:56PM
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"He called back a few minutes later, said he was driving and that he inadvertently quoted me the "wrong" price, and came back at $1095". That should have been a big red flag right there, but if you're happy, then we are happy. Hope it works out for you and everybody's happy! I would've given the guy da boot!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Being a general conatractor and hiring a lot of subcontractors I find five different types of tradesman if the field. These are detailed below.

- High guality contractors that do the job right
- Quality minded contractors that do an good job
- Contractors that want the work and bid low
- Non-licensed construction workers - quality unknown
- Non-licensed construction workers wanting to make money

All five could bid a project that will vary in price from 20% to 40% more or less. Always get multiple bids, check references, license, insurance, etc.

I hope your deck comes out great!

- Buck

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:35PM
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