MAYDAY! Contractor sucks!

93 Replies

I just moved out of my primary house, which I am converting to a rental.  I hired a LifeStyles Unlimited (real estate investors club) recommended vendor from their magic vendor list.  Regardless, it appears that this guy is in over his head with the mediocore quality of work that is being done.  All I wanted was popcorn scraped, ceilings prepped, knockdown texture to applied consistent with knockdown texture that is in the master bedroom. Replace existing doors with 6 panel doors, and paint interior of house.  Also there were a few cosmetic areas of wall textured that needed to be touched up

Job was suppose to be done yesterday, then today.   I have been out of town.  Not concerned about timeline.  Went by today and now I am concerned that a troop of Boy Scouts could do better work.   The popcorn was scraped , in the process ceiling was gouged, popcorn remains at edges, torn seams, no prep work, some type of texture was applied, I would hardly call it knock down, not consistent witt the master bedroom.  Painting is amature hour. He painted light fixtures and other hardware.   6 panel doors have turned out to be 4, no biggie they look good, so I am ok with that, but not consistent with scope of work.  None of the touch ups too the few areas that I requested were done.  

I am so at a loss for words or what to do at this point.

Kick him to the curb?  It'll cost me more than the original job to fix his "handy" work.  I have paid him 60% of the job already up front.

Give him a chance to remedy his mess?

Really at a loss what to do at this point.

From the guy on this forum that regularly comes down on the side of the contractor, I'd have to say... Curb. There's no excuse to paint over hardware and light fixtures that are meant to be kept.

Most guys have only one mode.....either good work, or crappy work.  You're not going to get what you want from this guy.  Either kick him to the curb, or settle for how he works.

CURB. It will cause delays but they will be worth it. I lost $6000 in rental income due to delays caused by a crappy contractor who would work when you were watching him and then bolted the second you left. Windows are crooked, tile is uneven, dangerous nails sticking out inside the cabinets, the list goes on. 

Originally posted by @J Scott:

Lessons:

- Don't leave new contractors unchecked for multiple days at a time.

- Don't pay large sums upfront.

- Have written contracts and scopes of work.

- Check previous jobs before hiring.

Learned.   

Cut your losses and kick him to the curb. A good contractor will do the work right the first time. 

Kick him - then kick him to the curb. He already cost you money for something that still needs to be done. Time is a double impact because it's extremely valuable...

Donald Hendricks

I am working with you on this. Lets see if we cant get you to a resolution.   I got your emails and will be going through this. 

Thank you for your feedback.

Originally posted by @Natalie Pilkinton :

Donald Hendricks

I am working with you on this. Lets see if we cant get you to a resolution.   I got your emails and will be going through this. 

Thank you for your feedback.

I appreciate your help, he has been in contact with me and assured me that he is not happy with the subs work either, and that he will do what needs to be done to make it right.  

I will be back to check up on the work Saturday.

UPDATE:

I should have listend and fired the contractor, a Lifestyles Unlimited endorsed vendor, Scott Flynn of Road Runner Constructin, but decided to give him a chance to fix the issues.  The pics below are just a few of them gems that he presented as his final product. Nothing that he was contracted to do was done to even a mediocre standard, nevermind a professional standard.

I am then told by the Lifestyles Unlimited vendor Vice President, Natalie Pilkinton, that I was too harsh in firing him and that I needed to give him as many chances as it takes to get the job done right.  "Punch list" items you know.   Long and short of it,  Lifestyles Unlimited charges big money for vendors to be on thier list of endorsed vendors and they will not use the leverage that they have to get their vendors to perform or do right by the members.  I was told that they will "monitor" him to see if his performance improves.  This is a far cry from my first contact with Natalie Pilkinton where she told me ths they would suspend him from the program until he made it  right. Lifestyles Unlimited brags about having no BBB complaints, I am pondering ruining their record.

Ironically, the new contractor who I am having to pay $3050 to correct the screwed up work of Scott Flynn, is his previous boss.  He was floored at the deplorable work that was done and astonished thst he would present it as a finished product.

@Donald Hendricks  - that really sucks that you've been run through the ringer with this contractor!  Not that it's any consolation but the feedback from the others in the thread here was spot on (cut your loses and move on) and it just serves to solidify that rarely, if ever, will a zebra change it's stripes.  

Your $3K lesson has solidified for me the need to be able to move on quickly should a contractor not meet expectations.  Doubtful it makes you feel any better but it is helpful to those of us that are new to the business.  And frankly, if Lifestyles Unlimited won't work with you to correct the situation from one of "their" contractors then we can all learn from that as well.  

Best of luck and thanks for sharing your experience!

Wow, you should have just hired the illegal day laborers from in front of the Home Depot yourself.

I love these marketing companies and contractors who use subs, they make the Irish Travelers look good. 

""The expression, "Show your mettle" or "Is he worth his mettle?" comes from the days of the traveling itinerant millstone dressers. They would travel the countryside, from mill to mill, seeking short time or term work. The mill owners or the miller would ask the prospective worker to "show his mettle!" The millstone dresser to show his mettle, he would roll up his sleeves, to reveal his forearms. In dressing millstones, the metal tools used, caused chips of metal to embed themselves under the dresser's skin. If it was not removed, it would cause a bluish discoloration. The bluish discoloration did not mean that he was a good stone dresser, but only that he had experience at dressing stones. If the metal chips were not removed, they would cause a bluish discoloration (much like a tattoo) of the skin.""

Forget the glossy cards, and the fancy websites. Look at a contractor's hands. They should show the signs of doing the work he claims to do. Slickeroo sales Jerk Of fs have the hands of someones trophy wife. They take a cut, and yet add no real value to the project. 

The only salesman who should be getting a "cut" of the money on a project, is the one that sells your "finished product"

Don't feel too bad. Those kinds of contractors are everywhere. You got good advice: get rid of him. If they do poor work from day one ...there is your clue. You will continue to get these results from this guy. One last thought: always ask other investors and landlords who they recommend. Get a list of 8-10 and then when you need work you have a list to work from.

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)
239-200-5600

@donald if you are going to state things that I say please dont manipulate what is said. There was a learning curve for both you and the Handyman that you hired off our vendor list.  Your story on here is incomplete. I am not going to get on it here but I will say the handymans work was not acceptable. Your actions played into It as well. Yes both parties have room for improvement. As always I am available if you need me. I also have your email thanking me for helping you understand how this could have been handled better. ALL vendors no matter their source are good only until they are not. 

...wow, those pictures don't lie...unbelievable. Is the contractor licensed and insured? Please update this thread with how this story ends...  Great post above by @J Scott

813-435-8414

@Donald Hendricks   Doesn't Texas require these GCs to be licensed?   I would think in a situation like this where you agreed to allow this bozo a second chance at the urging of a "Lifestyles" representative and they screwed it up even worse, the company that promoted the hack as an approved vendor should pay the cost of fixing.  If not, I would do everything in my power to blacklist the company and vendor.  

David Begley, Real Estate Agent in GA (#357208)

All contractors, no matter where they come from are great until the moment their not. A contractor may do an amazing job for you and when I use them they may fall down on the job. People are people and things can happen in businesses....it seems to happen more often to GCs and the individual trades.

Because of this, investors need a solid consistent process for interacting with anyone on their team:

Always get multiple apple to apple bids

Get everything in writing and in detail

If someone says they will "take care of it" ask "how much?" and "what will it do to the timeline?"

Do not make changes during the process unless something truely unknown happens

Work constantly on communication skills. It is my observation that 99% of all issues between investors and contractors in any trade comes down to miscommunication. I think this is true in every part of life...

Keep it professional always... Things are complicated enough without adding emotion.

These are just my general suggestions.

Let me know if I can help you with anything specific in your situation that is still unresolved.

@David Begley  

No, contractors do not have to be licensed in Texas

@Natalie Pilkinton  

You mentioned a learning curve for Donald.  Isn't that the premise behind Lifestyles Unlimited to eliminate the learning curve by subscribing to their services ?  Has this vendor been removed from the list ? 

512-293-3885
Originally posted by @Donald Hendricks :
   Long and short of it,  Lifestyles Unlimited charges big money for vendors to be on thier list of endorsed vendors and they will not use the leverage that they have to get their vendors to perform or do right by the members.  I was told that they will "monitor" him to see if his performance improves.  This is a far cry from my first contact with Natalie Pilkinton where she told me ths they would suspend him from the program until he made it  right. Lifestyles Unlimited brags about having no BBB complaints, I am pondering ruining their record.

Any list that the contractor is paying to be on is generally going to be worthless.  The company has a duty to the contractor as a customer to keep him happy and paying and if they're making more off of him than they are from you then they aren't going to do much to help you.

@Donald Hendicks

Just a note, the Lifestyles Unlimited vendor list is not "magic" neither is any other refferal source.

We refer vendors known to work well with our investment model. They are great until the moment their not....see my previous post.

If you need or want help I am here as is Del and the vendor managers.

Problem solving and communication are core competencies of real estate investors. I am more than happy to help.

Originally posted by @Greg H. :

@David Begley 

No, contractors do not have to be licensed in Texas

@Natalie Pilkinton  

You mentioned a learning curve for Donald.  Isn't that the premise behind Lifestyles Unlimited to eliminate the learning curve by subscribing to their services ?  Has this vendor been removed from the list ? 

 Then that is part of the problem - unlicensed contractors.  A GC license is required in Georgia for any work over $2,500 and Permits cannot be pulled except by licensed contractors.  I complain often about the permit/inspection bureaucracy, but it certainly cuts down on the risks associated with hiring hacks such as the one in question and gives the consumer more recourse avenues.  I doubt this guy could meet these requirements: 

http://www.contractor-licensing.com/georgia/genera...

David Begley, Real Estate Agent in GA (#357208)
Originally posted by @Donald Hendricks :

UPDATE:

Ironically, the new contractor who I am having to pay $3050 to correct the screwed up work of Scott Flynn, is his previous boss.  He was floored at the deplorable work that was done and astonished thst he would present it as a finished product.

I'd be very wary of your new contractor based on those comments. If his former employee's qualify of work is a surprise to him, that's a huge red flag. We all know for sure the guy didn't perform A+ quality work working for you new contractor and suddenly lost those skills when he did your job. He sucks now, he sucked then, why doesn't your new contractor know that about him? I'd be doing a lot of due diligence on your new contractor starting with a google search, BBB search and asking for a list of references.

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