Working with Contractors: Lessons Learned

As homeowners, we often hire contractors to make repairs or updates to our properties. I have generally had very good experiences with the people I have hired. However, I am currently having an issue with a contractor I hired to repair a front porch.

The house has a small concrete front porch and steps. When purchased, it was apparent to both myself and the home inspector that the front porch lacked support underneath and that the porch was crumbling. I had 2 reputable companies come out to give me bids to install slurry under the porch. The bids from both companies were similar in price so I went with the company that I felt better about.

I was traveling when the work was done so I did not inspect it in person until 2 weeks later. It didn’t look right to me but the company said it was so I paid the bill. That was my first mistake – I should have listened to my gut and not paid the bill.

My general contractors began working at the house at about the same time and they mentioned to me that the slurry did not look right. I contacted the slurry company again and they said it was done correctly. My general contractors then showed me that the slurry had never hardened, it was mud that they could put their hand into.

I contacted the company again and this time received no response. I sent them another email last week giving them 48 hours to respond or I would take further action. They did not. Since that time, I have disputed the charge with my credit card company, filed a complaint with Washington State, and another complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I have also contacted the competing company to ask them to take a look at the work as well as asking the home inspector to go back and take a look. This has been a lot of work and stress.

Lessons learned:

  • Verify the work has been done to your satisfaction before paying the bill (or final bill).
  • Listen to your instinct.
  • Get second opinions.

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