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Thread: Will never understand some contractors

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Wolfdog91's Avatar
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    Will never understand some contractors

    So I work at a big hardware chain store. Really enjoy my job for the most part especially now that I work 9p.m to 6a.m but one thing that irk's me to death is when some nice but clueless person comes in with a list of things to buy from their contracters for a project. 7/10 times is crumpled up you can barely make out the chick scratch and when you can it's full of half meaningful terms and no real measurements or exacts. Like here's a common one.
    4 2x4's
    Mud
    Sheet rock screws
    Deck boards
    6sheets of ply wood
    Two saw blades
    Snapping turtle screws

    Then to make it worse after they give you the list and you ask for specifics like " what length 2x4 ?" Or do they need to be treated or untreated ?" What length screws ? Ect , 9/10 times you get a blank look and a shrug and they say " heck I don't know they just gave me the list and told me to give it toe one of you" Then that evolves into trying to piece things together,goin like " so what exactly are they building?" Are they doing roofing work ?" And half the time the customer can't even answer that. Which astounds me. Like if I have a few guys with power tools working on my house I'd at least wanna know kinda what their doing ya know. Like " yeah they're doing something to the roof" Then that evolves into me asking them to call the contractor who never picks up their phone and when they finally do I have to get chewed out buy some 50yr half shot handy man who questions my intelligence because he's calling wall anchor screws snapping turtle screws and anyone with 2 bits of brain know if someone is buying mud and 2x4's then they should be XYZ. I mean alot of times I just tell them they need to have their contracters ever come in and buy every themselves and have them give your the receipt and explain everything to have them make a better list because I can't sell them $2000 of mabye's with a clear conscience .And I've had to explain this to my manager a few time with upset customers.

    And it just baffles me because when I did contracting work sending the customer to get supplies would be a dead last resort, and even when we did the list was extremely well written and detailed. Like
    4- 2x4x8 treated
    1- 10lbs box of a 2 1/2" self tapping deck screws XYZ brand

    So on and so on. Because if they brought it he wrong thing and we had to send them to get the right stuff that was a day sometimes if not being able to work!

    Just seems to be a common thing down here though idk why though. Do contractors do this alot round y'all ?
    Last edited by Wolfdog91; 05-04-2022 at 10:58 PM.
    A wise man will try to learn as much from a fool as he will from a master, for all have something to teach- Uncle Iroh
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  2. #2
    Ladies never should marry one of those guys. Cause Being a "Contractor" means never having to say you are sorry. uncle mike

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    My sil had some work done on her house. she was forever going shopping for stuff the contractor needed. Well one day she calls me up and asks if I'd come over to remove some old windows. And the contractor told her to save the windows for him. Sad to say the windows didn't survive. Contractor got ticked off. That's when I turned on him and said that I used to write the contracts for what the contractor was supposed to do. Like furnish all tools, labor,supervision,materials and equipment to do the job. Then I said and you call yourself a contractor?????. I had one mouth off to me one day as he was doing something for me. Told him leave or I'll call the cops. Within two hours his boss called to apologize and asked if he could finish the job. Told him yes as long as my big mouth didn't set foot on my property. Down here they think you work for them. Had one take the air compressor out of my garage as theirs crapped out. Told them where I come from it's called stealing. Had another show up a day early with a crew. Refused to let them start work as I had some place else to be. Told him that is what schedules are for. Frank

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    In any industry, as long as you deal with retail-ish customers-- you'll never get away from that.
    Never ask old people how they are doing.
    Because they'll tell ya, and you really don't want to know.


    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    And that's why the building supplies industry hates Harry homeowners with a passion. Be thankful they at least knew some of the lumber dimensions I've had the halfwits just hold up there thumb and forefinger and say it's about that size either describing a bolt or piece of lumber and were dead serious I was supposed to know exactly what was the right size. The worst one I had was a woman who asked to inspect the lumber before she made a purchase. She came back to the front counter 10 minutes later claiming that all our wood was defective because it had lines in it. I assured her that is the natural grain of wood only to be called a blanking liar as she stormed out nearly taking out the front door as she left. I have learned you can fix stupid but you need to charge at least 150.00 an hour minimum and 250 for the real p i a 's that just don't get it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I would guess that you’re stick between the contractor who would rather just come get the stuff and a customer that agreed to purchase the materials to reduce the cost of the job. The contractor wants the experience to be hard for the homeowner, and in the process wastes your time.

    BTW, I don’t recall ever having a good experience with a contractor or home builder, most are terrible. I obviously suck at pick good ones because they must be out there.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The contractor I used putting up the new garage was very good. The wicks building came in an was delivered in such a way that when unloaded everything was in the order needed. Jeff and his crew were here when they said and kept me informed. I was out with them everyday watching and helping when I could. The few snags we had they worked around till they went back to the shop then finished it the next day. The one I took care of was a door knob that the thread was buggered. I measured the screw up an retapped the hole for them.

    Once we got the building features and what I wanted on paper He took care of everything. Ordering the building from wicks, the delivery., erecting and finishing.

    One thing I did was occasionally I bought a "bonus" for them in beer and pizza.I think it was the 1 the day we set trusses, 2 the day we poured the floor, and 3 the day we finished the building.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    This kinda reminds me of my experiences with some customers when I was in the auto parts business. A favorite was when a customer asked for a switch for his "kuncha lights". I drew a blank and asked him to describe what kuncha lights were. He said, " you know, when you turn a corner and you hit that handle by the steering wheel, and the lights go kuncha, kuncha, kuncha.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Wolfdog I totally agree on the specifics of what is needed on a list to be purchased. But the party you are dealing with has NO CLUE about what the contractor needs. My SIL is that type. Where as my daughter knows she has to be specific on what she needs.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    I fowl your pain . . . my family owned lumberyard for over 90 years - a "good" contractor always supports;ied a complete material list or picked up the needed materials themselves - a "slip shod" contractor always did things half way" . . . laziness in how they communicated and usually their work reflected the same thing. I dealt with it everyday when I worked at the lumberyard and when I had my custom woodworking/millwork shop. I had to make it clear many times that I was not a "mind reader

    And then there was the day when a "new contractor" that came in that was furious became the pre-hung interior doors I had sold him "didn't fit" _ I ended up going out to the job to see what the issue was. Well duh! Why would they? He had framed the door openings in for the door size - NOT the rough in size allowing for the jambs. Of course it was "my fault" according to him as I hadn't told him the rough in dimensions. He had supposedly just passed his state contractor's license , , , and he was a former shop teacher. The crowning glory was that after he had to re-do the door openings, finally got the doors installed and the carpet laid - he had to trim the doors off to clear the carpet, and yep, he took the doors off and trimmed off the tops of three of them before he discovered he was trim the wrong end!

    All boils down to no mayyer what trade you work in, NEVER assume anything, communications is everything and if you are doing a job, do it right the first time. Whenever I did work for anybody, I never asked the customer to go pick up materials for the job - their time was valuable and so was mine and it wasted both our times when the right materials were not there to get the job completed.

    Hang in there Wolfdog91 - you need the patience of Job , , , ,

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy slownsteady22's Avatar
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    Anytime i ever needed materials for a job I was doing, I picked or ordered the materials so that there wouldn't be any delays or extra trips. The cost of the materials was always figured in to the price of the job. That was standard practice for any contractor that I personally worked for. Although I will say i have heard of some pretty shady and lazy contractors as well.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    sounds more like a husbands list than a contractor, might be just calling them a contractor to protect their s.o.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Our whole society is becoming so lax in giving details ... On this site you will see a post " I am reloading for my gun , how much powder do I use ." Honestly ... do they expect a answer ... how can you answer that . I guess I get "ticked-off" by the lack of information bunch because of my 48 years of preparing blueprints and specifications for houses and commercial buildings ... I mean you had to specify everything so the builder would know what to use ...
    But now ... the new way seems to be ... let's give the least information possible and you can just guess the rest and I will blame you for not getting it right .
    I don't have a good answer , the contractor would call me and ask questions if I didn't specify an item on the plans ... most times I would tell him on what sheet the item he questioned was specified on ...
    a lot of times the idiot didn't even have a set of plans on the job ...in my truck at home !!!!

    What I would suggest is when you get that incomplete list of supplies ...make a list of the information you need to properly fill the order and send the owner back to get the rest of the information .
    After a few wasted trips ...somebody should wise up to what information is needed to fill an order .
    Sorry about the rant ... you touched on my pet peeve ... Lackainfo !
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables
    " Let's Go Brandon !"

  14. #14
    Curious Caster
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    I don't even like sending my wife to get things even when I give her specific details because there is always the possibility that there are products which meet the description but are inappropriate for the job. Without context it can be really hard to tell what's right. Thank goodness I have a sensible girl, she often knows more than the folks at the store and isn't afraid to ask questions of them or me. I personally have enough to trouble deciding exactly what I want or is best in the first place, asking someone without direct knowledge to do that is just bonkers.

    I can't imagine sending a customer to fetch materials, that's just.... wow. Kind of a different definition of "customer service" than I'm used to.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfdog91 View Post
    So I work at a big hardware chain store. Really enjoy my job for the most part especially now that I work 9p.m to 6a.m but one thing that irk's me to death is when some nice but clueless person comes in with a list of things to buy from their contracters for a project. 7/10 times is crumpled up you can barely make out the chick scratch and when you can it's full of half meaningful terms and no real measurements or exacts. Like here's a common one.
    4 2x4's
    Mud
    Sheet rock screws
    Deck boards
    6sheets of ply wood
    Two saw blades
    Snapping turtle screws

    Then to make it worse after they give you the list and you ask for specifics like " what length 2x4 ?" Or do they need to be treated or untreated ?" What length screws ? Ect , 9/10 times you get a blank look and a shrug and they say " heck I don't know they just gave me the list and told me to give it toe one of you" Then that evolves into trying to piece things together,goin like " so what exactly are they building?" Are they doing roofing work ?" And half the time the customer can't even answer that. Which astounds me. Like if I have a few guys with power tools working on my house I'd at least wanna know kinda what their doing ya know. Like " yeah they're doing something to the roof" Then that evolves into me asking them to call the contractor who never picks up their phone and when they finally do I have to get chewed out buy some 50yr half shot handy man who questions my intelligence because he's calling wall anchor screws snapping turtle screws and anyone with 2 bits of brain know if someone is buying mud and 2x4's then they should be XYZ. I mean alot of times I just tell them they need to have their contracters ever come in and buy every themselves and have them give your the receipt and explain everything to have them make a better list because I can't sell them $2000 of mabye's with a clear conscience .And I've had to explain this to my manager a few time with upset customers.

    And it just baffles me because when I did contracting work sending the customer to get supplies would be a dead last resort, and even when we did the list was extremely well written and detailed. Like
    4- 2x4x8 treated
    1- 10lbs box of a 2 1/2" self tapping deck screws XYZ brand

    So on and so on. Because if they brought it he wrong thing and we had to send them to get the right stuff that was a day sometimes if not being able to work!

    Just seems to be a common thing down here though idk why though. Do contractors do this alot round y'all ?
    It sounds like you try really hard to do your job well. I just can't imagine any reputable contractor sending a customer after material. Or getting mad because you cared enough to call them and confirm the correct stuff.

  16. #16
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    RogerDat's Avatar
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    Reminds me of the joke stuck on the parts counter of the motorcycle shop. Elderly lady at counter says to shop clerk "my son needs crank bearings for his motorcycle" Guy behind the counter says "we need to know the make and model and engine to get the right part" So the cartoon shows the lady driving way out beyond the town limits, then driving all the way back to the shop where she comes up to the counter and says "It's a Honda".

    I have had family and friends help with construction and home improvement and am lucky the "free" crew mostly knows what they are doing. I have hired it done a couple of times and will say they have never asked me to fetch their materials. Most have that well in hand. I think I would be very skeptical if day one they were asking me to go fetch stuff that they should have known they would need. Not talking came up a 2x4 short or need another few deck screws so go fetch a box of these. That can happen. I mean go fetch me materials and supplies mid job because they didn't bring what the job required would make my spidey sense tingle so I would think I need to watch these wanna be armatures.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow so we added an "S".
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Gwpercle, I am a Structural steel detailer for nearly 45 years. I had an architect tell me that the way I had drawn something was not the way he intended it to be done. Mind you I was attending a construction meeting at the time. He was busting everyone's chopps that day. I was the only one to interupt his fowl mood and asked him when he was going to issue his intent drawings. The room erupted in laughter and I was asked to leave.

    Some of the guys in other trades told me that he was going to talk to my boss. I told them that I already spoke to him about the encounter and he was ready for the clown.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by slownsteady22 View Post
    Anytime i ever needed materials for a job I was doing, I picked or ordered the materials so that there wouldn't be any delays or extra trips. The cost of the materials was always figured in to the price of the job. That was standard practice for any contractor that I personally worked for. Although I will say i have heard of some pretty shady and lazy contractors as well.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
    +1 I ran a renovation/restoration business for over twenty years and, except for installation of an appliance or fixture provided by customer, I provided ALL materials. That way, I knew my crew was getting the correct quantity of the necessary materials when required.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    If a 'contractor' sends the client to get parts, not a contractor. And when the workers run to the local BB store to get parts, find a different 'contractor'. Handy man is not a contractor! Yrs ago my bro got assigned a job where the manager ordered and sent 1m$ of wrong materials to a project, bro had to get that returned, order the correct stuff and profited 1M$ on the job. Other bro was contractor for the open air mall N of chicago. End of project audit, he and auditor saw the tractor trailer of invoices and change orders and said 'lets just call it even'. Audit cost more than errors.
    Whatever!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    these days with everything and I really do mean everything is online I guess its baffling why contractor/ half pickled Handyman can't pick out what he wants and send homeowner to go pay for it because if he had the money in his pocket it would probably end up in the liquor store till or in some street corner kids pocket.
    now about that mud. is that like Greenville Mississippi mud. a little trip by the riverside with a shovel and sack might give the handyman more funds for his personal habits.
    all joking aside, as we go through life and have our dealings with others sometimes its best to let things roll off your back like water on a duck.

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