Any help on the subject of contractors is appreciated...TIA
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  1. #1
    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Default Any help on the subject of contractors is appreciated...TIA

    I am telling you...............I WOULD RATHER GO TO THE DENTIST FOR A ROOT CANAL THAN WORK WITH A CONTRACTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am 'in process' of getting estimates for a new roof.........and possibly gutters--well, PROBABLY gutters.

    I always check the "basics".............license.........L and I..........references........BBB---if they belong, and of course, the money, etc.

    But my questions is................

    what should I be sure to ask about the ROOF PART???? Not the warranty.........but other things........

    It is a 'layover'............layer number 2 will be going down---low rise roof--4/12 slope.......probably laminate shingles (tin= too expensive----wish I would have done it with the first roof!!).............

    What do I watch for? TIA.......and any help appreciated! I have one estimate "in hand" and two more coming in the mail soon. Two more appts. next week..............

    and if I am not on here at the end of next week I could be in jail!!! I HATE GETTING ESTIMATES AND BEING A FEMALE WORKING WITH A CONTRACTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I'm always the one working with contractors. Any who are dismissive or snotty to me because they don't like my gender simply don't get hired, period. (I could tell you stories.) I would never consider hiring someone who has no respect for me, or who will not take the time to answer any questions I had, or who didn't listen to what I wanted.

    We live in a very small town and have never had a problem finding good guys to work with. I talk a lot to the crews I hire too, and make it well known if someone treated me poorly while I was getting bids and why they weren't hired. People say women gossip, but if you want to know what's going on in town, go into a bar where contractors gather and you can find out anything you want to know about anyone, anytime. So I know the word gets around.

    One of the funniest incidents was when we were getting bids for our septic system. The guy brought his wife, who owned "the" women's wear shop in town. It was like a tag team. She was apparently supposed to keep me busy talking about fashion, while her husband talked business with my husband. They tried so hard, they really did, but I'd rather remove my own tonsils with a butter knife than stand around discussing fashion with some arrogant overdone twit any day of the week, and I was general contractor on the project, so the guy was going to be dealing with me on a daily basis and needed to get used to that idea. My husband kept telling him that but it just would not sink in. I was so obviously being marginalized and ignored. Finally they went away. Needless to say we hired someone else who had more respect.

    You just have to be persistent and take you time finding the right people. Get recommendations from people you know about who they have hired. Word of mouth means a lot.
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    Just for the record; license isn't everything. My dh does siding for a living and there really isn't anything on a builders license that even talks about siding. Sooo what's the point. And my dh goes out within a week when someone calls needing a repair. I would definately make sure they have ins. IMO the best way to get someone that is good is word of mouth. Even if you know or someone else knows of a contractor that they trust they may be able to give you the name of a person who does roofing. If you ask for references how do you know they won't just send you to their good customers.
    My dh went and fixed a siding job that the siding was falling off the house because the previous contractor was no where to be found to fix his mistake. I would not hire a person who does not show up the first time you make an appointment and or is late w/o calling. To me that is total disrespect. AND NEVER pay them in full before the job is completed.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Thanks CP..........the point of the license is that THEY HAVE ONE.........we have many around here that will even try to 'forge numbers' on a card to make it look like a license number, if you don't know how the license number goes..........guess they can't figure that out themselves. I want to know that it is CURRENT........ran into that in a prior case. HAD a license..........'had' being the main word here.

    They probably will send me to their good customers, I expect that. But I don't want their RECENT jobs........I want to see a roof that they did last year or the year before, or three years ago,.........any 'new roof' should look good for awhile. And one question I always ask the 'reference' is to tell me at least one thing they DIDN'T LIKE about the contractor.............have gotten some good info that way. Have never had someone not come up with SOMETHING...though they have tried.

    As for asking people............I have asked around to a couple neighbors, but my friends haven't had a roof put on 'recently' and one that needs a new roof would use any 'fly by night' person that was cheap.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Any who are dismissive or snotty to me because they don't like my gender simply don't get hired, period. (I could tell you stories.)

    I was so obviously being marginalized and ignored.

    You just have to be persistent and take you time finding the right people. Get recommendations from people you know about who they have hired. Word of mouth means a lot.
    SD.... I think that is why I posted the '?' today..........the last one just FRAZZLED me and I have no intention of using him. Too long to really go into, but when I am talking to someone and at some point say "whatever"...........I am pi$$ed! Had done that and it didn't phase him!

    The really funny part (and your story made me TOTALLY relate )............the Century Link (phone) guy had pulled up at the same time he did (to do some other work of theirs---and I have a CL box in my backyard) and the contractor went RIGHT TO HIM to start talking!! When I stepped outside I heard the C. Link guy saying: "well, I am not the one you need to talk to, and I believe the person you need is right there".......and pointed at me!! That was a bad start to something that ONLY GOT WORSE!! A couple times I would ask a question........and he would go off on something else and I FINALLY said "well what does THAT have to do with........blah......blah.......blah...........and I would REPEAT my question"!!!

    Thank god at this point, I don't have any appts. tomorrow........but I am DREADING the two next week. Yeah, and the last 'frazzling' guy today wanted me to accept a TWO HOUR WINDOW for when he would show up..........told him "no"......give me a time and I give a 15 minute 'courtesy wait' or he calls. He is the only one that has been THAT bad!!

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    Where do you live? If we lived close enough I'd have my dh help you out. My problem would be if I had to hire contractors is not being knowledgeable enough and you seem to know more than me; I think that is half the battle.

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    Registered User RaineyDaye's Avatar
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    FF - as a single female homeowner, I hate dealing with contractors and repairmen also. I can usually see in their faces when they meet me that they think I am totally ignorant and they can inflate their prices, etc. That is one reason I get many estimates, do a lot of research and I do as much as I can myself. However a roof is something beyond my experience. When I had my roof replaced 15 years ago, here is what I wished I had asked:
    1) who is going to be doing the actual roofing
    2) what kind of under-layment (felt paper or tar paper or whatever its called) is going to be installed
    3) will the roofers inspect flashing and replace if necessary
    4) where will the container to hold the torn-off roofing be placed (the weight of it damaged my lawn) - this won't apply since you are not doing tear-off
    5) what length of nails and how many per shingle (my roofer told me this so it wasn't a problem)
    6) what is the best roof under-layment to combat ice dams (might not be a problem in the Pacific Northwest)

    On second thought, you probably won't underlayment since you aren't doing a tear-off

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    Check with shingle manufacturers regarding warranty if you do not do a tear off. I have heard, not confirmed, if you don't do a tear off the warranty will be pro-rated.


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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Thanks, again, CP.........I have ALWAYS been a believer than knowledge is power and I have done one heck of a 'cram session' on the net prior to going into this........and continue with it as time goes on.......and after yesterday, will be doing much more today. I try to make a LIST of things to check or that I need more knowledge about, to ask further questions.

    Thanks raineydaye............hadn't even thought of the nail thing and some of the other things have been covered or brought up. I made a note on the one estimate that I 'have in hand' to ask about the people working...and experience....not that I will get the truth if they are so inclined! (BTDT when I replaced windows........one guy was TRAINING........a disaster!!)

    Thanks to Russ too..........good point! One guy brought that up and said that 'no tear off' is okay with one company, why he liked them. But for safety, I should check with the shingle company too.

    Right now, I am leaning towards hiring the guy that brought this up. And from what I gather......after just a few years, they are all pro-rated anyway...........one reason that all the 'warranty crap' does not impress me THAT much, but I do listen to it.

    They have all given me the "lifetime warranty' thing.......which I laugh at........my roof warranty is good until THAT company goes under!! Don't kid me! But, hey........it sounds good and I suspect lots of people suck it right up.........I don't. Same goes with their "10 year workmanship warranty"........

    I am very BLUNT AND DIRECT to deal with and will call 'a spade, a spade'.........which, when a woman does it, is CONFRONTATIONAL......and can easily offend a contractor................as I have learned over the years!

    It seems the contractors here are trying to push up to half down (used to be 1/3)........and the balance on completion. I have "negotiated" that down to max. of 1/3 down and balance on completion. This has been in the budget........I knew it was coming.........and I am good for the money.........I just want to make sure THEY ARE GOOD FOR THE WORK!!

    Many thanks to all........and if you think of something else........PLEASE POST IT......this is turning into an interesting.....but not so enjoyable journey!!

    Lastly..........Craftypam......I am in Pacific Northwest........COLD REGION.......Spokane, Wa. So.......we get COLD WEATHER.......can get lots of snow.....ice damn thing has to be a consideration...and this year we have probably gotten about the same or MORE rain than Seattle (rainy side of the state!!).

    The 'kicker'..............we 'generally' get the west to east blowing wind and can get some horrendous wind storms (which seem to be increasing!)........and my house sits going west/east (north/south exposure) so those shingles had best be held down good. Very important that the workmanship is good!!!!!!!! Not to mention, ONE HECK OF A LONG ROOF AND LOW RISE!!

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    MY DH just went to bed; he works nights. When he wakes up I will ask him; but I'm almost sure you can have up to 3 roofs, not sure if its the same in all states. And I believe your warranty is good through the manufacturer, not the installer although may be the roof itself that is warranted through the manufacturer and the installation issues through the installer. Another good question to ask.

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Oh, no, if we're to the point, we're not confrontational, we're BITCHY! Don't you love it? If a guy is to the point, he's just a smart businessman.

    You should have been there when the Sears guy refused to talk to me about the radial arm saw I wanted to buy. My husband kept telling him, "talk to her, it'll be her saw, I'm not interested " but the guy wouldn't do it. We finally walked out and did not do business with Sears for eight years. Before we left, we made sure the manager knew why he was not going to be selling that $600 saw that day.

    Then there was the guy at a big box store who wouldn't let me order lumber to build a privacy fence around a very large yard when I came in with my materials list. He told me to have my husband come in when he had time. WHAT? I was so mad I'm surprised my hair didn't catch fire, and I have to admit I let him have it. Then I went to the manager and HE let the guy have it. Right before I explained to the manager why I would be buying my lumber elsewhere and left. The guy probably got reamed all over again when the manager saw all that money walking out the door.

    What's really hilarious is when you're talking to some guy who doesn't know a thing, but figures since I'm female I don't either, so he tries to BS his way through it. Those types get REALLY upset when you call them on it.

    Thank goodness for the really great guys out there who don't treat women like stupid children. There are lots of the good kind, and it seems like they're getting more numerous all the time as social attitudes change.
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    Typically three (3) overlays (putting one layer on top of another) is fine, depending on the age, condition of your trusses. Any more than that and you're asking for an engineering problem. How do you know there is only one on there now? Are you the original Owner? I'd be concerned about how they are intending to seal all of the penetrations. Have you been on your roof? How do you know that you need an entire new one? Maybe I missed that, but if it's just a leak, you may not need an entire new roof.

    Don't be upset about the treatment - I work construction and deal w/ it all the time. It's like "whatever" and let me talk to your boss. I think the thing to remember is that it would be just as difficult for a man to deal with a typically "man" issue, with a female - I can't think of a better example then something medical dealing with their gonads, cuz' God knows, that's where most of their thinking gets done. Kidding! Kidding!

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryG View Post
    How do you know there is only one on there now? Are you the original Owner? I'd be concerned about how they are intending to seal all of the penetrations. Have you been on your roof? How do you know that you need an entire new one? Maybe I missed that, but if it's just a leak, you may not need an entire new roof.
    I KNOW that this will be the 2nd layer going down............as, yes, I owned the house when I did the 'tear off' of the original cedar shakes and they put down this layer on now.

    I don't have a leak and it is 'time' that I do the whole roof. Not going to wait for a leak to 'repair that' and worry about more. The roof has been on for a long time. (would have to look at paperwork....but ??? 20 years!) I clean my gutters annually and lots of particles have been in them in the last two to three years............IT IS TIME!

    And the 'final straw'......(knew a new roof was coming)..........in our last HORRENDOUS wind storm about three months ago.........three shingles blew off! I can see on the south side the areas where they came from...........have not been up on the roof to check the spots........yet.........we have had too much rain and wind since then. I plan to go up in my attic this weekend...........and probably up on the roof too.

    I have NOT allowed the people doing the estimates up on my roof.......but will insist that whomever I pick go up there......with me......to check things out carefully so I don't get hit with "oh I didn't see this cause you wouldn't let me come up here"...........

    I can't remember all the names of the companies.........but.........Owens Corning, Iko, Gaf/Elk comes to mind for sure. One contractor said he wouldn't install Iko.........and I think that is one that has a class action lawsuit against it!! I was online this a.m. and they ALL have complaints. And....yes, I KNOW it could have very well been the installer!!!! Was even reading one 'roofing chat thing' where if you 'nail too high' on one brand they blow off.............CRAP........am I going to have to be up there with my TAPE MEASURE????????

    (I did warn one contractor that I very well may be right up there on the roof with them!! he just told me to come ahead.........said they had just finished a job where the guy was up there two whole days with them!!! )

    And..........the final thing.........got into another chat room thing where the roofing business owners were talking............and hadn't even THOUGHT about the fact that the person doing the estimate could be doing them as an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR (they called them 1099 workers)...............HOLY CRAP..........and this then becomes a whole other issue according to how they are paid.........on what they will be "pushing" for the roof!!!...per estimate or a % of the sale????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Learned something else about the const. industry...........I knew about the "sub-contract" thing and to stay away from that!!

    It was at this point that I quit!!!!!! The guy that did the roof that is up there now is no longer here...........don't know if he sold the business or 'lost' it.........the sign on the building is still there.........but no phone number, tried to call. (I would almost bet that he retired......but who knows) He had been around for YEARS when I hired him.

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryG View Post
    I think the thing to remember is that it would be just as difficult for a man to deal with a typically "man" issue, with a female...
    Only if said man needs to grow up. Besides, it takes about three and a half seconds for someone to realize, when talking to a potential customer, whether or not the customer actually knows what they're talking about. Furthermore, there are plenty of men who don't have the first clue about a lot of so-called "man" topics. The point being, gender alone is not any kind of indicator of whether or not someone understands construction, so why assume someone does not have a clue simply because of gender?

    I used to work in a fabric store and occasionally we had male customers come in. I NEVER belittled or marginalized them, or told them to bring their wives in to do the purchasing. They deserved to be treated the same way as the female customers and to be helped to the best of my abilities, for me to answer their questions patiently and politely, and to treat them equal to everyone else. Why would I have done any less? Especially since I couldn't tell by looking at them (or by looking at the female customers, for that matter) what they knew or did not know about sewing.

    Medical issues are not a good comparison in this case, IMO. Having your roof re-shingled can hardly compare to getting a sensitive medical exam.

    I will continue to be annoyed about poor treatment by men with no respect for women, since there is no excuse for it. And I will continue to vote with my checkbook when it comes to choosing or not choosing any person who is attempting to work for me.
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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugalfranny View Post

    (I did warn one contractor that I very well may be right up there on the roof with them!! he just told me to come ahead.........said they had just finished a job where the guy was up there two whole days with them!!! )
    This would score BIG points with me. If a contractor can't be bothered with a customer (as long as the customer knows to stay safely out of the way so there's no liability issue) then they don't work for me.

    I used to pull out a folding chair and a cold beverage and watch our contractors work by the hour. That's where I learned most of what I know about wiring and construction. As I told them, I was paying big bucks for them to be here, and I intended to get the most entertainment and education possible out of it while they were there. (I'm an autodidact when it comes to plumbing.) It was also important for me to be around, because often decisions needed to be made on the spot, or I'd see a mistake about to happen and prevent it, which saved money.
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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Having your roof re-shingled can hardly compare to getting a sensitive medical exam.
    OH I CAN'T RESIST THIS........and with what Jerry said..........there was that last contractor yesterday that I would have liked to have SENT for a medical exam.............exactly for Jerry's reason...........and when I wouldn't let him up on my roof I TRULY don't think he knew how to do the calculations for the roof (I did as I had read it on the computer a few days before........and measured) without going up to measure!! And from there on I got the feeling it was ALL just BS!!

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