- By Laura Schaefer
I’m Scared to Hire a Contractor…And I Bet You Are, Too
Here’s the deal: my family has owned our home here in Florida for over two years now, and we are really getting settled in. We painted the exterior, we’ve purchased mulch, we’ve power washed the driveway. The place looks great! But, being human, I want more.
Our house happens to be located next to an empty lot—that we own. Yes, it is amazing. As of right now, we aren’t using the space at all, other than keeping it nicely mowed so all the neighbor kids can play on it. It’s just grass, two palm trees, and one lonely magnolia tree. The space is begging to be developed. I’m thinking we need to put down a large brick patio next to the house with a fire pit, then buy one of those sweet outdoor ping pong tables.
I also definitely require a hot tub.
So, what’s the problem? Well, I’m scared to hire a contractor to make it all happen. Every single person you ever talk to about working with a contractor has a horror story. You know what I mean. It goes something like this:
The project cost went waaay past the bid.
The contractor simply didn’t show up when they said they would.
There was a problem with pulling permits, or a problem with the HOA.
At the end of the day, it seems like most people who do a home renovation of any kind end up aging five years in the process.
Anyway, say I have $6,000 to spend on putting in a patio and a nice privacy fence (humor me). If I give a contractor the go ahead based on a bid of that amount, I cannot have him coming to me in two or three months asking for more money. That just will not work. I’ve already spent it on health insurance, my dude.
So, I keep putting off this dream project.
I’m wondering if anyone else out there is in my shoes, but with a writing-related project instead of a home improvement scheme. You know you want to do an e-book with a collaborator, for example, but you’re a little worried about engaging a writer. What if it takes too long? What if there are hidden costs? What if you end up not liking the result?
It’s scary. We all work very hard for our money, and we want to use it wisely. We want to invest in things that will solve problems, bring us joy, or offer real value to others. We do not want to spend money on processes that will age us five years in three months.
If I could talk to some higher authority in my neighborhood who could assure me that a patio contractor would never, ever charge me more than the initial bid, would finish the project on time, and would answer my calls or emails within 24 hours, I might be more open to the idea. I want to hire a contractor who would care about me, really own the result of their work, and address my concerns with thoughtfulness.
This contractor would understand that the money I’m spending on this project is hard-earned. I’d want to feel like we could be friends. (I know, it’s a lot to ask…this is why I have no patio, people!)
What’s the point of this post? The point is, I can’t build you a patio. But I am a contractor, and I’m a contractor who cares. If there’s a writing or book project tickling your brain, but you’re holding back because of fear of getting burned, let’s talk. Perhaps I can assuage your worries. It’s worth a shot.
Also, please give me a free hot tub. Thank you.
This image is in no way representative of my housing situation. ~The author
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