Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When not having a signed contract is a good thing

I've been in the process of trying to find and hire painters for a few weeks now. I'm torn because I have painted and repainted our condo many times during our seven years of inhabiting it and it seems a little ridiculous that I am now going to pay someone to do it for me when I am clearly someone capable of painting (in a manner that may not be professional but is passable). It seems even more ridiculous to risk birth defects to save a few bucks. I finally selected someone to come paint our place, Darr and I picked out the very basic color we wanted, and the date was set. That date was this morning. Only the two guys that showed up at my house I had never met nor was informed of by the guy I did hire. (Enter concern number one.) The guys were pleasant enough, they clearly looked like painters, but they did not have, as I was expecting, the prepared contract. (Enter concern number two.) So I tell them I'm a little uncomfortable proceeding - blaming "the husband" since I lack the balls to confront the situation directly and honestly - and they go back outside to get the gear (apparently they are going forward with the job despite my reservations) and call the owner. I of course hop online to IM Darr and apprise him of the situation. When he hears about the apparent bait-and-switch he gives me the okay to boot them out, which is what I do before calling the guy I hired to let him know why.

The way I see it, the guy could have two general responses - the Sorry-'bout-the-miscommunication response and the I'm-a-bitter-old-painter response. This guy chose the latter of the two and got pissy with me, stating things like "I'm the owner," and "Of course I have a crew." As if I'm retarded for thinking he might actually come to paint my house. Maybe I am. But the way to salvage the potential job isn't to bite my head off and try to make me feel stupid. At this point, because hindsight truly is 20/20, I'm thinking about all of the things that now seem suspect: 1) No mention that he wasn't part of the crew that would do the painting, 2. no contract, C. the weird way he defined the scope of the project, and d) even the lateness of the crew that did show up (although they weren't that late). The clincher is when he whines about the money he's already spent, money he could recoup if he'd had me sign - say it with me - a contract. I don't even feel bad for not buying the paint from them that they bought for the job. Good riddance, buddy.


Elizabeth Prata said...

Good call. My friends went thru a similar thing but stayed with the contractors. The three week job ended up being three months and the list of disasters and near disasters is laughable now but was aggravating in the extreme while they were going thru it. And they work from home too...disruptive, but lesson learned: Nip it in the bud.

Cathy said...

Hey! I know a good painter. Yeah, except she's in Illinois.

christie said...

Hi Elizabeth!

Nip it in the bud, indeed. You know, I felt something was a little weird, that he wasn't quite what I was looking for, but then convinced myself he was probably fine. I'm beginning to understand there is a reason we react the way we do to certain people and that we should give more credit to our own thoughts and feelings when our instinct is clearly trying to tell us something.

christie said...

Hi Cathy,

Is that where you're from? I was wondering how you and Leah knew each other.

Cathy said...

Christie -
I went to preschool, gradeschool, high school, and college with Dan! (oh...and we were friends through hs and college) So...that's how I know Leah. =)

Noir said...


You should use Service Magic. They've come through for me in several clinches and their contractors are legit.