It’s been a while since I’ve actually been able to sit down and write a post. Between the lovely spring cold that kept me out of commission for two weeks, and another two week issue with internet services. But, alas, I’m back and have missed you guys.
Today I actually had a chance sit down and work on First Sight- or oops, I mean the still untitled manuscript and got in a decent word count of 718; after my lengthy hiatus. I’m hoping to get back into my five days a week groove, so that I can actually complete the first draft, but it might prove a bit difficult next month, as I shall be finally completing my still half-completed deck. Which, now brings me to the topic of the deck that I promised I would talk about.
As some of you are aware I’ve had this half-completed deck since the end of last summer, because the contractor I previous hired sucked… No wait that’s putting it too mildly. A better way to describe him would be, a lying, lowlife, scumbag. Yes that sounds much better.
At the beginning of last summer I was looking for a contractor to replace a deck that was built with the house; which was constructed in 1940, so as you can imagine the old deck needed to be rescued before somebody fell through it, and considering the deck is about ten feet off of the ground that would’ve been a nasty fall. Thankfully no such incident occurred.
So since this deck wasn’t like your general deck which is usually what… maybe… three to four feet off the ground. There was already issues there pertaining to standard building codes. Which would mean having your support beams four feet below the ground. This is a building factor that made every contractor who had given me an estimate, cringed at. That, and the fact that I wanted the new deck to go the entire length of the back of the house. This would mean sixty feet of deck, along with sixty feet of deck roofing. If I wanted to stick with the original deck’s design. (Which, at the time I did.) So as you can imagine I had loads of trouble in trying to find a contractor willing to do the job.
So when I happened across a contractor, who (at the time,) was replacing the siding of a multi-fam housing unit, and whom showed me his license, all of his qualifications and so on. I was thrilled but at the same time skeptical, for when it usually came to the estimate every other contractor greeted the prospect of the job with a loud whistle, and the usual. “Well this’ll be a heck of a project.” When Mr. Con-Tractor actually put in a bid at a decent price I was tickled pink. A month later with the new deck still in the framing stage, I went from tickled pink to fuck I’m so fucked.
A month and a half after Mr. Con-tractor started working on the deck, I had to push him to complete most of the railing, the flooring, and he’d started on the stairs. That was as close as the fucker would ever get to finishing what he started; because I had to fire him.
We’ll call this next part plain stupidity, but before I get into it, there are a few factors that I’d like for you to be aware, so that you could get a better understanding on my situation back then.
- The deck as you know was as old as the house and it was in terrible condition.
- The winters out here on the East Coast usually range from bad to horrific.
- The deck couldn’t have lasted another winter (Especially a horrific one.)
- If I had been unable to have the deck replaced last summer, and the old deck were still in full operation; during the winter, and it eventually did fall down. It would have damaged the back of the house. Which, is why you have home insurance in the event that it might occur; however that would’ve been a bigger pain in the ass.
- I probably would’ve been fined by the town, for still having such an unsafe deck.
- He was actually willing to do the job.
So yes, Mr. Con-tractor seemed qualified, his price was good, at the time he seemed very courteous, professional, and for the first week was very hard working. He’d torn down the old deck and was in the process of framing the new one. Life seems good… Oh how very wrong I was.
Let me give you the gist of the next two months. I gave the guy a deposit to start the job. Then I give him the cash for tearing down the deck and the money to start framing the new one. Then the guy drags his feet during stage two which is putting down flooring, railing, stairs, the whole nine yards. I push, he finishes most of stage two. And here ladies and gentlemen, is where I make my mistake. I gave him part of the the money to begin stage three which is roofing. Because; he explained once he’s finished off stage two, he’ll immediately begin stage three. Shortly after giving him that money surprise, surprise, I can’t get a hold of him. So what do I do? I try find another way of contact him via internet, and what do I find you may ask? That Mr.Con-tractor has an extensive criminal record. His MO, contracting scams, along with a dozen assault and battery, charges, and a few car theft charges.
So, fuckingfantastic I have no extra money, a half-completed deck, and Mr.Con-tractor just blew his third strike, because along with conning myself, he’d conned somebody else in another contracting scam and wound up back in jail.
Here’s my advice to you on how to avoid hiring an asshole like this guy.
- Do an actual background check, (don’t just assume you’re safe because he shows you a license. (Because, it could be fake.)
- Usually a legit contractor will give you his insurance info, in the event that he might be unable to complete the work.
- He’ll have a building permit setup during construction.
- You’ll usually pay a deposit in the beginning and then the remainder of what you owe at the very end. (Not stage by stage.)
- If he’s a decent contractor, he’ll get your job done in a timely manner, and won’t drag his feet.
So that’s been my experience with a contractor, and what an ordeal it was. I hope that my first experience might help you fellow home owners out there, so that you can avoid a lot of headaches later on down the road.