A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided we might like to put a screened in porch on the back of our house. We really enjoy being outside, but it's difficult with two dogs who like to get into things, read: eat stuff they shouldn't and run after anything that moves. We also have a bug problem. Mostly a tick problem. I'm not a big fan of sitting outside wondering if those nasty bugs are crawling up onto me, finding a warm hiding spot.
So, we started our search for ideas and pictures of what we wanted in a screened in porch. I have probably bored my friends on Pinterest to death with the amount of pictures of screened in porches and patios I have put out there recently (sorry)!!
Once we had a general idea of what we liked and didn't like, I started calling contractors. We decided we should have more than one quote for this work. The first person I called "Tom" (all names have been changed to protect the....fools) was willing to come out on Saturday and take a look at the area, help us figure out a design and give us a quote. After I set up that appointment with Tom, I called "Tim". I told Tim my name and he told me that he recognized my name. He shuffled around for a while and then told me that Tom had called him and said, "hands off". Apparently Tim and Tom used to work together at "MyTown Home Improvement". Tim continued to tell me that Tom did great work and if things didn't work out, then to feel free to call him but he was sure we would like Tom's work.
Tom came out to our house on Saturday and gave us his opinions, ideas and an estimate. We about fell over with the number that he threw out at us. His estimate was so high that the porch was going to cost almost as much per square foot as we bought our house for! We still asked him to send us a quote and we would be in touch. Saturday and Sunday all came and went. By Monday morning, we were a little peeved that Tom was taking so long getting us the quote. It finally came Monday evening - around 9pm.
If you owned your own company and wanted a job, wouldn't you go home and write up a quote then instead of waiting two days, plus? We weren't a fan of that and were happy that we decided we wouldn't be going with Tom, not just for the high numbers, but for the three day wait period, as well (what can I say, I'm all about customer service)!
On Tuesday, I called another contractor in the area. We'll call him "Ted". Ted had a lot of good ideas on his craigslist ad and I really liked his personality on the phone. I asked him if he could come out that evening to give us a quote and he could. He was even willing to come out later - to give us time to get home and get settled for the evening. Nice guy. As we were talking, he mentioned he had worked on a porch on our street (our street has a very uncommon name). I let him know the only screened in porch on our street was next door to us. That's when he told me he used to work for MyTown Home Improvement. Seriously? So, I told him about Tom's quote and that we couldn't afford it. He told me that was fine, he could work with our budget and still come out and give us his ideas/prices. Ps...no one will give you their square footage quote over the phone.
10 minutes later my phone rings. It's Tim. (Remember him? Said he wouldn't bid against Tom)? He said Ted just called him about the job and he didn't realize we lived next to another job he did. Ok. He then said he would be glad to come out and give us a quote since we were referred by our neighbor. We were? I told him that's fine and to tell me when he had time and we could set up a time then.
5 minutes after hanging up with Tim, my phone rings. It's Ted again. Ted called to tell me that ethically, he didn't think he could quote us on a job that is right next to another job that his good buddy did. He was going to have to let us work with Tim and back out of the job. He apologized for putting me through this rigmarole (my word) and wished us luck. He also told us if Tim didn't work out, to call him back. Of course.
After hanging up with Ted, I called Tim who didn't answer. I left Tim a message with two phone numbers. That was 24 hours ago. He still hasn't called back.
I don't think I want a screened in porch anymore...