Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Estimate or Selling Our Firstborn

We finally got the estimate for the work on the house last Saturday.

The handyman guy called here about Thursday wondering why we hadn't gotten in touch with him.

Come to find out..... at least he says this is the issue....he had a problem with his email.....he's send out emails with estimates to prospective clients but the emails never got sent.  He's had this issue with a number of clients.

Don't know if it was an issue with his mail program, his employee or "him".  But that was the story why we hadn't heard from him for 3 weeks or so after coming here to look over the jobs.

So I open up the attachment/estimate and the floor about fell outta my ass.

The total was over $9,600 for the work we need/want done.

In my mind I had a figure of around $6K for all this.  That is what we were willing to spend to get this stuff done.
Not anything near almost $10K!

Here are a list of the jobs, broken down into 5 projects, we wanted priced out.

 Repair and patch ceilings and walls-One spot in kitchen, 3 spots in dining room, a few seams in living room.
Skim coat of spackle 1 ft. wide section of walls around living/dining rooms.
Redo 4 corner beads over exposed metal edging.
Labor and materials.

Paint downstairs walls and ceilings, approx. 1000 sq. ft. plus stairwell and upstairs hallway walls plus 2 interior doors.
Customer supplies the paint, handyman supplies the primer.

Cut and install bifold door on front closet.  Customer will supply door and hardware.
Install crown molding in living room and dining room matching existing.
Labor and cost of crown molding.

Remove carpeting in dining/living room.
Install approx. 400 sq. ft. of bamboo flooring(to be nailed down).
Customer supplies flooring and underlayment(if needed).

Wrap garage trim in aluminum, 6" on jamb and brick molding.
Replace 3 sets of shutters on front of house.
Replace 2-23" hexagon gable vents on front of house.
An additional fee of $300.00 to cover material disposal.
Total Estimate-$9,640.00
The ones I thought  that came in high were Jobs 2 & 4.
Job 2 we are supplying all the paint(except the primer)so I really thought this one was high as it's basically just labor.  Painting isn't necessarily difficult work but it is time consuming.
So we decided to modify the painting job and make it smaller.  We will only have them paint the living/dining rooms and the stairwell and upstairs hallway and ceilings instead of the whole downstairs and upstairs hallway.
We can live with the kitchen/den as it is and when/if it needs painting, we can do that because we did it the last time.  We would also do the living/dining room ourselves but with the timing element of spackle repair, painting before the flooring gets done, it's easier to just let them paint those rooms.
The one place I can't paint is the stairway/hallway upstairs as I can't reach some of the stairwell walls and the ceiling.
Would like to get this down to $2K.
But I am also thinking I can paint the living/dining rooms so just have them do the stairwell and upstairs hallway.  I will go back and see what they would charge just for this paint job.  I think if I have a day or two between the time he spackles/repairs the living/dining room and throws up the moldings, I can do the painting in there, especially since we have the a/c now. ;-)
and Job 4.....Laying the bamboo flooring.  I really though this one was high!
We had our old handyman/contractor guy replace our master bedroom with bamboo in 2007.  He charged $550 and we furnished/bought the flooring, plus we removed the old carpeting.
Now I know the living/dining room is a tad larger than the master bedroom was(by only 10' x8') and prices have risen since 2007 but to go from $550 to $3,010??
So we went up to Lowe's, since that is where we bought/buy our flooring, and got a cost estimate for having the crew from Lowe's install that floor.
The Lowe's guy gave us a quote of $2,800 including the cost of the flooring and the cost of carpet removal, or $2,500 if we take up the carpet ourselves.
And the price of the flooring would be $850 of that labor of $1950 or $1,650 to install.
So we have a difference of $1,060 for a complete labor only install(w/carpet removal)between Lowe's and the Handyman guy estimate.
Me thinks the handyman guy will NOT be laying our bamboo flooring......
I'd love to call up the old handyman and get put on his schedule for him to put in that floor because I know he'd be even less than the Lowe's quote but I don't really want to wait until JANUARY 2014 to be able to buy furniture and use the living/dining rooms.
So if we decrease the painting job and remove the flooring job, the handyman will cost us $5,630.00 plus another $2,500 to Lowe's for the floor job, for a grand total spent of $8,130.
We already have 3 boxes of bamboo flooring leftover from our bedroom floor we can use but we need to buy paint, so that basically evens out, so we need to spend $8,130 for these projects....or  if he'll accept $1K to just down the stairwell and upstairs hallway we can get all this done for $4,445.00(handyman) + $2,500(Lowe's)=$6,945.00
Still more than I planned on spending but it looks like the least we can get away with paying and still have a good outcome.





  1. I contracted with Lowe's to repair the roof on my house using insurance money. I had to pay out of pocket for the guy to give me an estimate. Then, I had to pay materials and labor upfront and wait a month for the job to be done. They refused to com and put a tarp over the hole while water poured into the house and took down plaster and lathe board ceilings and walls on two stories. On a Friday the owners came to look at the job and returned on Monday.

    They refused to do the job saying their men were afraid of a roof that high. The owner said he had to take all 15 men and two trucks to Lowe's to buy gloves so he could work. He then said I lied to him about the damage and condition of the roof stuff underneath.

    They had just been out on Friday and climbed where I am not capable of climbing.

    They left town and went back to Birmingham. I was later told they had a horrible reputation and that Lowe's uses the cheapest contractor on every job, contractors that cannot keep work because they are so bad at what they do. So, proceed at your own hazard.

    If the handyman chooses the spackling or anything else, you never know if he uses an old bucket or the cheapest or what. I would buy the brand he recommended and have it waiting. That way, he cannot say you bought something inferior.

    Daddy was a contractor, a straight arrow when it came to work. I have heard how shady contractors work. He had a crew that needed constant supervision. But, if they screwed up, he had to go straighten it out.

    I fired a contractor who said I had to pay to have him redo a job. He put the hot water on the right and cold water on the left for all faucets and the washer. I was really, really nice to him, paid him for his screw-up, THEN asked him to give me a bill as to where we stood, told my husband to pay him and left the work undone.

    If this guy has not had any work for three weeks, he may be expecting you to make up the shortfall.

    1. What a nightmare! I sure hope our Lowes doesn't contract with lowlifes like that....

  2. Well, if he shows up with his guy or guys and does it, you'll be happy to have it done! I thought some of those prices were high too, but I am spoiled. We save money with our guy often because Tommy helps.

    1. My Hubs has neither the skills nor inclination to help. His dad was super handy but he had his nose buried in books instead of spending time as a kid/teen learning something useful. But OTOH, his bookishness got him a mighty good career(also known as well compensated career). lol
      I guess you can't have it all.....

  3. What struck me immediately was that if you remove the carpet yourselves, get your own dumpster for "material disposal" and pay ONLY to have the hard to do painting job areas such as stairwells, ceilings. Do the rooms/walls yourselves otherwise. I was going to suggest contacting a big box store for a flooring quote as well.

    Looks like you are getting a good handle on bringing these charges down, but still getting the refurbishing you want.

    ALso, you could do everything BUT the floors, wait until after the holidays (including getting new furniture) and have the floor done then.

    1. I know, it' makes the most sense financially to wait until after Xmas to have the old guy we used do the floors.....but I sure of had my heart set on having that room pulled together for the Holidays. We'll see what happens... 8-)

  4. $3000 just for the labor to put in flooring in 2 rooms?! wow - that seems crazy to me.

    1. It seems flooring installation is not cheap, however this guy was still high....especially since that quote didn't include the actual flooring material purchase.

      It's hell to be in an area with little competition for this sorts of jobs and lots of elderly residents who can't do this sort of work themselves to compete with for the workers.

  5. Wow - the painting and floor estimates are crazy! Does your regular handyman have a painter he can refer you to? Just use handyman for #1 and #3?

    1. We are going with using this guy for 1,3 & 5 only.
      Thanks for commenting. 8-)

  6. You were smart to go to Lowe's and get another estimate. Those prices are crazy. Painting isn't hard, it's just time consuming and a little messy, but you can do it!
    So tell me how you like the bamboo flooring. I've always wanted that. Does it hold up well?

  7. We had bamboo flooring installed in kitchen, dining and living room. All 3 rooms are open and blend together.
    Personally, for us, bamboo was a very bad choice. It shows ever scratch, nook and crannie. Esp in kitchen. Even though it has a protective hard-as-nails extra coating, it's been a failure for us. The living room has fared better but that's only because I won't allow anyone in it. Full disclosure: we had two dogs, now just one AND I keep her nails s h o r t. Doesn't help.

    What has been your experience with the bamboo?

    1. I posted about our bamboo flooring. If I had it to do over again? I don't know if I'd do bamboo. I might pay a little more and get trad. hardwoods instead.

  8. I thought the only one that was even fair was the bamboo flooring. I guess I shouldn't be a handyman when I grow up.
    But I have to tell you a will be a bit jealous when you get the floors done. It sounds like heaven!
    I expect pictures, woman!

    1. Oh, don't'll get pictures until you are yelling ENOUGH ALREADY! lo

  9. $3,185 for painting?! Heck. I'll do it for a lot cheaper! I have experience. Some, anyway. I'd find an actual painter vs a handyman and have them quote you. They may be a lot cheaper. That price is ridiculous. Heck, that should've been the cheapest job... I'm really surprised.

    1. Well if the repair/spackle job was finished by the time you got here next week, I'd give you the painting job! ;-)

  10. That's a lot of money! I think I'd do the painting myself (it's a pain while moved in, but doable). The rest, yeah, it's handyman time! Good luck.

    Peace <3

    1. Thanks Jay. I actually enjoy painting so yeah, I think I'll do as much of that as I can in my advanced old decrepit state....

  11. Sounds like your handyman is a bit high on the painting and floors. We are getting our family room and kitchen painted w/trim for $900.00 (includes ceiling too). We have to buy the paint. A very reasonable price. $3,000 is too much.

    Bamboo flooring will be nice! I agree $3000 is on the high side. We are getting our whole first level refinished (sanded and stained) for about $3300.00. We think that's reasonable.

    Take pics of befores and afters! Would love to see them!

    1. Pictures will be forthcoming in the fullness of time Sharon......

      Don't forget your piccies too! 8-)

  12. You also have three children who need lots of like skills. Involve them in the painting.

    1. that would be "life skills."

    2. I knew what you meant.
      IF they were here I'd put them to work.
      Heck, my daughter painted our master bedroom and the powder room for me. Of course I had to pay her to get her to do them. lol She's pretty good at painting and her older brother is fair at it too. I don't know about the 17 yr old with his teen brain syndrome tho.....
      I might have him help me if he's not back in school by then.


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