Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today's Accomplishment

Did I tell you that we hired out the painting of the pergola that Mister C built? My original plan was to paint the parts before the guys built it. The thought process being that once it was all together, it would be easy to just touch up the spots where needed and I wouldn't have to figure out how to crawl all over the structure. That was the plan. You know how well those go.

The main problem to working out the plan was that Mister C never actually purchased the parts until the day they built the pergola. Obviously I wasn't going to get away with having everyone wait around while I painted everything so it got built with the raw wood.

At the end of the very long weekend I looked at that pergola and and I thought "There is no way in hell I'm painting that thing!" I mean seriously, I had zero desire to figure out how to paint the top side of the lattice pieces with a brush. Realizing that his painter was rebelling, Mister C made the (only viable) decision to hire out the painting.

I did try to call Mark, the guy that painted our house a year ago. Mark was a neighbor that had a painting business and we'd seen plenty of his work in our neighborhood. He did an awesome job for what I would consider a really good price. He ended up short selling his house not long after he finished painting our house and moved to the other side of town. But I still had his number and I thought that surely I could have him come back to do this project. But unfortunately his number now goes to a message that says it's no longer in service. Sigh.

So I asked around and got the name of another painter, George. I called him and he said he could come out in a few days to give me a quote. The very next day he rang my bell and introduced himself. I figured, wow, this guy is on the ball!

The first thing he said was that he couldn't do the job for less than $500. Which seemed a tad high for the amount of work he would be doing. More so because Mark had done the entire house for about four times that amount. But I understand, he needs to keep his guys working and he has to pay them a certain amount. So fine, I tell him to send them out and get it done.

Fast forward a few days.

Now it's Friday afternoon, around 2:00, and suddenly there are four guys standing on my front porch. Sadly, only one of them speaks (minimal) English so the entire conversation consists of singular words and pointing. Awesome. Oh and here's a side note that I know from previous experience: Don't ever let workers start a project on Friday afternoon. Why? Because all they really care about is getting to Friday night and their favorite beer. And the only thing between them and that Friday night beer is your project. Which they will rush through and cut corners on. Seriously. I've had enough guys do piss-poor work on Fridays that I should know better than to even let them start. But they are here and they have paint and I think "Surely it will be different this time..."

It is not different this time (nor will it ever be.)

They come to the front door less than an hour later and announce (in singular words and with gestures) that they are done. And I need to go check out their fantastic job so they can go. So I send Mister C out to do so. And he is forced to point out to them that they have missed several areas.

Fifteen minutes later they are back at my front door. Mister C is now on the phone so I am the one to go out and check their work so they can be released to their beer. I go out, look at the area where Mister C had previously pointed to problems and it looks good (or at least somewhat painted.) Then I drag the guy's ladder over so I can see what the top looks like. The painter looks a little panicked at that but at least he holds the ladder. I get to the top and realize he hasn't painted the top of the trim board. At all. Not one lick of primer or paint. Oh, did I not mention that they were supposed to both prime and paint this structure? Yeah, that comes back up later. Anyway, I climb down from the ladder and the painter goes back up to paint the top of the trim board.

Five minutes later he's at my door again. Something strikes me as wrong but I can't pinpoint what it is so I head back outside to see what he's done. I see that he has "accidentally" taken the ladder to his truck. I mention that I need to get my ladder to see the top and he laughs about his "mistake" and goes to get his ladder. I climb back up top and see that there's paint on the top of the board. Yay! It looks like they finally get those beers after all. We give them the check and send them on their way.

At some point in the middle of the night I wake up and realize what was bothering me about the trim board with the missing paint. When I noticed it, I was looking at raw wood. And he was at my door within five minutes. Which means there's no way in hell he primed the board before painting it. Which means there's no way in hell he primed any of it. Grrrr!

The next morning I have Mister C get out our ladder and I go up to view the top of the pergola from different angles. From the front side (where I was the day before) it looks okay. But from the other side, it's very obvious that they only sprayed from the front side and didn't do it from all angles. And it also very obvious that I'm looking at bare wood, so no primer was used at all. Which really pisses me off.

I get that my little piddly pergola painting job isn't a high end money maker for anyone. But I already overpaid for it in the first place, why eff it up and go cheap on it? Why cut corners and do a half-ass job? Why piss me off? As a homeowner there's always a ton of little things that need to be done, chief among them are painting projects. House exteriors in Arizona are generally repainted every five to ten years. But beyond that, I have neighbors that I talk to, friends, family members. And most importantly, I'm a Realtor, I have clients and I know a ton of other Realtors who are always looking for good references. All of whom could have gotten a glowing review from me of your company's work. Conceivably hundreds of potential clients for your painting company now didn't get your name because you screwed up. Because you hired some guys that probably aren't really painters at all but just the guys you could hire for the least amount of money. Maybe they're really plumbers or electricians or veterinarians (not joking about that one, I had a client from Ecuador that was a licensed vet at home that worked for the local garbage company.) Whatever they are or were, they weren't painters.

After I got done yipping to Mister C about the shoddy work, he went ahead and called and left a message for George to complain. In his defense, George did call back immediately and promise to make it right. He insisted that there was primer used, just that he had it tinted to match the paint color. Which, I call bullshit on because I know the difference between raw wood and wood that has been painted but whatever, he says he's going to make it right so I'm good.

And he does send that same crew back out the next day. And they do whatever it is they do for at least thirty minutes. And when I check it out, it looks like they've at least got paint on anything. At this point, that's about all I'm looking for. So I send the painter on his way. And today, I went out and painted the end of one board that they completely missed, and repainted the trim boards. Because at this point I just wanted it done and done right.

And I will never recommend George's company to anyone as long as I live. And if anyone asks about his company I will tell them to avoid him like the plague. And if I have nobody else to recommend for them, I will at least tell them to make sure their project doesn't get started on a Friday afternoon.


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Anonymous said...

Word of mouth is the best advertisement or worse advertisment and apparently this is the top of list for worse. To think that word of mouth is free advertisment, what are you thinking when you don't do the best job you can so that you can continue to have such great advertising or NOT. Sorry you had such a disappointing experience but each one is a lesson in itself and now you've passed on the info to others for free,thank you!