Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Construction Company #1

In order to not endorse or embarrass a local company, I will not be posting the name or contact information.
I absolutely had NO problems with this estimator, that I would recommend them to others to get estimates on their future projects, as they may fill the need much better in some areas than others.

Estimate for our front stoop from a CONSTRUCTION COMPANY.

BORING, but hey who knows, it might give people a better idea of what to expect when getting an estimate for a porch.

Problem: We need to replace or repair our 4x6 front stoop or porch (depending on your definition. From here on out I will call it a stoop, because I AM RIGHT!)

Details: Well just look at the photo on the previous post. The solid cement steps have settled in a forward direction, resulting in a rise of 6", 7 1/2", and 8" respectively. This settling has caused the anchoring system to pull the cinder blocks forward in the front of the stoop, cracking and allowing water, de-icer, dirt, and who knows what else from damaging and exposing the stoop.

Basic Solution: Repair the absolute minimum.
Intermediate Solution: Tear out and Replace Stoop.
Grandiose Delusion Solution: Tear it out and replace with a porch.

Our Grandiose solution was suppose to happen, but not till next spring, when we hoped to have the funds saved, or allow us to take out a smallish loan to really add some curb appeal. The city forcing us to rush to get it done or have permits listed (30 days) is not allowing for us to realistically arrange this, unless it doesn't cost as much as I originally guesstimated/estimated with an online calculator.

Online Submission - Saturday Evening
Call Back - Monday Morning, arranged for an evening appointment the next day
Estimate Appointment - Tuesday Evening 7pm
How many people did I talk with - 1 man from start to finish (we will call him Bob)

Bob showed up just at 7pm, (points for promptness), sat in his car for just a few minutes to begin his paperwork. This allowed us to wrap up our dinner mess and do a quick pick up. He came up to the door, looked at the stoop quickly and came in. Introduced himself, said hi to the kids, remembered a spare note about my kid in karate(thus the late appointment, only available that one night or not till Saturday) shook hands and sat down at the table. He pulled out a few things, scribbled down some notes, and we headed back outside to look at what needed to be done.

He remembered to ask to see our citation notice from the city, looked it over, and chuckled at the "legal terms" and noticed that they didn't mention handrails. Talked about how the steps were in great condition, just settling forward. Checked the notice again to see if the city marked the cement walk at all, and then looked around the side, pushed on the crumbling cinder block, and tried to pull on the steps to see if they were anchored in. He briefly talked about what he would do to fix it, pulling permits, etc. We asked about maybe extending the stoop into a full porch, and showed an immediate example two doors down of what we really would like to have. He looked up and down, walked out a bit, and said that it wouldn't be a problem, he would just need to check the zone codes to be sure we weren't too close to the edge of the property line, etc. I completely understood what he was talking about (thank you arch drafting class! and HGTV!).

We wrapped up our chat, and went back inside for him to work on our quote.

It didn't take too long for him to come up with one, just shy of $2400.00. (ouch! I think he heard hubby gag)

The work that would be done:
Removal and Cleanup of top concrete slab, steps, and broken blocks.
Replacement of blocks, steps and slab.
Permits needed to be pulled.

It would not include a full tear down, and would use the original foundation/footings,(although the steps are in good condition, the placement and achoring would prevent us to reuse them.)

The result would be:
a cleaned up version of what we currently have.

BOO!! I wanted something brand new for that price! It didn't help that the calculator we used had said the cost would be less. I also figure in a "just in case" estimate increase, if something else was really wrong. That figure still didn't hit the quote.

The overall service of the professional giving the estimate:
4 out of 5 stars - he was prompt, professional, and genuinely nice. "Bob" remembered that we really needed the basic fix, my kid was in karate, and not once gave my crazy kids the stink eye, even when Monster tried to get him to play basketball. He would have gotten 5 stars had he taken the time to give us an estimate to do a basic fix, and what we really wanted, which was a fuller longer porch (5x15-17).

I can't mark him down for his cost, as he really doesn't have a say on what the company charges, but I felt like I did, many years ago, when we had a siding company come by to sell us vinyl siding. They wanted $15k, after "discounts and coupons" and we could get basic, solid service from another for half the cost. (we didn't do either just in case you were wondering)

He did mention that if we needed financing, upon approval, the company did offer their own, and wanted to make sure we understood, that we needed to make sure that any company we went with was licenced and bonded. He kept saying that over and over, so either the company wants us to make sure we know that not everyone is, and most aren't, or that he understood that we would probably go with another company. He did know we had another estimator coming out later this week.

NEXT: a Landscape company, who will win. Pretty or Functional???

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