Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Building Confidence

Great yoga class yesterday. I ended up sweating like crazy and it wasn’t even Bikram! I don't know why I choose to miss class. I always love the way I feel after practice. Today’s activity should be some upper body weight work, but I haven’t found a way to do that that I like, so it may just be some easy treadmill or elliptical work, as I want to save my legs for an after-work ride.

Turns out when I put pencil to paper and compared the bid I received with a bid my coworker received from the same contractor, there were issues that may not be the fault of the insurance coverage. He bid her cabinets at $95 a linear foot and bid mine at $200 lf for the same paint-grade cabinets. When I called to ask him if it was a mistake, he gave me all sorts of reasons about how it was justified, etc. His bid to her was right in line with what her insurance covered and right in line with what my insurance covered - so three of the four data points are in agreement. He said that he’s changed suppliers, etc. I am grateful to have these issues now, while no money has changed hands. So much for my initial impression! Oh, and he said he wouldn’t take the job and install cabinets purchased elsewhere. Pebbles also told me he was charging me double and she has experience dealing with cabinet makers for her high-end jobs. She also told me to just get the repairs done and we (who the heck is we??) could level in the cabinets. Sometimes I think she might be a bit delusional ;-). I’m looking for a much more turn-key solution as I really don’t want to be the GC on this project. But if I have to break this down, I guess I will. I am much more concerned about finding someone to repair the floor/sub-floor issues. First things first.

I am back to seeking more contractors for more bids and it may turn out that I have to go with option one and I certainly didn’t burn any bridges there. I will just continue to gather information and trust that the right move will make itself obvious. I may have to go back to the insurance company, but right now, more info is required. I’ve got a couple of leads from a newspaper ad, but I much prefer personal recommendations.

So here we are….I feel much better about things, as I sat down with my insurance info, my bid, coworker’s insurance info and her bid and I have some idea as to where this should come in. I looked at my “while we are at it’s” and put a cost on them. I just like things to be transparent and they never are. Looks like I had some expectations that things would go smoothly and they didn’t. Where my fear always comes in is BEFORE tackling something. I’ll let the envelope of DOOM sit around and cause me all sorts of anxiety and fear BEFORE ripping the thing open and facing whatever is inside head-on.

So it’s time to beat the bushes and drum up more names/recommendations for contractors. Angie’s List has proved to be very unhelpful. Any other ideas?

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Build your confidence.


Photo credit:


  1. Aargh! This is just the sort of thing I hate dealing with so I understand your feelings completely. Why couldn't he have given you a bid for he work regardless of insurance? That sort of stuff makes me nuts. I wish I could help with the contractor thing but the only thing I've learned about it (based on managing my bosses rental properties) is that contractors referred by friends/word of mouth are usually the best/most reliable. (Though that didn't seem to happen in this case.) Anyway, I am sending you good vibes to get this whole mess settled!

  2. Leveling in the cabinets is not something I would tackle. There is an art to that. Is there a community online message board in your area? We have one ( and people regularly ask for recommendations on contractors, plumbers, etc. - I've actually taken notes from some threads; not that I need one yet, but in the future it's good to know who is recommended and who is NOT.

    Glad you are still checking around, though - what is up with that guy doubling his bid on the same damn cabinets. Stuff like that makes me mad and uneasy.

  3. Sometimes local realtors are a good resource for finding qualified contractors.

  4. No advice from me either. Word of mouth from friends is good, but not entirely reliable. I've had experiences of using a painter who gave a friend a great deal, but turns out it was because he had some connection to her family, which she didn't tell me first. I wish you well with this. It's frustrating to be at the mercy of contracters. I'm sure if Bick knew of anyone he'd have suggested them? Good luck!

  5. Obviously I can't offer any suggestions but I wanted to offer sympathy! Amazing how these people think they can hold people hostage like that, and fail to realise that they lose work and reputation in the process.
    Its just as well you didn't just go along with his quote, I hope you find someone better soon!

  6. My son works for a contractor and they've been really scrapping for jobs. I'm sort of shocked about the difference in pricing unless the other person's bid was done a few years ago.

    What about one of those big box stores like Lowe's or Home Dumpo? Can you pick out cabinets from them and have them install or does that seem like a nightmare? Plus with a big box, the local folks don't benefit very much.

    My son installed cabinets for a friend that the friend bought from Ikea. Son said they were cheap, inexpensive or cheap, I dunno. And his friend is a tightwad. My son said the cabinets were a pain in the ass to install.

    My downstairs apt needed cabinets and I ordered them from a local guy who has "connections" like a recycler or something. Not quite sure who we got the cabinets from. This was a few years ago. My brother in law measured and told me what I needed. I ordered the ones I wanted and we outfitted a mini-kitchen with really cute oak cabinets for 1200.00

    Wish I could afford to do my own kitchen cabs. They are made out of paneling (believe it or not) and pressed wood. I painted them but still, they are pure garbage. My house was originally a logger's cabin and the loggers didn't mind what they put their stuff away in.

  7. If I lived near you, I would install your cabinets for you. I have done 2 kitchens with brand new cabinets and it really isn't that hard at all. As long as you have proper measurements!

  8. Sounds like a guy who doesn't want the job. Either way, this is an occasion to share this problem on Yelp. If he's doubling the cost of cabinets, then potential customers should know that. If nothing else, you'll know you tried to prevent him for raking over someone else.

    Leveling cabinets isn't really difficult, but you don't want to deal with any screw ups. I've seen it done and I wouldn't attempt it myself. It's worth paying someone to do that job.

    Who to pay to do it? Sorry, I've got no suggestions there.

  9. I loathe this stuff too.
    it all feels like such a GAME to me and a guessing game at that.
    Im an angies list girl too.
    and a 'send a mass email out to friends begging for referalls' woman

  10. Talk about stress! Why is it that we always have to fight for what is fair? Things like home repair are too important to leave to chance but I agree with Leslie in that you can't always count on that, either. We want a bathtub installed and found a reliable contractor. By the time he finished giving his estimate though, he'd gone from putting in a tub to wanting to tear out the whole bathroom and expand the darned thing. Our quote ended up being for that job instead of the one we asked for. So, we keep postponing because we just don't want to deal with it. Ugh! I sympathize and hope you find an answer soon, Roxie.


We'll try this for a while.