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Caution Tape

Mr. Handyman cautions: Don’t let dreams become nightmares!

We were called in to salvage an ugly situation recently. A woman had called a plumbing company for help and while talking with the plumbing technician mentioned she wanted to remodel her bathroom. She asked if he know any reputable remodelers.

Yes, he replied, “Me”.

He was nice enough guy and had made quick work of the plumbing issue. He explained he was a remodeling ‘contractor’ on the side. She explained what she wanted, he worked up a price and a deal was struck.

Eight weeks later she fired him and called us to clean up the mess. She knew this work would happen on evenings and weekends, but it was taking far longer than promised.

The tile work was shabby. When she pointed out that some of the new floor tile had cracked when first walked on, a clear sign they were improperly installed, he became dismissive.

He had gotten grout on the drywall and then he had painted over it. He had cleaned his grout bucket and tools and poured the slurry down the shower drain, partially obstructing it.

Somewhere along the way he clarified that he did some ‘contracting’ on the side but wasn’t a licensed ‘contractor’ as he had first explained. She had taken him at his word and not checked him out.

The woman had paid more than promised, he wasn’t done, the quality of the work was poor, and her attempt to point out issues led to hostile reactions. She told him not to come back. Not only had she paid this man a lot of money, endured a lot of stress, and been without her master bathroom for 8 weeks, now she needed to spend more money to fix this mess.

That’s when we came into the picture, when she found us online. Three full days of work got the bathroom into a usable state, but short of tearing the whole thing out and starting over there was only so much we could do. Grout lines are still thick in some places, and thin in others. Her chrome accents are scratched and dented. Two tiles came up while cleaning; and while we’ve replaced those, one must wonder which tile will come loose next? The bathroom of her dreams turned into her nightmare.

Please know who you are working with. Established companies with an ample history of positive online reviews are a great start. Then visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com to verify licensing, and that it is active. If you are working with a licensed contractor, you can report them to the licensing board. If you are not working with a licensed contractor, you must hire a lawyer and pursue them in civil courts.

None of us have unlimited funds and we need to be prudent with expenses, but we also need to be smart. This woman paid far more, and got far less, than she should have. Always check out who you are working with.

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