Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 41 seconds

Being a half full kind of guy, It dawned on me that great subcontractors or (tradesmen if you will) make the process of remodeling worthwhile. Sadly the inverse is true also. Fortunately, I am less tolerant of the ones that come with baggage. My expectations are regularly surpassed as most of my subcontractors keep raising the bar.

I recently rolled the dice and tried a new specialty glass subcontractor. Oh my word, did I get an education. Was it the worst mistake I’ve ever made? No, but it was a biggie.

My first clue should have been the low-ball price. Why oh why did I allow the client to make the choice to use them? I will not make that one again. The list of problems is so long I finally ended up back charging the subcontractor for work not accomplished or done wrong. Additionally, I had to forbid him from visiting the job site.

I would have been better off emotionally, financially and every other way there is, had I resisted the temptation to use the low ball bidder.

Thankfully, the omissions and physical damage he did could be fixed by others. I find it ironic that the contractor I wanted to use, ended up completing the project nearly one year later.

If it were about price, I would be spending my time looking for the cheapest subcontractors. I realized long ago that cheap often goes hand in hand with poor quality and problems the likes of which depress me and require a tremendous amount of energy to untangle. Not to mention the other tribulations the likes of which are too numerous to mention. I would rather support those subcontractors that consistently impress me and have a qualified highly recommended backup if needed.

Although unintuitive to most, remodeling ultimately is not about price at all!

I have so many examples of what happens when we use our regulars and how well the remodeling process goes. I have to stop and shout out how much I appreciate them. Sadly, the remodeling business is fragile; it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole process.

Being the eternal optimist, I look at every new project as a chance to knock someone’s socks off.

A great subcontractor makes me look great and allows me to use my time productively. They teach us how to be better contractors, they anticipate problems and solve them before they get made, they clean up after themselves, let me know when they are finished, and provide warranty service when needed. Most of all they are a calm voice of reason when we get stuck or rattled. Best of all they are on the same page when it comes to finding the best and often the most economical solution for their trade.

A Short Story

A classic example happened recently. I decided that I wanted to use a relatively new technology in a high efficient mini-split HVAC system for a small home I’m remodeling.

  1. First I decided to educate myself by talking with a manufacturer of the equipment,
  2. Next I approached a supplier with intimate engineering expertise referred to me by a mechanical engineer. I gave them a pretty good idea of what I said the manufacturer recommended. Rather than meeting with me on site, they dispatched an installation company representative.
  3. At the meeting on site the representative, quickly agreed with my ideas and prepared a proposal.

Later in the day, I met with my normal installer who surprisingly had vast knowledge of the available technology. Who knew he had any experience with this cutting edge equipment? Before I knew it he came up with a radically different installation idea than I had imagined which made much more sense. His solution was even less expensive, thanks to the relative ease of installation.

My conviction and commitment to my profession has deepened based upon this cool interaction. Why use anyone else? Levco is waiting to bring all of our experience and wisdom to bear on your project. Contact Levco or refer us when it’s time to remodel.

To all my great subcontractors, I propose a toast. “Thank You so much…You know who you are, keep up the outstanding work!”

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261