Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 23 seconds

Messy Trailer

I was invited to do some specialty work in a business. Acting as a subcontractor to the owner, I had the opportunity to see others work.

The contractor was rushing to install some materials and I noticed that what he was doing was wrong.

The fellow I was working with noticed it too and commented on the poor workmanship. Thinking that I might have an opportunity to teach I mentioned that they were applying the material incorrectly.

They laughed. It was a notched trowel, but there were no notches because the trowel was full. They continued to do what they were doing, ignoring our words. Needless to say, the material did not adhere properly.

I went on to notice the tools they were using. A jumbled mess of taped together cheap tools, ala Harbor Freight. I remembered seeing them with pliers pulling out a jammed nail from a throw away nail gun.

One of  them went to the trailer to grab another tool and came back unsuccessful. This is what I saw: a jumbled mess of garbage and tools thrown in together.

“You get what you pay for”

Would you want your dentist rifling through a bunch of tools and and trash looking for the right one for your situation? I don’t think so.

Vintage Tools

Vintage Tools

Other professionals have regulatory boards, and licensing. Contractors in Idaho don’t! That ‘s right, NO licensure! The only thing we have is a $25/year fee to pay. There are other minor requirements, but some don’t even have the basic registration.

Belonging to a professional remodeling association such as NARI or the BBB at least requires adherence to a Code of Ethics. NARI, which we belong to, has professional certifications and continuing education requirements. The state apparently thinks it would be too burdensome to oversee the herd of remodeling contractors. From my experience most hand to mouth contractors don’t have worker’s compensation or liability insurance.

Electricians and Plumbers are licensed, so why not us? They must think that you, the clients, should be able to tell the good ones from the bad.

Sure, we have building codes and a building permit is an absolutely essential component of most remodeling projects. This at least offers third party verification of safety but it is a weak position to hold onto in my honest opinion. The state has also stipulated that the client gets rights on any project over $2000 but many so called contractors don’t even know about the Homeowners Disclosure form signing requirement.

The Rules

Carpentry 101

Carpentry 101

Those that play by the rules have overhead to run the business. They have bricks and mortar places of business and staff that are paid a living wage. These professionals will cost more. They live in this town and have a reputation that keeps them in business, a reputation earned through completing projects and taking care of problems long after their projects are complete.

Things have changed as the profession has evolved. Being a carpenter used to be handed down father to son, In other areas of the country, they have unions and continuing education.

I am a proud recipient of that handed down knowledge. The bottom line is that everyone with a pickup truck and a lumber rack is not a qualified remodeling contractor, or even a carpenter for that matter.

The best thing you can do is get a copy of my “Selecting a Remodeler” booklet and have a detailed DOW prior to getting pricing for your project, and then choose wisely. Price is just one of the many criteria for selecting a remodeling contractor for your home.

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

“Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.