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Working with building contractors
Old 20th October 2020
  #1
Working with building contractors

When my mastering studio was built in 1995 I had a wonderful retired carpenter doing the work. He and I spent the whole summer of 1995 working on the studio. He was GREAT and we worked closely together on the project. It came out perfect.

I just had some renovation work done on my house the the contractor was very good but a PITA to work with.

He never told me when he would be working and just showed up when he felt like it. It took him three weeks to do a fairly simple job and charged me a a lot of money. He resented anytime I made a suggestion or questioned what he was doing. He was careful of my house in the beginning but as the job progressed he started being less and less careful and left me with a BIG cleanup job when he was done. He would show up, decide that he needed to go to the lumber yard and three hours later would come back and then decide that he needed a tool from his workshop that was 8 miles away. He played his IPAD at really loud levels and then would sing along with it (out of tune). He kept telling me that he was going to finish up soon but it dragged on for three weeks. He had a car accident before he started on the project and everyday would lament the loss of his vehicle and tell me he could get the job done faster if he had "his mobile workshop". It was in the body shop for about 18 of the 21 days he was working here. Everything with him was confrontational and my blood pressure went through the roof.

He did a very good job but I would never hire him again.

I would never treat one of my mastering or restoration clients they way he treated me. I guess it was the "luck of the draw" and you really only know how the contractor is going to be after they start the job.

FWIW
Old 20th October 2020
  #2
Gear Guru
 

Ohio seems like it's rife with knuckleheads based on your stories... seriously...

(or maybe it's the planet)
Old 20th October 2020 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Ohio seems like it's rife with knuckleheads based on your stories... seriously...

(or maybe it's the planet)
Living in rural Ohio I don't sometimes have a lot of options when it comes to hiring contractors especially with the current COVID-19 problems. I think most people in OHIO are GREAT but there are some who are just hard to work with or full of themselves just as in any place on the planet. FWIW

Last edited by Thomas W. Bethe; 21st October 2020 at 12:33 PM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 20th October 2020
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
HerbDelux's Avatar
 

Contractors are always hit or miss with me.

I used to work with a lot of union contractors and you would generally either get guys that work hard and aimed to please, or guys who acted like your presence was an annoyance to them. Guess which type I preferred to work with?
Old 21st October 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
 
esldude's Avatar
A neighbor had a garage built over the summer. It was with someone who had worked for him in the past. He was okay, but the job took forever, and forever and a 3 week project became a 4 month project. Job was finished and the result is just fine. His issue was the stimulus relief checks hit his available labor pool. His workers were cash hourly workers. When those guys could feign unemployment and collect what is equivalent to $15/hr full time wages while sitting at home or goofing off well......they wouldn't work for him or anyone. When that ran out, he could get people to work a little bit again.

An example to me of how universal basic income is a bad idea. Lots of people would never work, and unlike this labor pool would never develop any useful skills in the first place.
Old 23rd October 2020
  #6
More like nobody would work for dirt. If your story is true, then they were making less than $15 /hr which is very low for a framing or drywall contractor. I would be hesitant to hire someone for such a low price and have them work in my home.
Old 23rd October 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
BillSimpkins's Avatar
I recently had some renovations done in the studio. I did what I was comfortable with and hired people to help with the rest. I went through several contractors that just wanted to get it done with new construction and fast as possible with their suppliers (cause they get a deal and mark it up). I finally found someone through a friend and he has been great. Turns out he has done work other studios too and was very cool with all the weird soundproofing things and extra care needed for it. He totally gets what I want and cares. And yes, most of the other contractors would not show up on scheduled days etc....
Old 23rd October 2020 | Show parent
  #8
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveE View Post
More like nobody would work for dirt. If your story is true, then they were making less than $15 /hr which is very low for a framing or drywall contractor. I would be hesitant to hire someone for such a low price and have them work in my home.
Of course it is true. And they may have been making around $15 or even $20 an hour, but when you can get the same for loafing on your own time?

They weren't working in a home either, rather building an external garage.

Illegal aliens have driven down what tradespeople make in the area. This same trade paid this same amount 20 years ago. Framing, drywall, roofing, and painting suffer from this. Electrical work, and plumbing less so. I suppose due to the licensing requirements.
Old 23rd October 2020 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
His workers were cash hourly workers. When those guys could feign unemployment and collect what is equivalent to $15/hr full time wages while sitting at home or goofing off well......they wouldn't work for him or anyone. When that ran out, he could get people to work a little bit again.

An example to me of how universal basic income is a bad idea. Lots of people would never work, and unlike this labor pool would never develop any useful skills in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Illegal aliens have driven down what tradespeople make in the area. This same trade paid this same amount 20 years ago.
I hope you realize that the problems you're pointing out have to do with the market, right?

These "illegal aliens" who work for peanuts only do so because there are for-profit businesses willing to pay peanuts for that labor. That depresses wages relative to the rest of the economy.

And as for incentive; of course if you grow up in a country where the wealthiest people rack up 100's of BILLIONS more in wealth (27%+) during a pandemic where people are losing their jobs and dying in the hundreds of thousands those "cash hourly" presumably without health care workers are just going to say "well f-it; if the people at the top are getting tax breaks and still make tens of billions at this time then I'm sure as @#$ going to make $15 not working".

If society had been structured differently with different core values universal basic income would have made complete sense. Them "loafing on their own time" isn't even close to as offensive as people profiting off of this pandemic.
Old 24th October 2020 | Show parent
  #10
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I hope you realize that the problems you're pointing out have to do with the market, right?
Duh? You think?
Quote:

These "illegal aliens" who work for peanuts only do so because there are for-profit businesses willing to pay peanuts for that labor. That depresses wages relative to the rest of the economy.
Business will always pay the least they can get by paying. Neither good nor bad, just so.
Quote:

And as for incentive; of course if you grow up in a country where the wealthiest people rack up 100's of BILLIONS more in wealth (27%+) during a pandemic where people are losing their jobs and dying in the hundreds of thousands those "cash hourly" presumably without health care workers are just going to say "well f-it; if the people at the top are getting tax breaks and still make tens of billions at this time then I'm sure as @#$ going to make $15 not working".
Yes, were I in their situation I'm pretty sure I'd take the free $15 and hour instead of working for the same money. Several people I know were working for $15-$20 an hour and rather pissed they got nothing extra for working.
Quote:

If society had been structured differently with different core values universal basic income would have made complete sense. Them "loafing on their own time" isn't even close to as offensive as people profiting off of this pandemic.
Business has to make a reasonable profit to function whether that profit is from a pandemic or otherwise. UBI is a pie in the sky terrible idea.
Old 24th October 2020 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
UBI is a pie in the sky terrible idea.
...in America...
Old 24th October 2020 | Show parent
  #12
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
...in America...
Know of any exceptions where UBI is a good idea?
Old 24th October 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Know of any exceptions where UBI is a good idea?
Any place where people have different values and are open minded. If you choose to structure society as you generally do in the US along with the attitudes that are promoted then of course the outcome will be.. 'questionable.. But that's where leadership and education plays a part.

There have been experiments with UBI that have yielded very interesting results, in India, Africa, Europe and even Alaska..
Old 24th October 2020 | Show parent
  #14
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Any place where people have different values and are open minded. If you choose to structure society as you generally do in the US along with the attitudes that are promoted then of course the outcome will be.. 'questionable.. But that's where leadership and education plays a part.

There have been experiments with UBI that have yielded very interesting results, in India, Africa, Europe and even Alaska..
Yeah, I think I'll stick with US as it is vs Africa or India.

I'm aware of a few trials in Europe and results were mixed.

I've not been closed minded to the idea, but have been unconvinced it would work most especially in a society wide program rather than a localized trial. The localized trials in a few spots in the US haven't been a clear cut benefit either.
Old 25th October 2020
  #15
1TP
Gear Head
 

UBI is a great idea. And if people get only what they need to survive and not more, how many people do you think would be content? What's happening in the US is temporary, long term almost everyone would work while still getting what they need to survive. Think about how great it would be for entrepreneurs, musicians etc. You could try to make it without dying in the process for lack of sales in the beginning.
Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #16
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1TP View Post
UBI is a great idea. And if people get only what they need to survive and not more, how many people do you think would be content? What's happening in the US is temporary, long term almost everyone would work while still getting what they need to survive. Think about how great it would be for entrepreneurs, musicians etc. You could try to make it without dying in the process for lack of sales in the beginning.
That is the positive side, and I get it.

What about the petty criminal types. They have what they need guaranteed. So no risk in a little low level crime to augment your income. Not much risk, and plenty of time to work on your approach to getting away with it.

Do the pluses outweigh the negatives to a society as a whole? I've been unconvinced that is the case. At a minimum it isn't clear that they do.

Perhaps related, a recent Nova program on "the fear Factor".
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/...s-fear-factor/

In a wildlife park where circumstances had eliminated nearly all predators, other wildlife was expanding rapidly. The ecologists ended up looking at this and thinking it wasn't healthy. Things were good for most species, populations were going up, nutrition was better, and they were no where near the limits of the land to support the population. Even then ecologists surmised this wasn't a healthy or proper situation. They decided predators which made life harder for everyone were an essential part to an in balance healthy ecology to develop. As a response they were bringing in wild African dogs as predators and plan to bring in a few others in the future after finding the dogs were having a positive influence. I'm sure if you ask the prey of the dogs they'd say it wasn't an improvement. That universal species ease of life and proliferation were better.
Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
That is the positive side, and I get it.

What about the petty criminal types. They have what they need guaranteed. So no risk in a little low level crime to augment your income. Not much risk, and plenty of time to work on your approach to getting away with it.
Not much risk? How about the risk of getting caught? And how about the fact that in the US, the most capitalist country in 'the west', incarcerations are sky high... meaning surely low level crime must be rife here if incarcerations are so high... despite not having UBI...?

This argument of yours is surely a stretch. Psychologically people fare better with UBI, so that seems to make it less likely that you'd have increased crime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Do the pluses outweigh the negatives to a society as a whole? I've been unconvinced that is the case. At a minimum it isn't clear that they do.
I think it is clear that there's a net positive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Perhaps related, a recent Nova program on "the fear Factor".
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/...s-fear-factor/

In a wildlife park where circumstances had eliminated nearly all predators, other wildlife was expanding rapidly. The ecologists ended up looking at this and thinking it wasn't healthy. Things were good for most species, populations were going up, nutrition was better, and they were no where near the limits of the land to support the population. Even then ecologists surmised this wasn't a healthy or proper situation. They decided predators which made life harder for everyone were an essential part to an in balance healthy ecology to develop. As a response they were bringing in wild African dogs as predators and plan to bring in a few others in the future after finding the dogs were having a positive influence. I'm sure if you ask the prey of the dogs they'd say it wasn't an improvement. That universal species ease of life and proliferation were better.
Not sure about what you want to say with the above link. We're not the same species as other creatures (duh) so any comparison is going to be questionable I think. Additionally, like I said, I can't tell if the wild dogs and predators are the petty criminals in your previous point, or if the "universal species ease of life and proliferation" = UBI...
Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Yeah, I think I'll stick with US as it is vs Africa or India.
Not all of Africa is a s-hole. ;-)

(I know you didn't say that)

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
I'm aware of a few trials in Europe and results were mixed.
Depends on what you mean by "mixed". In Finland from what I can tell the results were a net positive, though certainly some debate is had over the actual test setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
I've not been closed minded to the idea, but have been unconvinced it would work most especially in a society wide program rather than a localized trial. The localized trials in a few spots in the US haven't been a clear cut benefit either.
Alaska has as far as I can see.
Old 25th October 2020
  #19
1TP
Gear Head
 

Also strong socialist policies enable the nordic countries to have way better social mobility, way less crime and way way more happiness. So strong social safety nets that allow you to do nothing really don't make the people passive or criminals. You should visit us here in northern europe and see for yourself, might turn you into a believer.
Old 25th October 2020
  #20
Across the street from my studio there is an multi unit apartment building that for a while, back when, was home to some local drug dealers and the police were at the apartments two to three times a day. Then it was turned into Section 8 housing and almost overnight the drug dealers moved out. So now the only people who live there are all Section 8 tenants which means they get free room and board and don't HAVE to have a job but they are required to look for work.

One of the residents used to come by my studio almost daily to ask for $3.00 so he could get some cigarettes (I never gave him any money). We got to talking and I found out he was a cook at a local restaurant but had gotten let go a few months back for some reason he did not want to disclose. I asked him if he were going to look for work as a cook and he said "no, I am making more money now than I was as a cook and I have dental, medical and eye care which I never had working as a cook".

I had not seen him for some time and one day he stopped by just to tell me he found work as a cook, he had benefits and he was moving from the apartments to another living arrangement somewhere else in town. I congratulated him and he said "the free rent and food were good but I wanted to get back to work BUT I wanted a job where I could be earning enough to support myself AND have benefits".

I admire this person and know that his time in the Section 8 apartment was just a "protective" stop over on his way to getting a real job with benefits.

I don't know how people would react with UBI but I would hope that they wouldn't stop looking for work and decide to live on handouts for the rest of their lives...

FWIW

Last edited by Thomas W. Bethe; 26th October 2020 at 11:28 AM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I don't know how people would react with UBI but I would hope that they would stop looking for work and decide to live on handouts for the rest of their lives...

FWIW
"would" or "wouldn't"....?
Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
"would" or "wouldn't"....?
Of course it would be "wouldn't" and I changed it in my posting. Thanks for pointing this out. Be safe and STAY WELL!!!
Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I don't know how people would react with UBI but I would hope that they wouldn't stop looking for work and decide to live on handouts for the rest of their lives...

FWIW
I think there will always be a subset of people who want a free ride no matter what and will game the system, but these people are in a minority. If a person extrapolates this to everyone it's an error or says more about the person claiming that. Most people, like in your example, want the dignity of having work and having a purpose. People want to feel valued and add value.

Having worked in construction management I have a perspective on the trades people. When they're not specialized you're getting a mix of honest people, and people who can throw their bodies at a physical job but don't have a lot else to offer and those people tend to be the fringe of society. Anyone off the street can carry materials and can be shown how to frame, put up cladding, etc., but the people who do electrical and plumbing need school and apprenticeships which weeds out a lot of unmotivated people.

That said, I cannot remember the last time I hired a contractor who didn't have a car accident at some point while on my job. Seriously.
Contractor work is very difficult and the margins are very small when you're constantly floating tens of thousands in payroll every month. One non-paying client can put you out of business. I have a certain amount of sympathy and leeway for most contractors, and a simple project that turns into a three week ordeal is something I let slide if they do good work and actually finish it and stand by it when it's done. I had a contractor slip into meth addiction and we lost $6K we'll never see (despite a court judgement) so it can be much much worse.

Still, you have my sympathy as it's aggravating no matter what! Especially when you agree to their estimates and pay them on time.
Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #24
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Across the street from my studio there is an multi unit apartment building that for a while back when was home to some local drug dealers and the police were at the apartments two to three times a day. Then it was turned into Section 8 housing and almost overnight the drug dealers moved out. So now the only people who live there are all Section 8 tenants which means they get free room and board and don't HAVE to have a job but they are required to look for work.

One of the residents used to come by my studio almost daily to ask for $3.00 so he could get some cigarettes (I never gave him any money). We got to talking and I found out he was a cook at a local restaurant but had gotten let go a few months back for some reason he did not want to disclose. I asked him if he were going to look for work as a cook and he said "no, I am making more money now than I was as a cook and I have dental, medical and eye care which I never had working as a cook".

I had not seen him for some time and one day he stopped by just to tell me he found work as a cook, he had benefits and he was moving from the apartments to another living arrangement somewhere else in town. I congratulated him and he said "the free rent and food were good but I wanted to get back to work BUT I wanted a job where I could be earning enough to support myself AND have benefits".

I admire this person and know that his time in the Section 8 apartment was just a "protective" stop over on his way to getting a real job with benefits.

I don't know how people would react with UBI but I would hope that they wouldn't stop looking for work and decide to live on handouts for the rest of their lives...

FWIW
I've rented housing on the Section 8 plan as a landlord. Despite all the good things it was very bad decision. I ended it after about 3 years for my properties. The property suffered greatly, and while expenses to repair were covered it takes quite a toll on the owner when you have to manage substantial repairs continually vs non-section 8. IMO, most of the people weren't deserving of the benefit bestowed upon them. As a group they had learned skills of how to navigate public assistance and had no other skills.

That said, not all were bad people, and bad isn't really the right word, more like many of these people are not a positive benefit to their society even if they aren't criminals. Anyway I ran across two for whom the light went off in their head. One told me he saw how his grandmother, mother and all of his extended family lived and no matter what he wasn't never going to live this way. He went to school and then to community college and worked as an HVAC repair person. I always gave him side jobs for repairs I needed. In time he started his own HVAC business and has done very well for himself for 20 years. Even he won't employ most of his relatives. But he has given some a chance and a couple more made it out of that way of living.

Another also declared his life's goal was not to be on public assistance. He worked lots of menial jobs, but earned his pay proudly. Eventually became a manager of a fast food restaurant. He doesn't need anyone's help for his living and is rightly proud of it. Both of these men had a much tougher life than I did and should be proud of themselves. From my observations however such assistance probably lead some who could have done better to not try as they didn't see the need. So something like UBI can have its positive effects, but I don't think it is a net positive.
Old 28th October 2020
  #25
If I was in the USA I'd have been happy to help you out, sadly it's similar here in the UK especially with joiners and carpenters, very few of them actually want to work hard, and a lot do not charge enough, the ones who don't charge enough are ALWAYS bad without fail and there's a reason they charge that price per hour, for me it's a big factor in deciding who to take on, I am an amateur woodworker and have done proper carpentry as well including making bespoke doors all with hand tools, so have a good eye for when something isn't square, straight or parallel and recently realised I could do a better job myself in most cases, I've found that finding a good reliable builder is hard work as well, I can't stand lateness either.
Old 28th October 2020
  #26
Here for the gear
 
DarkHelmet's Avatar
 

Greetings humans.

I had similar issues constructing my current Starship.
I am surrounded by....... well, you can probably guess. I guess I should have asked for references before I ended up with a Starship full of them.

If you forgot to check references, the dark side of the Schwartz is a highly effective motivational tool, I strongly recommend it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Still cleaning up from the contractor. He made a mess of my garage and left concrete board dust all over my garage and the inside of my house. He also failed to put back some access panels he took out and left the floor of my bathroom a mess. I am slowly getting my house back to order. The concrete board dust seems to be really hard to "dust" and never seems to be cleaned up completely. He did clean my entry way carpeting but some of the stuff he spilled is coming back up. YUCK! FWIW
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
my grandad who was a professional plumber for over 50 years always told me that the mark of a good tradesman is to clean up after yourself and always do the absolute best work you can regardless of what you are being paid...I never forgot that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Addict
 

RE: UBI: I think a lot of us get caught up on the idea of welfare queens or loafers, but there's a few things to consider there:
1) even though a loafer may have gotten there through bad decision-making, they still aren't going to be given enough money to have a life of luxury.
2) crimes are usually committed out of a sense of desperation...getting SOME income ensures you aren't totally backed into a corner, especially if you have mouths to feed, etc. Less crime is obviously better for everyone.
3) white collar crime and bailouts being skimmed are likely causing several times more loss than whatever we'd incur from having basic income setup. Not to mention golden parachutes given to worthless CEOs. Here in Canada the CEO of Target got paid more than EVERY EMPLOYEE'S SEVERANCE ACROSS THE COUNTRY after he ****ed the business within about a year. For the lack of accountability, this might as well have been his plan all along! People like that belong in a ****ing gibbit and are pure parasites on a level that all the welfare queens and bums could never attain in multiple lifetimes, collectively! Any discussion around the impossibility of Basic Income is foolish or outright deceptive if it fails to account for current, unbelievable drains on society that we continue to accept for no good reason.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehighesttree View Post
Any discussion around the impossibility of Basic Income is foolish or outright deceptive if it fails to account for current, unbelievable drains on society that we continue to accept for no good reason.
Pretty much.
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