Contractors II: Global Builders Restoration
Posted on June 19, 2014
After the previous 2 months of crappy contractors, I had high hopes that things were going to be looking up. I decided to go back to Global Builders Restoration. They had put a roof on my house about 2 years ago and had done good work. They did good work once, they can do it again right?
Unfortunately, while I can say I found Global Builders Restoration to be in a class by themselves, it was the kind of class where the students eat quite a bit of paste and shouldn’t be given anything sharper than play-dough.
The initial estimate for the kitchen was done by a young man named Brian. For the initial estimate, Brian arrived several hours later than originally expected. I was willing to chalk this up to not knowing where I live, but it soon proved to be a simple habit. He was very busy… Too busy to be on time… Too busy to return calls and too busy to remember previous conversations. The first big disappointment came on the day Brian was supposed to come by and help me choose cabinets. The original appointment was for noon and I stayed home from work to wait. He called at 11:30 to let me know “he was busy” and would not make it until 4 or later. Another lost work day. When he finally showed up, he didn’t have any of the cabinet materials with him and seemed perplexed when I asked him about it. He was under the impression that he was driving out to my house to see if I wanted to do the job.
Let’s test the logic here… Leaving aside the fact that I told you “yes” a week earlier… You thought I wanted you to drive 2 hours from your office to say “yes” or “no” to the job? They make these things called phones…
After a solid month of these kinds of episodes, I took him aside and talked about some time management ideas he might want to try. He seemed very receptive, but it never really took. If he said he would be there at 10am it would be 2pm when he finally showed. If he said it would be noon it would be 4pm or even 6pm. I finally stopped taking days off and made him come in the evenings or weekends whenever possible.
It’s the first week of April, we finally have cabinets stacked up in my garage and we are ready to roll. The plan is to tear out my kitchen on Thursday at noon and then install the new cabinets on Friday and Saturday (if needed). Surprise, surprise, he calls me and tells me he is not going to make it until 4pm. At this point I am over it and pretty bitchy when I talk with him. He manages to make it at 3:30 and gets the demo done around 6pm. As he leaves he tells me that he will be here bright and early tomorrow, maybe a little bit after the cabinet crew.
At 11am the next morning, he called to ask if the crew was there yet. They were not, and no one seemed to know where they were. At this point I pretty much lost my shit. I have no kitchen, no sink, no oven. My shop is full of cabinets so there is no room there to work. The walls of my kitchen look like hell and my blood pressure is going bonkers. I am so angry that I am having trouble sleeping but I am still exhausted. At this point every other phrase out of someone’s mouth begins with “I promise you…” both Brian and his office manager, Becky use this phrase over and over. It seems that earlier commitments were not, in fact promises.
Becky promises to call me back by the end of the day (she does not). Brian double-super-secret-pinky-swears he will come out on Saturday to prep the walls so everything goes smoothly on Monday when the cabinet installers finally do arrive. At 9:30am the Saturday morning, I text to make sure he is still coming out to do the drywall. This previous promise then changes to a promise to come out and at least remove the demolished cabinets from my driveway.
Then there is much discussion of the estimate not covering this and that… To which my response is, Huh? This is an insurance job. If you encounter things you did not expect, you revise the estimate and go back to the insurance company. The goal is not to screw the insurance company, but you want everyone to get paid for what they do, and you want it to be right. At this point, Brian goes back to the drawing board to produce yet another estimate and I am left to pray that my insurance company doesn’t think I am trying to scam them.
The cabinet installers finally show up on Monday and of course the drywall is not done… They start making noises about leaving until I raise hell with the office manager again. Finally, they agree to go to lunch while the drywall guy works. In the credit where credit is due department, David the drywall guy is a god among men. He does insanely smooth drywall without sanding and treats the job the way he would if it was his own house. Big kudos to David.
The cabinet guys return from lunch and put the cabinets in. They also manage to cut the line to the ice maker, but either don’t notice or don’t say. We won’t find this out until we reset the appliances a few days later. One of the doors under the kitchen sink is also attached improperly so that it drops to one side by about a half inch whenever it is opened. You have to kind of lever it back into place before you can close it. This is un-noticed by the cabinet guys who also leave without cleaning up anything (boxes, sawdust, etc). David pitches in to clean up and earns major points.
After a great deal of messaging back and forth, Brian schedules a day to have someone come out and put the appliances back in place. He sends David out by himself… so I get to be his helper (joy). I could have left it all to him, but I thought he was going to herniate himself trying to reset the cast iron sink. David works until 7pm getting stuff in and probably would have stayed later if I let him.
The sink reset is only temporary as we have not been able to order the countertop yet, despite two sets of measurements and telling Brian 3 times which counter-top I want. After about 2 weeks of no sink, I will take temporary. Additionally, I have noted to more than one person that the cabinets are parallel to the back wall, but not at a 45 degree angle to the side wall. In fairness, this is because the wall itself is not square to the back. However, no one seems to see this as a problem except me.
At this point I actually get a counter top… sitting in my garage. Brian makes noises about coming out that week to put it in and finish everything up (including painting). Un huh… Any takers? So, after several messages during the week I finally get a response on Friday at 7:30 pm… Much apologies, blah blah… when would be good for me next week? I pick Monday. I spend the rest of my weekend, trying to figure out what to say to him when he eventually fails to show up.
Sure as death and taxes, I get a message at 8:30 am on Monday. I know you are going to be mad… blah, blah… apologies, blah, blah. My response, rehearsed and refined over the course of the weekend: “You’re fired. I am done having my time wasted.” Phone calls and more empty apologies occur with the office manager… Another double-secret-super-pinky-swear that they will be there tomorrow at 9:30 am and as the worlds most gullible human, I agree. Anybody want in on this action? Bueller? Bueller?
So after all of my screaming and complaining, it will surprise exactly no one that Brian calls to tell me that he is running late. Sorry… blah, blah… scheduling department… blah blah. \/\/hatever. David shows up at about 10:45am and Brian and his +1 are 30 minutes behind him. Becky has called and there has been much promising that it will all get knocked out today (no pinky swear so I don’t take this too seriously).
Despite the fact that Brian refers to him as “the countertop guy,” David admits that he has never installed a countertop before, so what could go wrong? I have him put up the smaller counter top section on the right hand side of the cabinets where I had noted the issue with the wall not being square.
Sure enough, it looks like this might be a problem, or a poorly hidden storage area for small items.
After much consultation, it is decided that the fix for this is to actually cut the sheet rock and bury the end of the countertop in the sheetrock… Which actually turns out to be fortunate as the countertop is so long that it barely fits, pushing the oven firmly up against the far wall. Hopefully that stove will never need to be replaced.
Now we get to the best part… the cabinet guys didn’t bother to level all the way across the top of the cabinets. This means that the countertop will not sit flat across the length of the cabinets. Additionally, they cannot make it out until Thursday so I am once again without a sink for two days.
Cue the office manager “Apology, apology… stars not aligned… blah, blah, blah.”
Ummm… Not to diss your astrologer, but hiring competent contractors might be a better bet. At this point, any apologies are just a lot of tonsil waving. If I am getting half-assed work, I do not expect to be paying full price. Show me the money and wave your tonsils at someone else.
And for the love of sweet baby Jesus, stop asking me when it will be convenient for you to come out next. You already know I am not getting my first choice (now or tomorrow). I am painfully aware that while you are perfectly comfortable canceling on me, god forbid you disappoint one of the Dunwoody housewives of Atlanta. Just tell me what the next day you want me to waste is and be done with it. Stop acting like I have a choice. As you may have guessed, by this point I am full of Grrrrr.
It’s about an hour after they leave when I discover one of my cats is missing.
Despite repeated attempts by me to stress that they can’t leave the doors open, the contractors have managed to let one of the cats out. After a 3 hour frantic search (and one incredibly bitchy phone call), I finally find the cat a few doors down and picking a fight with another cat. Finding my cat is a huge relief as my business partner Bryan (no relation) has repeatedly reminded me that Twelve Foot Guru does not provide bail money.
Almost 4 months to the day since the original damage occurred, and it looks like I might finally have a real kitchen again. The cabinet guy comes in and takes one look at the counter top and says “Wow, I can’t believe we did that…” He also manages to trim and install the counter like a professional would, so we don’t have to cut into the wall again. The Global crew comes behind him, paints, puts up molding and cleans up after themselves. All in all, it is a very productive day.
After everything is installed, Brian casually mentions that the countertop ended up costing about $300 more than was estimated. Sigh. So despite the fact that he was asked repeatedly to let me know if there was a price difference, he just sorta forgot. Didn’t think to mention it over two weeks ago when it was ordered, or for the week that it sat in my garage. Nope, he drops this on me at the very end of the job when it’s already installed.
At this point, I think “Fine! \/\/hatever!” because I just want it to be over. They finish clean up and leave. If they are gone, they can’t do any more damage. My months long nightmare is over and I can finally relax.
An hour later, I realize that they have left the garden hose out back running full blast…
Update June 18th: So after three and a half months of dealing with Global Builders Restoration, I am finally rid of them today. This morning, they finally got things squared away with the insurance company (only 6 weeks and 9 phone calls after the job itself was completed). My grand reward for putting up with this nightmare? A whopping 3% off my bill of $9,194.13. I would also point out that this is $1495.55 over the original estimate, so just a hair off…
In summary, if you have several months to waste and find yourself in need of a contractor who will:
- Cost you 12 days of lost work time (of which 6 are actually productive)
- Forget to return phone calls until a week later
- Be late to every single appointment without exception
- Make numerous empty promises and excuses
- Exhibit an almost mystical level of carelessness
- Overrun the estimate by about $1500
- Take 6 weeks to work out the insurance estimate
- And finally offer you a pitiful 3% “sorry about that whole temporarily losing your cat thing” discount for your troubles
… then Global Builders Restoration is the company for you. My only hope is that by word of mouth I can give back to them some small portion of all the have given to me over the last three and half months.