Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fast, Cheap, Good

After Katrina, my neighbor, who had some hard-hit property, said something that has stuck with me ever since and I think it is so true.

She was, like everyone after a hurricane, looking for a contractor to help her put her home and that of her mother back together. This is extremely difficult after a major hurricane because everyone is in need of it and there are only so many to go around and they have this propensity to spread themselves very very thin. Hey, I get it.... make hay when the sun is shining...... etc but the trouble comes when they make all these promises to all these needy people and then cannot possibly deliver on them. So they start to dodge people they promised to show up and work for on a set date because another customer has been given the same same same promise and , well, you get the picture.

So one day after being stood up by a potential contractor I can't remember how many times, she turns to me and says:

"Fast, Cheap, Good. Pick two 'cause you'll never get all three under any circumstance"

(and that was just in trying to FIND one to hire!)

So I thought about that and it's true. If you get fast and cheap, you can't expect it to be very good. If it's fast and good, you're gonna pay thru the nose. And if it's cheap and good, be prepared to wait a very long time.

In our experience, we didn't suffer NEAR the damage as others around here did, but it was significant and we needed repairs done and hired what we thought and believed to be a competent contractor.

Three weeks, tops, is all the time he would need to put us back to rights. That was in Late Sept,. early Oct.

We didn't see the back of him til MAY! "3 weeks." he said.

It took 8 months. It was good. It was not cheap but not break-the-bank expensive. BUT MAN was it ever slow. We'd be told they'd be here without a doubt on some day, you could count on it and that day would come and there would be no one in sight. One day, disgusted with the whole recovery nonsense, I headed over to another friend's house and drove an alternate route.

Who did I find but MY contractor and HIS crew hard at work on another house! I should write, YET another house. That's when I learned that in addition to the 7 houses he had on his list there were at least 8 more with promises made for completion dates.

Moral of the story: Don't live in Hurricane Alley. Or Tornado Alley. Or Earthquake Valley. Heck, just find a cave somewhere and hide from contractors.

No comments: