This is a story about Bob and his $10,000 window.
About a year ago, when oil prices skyrocketed, Bob decided it was time for a new window. He had one old window that was leaking air and he knew it was driving up his heating bills. “Better get that replaced before winter,” he thought to himself.
Bob called five contractors to get bids. Two were local companies with a lot of signs in his neighborhood year round so they were easy to locate and he felt they must be doing a good job or they wouldn’t have so many signs up. He also tried a national brand of windows whose advertisement he had heard on the radio. Finally, he asked around and was referred to a couple of other guys who offered multiple services.
But the end result was not what he anticipated.
Suddenly A Deal Was Struck
Within a couple of days Bob received clear and well written quotes from both companies and was surprised to find the local company was 20% lower then the national brand, although he felt the prices were comparable. Just one more bid to go – the neighborhood jack-of-all-trades, Joe. Bob showed him the window in question and Joe looked at it and said,
“I can put a new window in for $300. You buy the window and I’ll come and do the work, cash only.”
Bob though it was a great deal that would save him money. “Can you measure it for me?” Bob asked. “Sure” Joe replied. “Do you have a tape measure?” Bob thought that was a bit unprofessional but loaned him his tape measure.
Joe told him the measurements and Bob wrote them down. A quick handshake and the deal was set. This was in August. Two weeks later the shop where Bob ordered the window called to let him know it had arrived. He picked it up and then called Joe to set up the installation.
After three days worth of calls Bob finally got Joe on the phone. “Oh yeah,” he said, “I forgot all about that job. I’m really busy now but I can probably be out in a month.” Another month? Bob decided to let it go and wait. A month later Bob called again and this time it took him almost a week to get an answer.
Once on the phone Joe said, “It’s a really busy time of year. I’ll get there in early November.” Another month went by. After several more frustrating phone calls Bob finally got Joe to commit to installing the window in mid December. It was an icy winter’s day the morning Joe showed up. Joe proceeded to lug the window up the stairs by himself, scraping the walls in the process. He finally got the window into the room where it would be installed. All the while Bob was working in his home office. At about 12:30 Joe came to see Bob.
“I need a ladder,” he said. “I didn’t know I had to put this in from the outside. Do you have a ladder I can borrow?” Bob showed him his old ladder that he used to clean the gutters. Joe then lugged the window down the stairs and outside and Bob went back to work.
About 45 minutes later Bob heard a terrible crash. He rushed outside to discover that Joe had attempted to carry the window up the ladder and had made it to the top when the ladder slipped on some ice and came crashing down. Joe was severely injured. Bob called 911 and an ambulance came. Joe ended up being flown to a Boston hospital for emergency treatment.
Fast-forward a few months. Bob receives notification that Joe has filed a lawsuit against his homeowner’s insurance. Bob immediately called him. “No hard feelings,” Joe said. “But I’m hurt bad and I need the money.”
Joe ended up getting a whopping $500,000 check from the insurance company. Then, the insurance company told Bob that he was being dropped from their coverage.
“What!” he exclaimed. “I’ve been with you for 25 years and never had a claim before!” He ended up being dropped, had to hire a lawyer and had to pay through the nose for his new carrier to cover him. In all he estimates this mistake cost him $10,000.
The Moral of Bob’s Story?
Homeowners, take a moment to think before you hire a non-professional or uninsured company. There are plenty of legitimate companies out there and they deserve your business when you need them. Sure, it’s tempting to go the cheap route sometimes, but always remember that if you hire a contractor without insurance, YOU are assuming a lot of risk and it could cost you dearly.
Do the right thing and make sure your chimney sweep, your lawn care company, your painter or any other company that works on your home is playing by the rules and has full insurance. You’ll be glad you did.
Call 508-359-5900 or click HERE to arrange a complimentary consultation.