Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Contractor Interview #2

Eyeyeye! We could not be more confused! We just wrapped up our second general contractor interview and feel like we just met the swan and the beast. Allow me to elaborate...

Our second contractor arrived tonight 4 minutes early (props to him). He was well prepared (had contacted the architect directly after my initial call for a copy of the plans to study ahead of time...kudos on the enthusiasm). He walked into our meeting with a good understanding of the plans. He, too, wanted to begin with a tour of the house and walk-through of the project. He asked more specific, project related questions than the contractor we met with last night...and even got into some specific details like doing a tankless water heater vs a "standard" one...pros, cons, etc. He asked about brands of fixtures we would be considering, finishes on cabinetry, style of hardware - all in an effort to give the most accurate bid possible. Now, this was his only walk-through of the project...he will not be bringing any subs back to walk through on their own.

After we did a very comprehensive walk-through, we sort of stood around our mock dining room table (our folding table known as 'old trusty' as she has served us during many a transition period). We never actually sat down and conversed like we did last night where he told us the fairytale of the 'Contractor And Our House.' No, as he was getting ready to leave, Jeff and I started firing questions off at a rapid pace. Can you tell us a bit about your operation? How many projects do you take on at a time? Do you always work with the same subs? How long will it take? How many? How much? When? Who? Where? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh...

So, a completely different style. Our impression is that this group is a 'git er done' type operation - but not at the cost of quality of work. But less, "Let's talk about our feelings" and more "Let's DO THIS." He says their work speaks for itself and if we want to see it, there are 5 homes in walking distance that we can go check out. A few specifics that we liked about him:

- He did a project for our architect's mother-in-law.
- He's from Bloomington and knows Bloomington Drug.
- They always use the same subs, know their work, stand behind it
- Take on a small number of projects at a time, didn't necessarily say TWO like last night...but said it depends on the size and scale of the project - never more than 4 of them.
- He owns the company along with 2 other business partners. One of them will be here at all times.

So when I list the pros out like that - it really is like comparing apples to apples. But where he lacked was in the charisma department. Whereas last night I was left floating on a could as the contractor paddled his way out of our house with the grace of a swan...I felt more like a beast had trampled through my house who couldn't wait to get his sledge hammer out and start demoing my historically original home.

Where does this leave us? At the numbers. Where yesterday's contractor will take about 3 weeks to get back to us, this bid we will have on...wait for it...THURSDAY????? Last night's contractor also told us that the project would take 4 months - where speedy McSpeederson tonight told us he would have it done in 10-12 weeks.

Without seeing the numbers, Jeff and I both agreed that, while we liked both contractors, if the bids came in the EXACT same, we would both choose Senor Swan (however this is without having spoken to their references or seen either of their work). BUT...it will be a good 3 weeks before we will know that. In the meantime, we will sit tight until Thursday when the first of the projections comes in (gulp).

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