Here’s my current rant! There seems to be a lot of so-called “Experts” out there giving advice to remodeling consumers about how to hire a remodeling contractor and stay out of “REMODELING HELL”! The remodel from hell is the one that cost twice as much as expected, takes twice as long to complete as expected and generally makes you want to run screaming to the Better Business Bureau with the contractor’s head on a stick.
A Google search for “tips on hiring a remodeling contractor” generates about 89,400 results. Reading them all is pretty low on my priority list, but I did read the top five (unpaid) results.
All five listed “getting three bids” (two called them written “estimates” – “Estimates”? Really?) in their top 10 tips and three of the five advised contacting the BBB before you hire. Now recognize, this is the same advice that was dominant when I first got into the remodeling business, back in 1989. Obviously, this advice has been around for a long time, so we should assume its good, solid advice – right?
To determine if the advice is good advice, let’s look at the results it has generated over the years. Back in 1989, the remodeling industry ranked 11th highest in complaints to the BBB. In 2009, it ranked 37th in complaints. A drop from 11th to 37th! Maybe this is good advice!
Welllllll, not really! In 1989 the BBB only ranked 714 industries. In 2009 they ranked 3947 industries. Statistically, things have gotten worse! In 1989 we didn’t have (or at least they were a small market) satellite TV, cell phones, internet services, internet shopping, etc. to complain about. All these new industries have jumped in front of remodeling contractors. It’s not that remodeling complaints are down, there are just more industries to complain about. A rank of 37 out of 3947 is in the top 1%.
If staying out of remodeling hell is the goal, it seems that the advice being given out is not helping. But, what if no one is following the advice. What if the “expert” advice to get three bids and contact the BBB is just being ignored?
While I couldn’t find any statistics on how many consumers are actually getting three bids, it does seem that the advice about contacting the BBB to inquire about contractors is being followed. Inquiries, to the BBB, for remodeling contractors, ranked 4th in 2009. It seems at least one of the “experts’” (way too many “’” – don’t you think?) tips are being followed and based on the number of requests we get for “bids”, I’m betting consumers are following the bidding advice as well.
Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again – expecting a different result.” The so-called experts seem to be insane, and, if you follow their advice, you too will go insane – on your way to “Remodeling Hell”.
The concept for this article was only to show that the typical “expert advice” about remodeling and specifically “how to select/hire a remodeling contractor” is failing to achieve the desired results. It’s about time this is exposed for what it is – insanity. “A Better Way to Avoid Remodeling Hell” is a whole other blog post entirely (Note to self – future post idea) there is just not enough space to get into it here.
Am I down on the “bidding” process? Absolutely! I believe there are only three methods worse than “bidding” to select your remodeling contractor: 1.) throw darts at the Yellow Pages, 2.) a handwritten cardboard sign stapled to a telephone pole and 3.) Craig’s List. I’m so down on the bidding process that at Da Vinci, we just refuse to do it.
If you insist on using the bidding method for selecting your contractor, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of going to Remodeling Hell. How to use the bidding method to your best advantage is yet another separate blog post – possibly two (Note to self – another future blog post?).
The whole point here is, be careful of the advice you act on. If the expert advice is not generating the desired results, try something different. Remodeling Hell is no fun! Stay out-a-there!
The simple message here is a direct message to the “experts”: Stop giving advice that doesn’t work and do some research instead of regurgitating the tried and untrue! Your insane advice is driving everyone else insane.
Here endeth the rant!