How to make friends and influence your contractor

Everybody’s got a home renovation story from you know where.
So I wasn’t surprised when I heard the beginnings of a good one the other day.
I could commiserate.
You call the roofer and call the roofer and call the roofer, and every time it rains you run for towels and curse the sky.
I am a pro at the one-up-manship game of “well, you don’t know what I had to go through.”
You went without water for a week? Well, I did it for two.
You brushed your teeth in the tub? I had to do it in the kitchen.
I got a good one from my around-the-corner neighbor from New York City at last week’s Callicoon Center Band Concert.
Bill called Doug and Joan at Trees of the Woods up the road.
Seems they can’t grow money trees here in Callicoon Center soil.
It’s the story of my life.
OK, so you get my point – been there, done that, have the paint-spattered shirt to prove it.
But you can go one step too far with me.
You tell a contractor’s kid that every single working man in Sullivan County is a no-good, lying snake, and I get my German up.
You want to one-up me here? Go ahead and try.
So, the plumber didn’t want to meet with you during the four-hour window on a Sunday when you’d be available.
When, pray tell, do you think he gets to see his family?
So the air-conditioner guy hasn’t gotten back to you, even though you’ve been calling six ways from Sunday since July 1.
Guess what. So is everyone else.
It got hot; he got busy.
Keep his number. Call in February when it’s too cold for air-conditioners to be breaking down; you’ll get the best service you could ever ask for – with time to spare.
Or, oh, did I hear the carpenter wants to get up on your roof this Saturday, but you wanted to go swimming?
It’s supposed to rain this week, and he’s got a siding job scheduled the week after.
So, he should just come back in a month, maybe two?
When we make the decision it’s time to remodel, we want it done – now.
And anyone who has driven the roads during a Sullivan County summer knows that’s the same thing on everyone’s mind.
Lawns are littered with “Another Quality Job By Mr. Bill Ding” or “Call 1-800-WE’LL-FIX.”
With a little bit of planning, it can be done.
Make your calls before the weather induces the 24-hour-gotta-get-this-done fever that keeps contractors running from mid-May to late October.
Keep the cold water coming on a hot day and make yourself as scarce as possible. They’ll be happy to come back to finish the job.
Want to one up all your neighbors and get your job done first?
Be as flexible with your contractor as you want them to be with you.
You give an inch, and maybe you’ll get a mile.

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