• Do as I Suggest, Not as I’ve Done …

  • Yes, I admit it.  On a few hysterical occasions, I too have hired a starving buddy to try to save a few bucks on something.  My caffeinated memory bank reminds me that I have appreciated that lesson 3 painful times.  After each, I regretfully take a fresh oath not to collapse to my inherited drive of negotiating a better deal.  Apparently that has a 10 year expiration date.

    Recently, my sparkling SUV needed brakes, rotors and gizmos, at least that’s what the screeching sound from our mechanic said.  The price at our favorite auto repair shop on Rangeline Road seemed irrationally exuberant and an experienced acquaintance was eager for the cash.  You guessed it.  It didn’t turn out pretty and actually cost more than if we had taken it to the pros initially.  Miller Auto Care rescued me, with only minor testosterone humiliation.

    Not coincidentally, we have received a historically high number of requests this year to repair projects that a well intentioned rookie or unemployed buddy has fillibustered up.  Each time, costing the homeowner far more than if they had originally trusted the project to a veteran.  Sagging decks, leaning pergolas, ugly patios and falling walls are the usual culprits of our economically inspired mistakes.  Of course, there are some fantastic start-ups with honorable intentions that will do whatever necessary to make the repair once they understand the problem.  Hopefully, that’s who you found.

    Do your homework.  If it seems “too good to be true, it probably is”… and “there aint no such thing as a free lunch”.  Get the project in writing, with extreme details and proof of insurance (not having workers comp and liability insurance is an instant loser).  Great winners have to start somewhere and it’s often out of their garage or working with Uncle Joe at the farm.  Just ask Bill Gates, and me.

    Follow the drill.  Hire a trusted pro that comes recommended from the community or Angie’s List, not your horoscope reading or a warm feeling deep inside.  And if you insist on hiring your hungry buddy, do so with caution.  Detail an agreed upon process of the project, leverage the power of your checkbook with spelled out draws, visually monitor the progress and … buyer beware.