First of all I would like to start by saying overall we are pleased with the result but getting to that result had some bumps along the way creating more stress and problems then I was hoping for during this reno. Ted is a very nice and honest contractor and does decent work however there are some major problems in the area of communication.
There was a lack of good communication both between us and Ted, and between Ted and his crew. There was very little attention paid to details and virtually no review of the details before hand. We tried to discuss all these things before the start of the Job but it was left that it would all work out and we didn’t need to do this.
To be fair as well we did have a lot of rain and bad weather for the first part of the project and I know this can create some issues and am factoring that out of this review, it has no impact on my rating.
There were a number of things I would say were not done “as if it was their own house” which is what I expect for a 10/10 rating.
1) not cementing high enough on the fence post that was installed, when I mentioned it they added more, but it was done poorly (rushed I think) and I had to re-do it myself.
2) not taking care when putting in the pavers to use the “nicer” looking side and avoid putting 3 bad corners together. This is another thing I ended up doing myself since it was something I could do in the evening.
3) Adding some cement based caulking at the corner of the house and the cement was done so poorly (I think from a new worker) that it would have caused more problems then it was intended to solve.
4) There were a number of things also done poorly and while His crew attempted to fix them, they were still not done the way it should have been had it been done correctly in the first place but going back a third time seems like too much stress to handle and we can fix it ourselves down the road and frankly I expected a bit of a discount for some of these issues.
5) 2 of the 3 deck lights were visibly crooked and had to be straightened out
6) The lights for the garden and deck took almost 4 weeks to come in yet we were advised to pick them out 1 week before the end of the job when this should have been something done when we first signed to contract so that it could all be done at the same time.
7) tried to talk us out of doing a circular herb garden at least 2 times which was in our plans and something we definitely wanted.
We were however very pleased with some of your suggestions and recommendations including the river rock under the fence between our yards and the fact that you re-sanded the entire pathway for the neighbours (due to a few dislodged stones as a result of our fence post replacement request). Also the cedar board in front of the shed was a great idea. I was also very pleased with the attention and quality of the work done for the window sill (your masonry guy does really nice work).
In summary I would say as long as you are watching what is going on and make sure ALL the details of your project are worked out before hand. Do a detailed walk around with your drawing and what you are planning and make sure it is written down what is expected and is to be done. Sure things can change once stuff actually gets laid out properly but at least you wont come home to surprises that you were not expecting. I would also suggest to Ted that he take the time to really walk through and look at what his crew has done and he would see these things before we did and correct them himself, thus causing us to be pleased instead of stressed about having to mention all these little problems since it felt like they were received with some apprehension.
Aug 14, 2014 edit to correct spelling mistakes and adjust a formatting issue that said 23 times when it should have been 2-3 times. also raised the rating to 8 based on Teds very thoughtful response.
- Approximate cost of services:
- Company Response
While I would like to defend myself on a lot of the problems brought up in this review, I would rather focus on the big picture; that the clients were not happy and I’m responsible for that.
I have certainly learned a great deal from this project. Most importantly on projects with multiple features (decks, fences, patios, gardens, lighting systems) and with complex features (curved decks, curved patios, tight access) I need to budget a lot more for project management and design time. Many times projects like these require hours and hours of consultation, change orders, material sourcing etc. and on this particular project I did not allow enough for this.
Also, I have learned to be more firm on the types of products and services I deliver (ie using lights that are a regularly stocked item at my supplier). I will also be more careful in the future when installing projects I have not designed.
As my business grows, the projects are getting more and more complex and the expectations are getting higher and higher. Its my challenge to take experiences like these and use them to improve my business.
When this project was finished I felt overall proud of the work that had been done. I felt that I had delivered good value for money and although I had made a few mistakes, the important parts of the project were done with attention to quality and detail.