Friday, May 21, 2010

Professional Painting and Expectations

Quick Question for you all about expectations:

I hired a nationally known professional company to paint my kitchen, hallway and a bedroom.

I was told prior to the job and on the day of the job, by the owner of the franchise, that the Foreman would be here "90%" of the time. He might have to leave for paint, but he was in charge. The Owner showed up this morning as promised, hung out with the Foreman as promised, then left. So far so good.

About 2 hours later, Foreman leaves. 3 hours later he is not back. This is a 1 day job.

Now the other painters seem to be doing their jobs. They are polite, quiet (they pretty much don't speak English, but I was told the Foreman would be here, who does. And yeah I speak Spanish anyway), seem to be working. But we have 4 different colors going on. We have spackling, trimming, repairing. How do I know that the right guys are doing the right thing? How do I know they are being thorough without monitoring them?

Isn't that what a Foreman does?

So when I call Owner and say, "Hey you told me Foreman would be here 90% but he's been gone for 3 hours - what's up with that?" And he explains that Foreman had to go somewhere else but I was also told Other Painter was good, too, and all painters are professional, all employees not day laborers, yaddah yaddah yaddah. I wasn't necessarily questioning Painters' work. I was trying to say that the expectation set by Owner was that Foreman would be here 90% of the time to supervise, etc. If Foreman had emergency and needed to make someone else in charge, why not tell me before he left 3 hours ago??

And why doesn't either Owner or Foreman (who has now returned and wants to know what the problem is) why don't they understand any of this?

Am I being picky?? Wait aren't I paying pretty heftily for the right to be picky? So that this will be done TODAY and I don't have to go back another day and complain?



Bumpkin on a Swing said...

Just drop a mention that you're a lawyer, and watch how fast things change. Men......and Contractors are even worse. I almost needed The Johnny Cochran Firm we remodeled our house, and My Captain was the GC.

ChiTown Girl said...

I'm with Bumpkin. Why are men so clueless?

Feisty Irish Wench said...

"Do I need to remind you of our verbal contract saying your foreman is present 90% of the time? Because, last I checked, I have a job, and I'm paying your company to do this job for me, and unless you're willing to pay me for the extra 2 hours he was gone and had to supervise, I suggest you have an extra foreman to cover your emergencies. I'm willing to work with people on stuff like this, but the lack of communication removes trust from the equation and makes me question ever hiring you again or even recommending you to others. If anything it makes me recommend against hiring you."

Don't tell me Johnny Schmuckatelli is gonna be here to supervise 90% of the time, and he ends up not here for 40% of the time. BIIIG difference in percentages and hours. I'm paying for a supervisor, there damn well better be a supervisor on site.

Tracey Axnick said...

Hey there - its Happy Wife - remember me? haven't been by your blog in forever but stopped by and HAD to comment on this.

When we sold our former house, we had a nightmare painting story.
I truly believe that contractors who can't find jobs ANYWHERE ELSE IN SOCIETY become painting contractors (apologies to all quality painting contractors out there....all 3 of you.)

Unfortunately, your situation sounds typical.

OUR painting contractor - WHEN he would show up, would show up either 1) drunk or 2) as the sun was going down (did I mention he was painting the EXTERIOR of the house? Hard to do in the DARK.) Then... he disappeared completely for 2 WEEKS. No contact. No answer on his cell, no returned calls. Turns out he'd been arrested for DUI - apparently this wasn't his first arrest, so he had to spend some time in the slammer. LOVELY.

Long story short - his helper (who, blessedly, was competent and didn't have a drinking/drugging problem) finally came and finished the job... but it was two weeks later than promised.
It was a nightmare.

All I can say? .....May the force be with you. :)

PS: And stop by my new blog some time... just link over on my name. :)

Jason, as himself said...

I have learned that all construction-type workers are flaky and unreliable. ALL of them.

How's that for overgeneralizing? But really, in my experience, they have all been so unprofessional and flaky.

Why is that?

ModernMom said...

Oh you are so not being picky. You are supposed to get what you paid for!

dkuroiwa said...

Firt of yep. most (not all) are jerks when it comes to dealing with women...and (gasp) a divorced one, at that. He must think you have "okay, whatever" stapled on your shirt. So....
Yeah...go with the mentioning of your thinks that might see a change in attitude. If it happens again, take pictures and make sure the time and date are know, proof, of his not being there.
Good luck...give 'em hell Harriet!

J.G. said...

They are covering up their shortcomings by trying to make you feel shrill, unreasonable, picky, etc. when you question the change of plans. That's their problem, not yours. Don't fall for it.

Perhaps you should suggest you pay only 90% of the bill? :-)

Hula Girl at Heart said...

They shouldn't promise what they can't deliver. My experience with painters and tile workers is that they overlap too many jobs and try to do too much at once, causing no one to get done quickly. It also results in more mistakes. Stand your ground. They'll think you're a beetch, but so what.

TAG said...

One of the secrets to running any service business with a great reputation is managing expectations.

What your painter did was manage your expectations in such a way as to make sure you will not recommend them to anyone.

Would everything have been fine and would you have been satisfied with his company and his service if he had not made promises they didn't keep? Perhaps.

Of course the reality is he did not tell you how things would really work. Once he made these promises to you, he and his company are legally bound to keep them. (You know this better than I.)

Are you expecting too much? Not if you are expecting them to keep their word you aren't. In fact, I believe expecting anything less than that does them and you a disservice in the long term.