Friday, September 11, 2009

You Paid Too Much!

I'm rehabbing a building on Chicago's NW Side.

The process included totally remodeling two rental units: new kitchens, new baths, new tile, refinished floors, new plumbing, new electrical, new windows, new appliances and a repaired roof.

I mentioned my project to a realtor who is in the business of buying properties, fixing them up and selling them for a profit.

When I told him what I paid without asking one question about the scope of the work or the quality of the execution he exclaimed "you paid too much! Next time let me look at the quotes."

I was a little disappointed he didn't want to talk shop. I thought he'd benefit from the referral of my contrator.

Leases expire in Chicago every April and September. I wanted to get my units ready for rental by October 1. I was working under an extremely tight deadline. I found a contractor that has 40 rental units of his own. He knows the business.

When I met the electrician, the plumber and the carpenter, I realized right away these people were not laborers, they are craftsmen. They took pride in the work. They described every challenge, pointed out every detail and proudly discussed their solutions with me. The team was mindful of my budget and time constraint. They made low cost decisions where they could never compromising on quality.

Sure, the General Contractor made a little profit by coordinating and managing the team of contractors. He had best recommendations for all my challenges and had a team that could produce the work based on past, proven success. There's tremendous value to that and he earned his markup.

I wish my realtor friend would've discussed the process with me a little bit. Sure, I could have probably paid less. I could have taken their bids and had other contractors under bid them.

I choose not to do business that way. I may have paid a little more but gained more in some areas and received more value in others. I received more benefit than I can measure.

I will use this contractor again and again.

No, I did not pay the cheapest price.

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