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Old 07-21-2008, 03:48 PM   #1
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OYE VEY - my long rant
It's only Monday and I'm already ranting ! I am trying to get a contractor to fence in my yard (the puppy needs to run full speed) and #1 doesn't show up to do the estimate (and he came highly recommended), #2 showed up - great, #3 keeps cancelling and rescheduling (to me this says, I don't really want the work or I really can't be trusted to show-up when I say I will). So do I just go with the one I got and hope it's a fair price or do I hold out until I can get another estimate?

Gotta get gravel under my shed before I can build the fence and need a couple tons so it's sooo being delivered. The freaking estimate changes everytime I call (I have to call today to see if there are trucks available for tomorrow-they only book trucks for construction jobs). Then the real kicker is the estimate is only verbal and subject to change so they can tell me $165, but if I get a bill for $265 after I've signed for the gravel then what? The estimate Friday when I called was $150 and today for tomorrow it's $210

Also thought I'd move the steps on my deck and make it a couple feet wider to cut down on the number of linear feet the fence has to be. By my estimate expanding the deck and moving the stairs is cheaper than fencing (we can do this ourselves). That is until you call the zoning and planning office (HOA said I had to - and there was no HOA rules when I bought the house). Turns out b/c the deck is attached to the house you have to have a permit ($100) and then you pay per sq ft added with a minimum sq footage fee of $75 and a surcharge fee (what the #*()@#)@! is that) of $3. Okay - so what if we don't get a permit? Nothing as long as none of my neighbors report me and even if they do I just file the paperwork and pay the money ($178.31). Sounds like my neighbor's are getting some cookies.

I'm off to scream in the closet
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:47 PM   #2
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ya, this stuff is frustrating. I'd skip the permit if you know for sure that your neighbors aren't jerks AND you wouldn't end up penalized if you sell your house and the deck dimensions are different. I guess if I don't want to take chances I'd get the permit. Now you have me wondering if I was supposed to get a permit to install my fence...

Re: fence installation. Go with who you have a good feeling about and ask for references. Go see the fences they've installed yourself. I wish I did this. I ended up going with the cheapest guy, who always left me feeling a little creeped out but he had the same product as the most expensive company. Now, 2 years later my gates are sagging big time. It looks awful. Not sure what to do about it.
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:59 PM   #3
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I may try to get an estimate with someone else, just so you know it's not like 70% more or anything CRAZY like that, but good customer service is well worth the money. So I'd go with the one that I felt best about their work. Going to see and talking to previous customers is a really good idea.

But I don't know if I would go with one of the guys that you already had set up for estimates. Are there others in your area? I'd try to find some others.

And I agree about the permits... I don't get what half of them that are out there are for. I have a friend that had to get one for her pool, it's a pool that has a blow-up ring, and then you fill it. The electrical inspector had to see she knew how to plug it in... but I think I'd still get one. I wouldn't want to get stuck with a fine that they add later or something. Just not worth it.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:43 PM   #4
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I don't see how they can quote you one price and then charge you higher, unless you sign a form stating those stipulations. I would get it in writing that way your butt is completely covered. Unfortunately there are more jerks out there looking to make a buck and not doing the right job. Notice I didn't say a good job, but the right job.

Good luck.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:28 PM   #5
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We have done a lot of construction on our property over the years and always get permits. If something happens and you need to file an insurance claim, lack of permits could let the insurance company off the hook. If someone falls on the steps you build and gets injured and needs medical care or wants to sue you may not get your insurance to cover you. Also in our area you have to sign a disclosure form for potential buyers letting them know of any problems you are aware of and unpermitted work would have to be disclosed. A neighbor lost a sale on her property because the person they bought the place from didn't get permits for the garage and the bank wouldn't loan until they spent $10,000 to bring the garage up to code.
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