Why hire a professional?

When it comes to hiring a contractor, there truly are two types. One type is the professional who provides a detailed, written quotation and drawings if applicable and guides you through the entire process helping you avoid pitfalls and other problems that may crop up at a later date. Most of all, the true professional is just that…professional in every aspect of the work from the first appointment to the final invoicing, as well as follow up if there are warranty issues.

We have all heard stories about the “not so professional” contractor. That is the one who often gives verbal “guestimates” or quotes written on the piece torn from his lunch bag, the back of his card, or a portion of a cigarette package. This unprofessional contractor rarely completes the work on time, or for that matter provides much in the way of a schedule to his customer. His work often lacks in the depth of knowledge that is necessary and requires constant “redo’s” to get it even close to being right. And then, try to get him to come back to look at a problem after he is paid. Trust me on this one, if he knew how to do it right, he probably would have the first time, so don’t assume that he will get it right the second time anyway. Over the years, we have done a considerable amount of work correcting the mistakes that other contractors have made, and seen the disarray this experience puts into the life of the customer who spent hard earned money only to get a sub-standard product. If you believe that a true professional will be too expensive, I will relate a story that happened a few years ago.

A fellow came to our office with photos of a pond that he had just had installed and was not working.  The contractor spent most of spring, summer and part of the fall landscaping his yard, and the pond was to be the focal point. The problem is that the pond did not work. We worked with what he had and gave him an operational pond, and he has been a happy customer since. The real kicker though is that as he saw his yard go through its’ second transformation that year, (our work was completed in about a week and a half I might add), he asked our designer, “How much would you have charged to do this work in my yard if you had done it from the start?” Our designer thought about it and gave an approximate value that she felt we would have charged.  The customer stood in what appeared to be shocked silence for a moment, so our designer added, “You have to understand though, our price is obviously going to be higher as we would be providing a full, year-round pond system, not this seasonal type, and with the cost of professional labour doing the stone work, it is likely to be more to do the rest of the yard than the contractor that you hired.”  The customer replied, “I don’t think you understand why I am shocked.  Your price is only 60% of what the other contractor charged….and for that you are telling me I would have had the best pond system on the market!”  And that, my friends is how a true professional is often less expensive than someone who is trying to figure it out as he goes!

So before deciding to go with the cheaper contractor, think twice about how costly it can be to do it twice, when it could be done once and done right the first time by the true professionals.