A Word About Hiring Contractors Your Friends Recommend

Ellen trusts Rudy. In fact, they go to the same church. Ellen needs some work done on her house before she puts it on the market. Rudy recommends Mike. Mike has been a contractor for years.

First Ellen hires Mike do to some odds and ends inside the house and he does a fine job. When they discover the roof needs replacing, she hires Mike to do that also.

I met Mike. He talks the talk. He knows a bunch of the local builders and developers and we swap stories. He completes the work and Ellen pays him. All said and done, about $7500.

The house sells in the next couple of months and the purchaser prudently has a professional inspection. Much to our surprise, the inspector says the roof was “unprofessionally installed”. There were a lot of nails showing and the shingles weren’t even fully overlapped. The valleys were tarred. We had it inspected by a professional roofer and they said that basically it was a hack job done by someone who didn’t know what they were doing.

Since we told the buyer that we just installed a new roof, this made them understandably uneasy, and they were ready to walk.

Luckily, Ellen is a smart woman and knew that if the problem wasn’t remedied with this buyer, it would have to be remedied with the next, or any buyer. Besides, she paid for a new roof and a new roof she would get.

We had a new roof installed by a professional roofing company that warranties their work and saved the sale. In checking on Mike, we found that his contractor license expired in 2002 and naturally he isn’t bonded.

Mike’s story is that the roof was installed okay, although now he is not returning phone calls or emails, and he didn’t bother to talk to the inspector or the roofer. Maybe he thinks the problem has gone away. What do you think?

We are prepared to go to small claims court if he refuses to pay for the new roof. I think it’s a slam dunk win. I love small claim’s court.  I’ll keep you updated.

Moral: Don’t hire people to do expensive repairs who have no way to guarantee their work.

Update! Mike stepped up! After several months of nagging and being ignored, Mike paid the cost of the re-roof. Happy ending.