Should a contractor include basement finishes in the renovation?

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Posted by: from Mississauga
10/3/2014 at 7:39:50 PM

I've just spent over 50 k finishing my basement. I have towel racks and glass bathroom shelves. I have two bookshelves, two TV stands and a kitchen garbage bin to install.

The contractor did not install a closet organizer in the bedroom closet. Except for closet organizer, I have bought and put together the other shelving.

I'm surprised my contractor is giving guff about these things. They have come this far and the finishes make the work look better and will lead to a good review with photos.

As a contractor would you include bathroom finishes, closet organizer, TV and book shelf installation? Any thoughts?

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Date/Time10/3/2014 at 11:14:00 PM

Hi there,

Have a look at what you and your contractor have decided. What it is you both agreed upon at the start? If you have a written agreement then it should be followed. If not then you should base your review on what he has done, not what he hasn't.

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Date/Time10/3/2014 at 11:56:40 PM


Well most contractors do all the finishing, although some just finish to a point that TV's, book shelves, toilet and towel hangers to the taste of customers.

I wouldn't install a TV unless I was asked to do so but time spent on TV Install wouldn't be that big of a deal by just hanging it.

Install connections no, hang TV yes!

If it isn't on contract or agreed upon before job or asked thru out if they don't mind I'm sure they'd do it.

It's all up to contractor.

I've done things like those and got into issues with things (supposed) braking or not on proper location.

Were all different I can go extra mile to do a thing or two but I won't run a marathon for them all!

Cheers and good luck!

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time10/4/2014 at 12:13:06 AM

Read the fine print in the contract with your contractor. Has he provided exactly as you both agreed and signed to? If he had no contract, why did you not provide one with all your expectations? Assumptions during renovations are where the bottom falls out and disagreements start.

Every reputable contractor should provide paperwork stating what they will provide you with and what is not included.

Closets do not include organizers unless mentioned within the contract, the same as light fixtures are not providing for lighting as everyone taste and functions are different, but said light fixtures, or not, would have been noted within the accompanying documents signed by both parties to avoid minor confusion like this.

Contractors - provide contracts with details.

Customers - ask for them from your contractor and ask for their licenses and insurances.

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Date/Time10/4/2014 at 6:18:27 PM

Im sure that for some contractors they would only be included if they were in the contract and included in the contract price...and some would do these minor finishing touches as a courtesy...especially for a $50k job... I sure would have.

The little extra time would have been worth it for the goodwill created between contractor and home owner and better "word of mouth" advertising.

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Mark from CMJ Renovations in Oakville
Date/Time10/6/2014 at 7:01:42 PM

Hello Dewey,

What you are asking for is completely acceptable. Forget what is in the contract, you are asking him to do what might take a couple of hours tops. It is just good customer service especially seeing you have spent 50k.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time10/6/2014 at 7:59:44 PM

Looks like CMJ would have been the preferred contractor to chose. Next renovation maybe? And honestly, like Mark says, a job of that value, a few final touches puts a big smile on the customers face. What is the value of that in this business??? Priceless...

Did you find him on this site? If so, feedback is a good way to finalize the deal.

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Date/Time10/8/2014 at 9:06:51 AM

Hi Dewy,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unless you informed your Contractor of these items for him/her to quote on in his bid, it would be absurd to assume that he or she should do this for you since they are working at your house.

You are not alone in this view, it truly happens all of the time and often puts the Contractor in a terrible spot. Unlike the way Contractors are typically portrayed, they are people and I believe generally good people. It is very awkward as often times they feel in some way indebted to their Client for having given them work. This is absolutely not the case. The price agreed on and the scope of work established for a project are directly related.

You can certainly ask the Contractor to do you a favour just as you would an old friend, and they can certainly agree (and often do), but unless the Contractor was given the information up front to quote, they are in no way obligated to do you that favour.

Unfortunately, and this does happen all of the time, especially to the "Nice" Contractors (of which we are generally classified), a project was offered to usually multiple Contractors with no allegiance to anyone in particular to try to establish hopefully, the best candidate to achieve those goals (not just the cheapest guy). A Contractor was selected to provide their services in return for their specified fee. Finishing details at the end of the project that were not included or provided for them to quote on should not be paid for with a testamonial. If the Contractor did all that was agreed upon and the Client is satisfied with the performance of their services, then that is worthy of a positive recommendation. It is like a non-financial tip for good service, which you are in no way obligated to provide, but unless it is part of your agreed upon work, it is rather unfair to withhold it as leverage for a favour.

Sorry this may not be what you wanted to hear and please understand that this may not be accurate to your situation, but these things often come up and put the Contractor in a very awkward situation.

I hope this viewpoint helps.

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Dewy in Mississauga
Date/Time10/10/2014 at 10:24:21 AM

Hello Jason

I get the feeling you do not need the business-meaning you guys are a good company who does everything correct. In the end, this is the most important thing-not tardiness, not a 20 % different in budget, not how clean a company keeps your house, but doing it right. However there is more than one company capable of doing good work.

This year I spent 85 k on renos. The first contract company got 35 k of this budget Then I switched. Why?

Because they made a fuss about the little things.-I don't like getting nickel and dimed.

Hey if I can find someone on Kijijji and hire them for $100 a day to hang all my selves why am I worried? Take your final payment, but I may not call you back.

I get the closet - closets have come a long way, and some organizers are intense installations.

Bathroom-I will never get---a bathroom is not complete without towel and toilet paper racks. Obviously the client provides the finishes.

Hanging one or two shelves per room it makes good business sense. A contractor should have grunt workers (I do not mean offense by this, an entry level handy man has more skills in one finger then me) or the project manager (who likely gets a percentage, rather than a wage) should come by and help out with this. Finally it should be in the contingency.

If a person just spend 50 K with you and they ask you to hang one shelf---trust me do it. People, who renovate, are usually life time renovators and will need someone in a few years.

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Date/Time10/17/2014 at 1:47:31 PM

Hi Dewy,

Sorry, I am just seeing this now.

Your points are quite valid.

I hope that I did not rub you the wrong way. In life there are good and bad people everywhere, some are Contractors and some are Clients and in most cases the bad can be a case of differing perceptions. Sometimes a Contractor will stay quiet and let little things build until the end when frustrations are at their highest and just fed up with the project.

I think you are absolutely right about something small that can be done while the Trades are on site is usually no big deal and can (but not always) lead to goodwill.

I just wanted to point out that all too often Contractors run into Clients who care very much about the scope of work when signing a contract but very little when it is convenient and the appearance of "well, I am paying you a lot of money so you should do this...and this...and this..."

Believe me that does happen.

I hope in the end everything worked out with your project and wish you the best of luck.

Jason Irving

The Cedarbrook Group

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Ruben from 905 Construction in Oakville
Date/Time1/1/2015 at 11:37:16 PM

If you are shopping for a Apple computer now would you ask for a discount? Some people do and you know what Apple rep's response is to that (sorry we don't do discounts) if you really want that Apple computer then you will have to pay for it. Apple computers are not cheap.

So what we are all saying here is Business is business. Period!

Now for an example again. The contractor goes ahead and hangs the TV on the wall and then later that same TV falls. The home owners will call that contractor back and say (our TV just fell we want a new one) now who is responsible. Now if it was not in the quote then no one is.

So when a price is agreed upon then thats the price. Any extra work must come accompanied by a change of order. Then a fee is added and a new contract is sign.

So look ask your self will you work for your company for free? Then come home and tell your wife that you're working for free for a week. Now your company will take that into consideration that you are a good worker. So at the end a contractor is a contractor in business. A client is a client looking for services.

Thats it be kind to all and goodness will come.

Thank you and have a nice day. No fighting please.

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