Tradesmen, spoiled Tradesmen!

Not so many years ago,before the housing boom in our resort area that changed the market forever, I chanced to have a conversation with a car salesman who had changed to that career after a failed one as a painter. He was bitter about the lack of work for tradespeople and told me that in his opinion Nurses were grossly overpaid for what they do and that painters are undervalued. I asked him if, when was needing emergency services he would call a painter or a Nurse. He remained non-plussed. I remember him well as the degree of annoyance in him was so strong.

Here we are 5 years later. Waterfront property here has gone from affordable to a working couple to out of reach to all but the very rich. The big boom has brought tradesman from all over, cashing in on high end clients and all the fancy things they need/want/desire. It is almost impossible these days to find a simple handyman to do light repairs. The waiting lists for small jobs are frightful as mega-projects take most of the skilled workers. It is even worse to find a painter.
How do I know?

In my ignorance, I called for a painter to come and start painting my ceilings as I was still patching and sanding most walls. This was, apparantly, a bad thing I was doing. Imagine my foolishness, saving someone else work of the grunt variety. The first painter told me he would not consider starting the job until the house was completely clean. No ceilings, no nothing. He was pretty shirty about the whole thing, causing me to loose my cool and tell him that in my work, I work within the client's parameters, and try to be as flexible as possible. Since my home was 99% empty and the downstairs was ready to go, I failed to see the wisdom of his argument.

The second painter was delighted to tell me that he was available at very short notice. He would charge me $1.50 a square foot for my ceilings, and $1.00 a square foot for each coat on the walls. Naturally, my walls required a minimum of two coats. I was willing to give it a try but wanted a better price, so I asked him to come by and see things. I sent my father to deal with him. This, was a grievous error. The two of them spent the visit horrified by the state of things. They spent alot of time in the junior members bedroom comparing horrified looks over the number of holes being patched and the basic injustice of anyone requiring a closet the size of hers. Bad bad move on my part. Once my father called me with the details of their shock and disappointment and how he had to talk the painter round to even wanting to paint..... I lost my cool once again. I am doing the patching, sanding and washing of walls. All the painter has to do is paint. Is this too much to ask? For 954 square feet of square rooms, and only the living room and dining room ceiling to do, it still would come to over $2600 for about 2.5 days work.

My father was very clear. The cleaning had to take precedence. I was even clearer. I am working night and day, spending all my off hours cleaning and sanding. Of course it's a mess with all that dust flying around. Once I finish it magically people will notice. In the meantime my hundred hours of work go unsung.

After my little hissy fit my father called me again to tell me that Joe, the very kind man who has been of great help to me over the move, would paint for me. Did I hiss moan or act up? No. I was delighted. I am very happy to pay Joe whatever he wants for painting my little condo. He at least works and does his work uncomplainingly.

My flooring installer was laughing at me when I made a face aa painters were mentioned. "Spoiled rotten tradesmen", he said, "They only want the gravy jobs, not the actual work."

Amen, brother Al. Amen.

Al, the flooring installer, not only removed the old dance floor, but cleaned and cleared and reinstalled the high end laminate in 2 and a bit days. He even cut a remnant for that massive closet and matched up my parquet in an alcove. He is not just any flooring installer. Al is the best. I am so grateful. Good people still exist. Al does the same job for me as he does on millionaires row. He is an excellent man indeed. When times are good and when times are bad, Al is steady and constant. Thank you Al.

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“Relationships of trust depend on our willingness to look not only to our own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Peter Farquharson