Should you do it right?

Many contractors are faced with the conundrum of whether or not to do a job right or to just cover it up and move on. I have mentioned before that I used to work with a verifiable crook who would say things like, "They'll never know", and, "It looks good from my house". A very cavalier attitude about another persons home and valuable asset. This worthless crook is the nemesis of every homeowner and honest contractor in Portland. I am grateful that he opened my eyes to the true nature of the construction business and how to combat the downside of such a ruthless industry. All too often I find a job that has been done in a shoddy way and somehow covered up. I tell clients all the time that an honest contractor will never do that; if they did they wouldn't sleep at night. It is tempting when confronted with an issue that stops the work or will potentially cost the client more to try to hide it and move on. A true craftsmen would never do this. The late Steve Jobs has a great story about his father building a fence when he was a child. His father said that even the back of the fence needs to be perfect. When Steve asked why bother no-one will ever see the back of the fence his father said that he will know and that is more important than any other factor. He carried this idea of craftsmanship for his entire life and put it into every product he ever designed. A true craftsman knows whether or not his work is done well. A good example is that I am currently renovating a basement. Yesterday my crew removed some old paneling and discovered a giant fissure in the foundation it had moved in two dimensions and was significant. We talked to the home owner and realized that prior to their purchasing the home this fissure had been covered up. At some point someone was confronted with the choice of how to repair this fissure. The options were simple, do it right or do it wrong (cover it up). I find that if someone wants to sell the house the choice is all to often to do it in a quick fashion that hides the issue and hastens a sale. Now the homeowner needs to make the same choice, to do it right or do it wrong. As an honest contractor I have only one choice - do it right. I have informed the homeowner that according to my ethics I am required to repair the home to the best possible standards that I know how. If the owner wishes to compromise then there is a long list of hacks who will sell their services to do a "repair" and leave the real work to someone in the future. My advice to any homeowner is leave it better than you found it.
This entry was posted in Best practice, Contractor Tips, Project Tips.

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