It was time for our coffee break that day as  Jason and I crawled into my truck. We were siding a two story addition  and the 25 to 40 mile an hour wind gusts were taking their toll.   (One of the fringe benefits of working outside in the elements is I normally sleep like a baby once my head hits the pillow.)

Anyway,  my truck was pointed towards the neighbors house  and the first thing that caught my eye as we took our break was a thin, 60 some year old woman raking leaves.  She caught my eye for several reasons.  First off, she looked almost manic in the way she was using her rake.

Secondly, there were multiple trees along her street, and several of them were still hanging onto their leaves, even if the large maple in the corner of her lot was done for the year.  I thought to myself, why in the world was she trying to  rake on a day like today?  She would just have to do it again (probably multiple times) before it was all over.

The word “issues” came to mind.   Even though I did not know her personally, something was not quite right about that picture.

What would drive a person to try to catch every last leaf that early in the Fall.

I jokingly said to Jason, I definitely would not want to do any work for her because of her issues, (whatever they might be.)


Few weeks later, the homeowner I was working for, told me, a neighbor was interested in having me give her an estimate for some work in her house.

Was it so and so,  I asked?

It was!

The homeowner then cautioned me that if I did end up working for her, that while she was a nice person…she paused as she tried to find the right word, she was also  “frugal.” 🙂

I  told the homeowner to have the neighbor get a hold of me if she wanted.  I have a policy now that I refuse to chase work.  I also refuse to play the game of giving someone an estimate and have them ask me if I can knock so much off the bid, in order to match someone else.

It is disrespectful to me as a contractor.

It implies my initial quote may have been slightly out of line.   Better to either take the estimate or not….and another thing, the lowest estimate may not always be the best estimate.  You can pay someone $20 an hour who works like a turtle, or twice that amount to me and come out ahead.

I’ve seen it happen multiple times.

My dad, (who was also a general contractor for close to 50 years) was known for his integrity in our community.  I can trace most of my attitudes when it comes to work directly back to his influence in my life.

(Sorry if this comes across as a little bit testy.)

Growing up in a construction family,  I have had a front row seat to dozens of construction projects, and you better believe I have been taking notes.

No sense learning everything first hand.

Which is why, if I can help it,  I try not to work for certain personality types.


Because certain personality types have  certain issues I would just as soon not have to deal with.

Everybody has issues.  Doesn’t mean I didn’t have compassion for her. (Because I did)

Also doesn’t mean I have to enter into a business relationship with someone who has too many red flags waving over their head.

“An issue ignored, is a crisis endured.”

What do you think?



6 thoughts on “Issues

  1. If we had to get a contractor in for anything, we would approach at least 5 companies for quotes. We would also ‘price’ the work ourselves for materials to get a ball park figure of what to expect, and obviously allowed for a fair labour charge. In most cases, the most expensive and cheapest were the first thrown out, and not necessarily on cost. Incorrect spelling of our name, being told they would ‘fit us in’ (read too many jobs on the go at once and none getting finished) and one was so cheap, he could not possibly be making a profit (then came the labour of £150 a day or part thereof, and he couldn’t even keep his appointment time).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I, no we, stay away from all now.
    Once helpful to everyone we discovered a basic fact.
    Nobody likes the word ‘NO’.

    Fixed prices repairs were my choice only some always haggled at the end.
    I never gave in, they never came back, some business was lost. So what!

    Life would be so simple without customers I’d say to SWMBO.
    She’d shake her head and agree.

    Interestingly she also know the effect of ‘NO’.
    The stunned look of others, the disbelief, the anger that we had DARED to decline whatever.
    Then no Christmas card. As if that mattered.

    As for issues?
    I’ve walked out of issues before and I’ll do it again. Same for SWMBO.
    Sometimes you just know that a person is BAD before they open their pie holes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The same thing was true in my law practice. Sometimes you just know when a client is going to be a problem. I admit that (because I’m a softie) I too often took on those kind of headache clients. Most of the time the worst ones were pro bono or people with small matters, who ended up becoming major heartburn sources.

    A colleague once told me, when I was complaining about one of them, “It’s one thing to get hit by a train. It’s another thing to see the train coming and stay on the track anyway.”

    Sounds like you’ve developed the good sense to step off the track when you see the train coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your colleague sounds like my wife 🙂 (ie. don’t grumble when you know going into something it will probably be a problem..then choose to do it anyway) And on an unrelated note..enjoyed seeing the pictures of your mushroom inoculating party. Reminded me of our “chicken cleaning party” from a few years ago. Lots of laughs and bonding.


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