The job is to reshape a fireplace, sheath the chimney (20 feet of it inside the living room) in plywood and put in a nice mantle and hearth. Of course the room needs to be painted as well, so there are choices to be made there. I am working with a talented interior designer for this - I have a consultant! This consultant does not get paid - we are pro bono clients - for long and complicated reasons.What can go wrong?
We all figured that this should take about a month and agreed a price. As it happens, we didn't change our minds much (and when we did it was we were responding to the consultant). The consultant works a lot with the company actually doing the work.
The contract company has really talented people. Their finished work is awesome. BUT...
- The communication between the contractor and us is dreadful
- The consultant and contractor communicate but forget to tell us
- We don't know when people will show up at our house - one morning the door bell rang at 7:30
- We don't actually know who is doing the work (some being done off site where the big saws, etc. are)
- The contractor has to juggle resources so occasionally a new job will get the experts that we thought we were going to get (not exactly bait and switch, but bait and wait)
- Consultant assumes that we can stop being at work and immediately come by to look at stuff.
- Consultant doesn't understand opportunity cost, so encourages us to spend a lot of time "just looking"
- They don't work as clean as I would like - they are thus overly disruptive to everyday activities in the house.
- It will take longer than expected.
- The price isn't changing
- You will annoy the customer if you disrespect them
- It is a partnership - we the providers don't always know better
- The customers are not skilled in knowing the ins and outs of the contractor's business, so we have no basis for knowing really what to expect.
- There is mumbo-jumbo language in the contracting business (maybe jargon is better) - just as there is in IT. The customers should not have to know it.
- However there has to be some common language. So maybe the contractors/consultants have a little educating to do.
- Customers are not at our beck and call at all times. They have day jobs too
- Customers have expectations either because we set them, or because they came in with them. We need to help them manage those expectations.
- Our inability to manage doesn't result in extra cost for the customer, that's why we are asked to look at the job up front.