45 Days- The Cheapest Labor Isn't Necessarily The Best

Living room to Hall Jigsaw Piece
When I posted a few days ago I said I would be back with the story about the carpeting. Now I'm going to show you what I meant when I posted about "The One Place To Spend Your Money If You Have It". Trust me, we have now learned in the case of remodeling, the cheapest labor isn't necessarily the best labor.

I had put an add on Craig's List in the "wanted" section for someone to lay the carpet we had picked up for the mobile home. Figuring with the economy the way it is I would get a few responses. I got a couple ranging in price from $130 to $600 for the labor. We had the carpet and bought the tack strips, and let's face it folks, we aren't talking the Taj Mahal here. By the time you take out the kitchen and dining area, it's only about 500 square feet. To be exact, it was a small room (my office), the living room, hallway, and two small bedrooms. Even though something told me to go with the guy that bid $250, we were short on cash and $130 looked a lot better. He said he had about 8 yrs. experience laying carpet so I thought he couldn't be that bad. WRONG.

Second Living room jigsaw piece
I should have known when I first met him and he told me he had to help shingle a roof in the morning the next day, but then would be over after that to get started on the carpet. He didn't tell me that would be the story every day. When and if he showed up, it wouldn't be until about 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon and there wasn't a whole lot of daylight left to work. This was before we had anything in the mobile home so there wasn't much lighting. The first day he seemed really gun-ho and I paid him almost half the money, told him I would pay the other half when he got done. We're still over the hill at this point trying to get packed, and so I wasn't here every day checking on him. I did call though.

First he didn't answer. Then his wife answered and gave an excuse that he just forgot his phone, but he had come over to the mobile home to work. Then he was sick. Then he said he had about an hour left to do. Then I never heard from him again and I haven't called him either. We came over with the huge truck full of all our "worldly goods" and the livingroom, hallway, and one bedroom had been done. No carpet in the office or the second bedroom, and what had been done had been totally screwed up. Oh well, live and learn.

I think the only tack strip he layed was in the living room the day he started. You can't tell hardly any is gone out of the box and I'll be returning the second box to Home Depot for a refund. LOL. This is a picture of where he cut and laid it down the hall. Notice along the edge the blue padding showing through.

Then, where the hallway goes into the back bedroom, that's another piece of work. I circled the seam, or where a seam would be if he did those. The X is where our door to the bedroom is. In otherwords, he cut the carpet to put a seam about a foot and a half past the doorway entrance to the bedroom.
Bedroom door back here
And last, but definitely not least, our living room. Now the day he did this, or at least laid it all out to cut it, etc. I was actually here and showed him about how the pieces should go because of the nap, etc. I don't know what happened between the driveway where we had it figured out, to the actual living room floor, but he's got them going in opposite directions with a pretty obvious "would be" seam down the middle. This isn't counting all the little jigsaw pieces shown above. The picture really doesn't do it justice. LOL
Living room center seam
What really got me was this guy had been going through a hard time, he had a little family, and I was telling him I would help him once we got this done to spread his name around and help get him some work, use him with other stuff we may need around here, etc. He just friggin' blew it.

So, take my advice and my examples and don't skimp too bad on the labor. Sure some are going to charge you outrageous prices for something that most people of the same trade can do, and some are going to offer to do it for next to nothing. I would pick "middle of the road" on pricing, and ask for references, another place I screwed up. LOL. As you can see, the cheapest labor isn't necessarily the best!

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41 Days Into The Project- Where We Are Now

Here we are 41 days into our new project and this is where we are and what we've been through.

We moved out of our place in Santa Clara. Here I was hoping to get out about a week early to let the landlord have some time to paint, etc. before the new tenants moved in. Instead it took us up to the very last hour of daylight on the 31st of January to get all the stuff in the truck and for the guys to get it over the hill before dark. I stayed behind to continue cleaning for a few hours after everyone else and everything else was gone. I didn't have a clue how much stuff we had packed into that little 3 bedroom duplex in just a little over a yr. After all, we had virtually emptied 3 different storages of "stuff" at 3 different times, so I sort of lost track. LOL.

From this...
Leaving Santa Clara was sort of bittersweet for me. I had found a church home I loved and my neighbors on both sides of me were fantastic! In fact while I was cleaning there the last night, the neighbors on one side of us came over and brought the cutest little ice cream cake that said "Farewell" on it and wished us luck. My neighbor and walking partner on the other side stopped by to say good-by and brought me a couple pieces of pizza thinking I might be hungry since I was working so late. While coming back home, so to speak is wonderful and living on the coast seems like a luxery, I will miss the people and wonderful friends I've made over the last year. I'm just lucky to be close enough to stop by and say "hi" once in awhile.

So we rented this huge 24ft. truck and in my dreams, I thought we would load it, unload it, and turn it back in the next day. Our total bill at the end was to be 4 days, and the guy gave us a break because we were 20 minutes late getting it back. He could have charged us another day, but didn't. Luckily the guy at Budget was pretty good and pretty reasonable.

In order to get the truck back when we did, we unloaded a lot of stuff in the mobile home, but then filled up the whole carport and the front porch. The storage shed is still laying flat out there somewhere waiting to be rebuilt.

We are on a side street in the park that has 8 mobile homes on it, including ours. Only ours and my girlfriend at the beginning of the street have anyone living in them. 2 are "vacation" homes, 1 is rotted out and needs to be taken out of the park, and 1 the owner passed away and his son has it up for sale. We are like at the end of a court if it were a housing track. The street light across from us doesn't work and the park owner is angry so he's declared the two spots at the end of the street that have been used for parking for the last 30 yrs. are a "Fire Lane" and no one can park there.

To this...My new kitchen
We ran into sort of a snaffoo over here in this land of Paradise. The park owner who had been so nice the day I auctioned the mobile home and got it back, has turned out to be quite a bitter and nasty man. The day of the sale he told me he didn't know if I needed an application for the park because I had lived here before, and because the mobile home had always been mine legally. He gave me a disclosure concerning the park, about how he was in a battle to close it, (he wants to turn it into a condo conversion), and said he would fax me an application and I could fax it back. I hadn't received the application so I had left a couple of messages for him, but he never got back to me. I didn't think there was any problem, so I just started moving in. Silly me. LOL.

Our street-all our stuff on the right
The next thing I know, this man is yelling at me for having some of the furniture in the street (remember, there's not another soul down here), telling me I have to move everything back out of here, and then he serves me with a 5 day notice to give up possession of the space my mobile home sits on. Now mind you, before I sold this mobile home to the Perp almost 5 yrs. ago, I owned and lived in or vacationed at this mobile home for over 10 yrs. and never gave the park any problem. The way this guy was acting now I was Enemy #1. Needless to say, I had to call my lawyer and have him intervene. Another expense I didn't need, but help I did.

So now we have complied with all his wishes. I have gotten a copy of the title showing me as registered owner, as that was one of the conditions to me even getting an application for tenancy, and he has 15 days to process it. So we are here waiting with baited breath.

In the meantime, I found my laminate for the kitchen and dining room floor. We're supposed to pick it up Tuesday. I found this guy in San Jose who is a "flooring broker" and has basically factory direct pricing. If anyone is thinking about remodeling or redoing your floors, I would highly recommend him. He's located in Willow Glen and you can visit his website at Bay Area Flooring Live. com 

I have such a story to tell you about our carpeting, but that will have to wait for next time. This has already gotten rather long. If you have any suggestions for cheap remodeling, I'd love to read them in the comments below.

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