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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