M & M Custom Remodeling, LLC
Added on -, by Marty W.
First, we realize this review is long, however we’ve taken a long amount of time to try to recount a factual and accurate review of our experience with ***.
Everything started out great. We were first-time homebuyers who purchased a “fixer-upper” and wanted to do part of the work ourselves, but hire out the main living areas to a reliable contractor. Although we were inexperienced, we started with an architect/designer to make a complete remodel plan for us to better compare “apples to apples” between different contractor bids. We had three contractors bid the work, and we chose *** for three major reasons. First, we had a great first impression of him and liked his personality the best. Second, his price was the best of the three. And third, he came recommended by our designer as the only contractor that he would work with on his own home-projects. We met with *** in person, communicated via email, and talked on the phone to clarify the details of the project and his final bid. We asked multiple times for a written contract but never received one from ***. In hindsight, we realize this was a major mistake we made, and was an early indication of ***** unprofessionalism. However, at the time, we felt comfortable enough with him to move forward anyways, based on our early interactions with him. *** estimated that the job would take 6-9 weeks, and he let us know up front that there would be one week that he was going to be on a vacation, though he said he would have his son and possibly others, in to continue the project in his absence. We were very impressed by ***** early work. Full days with him and his son, showed a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. Things were going well until he began work on the foyer area. *** came to us and reported that the raised foyer had to be rebuilt and they had to tear it out completely, rather than using some of the existing infrastructure. Although he had agreed to “some demo,” we agreed with his conclusion that this area needed rebuilding and also that his demo work may have been more than expected in that area. We paid an additional change fee for it, but this unexpected work was the beginning of ***** apparent frustration and the downhill slide.
A few weeks in, *** began making it clear, through his communications to us, that he was frustrated with many elements of our job. He made frequent complaints that the quality of our plan from our designer (his colleague) was inaccurate, incomplete, and basically unusable. He also complained that his bid was too low and that he inaccurately judged the amount of work required to complete this job. We wanted to keep the professional relationship positive, so we tried to offer help in areas where we could, or to reduce the scope of the project.
Another major “milestone” in our project with *** was the problems with the kitchen cabinets. When he opened the cabinet boxes, he was frustrated about the method in which he would have to attach the crown moulding. More importantly, the base cabinets on one wall were each slightly longer (i.e. 1/16th, 1/32nd, etc.) which added up to not leave enough room between walls for one base cabinet. This problem, in and of itself, was not ***** fault. However, by this point of the project, everything that frustrated Pat was a major crisis or problem, and while he was very good at complaining about these problems and sharing this anger and frustration with us, he didn't offer positive solution options or try to keep a good attitude. These problems just made him more irritable, which in turn left us feeling worried and extra stressed.
As the project dragged on, there were numerous small problems that turned into “major crisises” with ***** attitude. *** has been in this business for dozens more remodel jobs than we have experience with. While our job may have had unforeseen circumstances or issues that arose, we strongly believe that they were not so unlikely nor terrible, and a professional contractor should have been prepared for situations like these.
14 weeks into the project, we received a text from *** essentially saying he was fed up with our job and how long it was taking, and that he could no longer afford to keep working on it. Similarly to his previous professional attitude, he offered no alternative solutions or compromises, but simply packed up his tools and picked up his sign from our front yard. We never heard from him again. In the two or three weeks leading up to this event, it had gotten to the point where neither my wife nor I wanted to even interact with him any longer due to his complaining and negative attitude. It was so taxing on both of us that we had been considering firing him for a time leading up to this final event, but we wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, and a chance to redeem himself through his work. His final interactions with us were neither professional nor encouraging to his reliability.
In our dealings with other contractors since *** left, we’ve learned that not everyone deals with issues that arise by complaining and quitting. Instead, true professionals either offer a reasonable solution or communicate effectively with the homeowner to come up with an agreeable change to the original plan, both of which *** was incapable of doing.
Overall experience in different areas:
Price: His price was the best of the three bids we received. We did not give him an A in this area, because he did not complete the work for the price agreed upon.
Quality: Our initial impressions of his quality were very good. In our inexperienced eyes, we thought the speed and workmanship was very high. In hindsight, and under the more expert eyes of other professionals in the business, we realized that his work was not of the quality which we originally thought. An example of this was ***** plan for the tile floor. This was left undone, but he was planning to adhere the tile directly onto the OSB subfloor, instead of laying it on Durock. The Tile Shop representative strongly recommended against this, as tiles would not hold up very long before popping up. Additionally, our cabinet rep for Thomasville Cabinets came to our house to witness the aforementioned base-cabinet sizing issue. We heard later through the sales rep that this cabinet rep had described ***** cabinet install as a “hack job.” He said many of the reasons that we had doors that would not lay flat were due to Pat’s improper shimming and leveling of the cabinets.
Responsiveness: Early on in the job, the communication was very good, however, as work dragged on, we typically only
received complaints from Pat and the regular “angry text message” about problems he faced on the job. The majority of his communication was via text message, even if we tried to meet in person or talk on the phone for a clearer understanding.
Punctuality: *** seemed to be punctual early on in the job, however as time drew on, he put in less time at our house and often left early to work on other jobs (which he never admitted to, but we suspect was the case). Other commitments often came up during the work week, leaving him working an average of 3-4 days per week, many times less than 8 hours per day. We kept records of the hours worked to base this rating on.
Professionalism: This was easily ***** biggest weakness. First, it’s an automatic F for leaving something he committed to without following through or trying to find a solution. This is unacceptable behavior in the professional world. Also, his attitude in the later part of the job was unbearable to work with. I was worried that interactions with *** was adding so much stress to my pregnant wife’s life as well as mine, that it was unhealthy. Additionally, ***** lack of organization (he never provided us with materials receipts, which we repeatedly asked for, as well as the lack of an official written bid and contract) illustrates his inabilities in this area.
In conclusion, we made many mistakes in hiring our first contractor. We should have never started work without a written contract, specifically detailing items covered by the work and materials, etc. This would have left far fewer questions that could come up during the job, and would have prevented ***** “crisises” and the added stress on us. We hope that our review will help other homeowners like us from avoiding the same stressful fate that we did with *** and his work. We later found other reviews under this company name similar to our experience. It seems *** has had to change his company name, possibly due to his unprofessional behaviors in dealings prior to ours. When you are looking for a contractor to help you carry out your remodeling hopes and dreams, you need a true professional who can not only do the work, but also accurately bid a job, communicate effectively, and keep a positive attitude, none of which are qualities *** possesses.