As noted yesterday M and I are in the process of seeking bids for work at our home, specifically concrete and/or deck replacement. Shipping M off to a foreign land for the duration of this process is looking more and more desirable, preferably safely away from any and all telephones, internet, even snail mail.
M is a good guy and a loyal friend. However, another way we differ is mixing friendship with business. M wants to give business whenever possible to friends, and while I do not necessarily disagree with it, the closer we are to the people involved the less inclined I am to want to do any sort of financial transaction business with them. I believe in protecting relationships first and foremost, and nothing kills a friendship faster than a dissatisfied customer or project gone wrong.
Our front yard is an excellent example. For the past 18 months I have wanted to have the lawn resodded. M’s best friend is a landscaper and M offered the opportunity to him with the understanding that we are patient and willing to wait for him to have time to do the job. Ummm … it’s been 18 months, and I am now feeling more and more like he simply does not want to do the work yet is reluctant to tell M that. At first I thought it might be because of implied expectation of a discount for work and suggested M reassure his friend that we were happy to pay his standard rates, but that I was getting antsy and wanted to get it done. That was a few months ago, and he has not even come by to look at/measure the size of our lawn or give us a cost for it. I am to the point of hiring someone else, because I am inching ever closer to the completely frustrated and annoyed. With both of them.
But again, here we are with getting proposals and bids for some major concrete work, and M wants to contact not only his best friend but his best friend’s brother for recommendations and advice. As stated to me, the concrete guys they use are smaller companies and do the work under their (the bestie, the bestie’s brother’s) contractors licenses. Ummm … NO. Explaining to M that I do not want to do that because if the project really goes south to the point we must contemplate legal action, we would have to involve friends in that complaint going that route. I certainly appreciate recommendations, but I want them to have their own license and insurance, not be working for a third-party entity. Plus extracting the information may take weeks or months, and frankly I am not willing to wait another 6 months to a year just to finish the proposal and pricing process. I have set a deadline that if we are not under contract by March 31 and the work cannot be concluded by May 15, we are putting it off until fall. There is no way I want the warm weather to arrive and be having workers tearing up the backyard when we want to socialize and use the pool.
This makes perfect, reasonable sense to me. Call the bestie, contact the bestie brother, get the information about the concrete people, call and ask for proposals on the work. In the plainest of terms, this is me lighting a nuclear device under M’s ass and giving the ultimatium of getting the information so we can get their bids in the next few weeks, not the next few months. M can and does procrastinate and then laments how “we” should have solicited recommendations from others who do this kind of work routinely. I have done my part, honey; I have talked to my crews at work and am obtaining estimates from vendors my firm engages. If you want recommendations from your friends, you need to call them and request the information. NOW.
My behavior and actions in this matter does not seem like a woman lacking in resolve, yet M said to me this morning: if I have any doubts about the extent of this project, if I am lacking the resolve to commit to spending the money we should wait. I was floored by the comment. I know exactly what I want done, and my only real question is how much of our 2015 home improvements funding the work will consume. If the expense is such that we must break the projects up into a couple of concrete pouring projects over 2015 and 2016 then so be it, and I actually already know how I would break it up, what I want to do this year, what I would defer until next year.
I explained to him very plainly my only current lack of resolve is whether or not to ship him to the middle of nowhere until I get the backyard work completed this year. But if he is having doubts and this is his way of throwing up roadblocks, just speak up and let’s talk about it, but stop aggravating me with the wishy-washy change-my-mind/change-the-scope with each contractor we meet behavior.
Ugh. I love his bestie and very much appreciate his expertise, so much so that I do not want to put the friendship at risk by growing more impatient and aggravated with him about work I want done this year. I also do not think my timeframe for getting estimates for the work and requesting approximate schedules of when they will start and when they will finish is unreasonable.