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rockfan's avatar

How often do you supervise the house when contractors/plumbers come over?

Asked by rockfan (3188 points ) August 30th, 2012 from iPhone

I recently visited my parents for a few days and a heating and air service came over to my house because of a broken heater.

My dad wanted me to watch him to make sure he wouldn’t steal anything. He looked like a nice enough guy, so I went downstairs for just a few seconds. My dad yelled at me for leaving him alone for 30 seconds. He basically got to the point of getting red in the face. Do you think that’s completely irrational behavior?

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18 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I do stay home and wander around within visibility range whenever I have workmen here. I also am interested and ask questions to educate myself and to remind them that I am paying attention.

However, that said, I have used the same people for years and feel they are trustworthy.

Tell your dad to do his own dirty work if you are uncomfortable with it. Does your father normally have a short fuse in regards to other issues?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My plumber/contractor is my stepfather. O

tom_g's avatar

Call me naive, but I do not worry about people stealing things while working in my house. Maybe I should. In general, I leave them to do their magic and ask them to holler if they need me (I am usually working from home when I have people in the house). I have never had anything stolen. Hasn’t even crossed my mind to worry about this.

Maybe your dad has something he doesn’t want anyone to find, like a closet with some lamps in it?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I usually stick arouind to see how the work is done. I do this mainly for my own education not out of mistrust!

janbb's avatar

“I’ll be upstairs – or going out for a while. Holler if you need me.”

DigitalBlue's avatar

I mean, if they find something in my house worth stealing, I guess they can have it. There’s nothing here very interesting or valuable in the first place.
My handyman is a family friend, though, so I am never concerned to begin with. I do tend to stay somewhat nearby, so that they can find me if they have a question or need something, not to watch them.

anatidaephobiac's avatar

I’d do most myself but if i had someone in i’d try stick around to do the laborious stuff to get it done quicker.I’d have no problem giving them a key if i was out in the morning though.

I worked in trades for a while and 99.99999% of it was the same, call by the evening before for a key. There was one morning i sat outside on the phone to my employer. ” ummm, yer wan isn’t letting me in” “WTF” ” yeah, doesn’t like the look of me or something – wanna tell her she’s paying me to sit here jerkin’ off” “put me onto her” so i knock and and pass the phone through the gap with the chain on, there’s some chatter, and she open’s the door., at which point i place the tool box onto her carpet and say “any chance of a cup of tea?” She puts the kettle on!

Incedently on the issue of finding strange things, i have had to move soiled underwear out of my way, found myself staring into the open back end of a freshly severed deer head while working, but the one that sticks is a guy laying carpets in a house, finding envelopes containing thousands in notes under the old carpet, and casually handing it to the owner in the evening.

Shippy's avatar

Yes, I am a real pain, I watch them ask questions, make sure they are fixing it, not just fiddling then charge me. Never thought of that before, but sadly too many rip off plumbers around and other workmen.

YARNLADY's avatar

I get my workers from our household insurance company, and if there was ever any issues, the insurance company would have to work it out.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I keep an eye on them but it’s less about concern over their integrity and more about learning how to do/assess it myself next time and to maintain a clear understanding of what was done in case the problem proves to be unresolved, recurring, or needs a follow-up after the initial visit.

Oh, and if your dad’s that concerned, he needs to make the time and babysit them himself.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It is possible that your father had an experience at some point in his life that led him to distrust all contractors. It would be interesting to find out why this feeling exists. There was a lesson once learned when I worked at a hotel: You hire good people, but you don’t leave the liquor cabinet unlocked.

If you are looking for how other people handle having contractors over, my answer would be much the same as @wonderingwhy‘s and include what caused it in the first place. Oh, and if they want a cup of tea or coffee.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Shit. My husband and I ARE the contractors and the plumbers. I am the supervisor of all, though, so he works when I’m ready. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

To answer your question, yes, I think it’s irrational behavior. But not surprising given the media messages that he’s been barraged with that says everyone is out to steal from him.

wundayatta's avatar

I like to watch them work, and ask questions so I can learn something. Some of them do not like being asked questions. They think it means I don’t trust them. I don’t know what to say since I wouldn’t hire them if I didn’t trust them, but they have turned down further work because they don’t like my questions.

Just as well. The guy we hired did a better job for about the same money.

Cruiser's avatar

A bit overboard IMO but irrational no. A lot depends if the contractor was bonded or not and even then it something “walked off” with the contractor you now have the hassle of trying to prove anything was taken. That said, when I was a contractor I was on a couple thousand homes and was never once hovered over.

Symbeline's avatar

I stick around, or if I can’t, my retired, super rich landlord who never has anything to do is glad to come in and supervise. I trust him. at least nothing has ever gone missing yet
But if a plumber has to come over, I will remain there. Not that I consider them all thieves and evildoers, but I just feel better this way. Plus, they may need my help. It happened before. He wanted to know where the major valves were for cutting off the water. They were in the basement, and me showing him where they were prolly saved him a lot of time since he didn’t have to go spelunking for them. especially since we had to test all of them out, since not a one was numbered to the apartment it belonged to

But here’s a funny story lol. Once some plumbing had to get done, and I invited a friend over to hang out with me while he was doing his stuff. So we were in my bedroom, and play fighting on the bed lol, and making all this noise. He walked by to get something from his truck, and I heard him go, ’‘fuckin lesbos’’ lmao.

woodcutter's avatar

If a well established company with a solid reputation is hired to do the work it will cost more money usually and a greater chance of getting honest repairmen. I think when cheapo home owners get “some guy” someone told them about they run a greater risk of getting shady people. Cheap people who hardly ever do maintenance on their own homes tend to be uneasy with contractors because they never learned how to appreciate them. And because of their lack of concern for their biggest life investment they have no idea how much stuff costs to do, therefore assuming they are being ripped off when they see an estimate for the first time.

Being a contractor myself I prefer the home owner to be there while I’m doing my thing. I’m a bit uncomfortable being alone in someone’s home in case someone in the family misplaces something ,they might assume I had something to do with it. I never go in a house if all who’s there are their kids, I’ll come back later, on a weekend if thats what it takes. Get a repore going with the homeowner. Some contractors have the personality of a trog and they make themselves look shifty. I think I look pretty honest if I don’t mind saying so myself. You’d be surprised how much mileage you get out of homeowners by simply putting down a tarp on their floor or over their stuff.
Plus when they are home it makes it a certainty I get money when I’m done, if they didn’t leave a check on the counter before stepping out.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If I called a contractor in I would not feel I had to be here to guard my stuff.

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