General Question

janbb's avatar

How to handle this sticky situation?

Asked by janbb (43702 points ) 2 months ago

Will try to keep this brief. A book club friend has used my friend as a handyman and likes his work. Handyman friend recently mentioned that book club friend’s husband has been laid off and is looking for work as a painter. I asked the husband for an estimate on a bathroom painting job and it seems high to me. Also, realized that perhaps the personal connections may make the situation complicated. Want to bow out but in a very tactful way and not in a way that will be awkward in terms of either friend.

Thinking of either saying the estimate was higher than I expected and/or that I’ve decided not to pursue the job right now. What do you guys think I should do?

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20 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

“Oh. That’s a bit more than I can afford now, I appreciate your giving me an estimate.”

And be careful who you ask in the future.

CWOTUS's avatar

Do you have a wood chipper?

Unfortunately, I do not see an easy way out of this. You will have to kill the friend, her husband, Jay and perhaps several or all of the other members of the book club – or quit reading, or join another book club (which will probably be necessary, anyway, depending on how many of the other club members you have to take out with the friend, the husband and Jay). And since I already know your position on firearms, that’s going to make execution of this task needlessly complicated (I know that you saw what I did there). Anyway, the wood chipper would be for “after”.

But seriously, since you’ve posted in the I-really-need-to-watch-what-I-say area, why not just put off the project (or go with another contractor) for reasons that you don’t have to disclose at all, or if you want to – because of the social aspects of book clubs, which I totally get – just dissemble a bit about your reasons. I know that you can dissemble without creating ethical dilemmas. I hardly know a woman who can tell a thing without dissembling.

EDIT: I just realized that you could also burn down the house, which wouldn’t require any changes in reading habits or book club membership. Of course, you would have to lie a little bit about how the thing started…

janbb's avatar

I think I saw what you did there.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’d say you had changed your mind. You got a big tax bill or something. If you say the prices are too high, no telling how far down he might be willing to go, then you’re in a pickle!

dappled_leaves's avatar

I would say that after asking for an estimate, I wanted to think more about what I wanted to do with the space. Then think more about what you want to do with the space. Don’t specifically say that the fee is the problem, because he may then lower it.

This has happened to me more than once, having friends offer to do work at a higher price than I was willing to pay – and yes, it can then become about more than just the price. Don’t feel that you have to follow through by hiring that person, even if they offer to reduce the fee. It would mean locking yourself into an even more uncomfortable situation if you don’t like how they do the job. And… that can also happen.

jca's avatar

“Thanks for the estimate. I’m not sure if I’m going to go through with the project but I’ll keep you in mind if I do.”

canidmajor's avatar

If you only asked for an estimate, and made no promises, you can say (if anyone does, indeed, ask) that you’re still considering all the options, then there doesn’t need to be more discussion. If anyone notices that the bathroom has been painted, and might make a fuss, then I suggest you employ @CWOTUS‘s woodchipper solution, then join a different book club, one that doesn’t discuss whodunnits, maybe? ;-)

DWW25921's avatar

Just tell him you’re putting it off for a while and call around for estimates in 6 months after it blows over…

marinelife's avatar

Does the friend live close enough to see if you have another painter there? If not, the “I’m not going forward with the project right now works.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t see the difficulty. Both explanations are true and to the point. What possible unpleasantness do you expect to erupt from such reasonable replies?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because, she DOES want it done, but if I understand it right, having the second guy do it could cause some hard feelings on the part of the friend in the book club. Claiming the est. was too high would be a bit of smoke, and he could just come back and cut the est. by 75% and THEN what excuse would she have.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I still don’t understand. If the friend’s husband can’t beat the competition price-wise, he should be told. On the other hand, the quality of his work might well justify his opinion of what he is worth. In either case janbb’s fears seem baseless. I also fail to see the difficulty with having the painter do the job, and the handyman knowing about it.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am confused. Is the problem that the cost is too high or that you are having second thoughts on having the work done by someone who is the husband of the book club friend and who knows Jay? If the cost is the problem then say so. You are not obligated to overpay just because someone is the husband of a friend. Besides, you can always haggle. As to the second reason, I am not seeing why that should be a problem. Are you afraid that Jeff might not do a good job and thus put a strain on your book club friendship?

chyna's avatar

Thanks, I’m getting some other estimates and I’ll let you know if I decide to go with yours.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I know a lot. I UNDERSTAND nothing.

ninjacolin's avatar

”$1000? Shoot, I only have $800 available for this job.”
People often price things because they expect a haggle. To not-haggle is to not want the job done.

Your previous connections have nothing to do with this painter and the services he’s offering. Get the job done. Tell him what you can afford. He will have to decide between an unpaid day off or a paid day at whatever rate you can afford.

ninjacolin's avatar

When he takes your lower rate you let him know that you appreciate it and that you will recommend his services on your facebook/twitter accounts to all your friends for a job well done.

jca's avatar

Contractors know that not everyone who gets an estimate will use their services. No explanation needed for not using them. No excuse necessary. Just “thanks and I’ll keep you in mind.” Or “Thanks, I’m not sure what I’m doing so it’s up in the air right now.” End of story.

tinyfaery's avatar

Put it off and then paint when he forgets.

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