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Posted by Mary in PA on 10/18/2010

A while back, I set three goals to try to accomplish before the end of October: pour slab, install septic, and drill well. In the background of the slab work, I was making phone calls, getting quotes, and selecting contractors for the septic and well.

We’ve used one excavator for all of the work (driveway, site prep, farm terrace fix) so far. They offered good prices, did good work, and by now we had a pretty good working relationship. But I didn’t want to just fall into a habit of using the same company without even checking other prices, so I contacted an excavator recommended by our framer. He seemed eager for the work and I was hoping his quote would be very good and that he would get the job. It wasn’t that I didn’t like our current excavator – it’s just that I wanted to try out another company. If both companies did good work, it would give me two potential contractors to choose from for the house. The septic design was already finished (a requirement for the permit), so all the new contractor had to do was provide a price quote for that design.

Well I chased that guy by phone for a good two weeks, and he kept saying he would get to it – but he never did. I decided to just go with the first excavator who had promptly quoted the work. I gave them a “yes” over the phone, and based on our working history, they put me on their schedule. Then I called the delinquent excavator to let him know that I had selected another contractor. He responded by providing a quote right then and there! I explained that I had already given a verbal agreement to another contractor but he persisted, asking whether his quote was lower and pressing the issue. I wasn’t too impressed. If he could provide a quote on the spot like that, why hadn’t he done it in the previous weeks when I had repeatedly called him? Truth was his quote was about $500 lower, but I was having second thoughts about using this guy if he couldn’t even get the quote done. And anyway, I had already give my word to the other company.

As I continued to work on the slab prep and well drilling, the excavator showed up on schedule and completed the job over two days. I’m trying to establish a very good reputation among the area contractors, so I pay for the work as soon as possible after completion. When I stopped into their office to pay the bill, I was pleasantly surprised to see they had deducted $400 off the cost of the job. This was because the stub into the house couldn’t be done (house not built yet). The thing is, they could have left that $400 in their price and I would have paid it, none the wiser. So they were honest, and it saved me $400. In the end, their price was only $100 above the other quote. The more I work with the company the more I like them.


Finished. No pics in process 'cause I was working in the shop! I raked and hand-seeded the area.
John checks out the work.

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