The Cat's Meow Home Improvement and Repairs
About this pro
I had several jobs done by Cat, both small and large, spread out over the course of a couple of years. She always arrived when scheduled, left our home and property at least as clean as she found it, and stayed until she had ensured we had any needed facilities operational. Had she not moved from the area I have no doubt our professional relationship would have continued. I believe the first project we hired Cat for was such an insignificant task we had a horrible time getting anyone to even show up to look at it, let alone agree to do it. Cat not only arrived when scheduled, had the tools necessary, but then actually agreed to the task at an extremely reasonable price and crawled around in our very hot very cramped attic crawl space to relocate our cable line to the opposite wall of our living room. We next had her back for a small remodel to our kitchen. We had a filtered water line added to our refrigerator on the opposite wall from the water source, countertop and undermount sink including a hard wired garbage disposal, and new vinyl flooring laid. We were extremely pleased with the result. To list a few of the smaller projects I can recall; we had her go to our rental property, power wash graffiti off and then repaint the privacy fence surrounding the property, all the while negotiating the snarling snapping head belonging to our tenants very nasty dog that was periodically popping under the fence. We had all of our outside lights rewired and replaced; doorways and pathway. And a section of our roof fascia and soffit replaced and repainted due to rot. The larger projects were the previously mentioned kitchen and our main bathroom. In the bathroom we had pretty much everything redone except for the walls. Cat leveled the floor and then tiled it with 1 x 1 ceramic tile Id chosen and also installed it in my requested diamond pattern cutting each tile individually to form the half diamond border. I had purchased new fixtures for the shower and sink which she installed and the old toilet was removed and new toilet put in its place. As you can see we were very happy with the work that Cat had done for us and were very disappointed when she left the area. We still havent been able to find a replacement with the diversity of skills and reasonable rates, not to mention the reliability. And while Im not a timid person or sexist in nature; both my husband and I felt a little more comfortable having a woman working in our home, both when I was here with the kids alone and when no one was here at all.Feb 17, 2016
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- What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?When calculating cost of our services there are a few different factors involved, not the least of which is the type of project and current price of any of materials supplied by us. For some services we have a flat rate for completion, for larger projects we will often use an estimate of the number of hours involved to calculate an approximate labor cost. The hourly rate itself can differentiate depending upon things such as skill or danger level required for a particular job. Barring any major issues encountered or requests that greatly extend the time involved, we will update the client with progress and honor the hourly estimate, even if the project takes an hour or two longer to complete. For projects consisting of multiple weeks of work, a proportional payment for labor and payment for the weeks materials is to be made by the end of business each Friday. As far as material costs of our services, we offer three options regarding the materials aspect; the client provides on site materials and pays only the labor, we arrive with purchased material to be billed to the client (materials over $20 require deposit), or having us do a local pickup of materials previously purchased by the client. Whatever method is chosen, provided it does not mean out of the way travel, the client is only ever be responsible for the actual cost of materials and never a pickup and delivery charge. We do our best to provide pricing that is fair to all, but there are some instances when the quoted flat rate or hourly total would no longer be appropriate. As a hypothetical, if an issue is encountered that will greatly change the time frame or scope for completion, i.e.; discovery that the entire house needs rewiring, we would stop work and discuss it with the client by whatever means available. We then lay out exactly what weve found and give the client the options available to them. In this hypothetical the possibilities could include continuing with a new estimate for the additional work of our rewiring the area of the project only, the client cancelling the contract to bring in a specialist, or suspend the contract until such time as the specialist has completed the additional work. If the original understanding is suspended or cancelled, the client would only ever be responsible for any purchased materials and labor to that point. You can rest assured that when doing business with us, there would never be an instance where a client is handed a bill for anything other than what has been agreed.
- What is your typical process for working with a new customer?The overall process differs somewhat between a project that is a simple repair, maintenance, or item assembly and that of a project that involves remodeling, painting or creating something, but the initial steps are the same. Typically our first step is to determine exactly what the client hopes to have as the end result of the project. For smaller projects and simple repairs that is often all that needs doing. For these types we can give an overall cost and day of availability nearly immediately via email or phone. For larger repairs, or remodeling projects, we have a process that while not immediate, we have found ensures customer satisfaction. With an idea of the client's requirements we often then do extensive research on the options available to them as far as things like materials, methods of repair or types of construction. With the options in hand we then schedule a walk-through of their home discussing the potential costs of the choices, whether the client wishes to provide materials or have us supply them, as well as the feasibility for different aspects of the project. For example; the possibility of putting a 65" tub a client had already purchased into a 60" space in their bathroom. At first blush it seems a no-brainer to simply tell them sorry, there is no way it's going to fit. However, by walking through the location we were able to give them exactly what they wanted. No, we didn't make 65" fit into a 60" space, but we were able to rework the bathroom layout to find the needed 65" for the bathtub they loved. After the walk through has given us an idea of the amount of time and what materials will be required for the project, we research the current cost of materials and approximate hours of labor involved to create and send the potential client an estimate of the project cost and our current schedule openings.
- What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?Listening to stories and seeing the results from my family members when I lived too far away to help them, one thing I've learned about the process of hiring outside help is to not just settle for the guy that says he's going to show up. Yes, the showing up to do the work is important, but the respect a worker shows your home while they are there is even more important. Some of the things heard about and/or seen as far as the way some of these men treated people's property; fully paid for but improperly constructed outside stairs, a chain smoking painter that worked maybe 4 hours a day - billing for set up and tear down time - also billing by the hour and taking 3 months to do a two week job, and a roofer leaving an unsupervised non-English speaking crew to pee in the bushes in spite of known access to an available bathroom. So my advice on hiring a provider is to consider that it doesn't take a man to do a good job, cheapest is not always the best. and to do more than just settle for the guy that will show up. Meet with people, and when they show up, go with your gut.