What the homeowner should expect regarding...

Billable time

Billable time starts when I walk in the door. First, we will talk about each project. Then, after assessing the requirements for each task and making a supply list, I'll make a run to pick up materials if necessary. I enjoy very much being prepared for anything once I get to a job, and I carry a LOT of things on my truck to avoid time-accruing trips to the store, but I can't carry everything, and I cannot eat the travel time to get parts and still provide the level of service my conscience demands I provide. Therefore, trips to and from the store are billable time. I do not take a "paid" lunch or "paid" breaks. Billable time ends when the homeowner and I finish discussing the completed job.

Homeowners picking up materials

Many homeowners believe they can save money by finding out from me what supplies are needed and by going to the store themselves while I work. That's fine as long as the following conditions are met:

(1) The homeowner is confident in picking up the right supplies. It's happened before where I've given detailed written instructions about picking up a particular supply, and the homeowner has returned with an incorrect product, even after two trips to the store. (I've never had a homeowner go back a third time. At that point they always tell me to go.)

(2) I'm confident the homeowner can pick up the right supplies. There may be situations when I will tactfully override the homeowner's suggestion to pick up materials, because most times, deciding which supplies to get is a dynamic process requiring the control of project variables. If the customer had this kind of understanding, they probably wouldn't need to hire me.

Extra costs

Any extra labor and material costs associated with an incorrect or defective homeowner-purchased product must be the responsibility of the homeowner, which may include travel time to and from the store. However, if I purchase the product and it winds up being wrong or defective, I will be responsible for extra labor costs, which includes travel time to and from the store. Similarly, if I make a materials run and later realize I forgot to pick up something that I ought to have known about, I will voluntarily take myself off the clock to go and get whatever it is I forgot, and I will inform the homeowner of my mistake. If I give the homeowner a materials list and something is missing from the list about which I should have known, likewise, I will take myself off the clock to secure the missing product or materials.

There can be other instances where I will credit time back to the customer, but suffice it to say that even at great expense to myself, I will do what I know is right. Some have said to me, "That's not fair to you!" That's correct, but it's right. "Fair" and "right" are not the same thing, and though I may not like it, I accept it. That's the only way, in my conscience before God, I can do business.

Material costs and invoicing

The cost of materials is not included in the labor rate and will be added to the cost of labor and trip charge (if there is a trip charge) to comprise the final bill. Personal checks are preferred. I do not accept credit cards. Once paid, a copy of the zero-balance invoice will be emailed via QuickBooks within 2 days or snail mailed within 7 days.

Work guarantee

For some work (like that involving installations of new devices, new fixtures, new appliances), I guarantee it for one year. For other work (like that involving certain kinds of repairs), I may not be able to put a time limit on the guarantee due to unaltered pre-existing conditions, but be it known that in all the years of doing this, only one customer has asked what my guarantee is. People have learned that I care about and take care of my customers, and one way I do that is by always standing behind my work.

Debris removal

On The Rock does not remove debris from the job site. I can bag debris and put it in the garage and even help carry old appliances to the garage, but I am not set up for debris removal.

General work habits

The homeowner can expect me to confirm an appointment by calling or texting the night before, usually between 7 and 9 pm. If I will be late even a few minutes, I will call or text the homeowner to notify them of an approximate arrival time.

I will not wear my boots in the home (except in the attic or crawl) unless I run drop clothes to the work area or the homeowner insists I leave them on (maybe because the carpeting is being replaced next week). I use "drops" around most finished work areas. Work areas will be broom swept clean or better unless an agreement is made otherwise.

If I have long pants on, I will most likely be wearing knee pads - and maybe if I have shorts on. I always wear ear protection either on my neck or in my ears, and I commonly wear a dust mask. I wear eye protection when operating certain power tools like table saws, routers, grinders and rotary tools.

I do not listen to music or the radio while I work. If a homeowner wants to play music or the radio for themselves, that's fine.

I will back my van into the driveway or parking space whenever possible to facilitate easier unloading and safer leaving.

Weekend and after hours work

I do not schedule Saturdays or Sundays, nor do I promise service 24/7, but if you are a regular customer and have emergency work, please give me a call at any time to see if I can help you.

Approximate project times

Seemingly identical projects can vary in the methods, techniques, tools and time required to complete them. Thus, estimating and especially quoting a job over the phone "site unseen" carries unacceptable risk for me. Seeing the job firsthand is better because it reduces the risk, but it doesn't eliminate it. (If homeowners emailed digital pictures to me, that might help, too.)

Therefore, potential customers must know that the following project times are not quotes; visible job site conditions as well as "little" surprises can dramatically increase these times.

Other factors can affect completion times. Duplicate tasks reduce setup and takedown time. An example would be replacing all the almond toggle wall switches and covers in the house with white Decora style switches and covers. Conversely, a greater distance from the work area to my van increases setup, takedown, and sometimes overall project time. An example would be attic work in a 2- or 3-story house with a low pitch, truss roof where the attic access is in a closet on the opposite side of the house from where the work area is and parking is in the alley.