I had to hold accountable a sheetrock guy the other day because he spent money advanced for a job on his personal bills instead of the job. Then he whined and complained when I temporarily fired him and refused to advance further funds.
There is a process I follow when holding others accountable to the agreements they made and this guy seemed truly stunned at my response to his request for more money, as if everyone else in his life tolerates and accepts his lack of integrity and his lame excuses.
I went to the job site, which happens to be my Mother’s garage, Saturday to see for myself the situation being described by him as a problem. We are replacing all the sheetrock in my Mom’s garage ceiling because the old sheetrock had started falling down in chunks and I decided it would be best to redo the entire ceiling rather than try to patch it back together. My Mom hired a guy out of the Christian Yellow Pages and signed a contract stating 1/3 payment up front and the remainder upon completion.
It turns out the 2×4 ceiling joists across the width of the garage were butted together with another short 2×4 scabbed across the top of the butt joint and the three pieces were joined with a nail plate. This is a structurally poor setup and the joists were sagging at the butt joints (which no doubt contributed to the original sheetrock falling down). We got a carpenter to come look and all agreed that we needed to marry some new 2x6x12 joists to the original 2x4s which would eliminate the sagging and provide a solid, stable and level ceiling structure upon which to install the new sheetrock.
The carpenter said he’d install the joists for $300 plus materials. I agreed and I wrote a check for $500 to the sheetrock guy, from which he was to pay the carpenter and retain a small $200 advance due to this being the second delay caused by unexpected framing issues.
Monday morning the sheetrock guy called me to ask if I was going to be able to come over and write a check to give the carpenter. “Oh great”, I thought. “He is one of those kind of contractors”.
I had had my suspicions because on my two earlier encounters with him he made multiple mentions of how good and honest he is, and that he’s a Christian. Listening to him, I detected neediness, false pride, insecurity and desire for approval, which is often a red flag indicating incompetence. And nothing against Christians, but my past experience tells me that people who throw their faith out there as some sort of advance guaranty, intending it to be pre-validation of their integrity, often turn out to be unreliable and flaky. Fact is, some of the best and most skilled contractors I’ve ever known were foul mouthed smokers who drank too much and lacked any pretentiousness.
So, would this sheetrock guy validate my judgments of him? Here is how the conversation went: