I am gathering estimates for a construction project. My house has a small covered porch on the front (about 14 inches above grade) with one normal height step down to the sidewalk. I want that porch extended with a small deck (about 5 x 6 feet) and several deep shallow steps added to make accessibility easier for my husband. Since it's on the front of the house I can't just bang something together like I did at the kitchen door to the garage.
Anyway, that's the kind of steps I want - deep but shallow (only 4" rise but 14" tread depth). It's kind of a no brainer if you actually know how to build stuff, like an actual carpenter
I called several deck companies and one told me to my face on the phone that it was too small a job for him to do - because, you see, his business was all the way over in Collegedale (that's sarcasm, folks, Collegedale is less than 10 miles away) and he didn't want to drive that far. The real reason, of course, being that it was a small job and he wouldn't be making his usual big bucks on it. so it was beneath him. I would say that a day's work is a day's work and if the construction industry is a depressed as everyone is saying, that's one more day he can pay his employees. But go figure.
Another one came out to measure and take pictures for an estimate and he wasn't here 5 minutes. No word so far from him and I'm betting that he doesn't call me back.
I ran into the same kind of problems when I remodeled my kitchen. I wasn't going to spend $50,000 on a kitchen redo like all the HGTV shows (not in a house like mine); it ended up costing about $17,000 for new cabinets, appliances, flooring, wallpaper, a few wiring changes, and labor. We're not talking a show kitchen, and I didn't change the layout. But the kitchen reno companies either wouldn't even talk to me when I described the job, wouldn't show up for the estimate appointment or never called me back after looking at the kitchen. I ended up hiring the father in law of a guy I worked with, and it took far too long to get the job done, although it was done well. A kitchen renovation company could have knocked it out in less than a week. But they weren't going to make big money off me so they weren't interested.
Consider, too, that I had to wait over two months for the house painters this spring because their work was backed up.
It's hard to take the complaints from the construction sector very seriously in this town when stuff like this happens. Other areas of the country - yes, they're hurting. But around here the housing market didn't take the hit that it did elsewhere. If they're turning down money I think they must be doing just fine here.