Someone, probably the first and rejected contractor has put my name on a list of people looking for contractors. I suspect the first one for several reasons, which I'll get to in a moment.
The first one to call claimed that I had called them. I should have just hung up on them, but I've talked to enough contractors recently that it's always possible that I did that. Over my better judgement (I was tired, ok?) I let them send a representative out. This wasn't too bad. He found the unit without help and seemed to listen. Well... he would power ahead and then realize that we'd said something different and then backtrack. The bid for the kitchen fell between the other two, which sounded reasonable.
The flooring estimate was much less, mostly because he was proposing a lower-grade of material. We're looking at engineered "longstrip", which has a plywood backing. This stuff has a pressed-wood backing and a very thin wear layer. He claims that it can be refinished twice, but I think that's a recoat, not a sand and refinish. A drum sander would shred this stuff very quickly. The pressed wood is also prone to warping — even the samples we saw were slightly warped.
The rep left his tape measure behind. When we called him, he claimed that he does it several times a month — I think it's a ploy to get asked back. Another thing... all three of the contractor representatives that we've talked to (that is, the ones that cold-called us) have had cologne issues. As in far, far too much.
Round 5 was another one calling from this "list." The call started with "Hi, this is Sarah from BlatCo." <pause> My response is a somewhat more polite (but not too polite) version of "Who the hell is BlatCo?" She then starts into the spiel about kitchen and flooring remodeling. I repeatedly told her I wasn't interested, saying "I don't take cold calls any longer." She didn't listen so I hung up on her. I heard a faint "... but this isn't a cold call..." before I hit the button. It may be a "warm" call to her, but it was unsolicited and I'm not taking those.
Of course, the story isn't over. She called back today, but this time, asking for my SO. That's why I think that the first contractor put the information on the list, since he's one of the few that has our name. Some of the callers also knew the parameters of our project (like the size of the flooring needed.) Needless to say, I was royally peeved by her ignoring my "don't call us" yesterday and the attempt to go around me to my SO. (Also her inability to tell the difference between a male and a female voice didn't help my attitude much.) She got chewed out a second time and I hope that she doesn't call back.
There's a round 6, too. Yet another one calling saying "I was talking to you last month." Maybe, but the timing is very suspicious. He got told that the project has been cancelled and won't be restarted. I'm not happy about lying but they'll keep calling until it's clear that they don't have the business.
Things must be really lean in the contracting business right now.
Round 7: The sub-contractor for Home Depot showed up to measure the kitchen. He was on time, professional and very detailed. He doesn't have to sell, so he can focus on the actual job. It was pleasant to work with him. Of course, this doesn't cover an estimate for the flooring, but apparently our deposit will cover measurement for that as well.
I'm leaning towards going with contractors who specialize in each area. Someone with "Kitchen and Bath" in their company name just isn't going to do the best job with the flooring, and I'd rather work with someone who isn't going to go outside of their expertise just to get the job. The sub from HD was very clear that they don't do general flooring. Good for him.