Contractor Primer

OR . . . WHAT DO THEY REALLY MEAN?

CON-tractor Jargon….sometimes, lack of communication between a contractor or handyman and a homeowner is simply a lack of understanding on the part of the homeowner and not necessarily the fault of the worker. For instance, when a politician says “Trust me”, you know not to trust them. Handymen and workers are not politicians, but if your contractor says “Trust me” you would be wise to think of him (or her) as a politician. We’re not trying to say these people are liars. They simply have a different vocabulary.

First, there are a few rules. If you really want to join in the conversation, practice talking using the following guidelines:

Vague use of pronouns: “put it right to it” for instance, might mean, “apply a considerable amount of force to that fastener” or “make ‘er fit” might mean just about anything. The context is everything.

Excessive vulgarity: “S%#@**!! I Shoulda F#%@@*&% the G&%##@*& rafter ’til it f%#**&% squared up the mother%##@*&* beam!” Substituted for any part of speech. It adds credibility and emphasis.

Femininity of nouns: Usually refers to tools or building materials. “Set her down over there”, “She’s startin’ to loosen”, “Give her a tug!”, etc. And, it’s perfectly acceptable to drop the “h” when speaking; “Get ‘er done.”

Second-person voice: When two are working together, the ownership falls on the person receiving the commands, ie, “hold it to your line”; “give me your sheet”; “line it up with your stud.” That way, if anything goes wrong, it’s your fault.

Below, you’ll find some of the most
popular phrases contractors use.

They learn these things, we think, at contractor school. To make this easy, we’ve color coded the actual comments and meanings; Blue = What they say, and Red = What they REALLY mean. You might want to print this page so you can follow along when you have your conversations.

“I’LL BE HERE FIRST THING MONDAY MORNING”
“You’ll be lucky to see me before next Thursday . . . ” 

“I GET ALONG WELL WITH SUBCONTRACTORS”
“I don’t get along well with subcontractors”

Contractor Primer

“I HAVE EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LATEST TECHNIQUES”
“I read part of an article in a magazine last week” 

“I’LL ACTUALLY ENJOY DRIVING ALL THE WAY OUT HERE”
“Please, please give me the job, I haven’t worked for 6 months” 

“I DON’T CHARGE ANY MORE THAN ANY OTHER CONTRACTOR”
“I charge more than everyone I know”

“OH, NO PROBLEM. I CAN DO THAT”
“I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know how to fake it”

“PIECE ‘O CAKE”
“I generally do crumby work”

“I TAKE PRIDE IN EVERYTHING I DO”
“I take money for everything I do”

“YOU’LL REALLY LOVE THIS NEW LOOK”
“After you get my bill, you’ll have no choice”

“DON’T WORRY, I ALWAYS GET ‘ER DONE ON TIME”
“Worry”

“WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?”
“I need to know so I can work my formula; double it and add 50%”

“I HAVEN’T HAD A DISSATISFIED CUSTOMER”
“I haven’t had a dissatisfied customer this morning yet”

“CAN I BE HONEST WITH YOU?”
“Can I get you to buy another one?”

“HMMM . . . THIS IS MORE OF A JOB THAN I ORIGINALLY THOUGHT”
“I knew what I was getting into from the start, but now you can’t back out”

… for any questions, concerns or problems on a remodeling or landscaping project, just click the carpenter’s pencil above. We’ll get back to you within 48 hours with solutions or advice on where to get solutions.
We never charge for help or advice!.