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During an unrelated email exchange last week, Manhattan general contractor and BrickUnderground expert Jeff Streich of Prime Renovations seemed unusually harried. It turned out that he had lost half a day to a shower curtain rod. We thought his slice-of-life account below was worth posting as a reminder to current (or future) renovators about how frustrating life can be on the other side of the checkbook--and how a $100 shower curtain rod can actually be a bargain, all things considered.
I just finished a project for someone in a high-end building who is going to rent out their apartment. The designer asks me to install a shower curtain rod and the following takes place:
- I am downtown and the apartment is uptown but it's move-in day for the new renter.
- I have one of my workers with me and decide to bring him along so it would be quicker, parking and all.
- I arrive at Home Depot on 23rd street and pull up to the curb. A police officer tells me to move, now I have to park in the garage ($14.00).
- We run into Home Depot and after about ten minutes find the rod. We go to self checkout. It is broken. We go to another self checkout and that's broken too.
- We wait on line and pay ($12.99).
- We leave the store and wait for the traffic to cross the street.
- Can't find the garage guy. Three minutes go by. There he is.
- Credit card machine is not working. We pay cash.
- We proceed on Sixth Avenue. Traffic.
- Finally, we get to 57th Street, where the project is.
- I go to get the key. They can't find it. Oh--there it is (5 minutes).
- Service elevator (6 minutes).
- Get upstairs, wrong key, wait for elevator (4 minutes, get new key, wait for elevator 5 minutes).
- Get inside the apartment, and install rod (2 minutes).
- Leave and get to next job.
Bottom line: This is what we have to deal with as well as why sometimes we have to charge a price for something that seems like it will take two minutes. Nothing in the city takes two minutes. Something so easy as to purchase and install a shower rod cost me most of a morning and about $150-$200.00 in time. I charged the client $100 because it seems crazy to charge more than that. If it was in the scope of the project I probably wouldn't have charged anything for it, but this is something the designer of the project forgot about until after I was done, so that's the way it goes.