some thoughts from Dozer
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Peter M Remodel and Contractor Problems

from Peter M On the homefront, I’m getting frustrated with my workers. I’ve set a very decent deadline for the work at Mar.30 and they seem to be coming up with all these jobs outside the contract that doesn’t have priority…like painting and handrails. As with most jobs, the contractor quotes a ridiculous price and than after I haggle it gets reduce to half the price. Finally, the issue of electrical came up, and I had an electrician to come in and quote for the electrical work. I really want a specialist to do it for obvious reasons. Should I feel bad about having people come in to quote for jobs outside the initial work contract?

editor: One thing you must come to realize is that Thai’s view us as good and generous with never ending amounts of money. I’ve caught (or been caught!) in a number of situations with contractors and other Thai professionals where they try to ‘pull’ something that they would never think of trying in a million years with another Thai. Not because they ‘are out to get’ farangs — just because we normally give in and come up with the extra money. Of course it is even more true in Pattaya, which attracts a bevy of scam artists (both Thai and falang).

editor: One thing I remember being stated by Robin T is this: better to hold yourself out from the beginning of the project as rather aloof professional, just like a Chinese Thai businessman might. Don’t be the happy go-lucky farang who gives in too easily and is always so helpful.

Specifically, if your contract is coming up with new work that should be covered in the contract I would be upset. Good work on getting the ridiculous bids cut in half, but don’t worry about letting them know you’re not pleased. Notice I say ‘not pleased’. Getting red faced pissed off here is not beneficial. But unyielding dissatisfaction is.

One other thing is to make sure that your s.o (significant other) agrees 100% before she starts explaining it to them.

Previous Peter M post can be found at this link.


  1. Hi Dozer:

    Thanks for the advice. Well, it looks like things are into the last leg of the contract. I did get angry and had my thai friend with me when I met the contractor who had only three workers on site for more than 10 days with the infamous Mar. deadline approaching. Finally, I told him that there was not another satang to be had unless he finished the work to my 100% satisfaction, be at the site EVERY DAY to monitor the work and everything has to happen on time. Comments such as “…drywall does not include the taping and putty cementing…”did not go down well on my end and I insisted that it DID and had to be done. I spent many college summers doing it and know very well that it doesn’t fall into the world of painting.

    But your right, without slamming this beautiful culture, its not good to be TOO friendly. And yes, the Thai Chinese Businessman aloof thing is definitely the way to go, even if it goes against the grain of one’s happy go lucky disposition. In the end, we can show our kindness with bonuses, if infact the work warrants it. Right now, I’m less than 50% happy with the experience.

  2. once again, if you had done a detail design at the outset and broken everything down into small work packages, you can set out a schedule a paytments based on satisfactory completion of said packages. its also easy to change out your contractor at any point along these line. he also cant deviate from the construction plan at his whim and fancy

    there seems to be some in built idea that these guys can do what they want

    they know damn well that, if they have worked overseas, as many of them have and its where they got their skills, they have to follow exactly what the boss says or they are runwayed, no nosense there, so why let them expect to take the ps here. i started off being soft but now im hard as nails. it doesnt cause any undue problem, because they mostly just resign them selves to taking orders (or not – in which case you dont want them anyway). remember you are the boss you have the power and the money

    but of course if you just sit back and let them do their own thing then you get what you deserve

    I have acquire a small team of very competant and willing guys. I pay them a bit over the odds but they a re industrious and trustworthy, we all know where we stand and we work together happily

    if any one wants to hire them out , it can be arranged, but you will have to pay for their travel and accommodation on top of course.

  3. easy to change out your contractor at any point — in theory yes, but in general not practical. I think once the original contractors are booted off a project and new contractors brought in, things always go poorly from then on. The new contractors will always want to ‘start over’ and redo everything. Maybe this is just human nature. advice = Choose the initial contractors with great care.

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