Originally Posted by LeeRobinson
Again...I don't have a dog in this fight...but...I agree with this...but would like to place emphasis on the underlined statement above.
I have seen many poor quality but expensive "pre-packaged" specialty items that were for dummies that had no ingenuity or knowledge as to how to make a superior product on their own.
So, while I don't build these things a hidden heavy duty plastic reservoir is still a hidden heavy duty plastic reservoir...and in terms of professionalism...I for one WOULD THINK it would be very professional for a quality builder to use substitute items that are of equal or superior quality but lower cost...IF (and only if) they also passed a significant portion of those savings onto the customer.
This way a customer can get a NICER unit for the same amount of money OR an equal unit for less money.
As long as quality doesn't suffer AND there is no dishonesty, then there is no lack of professionalism.
And here lies the problem. The vast majority of Water Feature projects that are piece-mealed together under the guise of saving money are usually: 1. Lacking in quality; 2. Are a way of padding the bottom line; 3. Are done by inexperienced contractors who overestimate their own knowledge and abilities; 4. All of the above.
A customer is entitled to a finished project that they are satisfied with aesthetically, that functions properly, that requires minimal maintenance, that can be expected to have a reasonable life span, and that is warrantied by the contractor, and fulfills their prior expectations.
I will cede the point that many potential customers have a misguided idea that Water Features are inexpensive. As a result, many cannot truly afford one.
This is why I have a problem when I hear "I can do that a lot cheaper" from a contractor. I immediately get an image in my mind of a less than ideal Water Feature done for a less than normal price that is going to exhibit major problems in a considerably less than expected time frame. I have demoed and rebuilt many of these bargain features for some very unhappy people. On the other hand, in the 15+ years that I have been in business, I have never had to rebuild a project that I originally installed.
Yes, I will improvise at times, but only when there is not a unit/module/part available that will fulfill the unique needs of a particular project.
I have seen so many 'trunk slammers' that take the money and run that anytime I hear someone mention 'doing it cheaper', the hair on the back of my neck stands up. This, I am sure, causes me to overreact unjustly in some cases. If this proves to be one of those cases, then I apologize in advance.