I feel that it's important to share both the good and the bad when it comes to making decisions involving the investment of large sums of money. And I feel this definitely needs to be shared since it relates to losing money to the company of Utmost due to the poor time and materials management, and frankly, a lack of dedication to the job; a harsh reality that my wife and I are dealing with regarding the unfinished work/contract that was abandoned.
Prior to choosing Jeff, we met with other contractors to compare costs and experience to help in making our decision. And in the end we chose him because at the time he told us that he would and could do everything that we had envisioned for the overhaul. Not long after the consultation, the contract was written and later signed by all necessary parties, and the project was scheduled to be underway. Something to consider before moving on, before we found this house and during/after the closing process, we had been living in a hotel because we decided that we didn't want to deal with the hassles of early termination contract issues with apartment living after our relocation to Florida, and we chose to remain at the hotel until the work at the house was finished, which Jeff originally promised would take approximately six weeks. However, we still gave him some leeway in time due to the size of the project.
After nine months down the road, the work by him remained unfinished. We ended up having to make the decision to move out of the hotel and into the construction zone that was our house, then FOUR months into the project, because we simply couldn’t afford two different sets of living costs. That, however, didn’t seem to motivate Jeff to work any faster. Sadly, he never seemed motivated to do anything more than talk. Even in the beginning when he did show up, I noticed early on that his typical start time was around mid-morning, yet he’d still end his day like he started first thing in the morning, usually around 5pm. This was a constant thing, yet I insisted that he start earlier, no matter what disruption it caused to my wife or me. But as time passed, the less we began to see of Jeff, to the point that one day that the work materials he usually kept onsite were noticed gone. That was in September, after we very hesitantly handed him the last payment, as he adamantly promised us that he was going to finish, leaving somewhere in the ballpark of 15%-20% of work left.
He remained unresponsive to our texts, which had been our primary form of contact, insisted originally by him, which was later backlashed to us both after we finally heard from him just recently, which was prompted in part by a conversation with our realtors after we advised them of the lack of progress. I found out from my wife, in tears, that Jeff had called her at work and yelled at her nonstop for 10 minutes because we made our realtors aware of this “situation”. Also, if you don't mind children doing the work that you assumed hired professionals would do, I suggest keeping that strongly in mind if you are still considering this company/family as your next contractor. If so, allow me to site an example; the experience in repainting of our patio deck is certainly indicative of the work of children - as are other projects throughout the house that either had to be touched up or redone. We have since hired help from companies who specialize in the area of work as Utmost, who have completed the remaining projects in a fraction of the time that I observed it would’ve taken Utmost, and they’ve since started new ones that are near completion, as well. This, I attribute to their staffs’ timeliness and professionalism.
Jeff also still owes us receipts for the entire project, something he said he would provide at the end, but he kept changing stories, telling us first that he didn't have them, then that he'd need to find them and deliver to us, or then again to just contact the credit card companies to have them sent to us. He also still has our master key, which we had planned to re-key our locks after the project, but he claimed that he put it with a large group of items that have since been moved and was not made known to us until after he finally became responsive again. Since these items were relocated over four months ago, it would be impossible to find now. So, it's either lost or he still has it, which now becomes a security issue along with theft, since it’s nowhere to be found. So now, we have the privilege of dealing with the manufacturer in hopes that they can help undo another one of Jeff's headaches.
And while Jeff did briefly return back to the picture, though not entrusted to complete anymore work, but rather an attempt by us to collect what he rightfully owed, he was extremely hostile and defensive, and never once apologetic or conveyed even the slightest bit of empathy over what he did, which was take our money and run. Naturally in hindsight, I kick myself for not going with our gut instinct to refuse last payment when he basically demanded it, with unfinished work left to be completed. But we still made good on the payment, with my wife in tears, pleading that he do the right thing and not leave the job undone. That was before he abandoned the contracted job with no response nor contact for over four months from him, until after we began attempting to follow up through other methods of communication, which then ballooned into what we discovered was his true self after a business connection possibly soured due to nothing more than our honesty regarding, putting it nicely, a company who lives by a poor work ethic. Please note that no detail has been embellished, as this has been that bad of an experience that I hope to prevent it from happening to as many people as possible from being robbed of time and money from this company going forward.