Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm trying to build this tiny house with no debt. This is a very tall order.

One contractor made me feel like an idiot; every other sentence out of his mouth started with "I don't want to scare you but...". He wouldn't give me an estimate for framing the cottage. Instead he wanted to know my whole budget up front. I didn't want to explain my nebulous idea of a budget.  That's like asking someone what their budget is for raising their kid. I don't know, and I don't want to know. Just tell me how much for the framing/concrete/orthodontia/eyeglasses, for cripes sake.

Don't lecture me about all the stupid women you've had to deal with who want you to build a palace with a measly $300k. I know, I know. Women with loads of money and no sense. Clearly I am not one of those. (Rich, I mean.)

I've had just about all I can take. It's been a really strange few days -- suddenly I had no less than 3 different men in random situations talk to me with pure rudeness & condescension, as if all the stars aligned and every a**hole with an office decided he needed to put me in my place.

It's funny. Since I've been divorced for 3 years I had forgotten what that feels like.

(and here's the moment in my whining where I realize -- I've actually forgotten what it feels like to have daily interactions with a guy who sneers at me... silver lining! woot!)
Posted by Katy On 10:20 PM 16 comments


  1. You probably didn't mean for this to be funny, however I so relate that I just had to chuckle. Hugs, Marty

  2. Fire back - sounds like you need to find the kind of contractor that is like your boss - someone who treats you with respect. In the mean time tell those losers to take a hike.

  3. They want to know what your budget is so that they can be sure to take every penny! You will find one that you can trust, but you may have to weed through a lot of jerks first. Good luck!

  4. Agghhhhhh. I get that at the auto parts store when I need a part. They will ask me what size engine I have when I need brake After I tell them what size engine and tell them that it has no relevance, they very snottily give me the parts. I am not kidding! They do it to belittle. I think men who do this are compensating. *snicker snicker*.

  5. Working with men like this is actually a lot like raising kids. I always say something like "I'm sorry, maybe I wasn't making myself clear...", in a tone that makes it absolutely clear that I was making myself clear, and then end with "When you get that get back to me" because my time is more valuable than you think. Just remember when it's your money, you get what you want or you go somewhere else! Also, your beach house is going to be amazing ... and all yours!

  6. ^------ what Becky, said. You just need to find the right one.

  7. So sorry.....
    no one deserves to be treated that way...! Remember they will be working for YOU and not you for THEM. If they can't understand the concept of RESPECT...someone else will. Never settle for less and never put all your cards on the table ( or is that shoot first ask questions later?) :-)Have a great day!

  8. Tell them to take a hike. Your budget has nothing to do with their ability to do their jobs. Sorry that you are going to have to go through a bunch of jerks to find someone good. I had a leak in my roof that took me 5 roofers before I found one I liked. Honestly one guy looked out my bathroom window at the roof in question and informed me that I needed a whole new roof. Turns out it was my neighbors gutter that was causing the problem and guy number 5 found the problem. Let me climb his ladder up to see what he was talking about. I was to grateful I paid him to fix the neighbors gutter, that and the neighbor had just lost his job and the job was a cheap fix.

  9. Ummmm, they need to know YOUR budget before they can give you a framing estimate? What does one have to do with the other? Do you need to give them your annual salary and debts too? How much does it cost. period. How infuriating. I agree, keep on lookin'.

  10. I'm a fairly new reader of your blog. I think I saw where you are in either north or south Carolina. Im assuming that it's kind of like Tennessee where I currently live. The older men here are very condescending to women when discussing any kind of constructrion or mechanical work. I'm originally from Indiana and had never been treated that way before. I now try to only work with younger men or those that moved into the area.

  11. Diane -- interesting. I'm from OH and I have just noticed the same thing. Every young guy that I call for a quote is totally cool. But every older "Southern" man has been a complete jerk.

    I am going to stick with the younger guys and see how it goes!

  12. Have you looked into building your own house using cob or straw bales? It can be more labour intensive but loads cheaper!

    And I agree with the above comments about older men being the assholes. I've met so many older (and a few younger) men who are so intimidated by smart women who are confident and not giggly/cutesy/stupid.

  13. Katy - I've wanted to buy/build my own home for as long as I can remember (I just can't afford it yet) and your beach house has inspired me to look harder/be more creative.

    Sorry to hear about the jerks. Hope the young guys work out better.

    Just a thought - have you considered some sort of temporary solution until you can save up for your dream beach house?


  14. AJ - I thought about getting a camper but I hate camping ;)

    Caralyn - I have to build according to local and federal regulations. Building a house on a barrier island in hurricane alley means you don't have the freedom to pursue anything made with hay bales. Someday, maybe. Next project ;)

  15. Good contracting guys are out there, it just takes women a while to find the gems. I speak from similar experience. When you do find one, you'll be happy you didn't settle for some coot who is threatened by a woman with common sense who doesn't hang on their every word :}. Joanie.

  16. Your post made me smile. I went through a few different architects until I found one who didn't laugh at me. So rude! He drew the plans according to what I told him I wanted. My design, his professional input. We plan to pay as we go. Whenever I start feeling like it's hopeless, I call him and he gives me the encouragement I need. It can be done. He also let us pay him over a period of time. I hope you find someone like our guy. Good luck to you!


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For many years I was a mechanical engineer by day, a house renovator by night, and a single mom. I previously built a tiny house on Tybee Island that I sold in 2015. Then I lost my day job, met Prince Charming, and now work full time demolishing (fixing) his lake house. ;) Stop by for the house stuff, stay for the never-ending disasters, pianos falling out of the sky, floods, threats of financial ruin, & panic attacks. It's like house flipping meets the zombie apocalypse! with lots of kids!

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