Thursday, February 19, 2015
Had to Fire the "Engineer"
I am in the process of extending my little abode. My plan is to build a small store in front of the house, build a garage where I'll expand my little peso net business, build a room on top of the garage, renovate the kitchen and the bathroom. These and all are what keeps me busy these days.
I hired an "engineer" who lives just inside the subdivision. I thought he was really that good coz he said that he used to work in Guam for 25 years blah blah blah. Me being naive and all, I believed him. I guess I could relate because he used to be an OFW just like me, who took the risk and went home just like me. I think I got my first taste of a Filipino scammer.
I believed him coz he is currently working with an Australian inside the subdivision, he said he did the gate and all. I saw it was good, so I said yes.
His original asking price: Php 650,000 with materials; Php 170k labor without materials. I went with the labor because I really wanted to choose the materials and all. I went with 170k because my house really needs renovation, I wanted to change the stairs from wood to concrete, build a laundry room, install a water tank to name a few.
He asked for a deposit of Php 15,000. I asked my friend if that's the standard practice of an engineer here, if they usually ask for deposits. He said yes, and I gave it to him, let him signed and all that.
The other day, they started digging for the posts. That day, I don't know what got into me but I went to one of the officers of the subdivision and asked her about the measurement of my property. We started talking. She asked me who my contractor is. When I mentioned the engineer's name, she told me horror stories upon horror stories about him. I don't know if I'll call myself lucky or what, but I am darn thankful I heard those stories on the first day of his work with me.
One of the things the lady told me was that he doesn't pay his workers well. So I asked his workers if it's true. They were hesitant to tell me at first until I told them that they got to tell me the truth so I can make things right and/or do something about it. They told me the real story. I was shocked. How can someone take advantage of people who really work hard while him, he just stand there and nag at them all day... on why they work so slow and all. He isn't really a civil engineer, I feel like. He is so dependent with his construction foreman and I feel like he doesn't know a thing about construction. I also learned from that lady that he did the gate, but they had to hire someone else coz he didn't do it right, that the gate was sagging after 2 weeks, plus he was asking for money all the time.
After I learned that his workers weren't treated well by him, plus all the horrors stories I heard, I decided to fire him.
The next day, I stand my ground and told him that I cannot continue working with him. He looked so guilty and told me not to listen to rumors, that rumors are just rumors. I don't know why he get so defensive about it. (He learned through my Mom that I was talking to an officer of our subdivision. My Mom told me that after she told him, he seem panicky. My Mom never knew the rumors about him. When I arrived after I talked to that lady, she told me that the "engineer" seems worried when he learned that I was with that certain lady.)
If he is really a professional, he would have continue to come here and check his workers' work because he already took 15,000 from me, but he never did. He only came back to ask for another deal from me. I declined, of course.
Now, if his workers are really good with their work, I might hire them but not through him. The foreman, I heard, is not really educated that's why he has been taken advantage by that "engineer."
I don't know why but I feel like I got to be fair with the foreman and protect him and his workers. I know what it feels like to be in that level. I started in that level after all, though not with construction, you know what I mean.
The next day, the foreman talked to me in private. Thanking me profusely for giving voice to their concerns about the engineer.
I also overheard from the mouth of that "engineer" that he needs to collect Php 150 per worker for the ID ( subdivision's rule.) I was angry because it's only Php 50 per person, and him being the contractor should shoulder that ID thing not them! It's just common sense! I was really pissed, talagang kahit ang liit ng sweldo nila, tini-take advantage pa niya. UGH!
This, my friends, is my first taste of a Filipino scammer. A lesson learned indeed.