Either they're too expensive or they run off with your money. Those are the two comments I usually associate with contractors. Uh, so why did we hire one?
Well, the main reason is that the only two carpenters we know are busy with other projects. And, since there's a lot of work to be done on the house (i.e. painting, tiling, plumbing, etc.) plus the fact that we won't be able to oversee the work ourselves, we decided hiring someone to take care of everything was our best bet.
As with the electrical (which you can read here and here), I turned to the people from the facilities department at work and checked with the chat group I belong to for suggestions.
Edwin, the facilities manager, suggested Rabacon Construction which does a lot of jobs for our office. He said that their work is okay and they charge reasonably. Now, expensive depends on thy perspective but I know Edwin so if he said they were reasonable, I could trust that to be true.
His other recommendation was Wilfred Daze Construction Corporation (WDCC) as they were the ones who built his house. They too do construction work for the office so like Rabacon, I'm assured that our money will be safe. (You see, the office will not pay a supplier unless they've provided documents to prove they're a legitimate business entity.) Unfortunately, they are rather busy with a number of projects at the moment.
Patrick, also from the facilities department, recommended WDCC as well along with New Accurate Builders Company Inc. (NABCI). But when I called the owner of NABCI, Mr. Ramon Luis, he (more or less) brushed me off by telling me that their rates might be too high for our budget. When I mentioned that we already have a quote from Rabacon, he commented that Rabacon was expensive. My reply? They're okay.
One suggestion from the chat group (thanks Marj!) was Christine Dado of Maven Architects Studio. I met with Christine who turned out to be the first cousin of my high school classmate. She was really nice and we did so want to work with her but the contractor she's affiliated with was more expensive than Rabacon. We've decided to hire her for the architectural drawings instead.
We also received referrals from Erlaine (another chat group member and our Avida neighbor) but we were already pretty much decided on Rabacon. I guess what won me over was that Maricel Garcia, Rabacon's operations manager, is also an interior designer.