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 Dear Andy,

     It has long been a practice of mine to contact contractors and various service men that have done work for us on our residence.  In your case we both felt that you did an excellent job for us.  You were neat on time and followed all of the guide lines set down in our contract with you.  Your time line was right on and our shut down time was very reasonable.  Since I am retired I had the opportunity to be a “Sidewalk Superintendent” during the installation of the grinder pump and all related work connected with the sewer project.  You gave freely of your time to explain the “whys and hows” of how a system like this works and also what I as the home owner needed to know.
     We were also very pleased with the work of your two sub-contractors: Meyers Electric and Krischan Plumbing...all of there work was inside and done in a very neat, clean and timely fashion.
      I must admit I did not look ahead to this operation as I foresaw all kinds problems, time lines and inconveniences I should have listened to the Old Chinese Proverb..” He who foresees Disaster, experiences it twice”... there was none....it came off like clockwork.
     After the project was completed and all the necessary paper work was finished I was left with the feeling that if a problem should arise..help was just a phone call away...

Chuck & Gerrie Hocking

37127 Valley Road
Oconomowoc, WI 53066


There’s more to this than the low cost bid.

     In June, 2002 the street mains for the Nemahbin sewer project were completed and individual laterals could be connected.  The neighborhood was besieged by sewer contractors.   A favorite tactic is to enlist a neighbor for a kickback to sing the praises of a contractor they know nothing about.  The line goes, “If we sign 10 to 20 people we all get a rebate”.  One year later the contractor is long gone and the checks never came.

     Since my septic system was working perfectly, I decided to wait and watch.  I recently retired from a position in which I was responsible for building and machine maintenance and procurement for over 25 years.  Since I knew that I knew nothing about sewer systems and installation, I needed to get educated.  However, I did know a great deal about separating undesirable contractors from reputable ones.

     After a year, I now know about all there is to know technically.  I was ready to bid the job out.  The majority of my neighbors had their systems installed during the preceding year.  Nearly all went with the lowest bid.  None were completely satisfied.  Some were furious and at least one is probably headed to court.  Some things on my do list:

      Be there.  Questions always come up.  The low cost bidder has really cut it close.  When left up to him he will make a least cost decision.  One neighbor ended up with the grinder pump in his driveway.  It’s still there.

     If you want to save your lawn go with a contractor that has rubber tracked equipment not wheeled equipment.  One neighbor had a rubber tired front end loader buried to the axles.  He has estimated it is going to take 20 yards of topsoil to fix.  He pays.

     Check the solvency of your contractor.  Some don’t pay their subcontractors (boring,  electricians, plumbers, etc.).  Some people found out when they were served lien papers.  Get lien waivers if in doubt.

     There is no need for mounds of rock and sand at the end of the job.  “Sprinkle it with water and it will level” isn’t rough grading.  A reputable contractor will separate your topsoil from the subsoil.  Some will use tarp.  Some can actually move the fill back into the hole and leave the grass intact.  A compacting device will level the hole.

     “It’s impossible for sewage to back up into your basement.”  Ask the guy that got 4 inches of the nasty stuff in his basement.  A questionable installation and an inept contractor can be a disaster.
     Ask for references.  A reputable contractor can provide 5 to 10 references for you to call.  Should be for similar work. Make sure your contractor explains how the system and it’s alarm works.  Insist that he actually tests it.  Hard to believe but several people had alarms because their system was turned on, never tested and didn’t work.

     Promises, promises.  A grandmother watched her 2 x 4 slab sidewalk end up in the bottom of the trench.  The contractor promised the son the slabs would be saved.  Another person lost 30' of flagstone walk after being told the stones would be stacked on the side.  Also he was left with mounds of sand and stone.  Rough graded said the contractor.  Neither were reimbursed.  Neither owner was there to oversee and both were low bidders who had to get in and out to make out.

     I bid the job to four contractors that passed the smile test.  One wouldn’t bid unless he knew what the other bids were.  I consider this unethical and eliminated him.  One wouldn’t bid.  I think I scared him off with the detail that I wanted.

     The two bids I accepted were within 10%.  I didn’t play the game of trying to bargain them down a few hundred dollars.  Contractors can make this up by charging “extras” that are excluded in the contract or for changes you want to make along the way.  Instead, I got them to agree to pick up the first $500.00 of “extras”.  That way there is none.  I picked the high bidder because of his history and knowledge and was very satisfied.  The contractor I chose was: ANDREW HUSS (AREA SEPTIC INSTALLATION INC.), W331 N4544 EMLEY  DRIVE, NASHOTAH, WI 53058, Telephone: 262-367-6448, Fax: 262-367-6448.

Bill James

Town of Summit

W331 N4544 Emley Dr
 Nashotah, WI 53058
(262) 367-6448