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Old 07-17-2008, 10:24 AM   #1
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


I hired a painter to paint the windows and trim on the exterior of my brick home. After seeing another job of his in the neighborhood, and talking with the home owner, I asked him for a quote. His quote was one of three quotes I received and his was in the middle and within $100.00 of the highest quote of $4,500.00, plus he was within days of finishing his current job and was to be available to start within a week. Well that week became 6 weeks before he showed up. I was disappointed but agreed to the delay as the other painters were also booked until late summer. On the first day he mentioned a couple of times he didn’t know how he was going to reach the higher portion of the gables and eaves, and leaves around 1 pm. Shows up the next morning, says he hopes his ladders will reach the eaves. Later asks if he can come through the house to get to the upstairs deck area instead of using his ladders. Since I’m home at the time I let him in. The previous day I told him to give me a call on his cell if he needs anything (like opening or closing windows from inside) while up on his ladder. Well he gets locked out on the deck and spends hour working but never calls to tell me and instead asks the tradesmen working on the house next door to let him down. He comes around to the front of the house where I’m working and starts telling me how furious he is with me for “intentionally” locking him on the deck. I apologize and tell him I had no intention for him to get locked out. At noon he packs up his ladders and leaves without saying anything else. I think it odd that he has taken his ladders with him but since he has left the screens off, left borrowed tools lying around, and his trash behind I assume he coming back. I email him later that evening with some additional paint color info. Three days later he emails me stating that he not coming back and that he wants me to send him a check payable to “cash” for the time he worked. Keep in mind his quote was for labor and materials for a completed job, not on an hourly basis. At this point I would rather not have him back to continue the job as I’ve lost faith in him, not to mention he said he is not coming back. What should I do at this point? How do I figure out a fair hourly rate for someone who’s walked off the job?

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Last edited by Aron in Toronto; 07-17-2008 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:17 PM   #2
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


did you have a contract with him or give him a down payment? Sounds like a shady contractor. I wouldn't pay him anything. He wants a check made out to "cash". sounds like he got in over his head and instead of being professional about it and talking to you he ran from the situation. Maybe send him a check for $50 bucks if you think what he did do is worth that but make the check out to the name of his company.

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Old 07-17-2008, 12:29 PM   #3
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Find a painter to finish the job. I wouldn't pay the scoundrel any more than his quote minus whatever the new guy charges. Maybe less for the need to find a replacement.

If he bid the job he should have known if he had the equipment and ambition to do the job. He obviously had neither.
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:20 PM   #4
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Thanks for the responses.
We had no written contract, only a written quote for the cost of the finished job that included an brief description of the work & an estimate for a time frame. I haven't given him any money yet. After asking him for an invoice of how he calculated his partial fee after quiting, he sent me a time worked total in which he inflated his hours and at the bottom of his invoice, with his company name on top, says to write check to cash.
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:59 PM   #5
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Did he get any work done while he was at your house? If it was me and he actually did get some work done i would send him a check for what i think he was worth, probably not much. If you do decide to send him a check MAKE IT PAYABLE TO HIS COMPANY not cash and write house painting or similar on the check for two reasons. One if this does turn into a bigger arguement, court or whatever but i doubt it will, you have a record of paying him for his work. two, he has to claim it as income if you make it out to his company, if you make it out to cash i think he can cash it and not claim that as income for work performed. also if he isn't a legit contractor with a tax id number and a business account he won't be able to cash it.
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:41 PM   #6
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Probably won't help you there, but...

Here I wouldn't pay him squat. The original quoted/verbal contract was for him to finish the job. Legally, in our "Right-To-Work" state, he has to finish to satisfy the contract and clean up his mess, or get someone else to do it for him. Take pictures of everywhere he has been and what has been done. Remember that you can HEAR a smile over the telephone and smile largely when you accept his offer to settle in court.

You probably don't want his disgruntled butt back, nor any of his buddies, so as previously stated - make out a check to his company for $50 or enough for a 12-pack of beer and include a box of tissues for him to cry in.

That's just not professional and pisses me off to hear that.
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:18 PM   #7
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Why do I get the feeling there's more to this story?
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:04 PM   #8
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Since he gave you no clear amount, roughly guess how much of a percentage on of agreed upon work he completed, and send him the same percentage of the total agreed upon cost, payable to his company. Whatever it is, it won't be enough for him, and might be too much for you. Lacking any further details, that's about as fair as you and he can get.
Next time, ENSURE YOU USE A CONTRACT! It protects you and the contractor.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:40 PM   #9
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Clutchcargo, I wish there were more to the story. But as I said earlier He was only two days into what he estimated to be a three week job, so I barely got to know him. When we did speak it was regarding color choices, or him pointing out areas that he didn’t include in his quote (repairing a rotten sill), I left the details to his expertise. There were never any confrontational or demanding conversations. When he expressed his concern for being able to reach the higher areas, I told him I’d offer to help if needed. He seemed friendly at first and I left him to his work, but that changed on the second day. He accused me of intentionally locking him out of the house so that in his words “he couldn’t steel anything”. This is after letting him know he was free to come in if he needed. I also told him to call me on his cell while on the job if needed. Perhaps he got in over his head and realized he’d need to rent taller ladders or bring on an assistant to spot him, thus cutting into his profits and he simply decided to cut his losses early on.

The reason for my post was to ask what others thought. It is my intent to pay him for his time, but as we had no previous agreement on an hourly rate, I'm hesitant to pay him the $38.50/hr that he determined after the fact. Calling other painters in the town, I seem to come up with hourly rates all over the place, starting around $25.00/hr. The work he did was prep work with rough sanding, initial patching and caulking. A little over a week later, some of the caulking has already come out as he didn't clean the surfaces first and caulked over areas of crumbling window glazing putty. I would consider what work he did do to be sub-par but I hadn't inspected his work prior to him leaving. He hasn't called since he left and has only contacted me through emails to inform me he isn't returning and requesting payment.
I also work on a contract basis and it is my goal to act professionally, even when dealing with demanding or unrealistic clients that I occasionally encounter, not that I feel I was ever demanding with him. If I quote a job to low or the client needs additional hand holding requiring more of my time I stick with it even when means cuts in my profits. Not that I’ve ever walked out on a job, but if I did I surly wouldn’t feel in the position to demand payment, let alone a check made out to “cash”.

Renovator, that’s the method I used to calculate his hourly rate also, and your right it’s more that I think he deserves. Live and learn, and move on to preserve a little sanity. Your right again, with the next painter we’ll have a pre agreed upon contract.
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:16 PM   #10
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Get LOTS of pictures of the "work" on a 5 mb+ camera. Go picture crazy...you can never have too many.

IF your side of the story is pretty much the way it is....screw that...tell him to contact your lawyer. I get so sick of hearing about these hacks, and it never ends.

Don't be a pushover, it sounds like you got screwed.

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Old 07-17-2008, 08:16 PM   #11
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


I'd suggest paying him the percentage of work done, from the agreed total price...payable to the company
The figure of $38.50 an hour would be about right for a licensed, insured, quality paint company

And always remember, a proper contract is the homeowner's friend
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:48 PM   #12
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What to do? Painter walks after 2 days.


Thanks for all the replys. It helps to put thing in perspective.

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