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Old 12-16-2010, 08:01 PM   #16
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


I only take on one job at a time also but jobs still overlap. Not all completion estimates and materials deliveries are in my control. So I don't always do what I originally discussed either. It just happens, unfortunately.

If you were trying to micro-manage one of my jobs and trying to threaten me with liquidated damages and tossing your lawyer at me I would tell you to take your job and shove it.

If you like his work, are happy with the results you have seen, and basically like the guy then you should take a look in the mirror. No one in the contracting business wants their jobs to run-over, it is costly and diminishes incomes and profits rapidly.

If he can't fund your job because he hasn't been paid on other jobs then maybe his front money asking from you was just not enough. If you are financing the job (and you are) then offer up what he needs to keep the ball rolling and get off his back.

If you wanted an employee punching a time clock you should have hired an employee to do hourly work so you could keep your knee in the middle of his back.

I doubt a lawyer is going to do anything but agree with you to your face then soak up your dollars behind the scenes doing nothing. Because you got nothing.

If a few delays are going to break you due to not being able to occupy the property as soon as you wished, maybe you couldn't afford to do the renovations to begin with.

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Old 12-16-2010, 09:49 PM   #17
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
I only take on one job at a time also but jobs still overlap. Not all completion estimates and materials deliveries are in my control. So I don't always do what I originally discussed either. It just happens, unfortunately.

If you were trying to micro-manage one of my jobs and trying to threaten me with liquidated damages and tossing your lawyer at me I would tell you to take your job and shove it.

If you like his work, are happy with the results you have seen, and basically like the guy then you should take a look in the mirror. No one in the contracting business wants their jobs to run-over, it is costly and diminishes incomes and profits rapidly.

If he can't fund your job because he hasn't been paid on other jobs then maybe his front money asking from you was just not enough. If you are financing the job (and you are) then offer up what he needs to keep the ball rolling and get off his back.

If you wanted an employee punching a time clock you should have hired an employee to do hourly work so you could keep your knee in the middle of his back.

I doubt a lawyer is going to do anything but agree with you to your face then soak up your dollars behind the scenes doing nothing. Because you got nothing.

If a few delays are going to break you due to not being able to occupy the property as soon as you wished, maybe you couldn't afford to do the renovations to begin with.
Dear Bud,

Thank you, but your comments are off-base.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:31 PM   #18
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


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Dear Bud,
Thank you, but your comments are off-base.
Says you?
No more off base than your earlier suggestions.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:34 PM   #19
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


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Says you?
No more off base than your earlier suggestions.
What you wouldn't take advice from the guy who tiled over carpet ??
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:13 AM   #20
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


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Hi folks,

I don't know what to do and would like to hear the perspective of other people in his business.
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Dear Bud,

Thank you, but your comments are off-base.
Look above Vinny...........

The OP asked for the opine of actual contractors, and that's exactly what Bud gave him, along with a few others.

The fact that you think an attorney is the best first course of action show's how far off-base your suggestions are.......................

And how can you call someone else a coward when you yourself seem so quick to "hide" behind legal representation???????? This really isn't that big of a deal, professionals run into much more complex situations on a regular basis, and running to a lawyer right away is a bit pre-mature IMO.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:44 PM   #21
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Look above Vinny...........

The OP asked for the opine of actual contractors, and that's exactly what Bud gave him, along with a few others.

The fact that you think an attorney is the best first course of action show's how far off-base your suggestions are.......................

And how can you call someone else a coward when you yourself seem so quick to "hide" behind legal representation???????? This really isn't that big of a deal, professionals run into much more complex situations on a regular basis, and running to a lawyer right away is a bit pre-mature IMO.
I Love Threats of Legal Action... Wonder if anyone else LOVES court as much as me.... I think I should have been a Lawyer!!! Maybe it is time to go back to college!! Here is how it would play out if this was me as the contractor when the papers were served or the threat came out.

If it was a Threat- "I am sorry I have a Master in Plumbing but, not Law so any further communications between you and me or any of my staff will need to go through your Lawyer." This will start to cost you a little $$. Especially when I continue to work until I am served.

Now when I am served... Not a problem at all... I hope you have all of your ducks in a row when you are hit with the following questions.
1- Did he tell you that he only does 1 job at a time? You would say yes!
2- Did you write up a contract? You would say Yes
3- Is this your signature on this contract? again yes
4- Are all of the important aspects of your Job written in the Contract? yes
5- Can you show me where the time line is written? no
6- If all of the important things are written I guess that was not important

Now question I will be asked
1- Was this your only contract? Yes I only take 1 Job at a time and I was scheduled to begin the next job in 2 months
2- Were you on schedule? Yes, I am a professional and just like some court cases take 15 minutes some take days... Especially when you are trying to do a Perfect Job so the Homeowners are Happy
3- So you do not feel if other contractors did the Job they would be able to have had the Job done by now? It is possible but I would not say if the work would be as good as mine. It is kind of like a Burger... You can go to McDonalds and have a Burger in 30 seconds or you can go to Chili's and wait 30 minutes... Sometimes quality is worth waiting for
4- Have you lost money since you were served? Yes as I said earlier I only work 1 job at a time and my next job was not scheduled for 2 months so I was unable to pick up another job that was only a 2 month job and that is why I an counter sueing for lost wages

Guess I should have said that with out a breach of contract I would counter sue for any loss wages since I only work 1 job at a time. I LOVE THE COURT SYSTEM!!!!!

Now why not grab your contractor and say from this point on we have a clean slate. How many hours will it take to finish this Job. Then in front of him write out his check for the day he said it would be done. Example he said 5 days from Now... I would write a check for next Friday and tell him the moment the work is done the check will be handed to him. Every day after that will prolong his money. I think he will get the job done
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:59 PM   #22
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


Being A Dale Carnegie fan, I would have to agree with the contractors that aggressive action is not prudent here. But I would like to point out that this contractor LIED; therefore, I would HOPE that those of you who backed up the wayward contractor don't also support LYING (not mistakes due to poor time management; LYING) about your progress. Keep in mind that we're dealing with an established liar, and keep everything documented.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:07 PM   #23
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


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Being A Dale Carnegie fan, I would have to agree with the contractors that aggressive action is not prudent here. But I would like to point out that this contractor LIED; therefore, I would HOPE that those of you who backed up the wayward contractor don't also support LYING (not mistakes due to poor time management; LYING) about your progress. Keep in mind that we're dealing with an established liar, and keep everything documented.

If the contractor lied then there are other problems and those need to be handled. I prefer to protect myself and that would me in this situation reeling in the leash and putting out a deadline.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:29 PM   #24
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


Around here, a contractor who tried Docwhitley's approach would get cut off at the knees in small claims court ($10,000 limit)- the judges have exactly zero patience with that sort of attitude.

That said, residential remodeling is a thankless business, and I'm glad to have been long out of it.
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Last edited by Michael Thomas; 12-17-2010 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:13 PM   #25
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Around here, a contractor who tried Docwhitley's approach would get cut off at the knees in small claims court ($10,000 limit)- the judges have exactly zero patience with it.
People say that all the time but, no matter where you are in the United States a Judge can only enforce what is written in the contract. Verbal discussions are typically thrown out if 1 person disagrees and states they never said that. I have not lost a single case that I have had to bring against people because I am confident in what my contracts state and if my contracts do not cover me... then I do not pursue it is court. The reason most contractors loose in a court of law is that they make it emotional. If you stick to the facts of the contract and object to everything that is not in the contract then the Judge has No way to use "zero Patience" with them. When I am in court the only questions that are allowed are the ones directly related to the contract. Failure to put a time frame into the contract opens up the following questions or statements

HO- The job was not done as quick as I thought it should be
Contractor- I am a pro that does this everyday and I am moving at a steady pace.

In this situation the contractor is considered the more knowledgeable person. It sucks for the Home owner but, it is the truth.

My contracts have specific dates that each part of the job will be completed and when the other contractors will need to have other parts completed. If another contractor is not finished their part and the HO or GC do not contact me and my plumbers go to the job as scheduled then I bill for 1 hour (I also do a follow up 3 days in advance). I find that having the time line completed keeps the jobs on track.

I also have flipped 26 houses and only 1 ran over the time frame. So I guess to me it is a tried a proven method all the way down to the checks. I even have gone as far for 1 contractor to write his 3 checks on the day we sign the contracts all dated for the specific dates... HE IS NEVER LATE!

The good part for both HO and Contractors is that Judges are paid to interpret and enforce the law and in disputes like this it all comes down to what was in the contract. I lost the final Payment on a job because the homeowner had "No smoking on the Property" written in the contract. My guy went out to his truck, which was in the driveway had lunch and a smoke. She caught him and fired us. In the contract it said violation of any of these rules will result in termination and forfeiture of all further payments. My argument was that The truck was mine. But the truck was on her property. I lost This and learned the lesson of contracts... I send her a Christmas card every year with the words Thank you
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:59 PM   #26
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How to deal with misbehaving contractor?


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People say that all the time but, no matter where you are in the United States a Judge can only enforce what is written in the contract. Verbal discussions are typically thrown out if 1 person disagrees and states they never said that. I have not lost a single case that I have had to bring against people because I am confident in what my contracts state and if my contracts do not cover me... then I do not pursue it is court. The reason most contractors loose in a court of law is that they make it emotional. If you stick to the facts of the contract and object to everything that is not in the contract then the Judge has No way to use "zero Patience" with them. When I am in court the only questions that are allowed are the ones directly related to the contract. Failure to put a time frame into the contract opens up the following questions or statements

HO- The job was not done as quick as I thought it should be
Contractor- I am a pro that does this everyday and I am moving at a steady pace.

In this situation the contractor is considered the more knowledgeable person. It sucks for the Home owner but, it is the truth.

My contracts have specific dates that each part of the job will be completed and when the other contractors will need to have other parts completed. If another contractor is not finished their part and the HO or GC do not contact me and my plumbers go to the job as scheduled then I bill for 1 hour (I also do a follow up 3 days in advance). I find that having the time line completed keeps the jobs on track.

I also have flipped 26 houses and only 1 ran over the time frame. So I guess to me it is a tried a proven method all the way down to the checks. I even have gone as far for 1 contractor to write his 3 checks on the day we sign the contracts all dated for the specific dates... HE IS NEVER LATE!

The good part for both HO and Contractors is that Judges are paid to interpret and enforce the law and in disputes like this it all comes down to what was in the contract. I lost the final Payment on a job because the homeowner had "No smoking on the Property" written in the contract. My guy went out to his truck, which was in the driveway had lunch and a smoke. She caught him and fired us. In the contract it said violation of any of these rules will result in termination and forfeiture of all further payments. My argument was that The truck was mine. But the truck was on her property. I lost This and learned the lesson of contracts... I send her a Christmas card every year with the words Thank you
If you show up in small claims court in Cook County, and attempt to claim (to take an example from the post to which I was responding) that because there was no completion date stated in he contract that you do not have to complete the work in a timely manner, you will get your ears boxed.
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:26 PM   #27
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If you show up in small claims court in Cook County, and attempt to claim (to take an example from the post to which I was responding) that because there was no completion date stated in he contract that you do not have to complete the work in a timely manner, you will get your ears boxed.
Read back again Mike... With out a Time Line stated then the time line is up to interpretation. As long as the Contractor states that He felt he was moving at a steady pace and that his work is not failing inspections meaning he is doing the work at or above code then the courts would not have any grounds to find against him. Contracts are there to protect BOTH parties. Now it would be no different then if he rushed through the job to complete it and he finished early but had a 1000 mistakes. It would not matter that he finished early just that he did not complete the job as described in the contract. How about this one if you want to argue that point. I have 3 Jobs that total $111590 that I have done the rough in work and had my inspection but the owners have fallen short on money because of the economy... As a Contractor Should I be able to sue them for failure to complete the Job in a timely manner? I mean they are only holding $22000 of my money... I also will state that if they complete the work on my Permit they will need to pay me the full amount plus it voids all of my warranties.

Please understand I have 20 trucks on the road EVERY day for 8-12 hours a day and I also run many Jobs so I am not the typical 1 man operation that shows up to court not knowing what to say or do. I do not loose money when I go to court so i am very methodical. I have 2 Degrees and Choose Plumbing as a Career when my brother needed some help. When he got his Masters License I opened Business and worked under his till I got my license. I now handle all of the Business portion which includes all of the legal issues.

Again to the OP I say grab the contractor a make a time line. It is the only way you will have a chance in Court.
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:40 PM   #28
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I just was talking to a co worker and he said "Is that similar to what happened to Jim?"

So other scenario... But I will start by saying CONTRACTOR IS A JERK FOR THIS ONE!

Homeowner hired all Subs so when she fired on he waited till the work was almost complete on the house and filed a Lien on the house. We were brought in to repair his work and complete it. 6 months later the HO was still unable to get a Use and Occupancy Permit BECAUSE OF THE LIEN! House is complete but, no one can live there. I heard she is settling him for half of the remaining amount which was like 2000 but she has been paying 6 months of rent!!!
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:12 PM   #29
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If you think that "once or twice a week, and then for only half a day!" is "a steady pace" when the project is already months behind schedule, then please let me know the name of your firm and all your subs so that I can make sure I don't accidentally hire you.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:58 PM   #30
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Surprises me that a guy in pursuit of and receiving "TWO DEGREES" obviously never took a course in spelling or English grammar. Also surprises me that a guy is comfortable with being a defendant and going to court routinely.

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