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When to walk away?

This topic contains 36 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  CB 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #647136

    My customer had a leak under her concrete foundation which was under two bathrooms, guest/master baths. I had to take out everything in both bathrooms, drill holes in 6″ concrete foundation to find the leaks, and fix the leaks. They decided (after contract was signed) to add on tile not only on the floors but also the walls, and showers, a niche and seat in both showers. Move the wall separating both bathrooms in about 3″, which caused us to also move both the toilets over 2″. We agreed to do so, but he never signed the contract with all the extra’s on. We have finished everything. Now that the job is almost over, Tile on floors, walls and showers, toilets, vanities, sinks, cabinets, mirrors are all finished and plumbed. He paid me for the tile so I could pay my tile guy. He told the tile guy that they loved everything. Then they added a drop ceiling with LED lighting all around the edges. Once we was done with the lighting, they come in and put a pencil mark around 32 tiles on the walls and in the showers for us to replace because they was no longer happy with them. The day before they marked all the tiles they no longer liked, they told me they could only give me $1000.00 on my drawl because they was out of money because they paid all the other contractors they had doing other things and now had to wait on the insurance check to arrive. I am not happy about replacing the 32 tiles I don’t even see anything wrong with them, there is one the the caulk was thinner on one end than the other. I mean nit picky stuff. As soon as I walked in the other day they told me about the tile and that the LED lighting was showing and they didn’t like it (I did it exactly how they said they wanted it, and told them the light would be showing) but I agreed to change it to make them happy. I sent one of my workers over there yesterday and get a text tonight saying “I do not light the ceiling, it looks horrible” I haven’t seen it for my self yet, but It looked fine before we had to re-fix it to their liking. I am really thinking this customer is out of money and nit picking my work because he doesn’t want to pay. He has ok’ed everything that I have done and both him and his wife has LOVED the work up until they “ran out of money” What would you do?

    #647137

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Have a sit down with them and get your paperwork in order. go over the Punch list and decide on a value and when everything else is paid, then do the punch list. I would get the list in writing so nothing can be added and have the final funds held in trust by an attorney.

    Been there and it was an expensive mistake not having all the paperwork done properly up front.

    #647150

    I just looked over the contract that he signed and the one that he didn’t with all the add on’s. Everything on both of them has been completed. I’ve decided to take both contracts with me tomorrow. My tile guy is meeting me there tomorrow. We will go over all the stuff that they are not happy with, and everything that is on both contracts. I’m going to do a walk thru on both bathrooms and have him sign off on everything that he has been happy with. Then I am going to ask to be paid in full for everything that he approves, before I go any further with repairs. He has already paid me for the tile work, so I don’t feel like he has a right to hold my money that is owed to me now for all the other work I have finished. I don’t care to fix a few tiles but I am not replacing the ones that I feel like is NOTHING wrong with them. I mean even the ones I will be replacing does not look bad, but I will do a few just to keep them happy.

    #647158

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    What is your policy on change orders? Specifically pertaining to paying for the changes…

    Personally, I take 100% payment for change orders up front before the work starts for the reasons you’ve outlined above. I got royally screwed a couple years back by a guy who kept asking me to do extra things, or complete part of a job that had been deemed “someone else’s” part in the beginning. In order to keep things moving and get to the next draw, I reluctantly agreed. In the end, I got about a third of what I asked for the changes (no paperwork!).

    I mean even the ones I will be replacing does not look bad, but I will do a few just to keep them happy.

    Bad idea IMO. If there really isn’t anything wrong, giving in to the homeowner will just make them ask for even more based on the type of person you’ve described.

    I would seriously consider stopping all work and sending them lien notice paperwork.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #647160

    I did not have any specifications in the contract for changing things. Yes, my mistake that will NOT happen again! I guess you live and you learn as you go in this business. I did see 4 that needed to be replaced. The thing is, They have already ok’ed the tile and paid me for it. I feel like if they wasn’t happy with the tile, now is not the time to be saying replace them. This should’ve happened BEFORE the cabinets, toilets, vanities, mirrors and such have been installed.

    #647161

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I feel like if they wasn’t happy with the tile, now is not the time to be saying replace them. This should’ve happened BEFORE the cabinets, toilets, vanities, mirrors and such have been installed.

    Agreed. I would bring that very thing up when you meet with them. Replace the 4 tiles and move on. If they aren’t paying immediately, its time to go elsewhere.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #647164

    What is your policy on change orders? Specifically pertaining to paying for the changes…

    Personally, I take 100% payment for change orders up front before the work starts for the reasons you’ve outlined above. I got royally screwed a couple years back by a guy who kept asking me to do extra things, or complete part of a job that had been deemed “someone else’s” part in the beginning. In order to keep things moving and get to the next draw, I reluctantly agreed. In the end, I got about a third of what I asked for the changes (no paperwork!).

    I mean even the ones I will be replacing does not look bad, but I will do a few just to keep them happy.

    Bad idea IMO. If there really isn’t anything wrong, giving in to the homeowner will just make them ask for even more based on the type of person you’ve described.

    I would seriously consider stopping all work and sending them lien notice paperwork.

    I’m right there with you on being payed 100% on change orders .

    Always willing to learn .

    #647293

    The few jobs I’ve done have been 50% in advance on change orders, 50% on delivery of change order task (not overall job) and price contains a 25% contingency (task level) that is part of the 50/50 – So I end up getting a bit extra up front, and a smaller second payment.

    The contingency is there in case the change touches anything else I didn’t anticipate, since a change decision is usually thought through more quickly than the overall job initially is.

    #647323

    Outcome of today: When we walked in this morning there was several more tiles marked on the walls to be replaced (34 tiles in one bathroom) We talked to the customer, My tile guy explained everything is not going to be 100 perfect with not having squared walls. They was very happy with how he explained things and the tile guy talked them from 46 tiles that they had marked to be replaced to 2 tiles. He will be back on Wednesday to replace the 2 tiles (well one is really just filing down a small piece and re-grouting it to make the grout line more even. The drop ceiling that he was complaining about, wasn’t finished, when we finished it today with tape and mud, he was VERY happy with it. Still didn’t get paid today, We are going to sit down in the morning and talk about how much he owes me. Wish me luck that I actually get paid. 🙁

    #647334

    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    Outcome of today: When we walked in this morning there was several more tiles marked on the walls to be replaced (34 tiles in one bathroom) We talked to the customer, My tile guy explained everything is not going to be 100 perfect with not having squared walls. They was very happy with how he explained things and the tile guy talked them from 46 tiles that they had marked to be replaced to 2 tiles. He will be back on Wednesday to replace the 2 tiles (well one is really just filing down a small piece and re-grouting it to make the grout line more even. The drop ceiling that he was complaining about, wasn’t finished, when we finished it today with tape and mud, he was VERY happy with it. Still didn’t get paid today, We are going to sit down in the morning and talk about how much he owes me. Wish me luck that I actually get paid. 🙁

    I’m glad to hear that it went well today!

    But why did you do more work knowing that they only have “$1000” for you?

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #647376

    Outcome of today: When we walked in this morning there was several more tiles marked on the walls to be replaced (34 tiles in one bathroom) We talked to the customer, My tile guy explained everything is not going to be 100 perfect with not having squared walls. They was very happy with how he explained things and the tile guy talked them from 46 tiles that they had marked to be replaced to 2 tiles. He will be back on Wednesday to replace the 2 tiles (well one is really just filing down a small piece and re-grouting it to make the grout line more even. The drop ceiling that he was complaining about, wasn’t finished, when we finished it today with tape and mud, he was VERY happy with it. Still didn’t get paid today, We are going to sit down in the morning and talk about how much he owes me. Wish me luck that I actually get paid. 🙁

    That sounds like some good news at least . Good luck on the money meeting tomorrow .

    Always willing to learn .

    #647406

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Good luck today, hope all goes well with your discussions and collections.

    #647407

    Outcome of today: When we walked in this morning there was several more tiles marked on the walls to be replaced (34 tiles in one bathroom) We talked to the customer, My tile guy explained everything is not going to be 100 perfect with not having squared walls. They was very happy with how he explained things and the tile guy talked them from 46 tiles that they had marked to be replaced to 2 tiles. He will be back on Wednesday to replace the 2 tiles (well one is really just filing down a small piece and re-grouting it to make the grout line more even. The drop ceiling that he was complaining about, wasn’t finished, when we finished it today with tape and mud, he was VERY happy with it. Still didn’t get paid today, We are going to sit down in the morning and talk about how much he owes me. Wish me luck that I actually get paid. 🙁

    Good luck

    #647408

    We hAve a few finishing touches to do. He never said he wasn’t going to pay me, he said he is waiting on an insurance check. If I walk away now, I most definitely won’t get paid. I figured up with material and all, he owes me over $2000.00 I would rather him pay me then to take me to court. I figured we’ve already did everything he has asked, I won’t leave a job unfinished. If I have to take them to court. He will have no reason for not paying me.

    #647437

    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    Yikes. Just got caught up with this thread. Best of luck getting recouped that money you’re owed. I hope that they are reasonable people in the end, but there are unfortunately less and less reasonable folks around. Good luck!

    #647459

    utopia78
    Pro
    Toronto, ON

    What is your policy on change orders? Specifically pertaining to paying for the changes…

    Personally, I take 100% payment for change orders up front before the work starts for the reasons you’ve outlined above. I got royally screwed a couple years back by a guy who kept asking me to do extra things, or complete part of a job that had been deemed “someone else’s” part in the beginning. In order to keep things moving and get to the next draw, I reluctantly agreed. In the end, I got about a third of what I asked for the changes (no paperwork!).

    I mean even the ones I will be replacing does not look bad, but I will do a few just to keep them happy.

    Bad idea IMO. If there really isn’t anything wrong, giving in to the homeowner will just make them ask for even more based on the type of person you’ve described.

    I would seriously consider stopping all work and sending them lien notice paperwork.

    I’m right there with you on being payed 100% on change orders .

    I’ll be taking this info to the bank! Thanks guys

    A Working Pro since 2004

    #647606

    WoodsConstruction
    Pro
    Sudbury, ON

    We hAve a few finishing touches to do. He never said he wasn’t going to pay me, he said he is waiting on an insurance check. If I walk away now, I most definitely won’t get paid. I figured up with material and all, he owes me over $2000.00 I would rather him pay me then to take me to court. I figured we’ve already did everything he has asked, I won’t leave a job unfinished. If I have to take them to court. He will have no reason for not paying me.

    Its a tough decision, but I think you made the right one. Unfortunately even when the CUSTOMER doesn’t pay and you walk, the customer still gets to be the one to ruin your name. They wont tell their friends and family they didn’t pay, they only say you vanished, and as a professional you cant exactly walk around town talking bad about a customer, you just have to shut up and take it.

    At least if things go further downhill on you, you will have the job complete and HOPEFULLY some additional signed paper work to bring to the bargaining table.

    #647622

    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    We hAve a few finishing touches to do. He never said he wasn’t going to pay me, he said he is waiting on an insurance check. If I walk away now, I most definitely won’t get paid. I figured up with material and all, he owes me over $2000.00 I would rather him pay me then to take me to court. I figured we’ve already did everything he has asked, I won’t leave a job unfinished. If I have to take them to court. He will have no reason for not paying me.

    Its a tough decision, but I think you made the right one. Unfortunately even when the CUSTOMER doesn’t pay and you walk, the customer still gets to be the one to ruin your name. They wont tell their friends and family they didn’t pay, they only say you vanished, and as a professional you cant exactly walk around town talking bad about a customer, you just have to shut up and take it.

    At least if things go further downhill on you, you will have the job complete and HOPEFULLY some additional signed paper work to bring to the bargaining table.

    yah its true, if you walk away now, they will ruin your name because you won’t be there to defend the fact that they didn’t pay. for next time ask for money upfront if anything gets changed.

    #647859

    We are completely done with the remodel. Done all the finishing touches plus all the little add on’s that he did. Today when my worker called me, he said he talked to the home owner and he told him that he loved everything but another worker of mine told him that we would put his towel bars, toilet paper holder rack, and a few other minor things up for him with no problem. I couldn’t believe it! I am so ticked off at my worker for telling him I would do something else for this guy when he STILL hasn’t paid me. So I told my worker well thanks to you, this guy still isn’t going to pay me and maybe I need to hold off tomorrow on paying you until he pays me. Needless to say, my worker didn’t like that idea. UGH so, I get a phone call from the home owner, I told him we would be there tomorrow to put up his accessories but I would be needing a check when we finished. He again said “well I haven’t received my insurance check yet, I can let you know when I get it” I swear my blood pressure is through the roof right now. I insisted I needed paid tomorrow and he said he would see what he could do, he was going to talk to his wife in the morning and when we meet tomorrow we will go over it. Not sure what that means but I guess I just have to deal with it, because I can’t make him pay me. Got to love this part of the job man!

    #647887

    At least you got him agreeing that he owes you money, get it in writing quick. On paper, with late charges or interest spelled out.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

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