Walking Off A Job...

 
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:42 PM   #1
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Walking Off A Job...


Has anyone ever walked off a job and why?
I have a client who's house I'm building. She's there almost everyday regardless of me telling her not to come unless we have a scheduled meeting. She finds something wrong with everything and throws a fit until I tell her why its not wrong. She calls or emails or texts everyday to ask whats going on today and tomorow and what sthe schedule for next week. Shes costing me so much time that I cant bill her for. Is it worth settling up with her and telling her to find someone else to finish the job?

Normally I wouldnt consider this but shes making my blood pressure and anxiety ski high. And her holding up the job with the budget being stretched thin anyway is gonna end up putting me in the hole after long.

Please help!!!
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:48 PM   #2
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Sit down with her and have a client to contracotr talk about boundarys and change orders. Take control without being aggressive, exlain why and how and that you are in control. The next step is hit her with change order after change order and explain that because she is slowing the job down it will cost her more money.

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Old 07-29-2010, 04:54 PM   #3
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


I had a meeting with her this morning and she left in tears. I'm a natural loud guy and I guess she thought I was yelling at her while trying to explain the budget and timeline is being stretched. I got her to agree to stop coming to the site and that all the texts/emails/calls arent exceptable. My biggest fear is to complete the project and not get my final draw. House is in drywall and all materials have been paid for to finish. Its only one more month but if she complained about the drywall prior to mudding, I cant imagine what shell do once paint goes up.
Is it worth the risk?
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Make sure that everything you had in your contract gets done and signed off by building dept. I have a upon substantial completion clause that i use with wackjobs so I don't have to give up a lot to get paid. Call her tomorrow take her out to coffee and just explain that you are there for her and you want to make sure that she is there for you. good luck and let us know the outcome.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:38 PM   #5
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


I walked off a job before while working as a sub. One that comes to mind is a steep roof in January, in the dark, during a snow storm. GC comes out of the comfy house with his white sneakys on and starts yelling at us for picking up after we framed and sheathed it, but before we finished felting. Mr. Comfy and crew, was up there finishing the roof after that.

Your situation is different. Your dealing directly with the HO. I'd tread carefully.

I'm assuming its a bid. No one complains about a chatty HO during a T&M job. Customers who make themselves a fixture on bid jobs, are bad news. Can you pick a couple days during the week when you can have scheduled meetings with the HO? Maybe Monday and Thursday? Avoid Fridays, it'll ruin your weekend, if your fortunate enough to have one.

Don't have her stopping by during scheduled breaks either. I know when I worked for other Contractors, lunch was the favored time. Workers either take an abbreviated lunch, or skipped it all together, until the HO leaves. Then they take longer, unorganized breaks. Plus no one enjoys their baloney sandwich, especially with the HO lurking.

I'd explain to her that any other impromptu meetings that take over 10-15 minutes of your day, you need to charge for as a change order. As they said above, change-order pads are your answer. Have a spot on your pads where you write down the time it takes to generate the changes. You should get paid for that as well.

I'd think twice about walking out. Buy her some bon-bons and just say you get "Passionate about your work sometimes". If you really feel you need to move on, you need to work out an exit plan with the HO first.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Have never walked off a job. My nature, and my conscience would not let me. I believe in fulfilling the contractual obligations that I sign for.

So, besides being really anoying and getting under your skin, is the woman in question actually doing anything to violate the terms of the contractual relationship you entered into with her?

Use it as a learning tool on clauses to add/modify to your contract for future jobs.

Picture yourself in front of a potential customer - they like you, they like your ideas, the price is within budget, but they have one small hold up and they hit you with this:

' We are a little uneasy in signing with you, we heard that you just walked off so and so's job because you simply did not like answering her questions.'

Your response is...
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:48 PM   #7
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


we almost walked 2 weeks ago, similar situation both her and the husband were around multiple times a day for extended periods, he was fine just her was the problem

got to the point where all the subtrades and our crew didnt want to be there. too many change orders, one minute shed love something that was done an hour later its crap.... we finished the contract portion and told her anything extra she wants or changed call someone else
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:29 PM   #8
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Can you refer to some article in your contract that says "butt out"?

This is in my contracts.

The Owner will not assume any liability or responsibility, nor have control over or charge of construction means, methods, techniques, sequences, procedures, or for safety precautions and programs in connection with the project, since these are solely the Contractor’s responsibility.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:35 PM   #9
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Hey i have the wack job clause too.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:26 PM   #10
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Some great advice here so far. I've had some strange clients in the last several years some of which I wanted to renegotiate. However, one in particular comes to mind just as was described above. Husband would not say much but she would complain and complain. I'd have to stop and explain and sometimes educate, sometimes correct but always respond.

Turns out she was diabetic and it was very predictable. We have now finished our fourth project and are lining up for the fifth over five years. I get a Christmas card from her every year and I keep a bottle of aspirin nearby whenever we start a project.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


I remember when I was doing cabinet work for a very well respected home builder on a pre-paid/spec house... the lady kept griping and griping and as I was standing in the kitchen with them... he took out his checkbook and gave her the deposit back. I LOVED IT! The look on her face...
She calmed down and a few weeks later had herself a great well built home.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:56 PM   #12
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Quote:
Originally Posted by ACRbuilder View Post
She calls or emails or texts everyday to ask whats going on today and tomorow and what sthe schedule for next week. Shes costing me so much time that I cant bill her for. Is it worth settling up with her and telling her to find someone else to finish the job?!

You could destress the situation by doing a little customer training...

I'm sure you recognize her phone number. Start sending her to voicemail. Keep lengthening the amount of time between her messages and when you call her back, keep slowly increasing the time, do the same with her emails... pretty soon she will be trained that emailing or calling you does not mean instant gratification and instead means she gets a response 8 hours later or the next day.

As far as the texting... turn off texting on your phone, its gay.
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:58 PM   #13
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


My decision in such scenarios is directly related to where I stand financially in the project

Payment ahead of work? I drop the ultimatum on them by having a meeting, usually in the evening with husband/wife present. This is what you're doing, this is why it's wrong, this is what it's costing me, you're doing yourself a dis-service, if you want me to continue then these are my conditions: ***. Yes or no?

Work ahead of payments? Grin + bear.

I also have a slavish devotion to job tracking/documentation. I'll revisit my documents, cross my T's and dot my I's. That final 10% will probably not come as easy on this one, so I'll put my "job tracking" into over-drive.

You say you made her cry? Did it sound like an engine blowing? Because that's essentially what that was. The engine blew, the plane is in free fall...GRAB YOUR CHUTE!
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:47 AM   #14
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Quote:
Originally Posted by rselectric1 View Post
Can you refer to some article in your contract that says "butt out"?

This is in my contracts.

The Owner will not assume any liability or responsibility, nor have control over or charge of construction means, methods, techniques, sequences, procedures, or for safety precautions and programs in connection with the project, since these are solely the Contractor’s responsibility.
Thank's..Just stole that and added it to my contract...
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:28 AM   #15
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


I have a solid contract. The thing is is that she has nickel and dimed me about everything this entire time. I'm getting the feeling (and so are a few other guys) that she getting low on money and now shes trying to find things to hold things up. The budget for the house was extremely tight to begin with. Holding me up at all could end up costing me money in the long run. If shes bitching about the drywall then what will she do when paint goes up, tiles goes down, kitchen gets installed, etc. Although my contract is very solid, I have no want to go to court over this. My father took a lady 3 years ago over $20K and got $6K with no attorneys fees.
I'm gonna call a lawyer friend today to ask what the complications will be if I do walk. I'm not worried about the negative press I'll get because most of the jobs I get now are new customers who found me or got referred from one of my many satisfied clients.

On a side note, I have lost over 30 lbs since starting this job. I not a big guy so that is alot for me. Was 6' 218 when I started. Now down to 185 and my nerves are shot.

Thanks for all the help so far.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:24 AM   #16
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley View Post
You could destress the situation by doing a little customer training...

I'm sure you recognize her phone number. Start sending her to voicemail. Keep lengthening the amount of time between her messages and when you call her back, keep slowly increasing the time, do the same with her emails... pretty soon she will be trained that emailing or calling you does not mean instant gratification and instead means she gets a response 8 hours later or the next day.

As far as the texting... turn off texting on your phone, its gay.
I like this response. Eventually you will not only get her to stop calling you, she will just show up after work in her bikini with ice cold beer and a massage table for him.

Do your job that you are hired for and provide excellent customer service. Use this as a lesson that you have to turn down PIA customers in the future. Its your job to figure out if they are going to be a problem in advance. If you can't figure out how todo that then you are stuck being miserable all the time.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:18 PM   #17
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


as a sub I've walked out on an endless supply of jobs you name a reason

I don't need any bs in my life and as soon as the bs gets above my toes I'm gone. Created alot of problems by doing that, but you know..... it's just who I am.

Walking off a job when you are working for a homeowner is a different animal. I usually am polite and tidy things up to a good stopping point, explain what is going on and run. Most of the time I come back and finish other times its a lost cause. Its hard to prescreen customers sometimes but it's necessary.

on a side note I was warned endlessly by many people to stay away from one contractor and another homeowner (two different people) because they are "difficult" well it turned out we were a match made in heaven.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:52 PM   #18
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


You were a "match made in heaven"?

I don't understand, you married the homeowners contractor?

Or did you marry them both? That's illegal isn't it.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:25 AM   #19
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


I had a cust like this in March. Started as a countertop job. He called me 63 times one weekend and we hadnt even started yet. I thought several times about letting him pass, but we didn't have a great deal of work so I took the job. It wasnt long after we started that he began demanding I include other work at no charge if I wanted to keep the job. Things like install a new stove, and then he made us install his new range hood (that didnt' fit and we had to retrofit). We put the new countertops in and I could see the finishline. We fabricate our own reverse pressed concrete tops and dont buff them super shiney until all pieces are in. After all the previous schedualing problems I had with him. since he was his own GC on the job he didnt' see the problems with us coming in to install top when the kitchens full of electricians. All their crap on our raw countertops which I specifically told him and his wife not to do. I finally snapped. I told them we're not taking them out to grind them without compensation. I called him later and told him we needed to part ways. I lost about $2500.00 on that job but felt such a relief that I didn't have to deal with him anymore. It was such a simple job. Something we do 50 times a year. This guy made it nonprofitable.

Just got served friday that hes sueing me for 5 times the price of the job. Thats why contractors really need to orginaize and screen these people just like the BBB. Some people are complete control freaks, abusive, bullying, vendictive jerks. We would do us all a great service we created our own Good Customer system. The guy that says he won his bad customer over, Ive actually had that happen myself. Ive been able to win over most control freaks by telling them how great they are. These people love to be patronized. It was working with this guy for a while, then it teetered and fell off a cliff. I'll let you know how the lawsuit goes.

sorry my spelling sucks

Please help!!![/QUOTE]
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:40 AM   #20
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Re: Walking Off A Job...


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It wasnt long after we started that he began demanding I include other work at no charge if I wanted to keep the job. Things like install a new stove, and then he made us install his new range hood (that didnt' fit and we had to retrofit).
If you are documented all of this, you will be OK. Suing and winning are two different things.....but, I can tell you when you lost control. The above quote is where you let the jerk take over.

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