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How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given

 
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:43 AM   #21
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Originally Posted by geri View Post
the problem is a contract has been typed, verbally approved via phone by customer, signed by us...however, not delivered to the customer as of yet. This is the position as of right now...really don't (from the get go) want to drop off the contract,whereas then we would be opening up another can of worms.
Not sure about the situation in your particular state, but in most states you do technically have a contract: you made an offer, it was accepted, there was a "meeting of the minds" and consideration (an agreement about compensation). It makes no difference that it hasn't been signed by the client.

Having said that, I think the Thom had the best advice: honesty.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:46 AM   #22
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


In one of past posts I discussed having to exercise my option as a contractor to, for lack of better phrase, "fire my customer". I needed the work but could not escape the gut feeling that this was not ever going to end well. It took discipline and I honestly feel a better contractor for it.

Be honest and also forthright in explaining your reservations, you may lose the job but in turn perhaps make the customer a better one for the next guy.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:01 AM   #23
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


Thanks to you all...I went with my gut & the honesty card & do feel alot better for it. I do feel the "carrot" was being played. The two times that I was there (before I went with a contract for the main job) after he would finally give me a check for a smaller type job..(which he still wanted to bargain down,after being told the price)...on the way out the door he would ask me to do this...do that ...before I leave..just one more thing..while you're here..Ugh...
Now he has his real estate agent that he bought the house from calling pleading to reconsider & do the job ! Ugh...
Like some of you have mentioned...he has burned a bridge along the way and no one wants to work with him....so as it was mentioned....we are firing our customer..just hope it ends here and the calls stop already. So we all can move on...
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:19 PM   #24
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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BE HONEST.

Forget the lying crap, too busy etc. Just be truthful.

"You need to find another contractor, I'm not comfortable working with you"

I've said that several times. People need to hear the truth. You don't need to blame them, let them blame you if they wish, but be honest.

Maybe they are anxious to get going with you because they've burned every other bridge they have.
I am glad someone said this on the first page. If we all lived life by kindergarten rules, it would go so much smoother. I agree, honesty is the best policy. Once you lie, you have to live the lie and whatever lies are born of that lie.

Maybe they will be upset, maybe not. Maybe they realize how much of a pita they have been and change their ways.

I do agree with progress payments in any situation. It clearly communicates a schedule and progress requirements for payment. If at any leg you or the HO feels the deal is not working, your losses are minimized.
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You ask for your money frequently, and you collect it quickly, else you stop working immediately.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:22 PM   #25
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Originally Posted by Gough View Post
Not sure about the situation in your particular state, but in most states you do technically have a contract: you made an offer, it was accepted, there was a "meeting of the minds" and consideration (an agreement about compensation). It makes no difference that it hasn't been signed by the client.

Having said that, I think the Thom had the best advice: honesty.
While you may be technically correct, enforcing a signed contract is difficult enough in court. Without the signatures, a judge is pretty much going to dismiss the case. It's very difficult to win or even argue a he said she said contract. Also given the fact that NO money has exchanged hands there no chance in Hades it would be considered a viable contract.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarpenterSFO View Post
You ask for your money frequently, and you collect it quickly, else you stop working immediately.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:38 PM   #26
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Originally Posted by TNTSERVICES View Post
While you may be technically correct, enforcing a signed contract is difficult enough in court. Without the signatures, a judge is pretty much going to dismiss the case. It's very difficult to win or even argue a he said she said contract. Also given the fact that NO money has exchanged hands there no chance in Hades it would be considered a viable contract.
You're absolutely right about verbal contract being very difficult to enforce. The fact that no money has changed hands has NOTHING to do with it being a valid contract. When fine tuning our contract language, I've gone over our contracts with several business attorneys, including the professor who teaches contract law at our law school. They all reminded me of the few things necessary for a legal contract: an offer, an acceptance, and and agreement for an exchange of something of value. That's all.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:49 PM   #27
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Originally Posted by Gough View Post
You're absolutely right about verbal contract being very difficult to enforce. The fact that no money has changed hands has NOTHING to do with it being a valid contract. When fine tuning our contract language, I've gone over our contracts with several business attorneys, including the professor who teaches contract law at our law school. They all reminded me of the few things necessary for a legal contract: an offer, an acceptance, and and agreement for an exchange of something of value. That's all.
Good for you. Now let's move into the real world. Have you ever had to take someone to court over a contract? Has someone ever sued you over your contract?

I will wait for your response in order to fully respond to this post.

And I said viable not valid, there is a huge difference. Dictionary.com may help. Valid means lawful, viable means realistic.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarpenterSFO View Post
You ask for your money frequently, and you collect it quickly, else you stop working immediately.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:56 PM   #28
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


A construction contract is a real estate contract. I believe every state precludes verbal real-estate contracts.

The point is, if all sides have not agreed, in writing, there is no contract.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:03 PM   #29
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


you answered your own question in your thread title which was...

"How to respectfully back out of a estimate given"

You just gotta change a few words...

I respectfully withdraw from the estimate given...
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:18 PM   #30
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Originally Posted by TNTSERVICES View Post
Good for you. Now let's move into the real world. Have you ever had to take someone to court over a contract? Has someone ever sued you over your contract?

I will wait for your response in order to fully respond to this post.

And I said viable not valid, there is a huge difference. Dictionary.com may help. Valid means lawful, viable means realistic.
Unfortunately, I've been in court several times over contract issues and we haven't lost yet. (knock wood).

I don't want to get into a semantic argument but I avoided using viable because it get misused so often. It means capable of surviving.

Strictly speaking, our verbal contracts have been viable as well, since they've survived legal challenges.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:30 PM   #31
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Originally Posted by thom View Post
A construction contract is a real estate contract. I believe every state precludes verbal real-estate contracts.

The point is, if all sides have not agreed, in writing, there is no contract.
Thom, it's my understanding that only contracts to purchase, sell, or exchange real estate are "real estate contracts". That may or may not apply to a home builder, depending on how the agreement is structured.

As a specialty contractor, in our case painting/finishing, it's my understanding that our contracts are not considered real estate contracts and may be verbal. That issue has come up several times for us.

I'm mainly glad that the original poster seems to have sorted it out.

I raised the point about the verbal contract issue because there seems to be a lot of confusion about what is necessary for a contract to be legal. There are fewer things than most people realize, and I don't like to see good contractors get in financial trouble because of some misconceptions.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:31 PM   #32
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


Quote:
Originally Posted by TNTSERVICES View Post

While you may be technically correct, enforcing a signed contract is difficult enough in court. Without the signatures, a judge is pretty much going to dismiss the case. It's very difficult to win or even argue a he said she said contract. Also given the fact that NO money has exchanged hands there no chance in Hades it would be considered a viable contract.
Also, even if you were taken to court what are the damages?

If there were several bids and your was substantially lower than the next highest bid the homeowner could take you to court and ask for the difference, but you would have to convince an attorney to invest his time in this case for what, 1/3 that amount.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:49 PM   #33
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Unfortunately, I've been in court several times over contract issues and we haven't lost yet. (knock wood).

I don't want to get into a semantic argument but I avoided using viable because it get misused so often. It means capable of surviving.

Strictly speaking, our verbal contracts have been viable as well, since they've survived legal challenges.
I have never been to court had any confusion on contracts with clients or other contractors. Maybe that means I don't know what I am talking about or maybe it means I do.

But I will see if I can address your claims. First a verbal contract is different than an unsigned contract. Look it up or ask your lawyers. There are several things that you need in order to prove a verbal contract, the first being a witness, without one, there is little hope that it will survive, but that doesn't mean that it's dead. Performance on the agreement. If there is something that shows action of the agreement a court may find the verbal agreement binding. They will see either money exchanged or services rendered as performance. Also location of the agreement and timing of services plays a role. Example, plumber comes to your house for a leak, tells you what needs to take place to fix the leak and a price, you agree, he completes said work, you cannot stiff him because you don't have a written contract.

As for unsigned contracts it is similar, but not the same. The contract is the witness along with communications on various drafts. But rulings on unsigned contracts have been mostly in favor of situations where one party failed to sign and work began or money exchanged hand. Also intent plays a big role. If your SOP was to have the contract signed and deposit on the same day you start that would be taken into consideration by the court.

However, in the OP's situation, I would stake my oldest child on the court not holding up the contract if he backed out now. In our state there are even laws that allow both parties to back out even after the contract is signed and money has exchanged hands. In some states it's illegal to cash the deposit check before the wait period is up. It just all depends on which state you are in.

Consult a lawyer and move on.
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You ask for your money frequently, and you collect it quickly, else you stop working immediately.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:13 PM   #34
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Originally Posted by TNTSERVICES View Post
I have never been to court had any confusion on contracts with clients or other contractors. Maybe that means I don't know what I am talking about or maybe it means I do.

But I will see if I can address your claims. First a verbal contract is different than an unsigned contract. Look it up or ask your lawyers. There are several things that you need in order to prove a verbal contract, the first being a witness, without one, there is little hope that it will survive, but that doesn't mean that it's dead. Performance on the agreement. If there is something that shows action of the agreement a court may find the verbal agreement binding. They will see either money exchanged or services rendered as performance. Also location of the agreement and timing of services plays a role. Example, plumber comes to your house for a leak, tells you what needs to take place to fix the leak and a price, you agree, he completes said work, you cannot stiff him because you don't have a written contract.

As for unsigned contracts it is similar, but not the same. The contract is the witness along with communications on various drafts. But rulings on unsigned contracts have been mostly in favor of situations where one party failed to sign and work began or money exchanged hand. Also intent plays a big role. If your SOP was to have the contract signed and deposit on the same day you start that would be taken into consideration by the court.

However, in the OP's situation, I would stake my oldest child on the court not holding up the contract if he backed out now. In our state there are even laws that allow both parties to back out even after the contract is signed and money has exchanged hands. In some states it's illegal to cash the deposit check before the wait period is up. It just all depends on which state you are in.

Consult a lawyer and move on.
Rob, thanks for the thorough reply. You're absolutely right in what you're saying here.

The OP did say that he had a verbal acceptance with the client and an energetic lawyer could make a case on that. Would he prevail? Pretty unlikely.

Witnesses? Certainly an issue if the client disputed the facts. The OP has posted on a public forum that the client had accepted the contract verbally, so the same energetic lawyer would make it tough for the OP to dispute that the offer had been accepted.

Just to clarify, our appearance in court have been as third parties in disputes between GCs and owners, or lessors and lessees, where we got dragged into it.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:23 PM   #35
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Rob, thanks for the thorough reply. You're absolutely right in what you're saying here.

The OP did say that he had a verbal acceptance with the client and an energetic lawyer could make a case on that. Would he prevail? Pretty unlikely.Which is why I said is would not be a viable contract.

Witnesses? Certainly an issue if the client disputed the facts. Wouldn't that be the reason someone goes to court over a contract, one party disputes the other?The OP has posted on a public forum that the client had accepted the contract verbally, so the same energetic lawyer would make it tough for the OP to dispute that the offer had been accepted.

Actually he said that the estimate was verbally excepted, not a contract. Another big difference. I give rough estimates all of the time, they would never hold up in court.

Just to clarify, our appearance in court have been as third parties in disputes between GCs and owners, or lessors and lessees, where we got dragged into it.
But I thought that you said your contracts and your verbal contracts had held up. If you were not the ones in question why would your contract, verbal or otherwise be in question. I am confused.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:49 PM   #36
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


Rob

We both agree that it's pretty unlikely that it would be enforced by a court. OTOH, stranger things have happened. Unlike you, I wouldn't bet my eldest son on it. My daughter, on the other hand....

A situation could arise where the client insists that the OP perform the services detailed in the contract. That's the dispute. One of the prime facts that might ordinarily be disputed would be the acceptance. The OP has admitted that the client accepted.

From the later post by the OP "contract has been typed, verbally approved via phone by customer".

Sorry for the confusion. Our contracts, both written and verbal, were with some of the parties involved. Strictly speaking, I'm not sure that makes us "third parties" or not, but we got dragged in anyway.

Sorry for not being able to include all of your text in my reply, your responses within my early post weren't showing up, so I thought I'd just start fresh.

ANYWAY, my whole point, as I mentioned a few posts ago, was to make sure other contractors are careful about what they say, lest it be construed as a verbal contract. In court, even winning can be awfully expensive.

Last edited by Gough; 01-29-2013 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:12 PM   #37
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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My estimates are not a contract for work, it says so right on the bottom. This way I am not obligated until I sign an actual contract.
Yes, it is important to include this clause on every estimate to save yourself some trouble.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:14 PM   #38
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


The answer is easy I don't fill like I have a full agreement until I have a signed contract. Just tell him your not interested. January February March is easy to give regretful bids dont.MY Work is slow right know made a bid for 16000.00 they wont give me a third down. Ill watch it go and wont loose a bit of sleep over It.I'm a firm believer there more out there.Most people are complaining they cant get someone back to finish there job your worried about backing out before you start. Your to hard on your self.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:40 AM   #39
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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Not sure about the situation in your particular state, but in most states you do technically have a contract: you made an offer, it was accepted, there was a "meeting of the minds" and consideration (an agreement about compensation). It makes no difference that it hasn't been signed by the client.

Having said that, I think the Thom had the best advice: honesty.
It is a good idea to familarize yourself with the laws of your state.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:45 PM   #40
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Re: How To Respectfully Back Out Of A Estimate Given


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