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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently had a GC ask me to bring my crew in to do some work for him hourly. It was demo work related to hurricane Ike, basically replacing some tear away walls on a beach house.

Long story short, there was unavoidable damage to the electrical panel during the course of the demo and repair work. GC back charged me for the electrical work, which basically was a third of the bill I gave him for the hours.

This was just a straight up, fair as can be labor price. The same as we usually charge on extras. He had pulled us off another job in order to take care of this work. My opinion is, since this is a job he asked for specifally for an hourly rate, he should be responsible for the damages. There was no profit or overhead built into the deal, just 3 days of labor from 3 guys.

I'm just curious how you guys feel about back charging an hourly sub, or an employee. I personally won't do it, while he says that he back charges his hourly employees. He has several employees who do handyman type stuff and subs most trades.

Any feed back appreciated.
 

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What's unavoidable damage to the electric panel? Having a little trouble understanding that. Was the panel already damaged?
 

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Sounds like a grey area to me. I do have an opinion though. If you don't have a signed contract with him, stating you can be backcharged. I'd say ethically your in the clear. Unless he decides to go after your insurance or small claims, then :whistling.

From a business stand point. I'd weigh the long term effect it'll have with the GC.

Also, you said it was "unavoidable"... Did you point this out to the GC before you did the damage?

Overall sounds like a bad day, hope I can avoid one before the end of the year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The unavoidable part involved the fact that the panel needed to be replaced due to the damage from the storm surge. The PVC conduits were already cracked at the joints, and all the brackets had to be removed in order to remove the siding that was getting replaced.
The panel was hanging on a sheet of t-111 without any studs behind it, flopping in the wind. It needed to be remounted regardless, which is what the backcharge involved.
 

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Not to take his side, but I bet he thought that the damage to the panel was caused by your guys being careless during demo. He might not have known that this damage occured prior to you guys being there. Whenever we demo around electrical, we are careful to not cut any wires (leaving sparky short at a critical area). Sounds like he should have had the electricians come in and do some of their demo prior to yours. Explain to him the situation, and if any of the damage was caused by your guys, settle up with him accordingly.
 

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Thom
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Start with, MY GUYS DID NO DAMAGE HERE, NONE, NADA, ZIP.

Tell him to go look at the pictures he took prior to the job starting and he will see all that damage was there when the job started.

You should be able to show him how brittle the pvc is. Old pvc isn't worth much unless it was buried and protected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the comments.

I gave him the bill last week, went to get the check this morning and was given a check minus the electricians invoice amount.

I returned the check saying I couldn't accept those charges.

We'll see how it turns out as the week goes by.
 

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You gotta cash the check them fight for the rest, at least then you have some of his money. Send him a recipt for the partial payment, take some of his money or he will think that you do not need any of it. Just my 2 cents. When I do find damage on a job site I always let someone know. The H.O. project manager or who ever is cutting checks. If no one is around then I take pictures before we start any work!:thumbsup: Good luck with this guy explain the situation, if he is reasonable then it should work out. Worst case offer to split with him, lets him know that you are a stand up guy. Sucks to lose but at least you'll get most of the $$$.
 

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Thanks for the comments.

I gave him the bill last week, went to get the check this morning and was given a check minus the electricians invoice amount.

I returned the check saying I couldn't accept those charges.

We'll see how it turns out as the week goes by.
Good move-you know how the game works. If you would have accepted that check, your position weakens considerably.
 

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Takeing photos of pre-existing damage is crucial IMO. I may be off here, but sounds like you are not really in contact with the main guy/owner from the GC. I'd be sure to call him and state my case immediately, if it is pre-existing damage he will get paid for it, why sould you be charged? Doesnt make much sence.
 

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I'm just curious how you guys feel about back charging an hourly sub, or an employee. I personally won't do it, while he says that he back charges his hourly employees. He has several employees who do handyman type stuff and subs most trades.

Any feed back appreciated.
He back charges his hourly employees? Sounds like he's an unethical dick to me.

My advice, and you already know this because it's the Contractor Talk motto, is to have a signed contract, every time, no exceptions. I sincerely hope you can reason with this doofus and get paid.
 

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I recently had a GC ask me to bring my crew in to do some work for him hourly. It was demo work related to hurricane Ike, basically replacing some tear away walls on a beach house.

Long story short, there was unavoidable damage to the electrical panel during the course of the demo and repair work. GC back charged me for the electrical work, which basically was a third of the bill I gave him for the hours.

This was just a straight up, fair as can be labor price. The same as we usually charge on extras. He had pulled us off another job in order to take care of this work. My opinion is, since this is a job he asked for specifally for an hourly rate, he should be responsible for the damages. There was no profit or overhead built into the deal, just 3 days of labor from 3 guys.
Why would you do this? That has to be the one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Basically you are paying to be allowed the privilege of working on his job. You really need to rethink your business strategies. Your hourly rate should include O & P. Also you are a contractor which means you should be using a contract.
I'm just curious how you guys feel about back charging an hourly sub, or an employee. I personally won't do it, while he says that he back charges his hourly employees. He has several employees who do handyman type stuff and subs most trades.
This is illegal. An employee can not suffer a loss. He is a) either full of you know what or; b) unscrupulous or; c) an idiot.
Any feed back appreciated.
As a GC there are circumstances when back charging subs becomes necessary. These circumstances should be spelled out in the contract and are usually related to liquidated damages resulting from penalties implied due to lack of due diligence in completing the project within the required time frame. These may be imposed in flow down clauses or spelled out in your contract with the GC. In your particular case had you been the responsible party for the damage then I would have expected you to either pay for the damage out of pocket or file a claim with your insurance carrier. The choice would have been yours.

I have no problem what so ever back charging a sub who is billing hourly if they do not meet the requirements set forth in their contracts and I am authorized to do so by the contract. In your case the charges do not sound legit. Submit a demand for payment in full. If they do not pay, lien the property and move on.
 

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A clear contract and proper documentation is the key to the situation. With photos in hand it takes away any ambiguity; without them it's all too often a "He said, she said" event. If you have the evidence then go after what is rightfully yours. If you don't you're probably screwed unless you can document the existing conditions in some other manner.
 

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Thanks for the comments.

I gave him the bill last week, went to get the check this morning and was given a check minus the electricians invoice amount.

I returned the check saying I couldn't accept those charges.

We'll see how it turns out as the week goes by.
Yea, no freeking way would I accept the check! I hope you took pics before you started that job to "CYA" (cover your ??? assets:censored:) I never do any job that is not new construction that I dont snap at least a dozen pics. I'll take a few more of questionable things and spots where you might run into an issue.Where abouts are you located in Houston and who is this yahoo, so I dont run into him cause I'd have to take a ride out to his house and talk like men about that one with him if I were you, feel me!;)
 
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