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I'm on a boat!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've all had clients in the past that we just can't satisfy. Well, I've got one now :censored:. It was a small exterior repair project just over 2k. Work was completed 7 weeks ago and it took the client 2 weeks to furnish a punch list. 3 of the 5 items on the punch list were addressed that day, but 2 have not been addressed because the client "had to think" about the options that I presented. That day the client agrees to pay me the balance due via credit card through a pay pal invoice but that never happens.

Since that point (5 weeks ago), the client has begun nitpicking everything else that we did saying "If I had done that, I would have done it like ........" Well, the client never made up their mind on the two remaining items, despite my repeated emails saying that we'd like to address those two items and then move on. Their final email said we'll pay you $315 less than what we owe you and we'll take care of those two remaining items.:eek:

After one or two more emails back and forth, I terminated the contract because they would not make up their mind nor let us finish the punch list. They're still offering to pay $315 less than what's owed. Question is should I take that and walk or turn it over to collections/ put a lien on the home? I offered them a settlement to pay $150 less (which was more than enough for the 2 remaining items) which upset them further.

Thoughts please.....thanks
 

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Builder/Remodeler
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The first question: what does your contract say regarding conditions for payment? Provisions for non/late payment? How detailed are your specifications and scope of work?

I'm a tad confused about the 2 items having options for resolution? What do you mean by that?

How did you "terminate" your contract, if the work was 100% and you were just doing punch-out?

2k worth of work--how much have they paid you/how much is owed?

Some of your story doesn't add up.
 

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The Deck Guy
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Nice first post.

My thoughts are that for $2k, what did you actually do and how much did you screw up?

There's not enough to go wrong on a $2k job to have this much trouble with, but since you are new, and we don't know you, we'll have to assume YOU screwed up.

My typing this post cost $316.

Move on, dude.
 

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Need more details. What are the two items left? Why not finish them according to the contract? Then ask for final payment. If you are unable to finish the job to there satisfaction then you may need to take the reduced amount and move on.
 

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I'm on a boat!
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Payments schedule: $715 deposit, $1600 upon substantial completion, $400 upon completion of punch out. $715 has been paid. There was a change order removing a $285 item from the contract. Balance due $1715.

BUILDER’S LIEN RIGHTS AND OWNER’S RIGHTS
The builder has the right to secure a lien against the property for any untimely payments or any unpaid amounts due to the builder. The builder agrees to pay the subcontractors and suppliers that have furnished material or labor for the project so they do not have the right to secure a lien against the owner’s property.

2 punch items: 1) Bad caulk job at the new 3' cornerboard. The client thought there was too much caulk. 2) Repair chip in siding from cornerboard replacement - a 1"x1" piece of the hardi siding chipped off when we replaced the cornerboard. I offered to replace the piece of siding but the client didn't want any visible nail holes and wanted the paint to be perfect (I offered to color match but that wasn't good enough). As for the caulk, I was kind of confused so I asked him how he'd like us to address it. He said he'd think about it.

I terminated the contract to void the warranty that we carry on our work. There's really not much more that I could accomplish.
 

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The Deck Guy
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Take the hit and move on. Tell them you are liening the house and play hardball.

You've offered to correct the problems and they choose not accept your solutions for their convoluted reasons.

You'll never get a referral from a person like this and if you did, they'd be the same type of client.

Get whatever you can and forget about it.
 

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Banned
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Payments schedule: $715 deposit, $1600 upon substantial completion, $400 upon completion of punch out. $715 has been paid. There was a change order removing a $285 item from the contract. Balance due $1715.

BUILDER’S LIEN RIGHTS AND OWNER’S RIGHTS
The builder has the right to secure a lien against the property for any untimely payments or any unpaid amounts due to the builder. The builder agrees to pay the subcontractors and suppliers that have furnished material or labor for the project so they do not have the right to secure a lien against the owner’s property.

2 punch items: 1) Bad caulk job at the new 3' cornerboard. The client thought there was too much caulk. 2) Repair chip in siding from cornerboard replacement - a 1"x1" piece of the hardi siding chipped off when we replaced the cornerboard. I offered to replace the piece of siding but the client didn't want any visible nail holes and wanted the paint to be perfect (I offered to color match but that wasn't good enough). As for the caulk, I was kind of confused so I asked him how he'd like us to address it. He said he'd think about it.

I terminated the contract to void the warranty that we carry on our work. There's really not much more that I could accomplish.
Get rid of the punch list crap for final payment.

Why do you believe you have to have a customer create a punchlist for your work? Aren't you a professional in your field? The work should be completed, you inspect it for yourself or your lead carpenter does or somebody, but not the customer, when it's done by your standards (which should be WAY higher then a homeowners, it's done.)

I've never understood this ridiculous bear trap contractors set up for themselves - When we are to the point that I think we are done, please look the work over and tell me when we are really done.
WTF?

Please mr customer show me what I F-up, please. :blink:
 

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Super Moderator
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Get rid of the punch list crap for final payment.

Why do you believe you have to have a customer create a punchlist for your work? Aren't you a professional in your field? The work should be completed, you inspect it for yourself or your lead carpenter does or somebody, but not the customer, when it's done by your standards (which should be WAY higher then a homeowners, it's done.)

I've never understood this ridiculous bear trap contractors set up for themselves - When we are to the point that I think we are done, please look the work over and tell me when we are really done.
WTF?

Please mr customer show me what I F-up, please. :blink:
Mike, you bring up an interesting point.

What you don't want however, is to expect to be paid on a certain date and have the customer say "not until you.............".

I tell the customer to keep their "punch list" on a clipboard which I provide and leave at the jobsite. This way any wacko issues can be addressed as they are added.

If the contractor says the job is completed, and customer says it's not, then there will be trouble.

Edit-I am referring to a kitchen, bath or basement remodel. NOT a 2K job or a service call.
 

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I also think punchlists to certain personality types of customers, can be like giving a stick of dynamite and a book of matches to a pyro and saying only light this if you really feel you need to.
 

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I'm on a boat!
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3,178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Get rid of the punch list crap for final payment.

Why do you believe you have to have a customer create a punchlist for your work? Aren't you a professional in your field? The work should be completed, you inspect it for yourself or your lead carpenter does or somebody, but not the customer, when it's done by your standards (which should be WAY higher then a homeowners, it's done.)

I've never understood this ridiculous bear trap contractors set up for themselves - When we are to the point that I think we are done, please look the work over and tell me when we are really done. WTF?

Please mr customer show me what I F-up, please. :blink:
That just makes sense. I've never heard of that before, yet it's so simple. Thanks Mike :notworthy


Thanks for all of the replies. It's good to get some outside feedback as I tend to take things personally with our work which can make it tough to look at situations from an outside vantage point.
 

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Project Manager
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I think Mike, as usual, brings up a good point.

When I think of a punch list, I think of a list that myself and my guys go off of, with the customer never seeing it.

I've certainly have had customers present their own punchlists (that usually coincide with ours), but I never really turn that type of responsibility (for lack of a better term) over to the h/o.
 

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I also think punchlists to certain personality types of customers, can be like giving a stick of dynamite and a book of matches to a pyro and saying only light this if you really feel you need to.
My god Mike-I never thought of it that way. Thanks
 
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