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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I was contracted by a customer to paint an entire interior of a 6 bedroom home. He was given an estimate, agreed on the pricing, paid the requested deposit of 50%. He requested the work be completed in a specific time frame so he could get his house on the market. Which I have agreed to.

Now, less than 12 hours before the job is to be started he says he now may be renting his house out and the prospective tenants would like to paint the house themselves and choose the colors.

I have turned down 3 other jobs that I could have won the contract on in order to meet his timeline. I have additionally already purchased products in order to complete the job in a tight time frame as well as hired some additional labor for this ONE project.

Would it be unreasonable for me to keep the 50% deposit? Does he have any legal recourse? What is the right thing to do as I am VERY customer service oriented and do not want any negative KARMA or reviews. HELP!!!!!
 

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Talking Head
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Please post an intro in the Introduction section.

A lot of this depends on your state laws and your contract. The way I have things written, that deposit would be mine. Now, I'm very unlikely to keep that much of a deposit if I don't have to but I could if I wanted to.

He's breaching the contract(assuming yours is at all decent) so the onus is on him. You're willing to complete the work and have incurred expenses.

In your position, I would calculate the actual cost of the cancellation, including materials, extra labor expenses, actual labor in estimating and planning, lost income(probably even if you are able to fill the slot there will be some). On top of that I would add my regular overhead and profit and refund the balance if there was any left over. The HO will probably be pissed but make sure that you present it professionally and be really honest that you'd rather actually do the painting than have this chitshow but he's put you in a difficult spot and you need to keep paying your guys.

Hope it works out for you. Remember, your company comes first.
 

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He wants to cancel because having tenants do the painting will be cheaper. If you tell him that he's already spent most of his deposit on materials and preparation he might change his mind again and follow through with the job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
All of these replies are VERY helpful. No the OP is NOT the homeowner, I am the contractor.

My response to him was that I would be willing to work with the "tenants" allow them to choose the colors, have them reimburse him for the original cost of the project. Any additional items that the tenant may want and materials and labor would be the responsibility of the new tenant. I then explained to him that it is still his property and if/when the tenants move out he would want the interior painting to look professional whether he would be leasing it again or put it on the market to sell.

I have learned a very valuable lesson here, PUT IT ALL IN WRITING and have it clearly stated in the contract regarding "deposits" and refund policies.

Does anyone know of a decent website to obtain such contracts without spending an arm and a leg?

Thank you all for your responses and suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No Sir, I am a contractor that way under quoted this as he is a fellow resident in my neighborhood. His deposit was only $1,782.00.
 

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keep it and let him sue..as long as you have a contract signed regardless of verbiage you will be ok.

just keep all correspondence in writing..communicate email or certified mail
 

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My contract says non-refundable deposit. I assume yours does as well?

I would of course make special exceptions on a case to case basis, but it sounds like you just got hooked up with a cheapskate.
 

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What landlord would want to let a non professional of any sort do any work on his property?

When the bright pink cut lines go an inch onto the ceiling, and the lease ends he will get to hire a pro to do the ceilings as well.

As long as your contract covers deposits and non-performance, keep it and don't lose a moments sleep over it.:thumbsup:
 

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My contract says non-refundable deposit. I assume yours does as well?

I would of course make special exceptions on a case to case basis, but it sounds like you just got hooked up with a cheapskate.
it is not pertinent that it says non refundable..the law reads a certain way federally and at state level,.

a contract is a contract..if you don't take it serious neither will the HO..this is why so many don't take contractors serious..because so many are willing to be the good guy..

why write a contract if your willing to stray from it so easily?

too may out there frown on and look down on us..because they don't take it serious..we ain't real business with real expenses..we are crooks. we are beneath them upper echelon suit wearing..undereducated laborers looking for work or whatever other negative connotations some may believe.

A contract is a contract no matter what business..treat your business like a business.

book a photographer for an event especially a wedding and then cancel after rescind period and see where you end up.
book a wedding band..are they above us? Musicians? they will keep deposits and if the cancellation was was on real short notice they will have you in court for full contract..

to be taken seriously we must be serious.

sure if a middle aged woman husband dies and she is left strapped there is some discretion to be used.

someone signing, booking depositing..then last minute pulling this BS deserves the shaft.

this guy is not to give his deposit back and let the landlord sue him for it. period.
 

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I don't take a deposit until I start the job. In this case I'd be pissed even without a deposit just because it was short notice and I lost other work due to scheduling. I'd keep it and let him take me to court if it came to that.
 

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Can you do the work but let the tenants pick the colors?

This is where all those HGTV shows and the "you can do it, we can help" BS hurts us. Usually I like it because it helps weed out the cheapskates who won't appreciate the difference between a pro and a hack(or DIYer). Here, it's biting you in the azz.

I would point out to the HO that there are liability issues in letting their tenant work on the house. What if they break their neck falling off a ladder? What if they leave a rag soaked in spirits sitting in the garage and it combusts? I'm betting neither landlord nor HO insurance would help cover that.

There is so much that could go wrong and they would be on the hook. Hiring you gives them a professional look and a pro's insurance. These people care most about their pocket book, that's the body part you sell to at this point. Especially since they've (in my world) forfeited their deposit by canceling at this late juncture.
 

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Also, they're getting a great deal if they're only paying $3400 for an entire 6 bedroom house. Must be a pretty straightforward house with 8 foot ceilings, no stairs or fancy moulding and level 5 finish throughout that's in great shape. Are you doing the ceilings too? Maybe you WANT to let this one go.
 

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I am a contractor that way under quoted this
If you under bid the job he is doing you a favor. That is your out to a contract that you will lose money on. You can go broke sitting home. Deduct your expenses, provide him with an accounting, give the money back on condition of him signing a full release and thank your lucky stars.
 

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If you have a contract in writing and you have a signature, you can keep all the money.

What I don't get why you gave up the other 3 jobs, when all you have to do is schedule the work, but that is irrelevant here anyway, nobody cares about that and that is meaningless excuse to keep the deposit. Your contract gives you that right.

Good luck
 

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Every state has it's own set of laws involving contractors.

Virginia recognizes verbal agreements up to certain points......but it ain't TX.

This forum might not be the best place for that sort of advice.

To be honest though.... I think the owner is a POS who bailed out on you to save a few bucks. Hard to say what I would do other than avoid him in the future.
 

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What landlord would want to let a non professional of any sort do any work on his property?

When the bright pink cut lines go an inch onto the ceiling, and the lease ends he will get to hire a pro to do the ceilings as well.

As long as your contract covers deposits and non-performance, keep it and don't lose a moments sleep over it.:thumbsup:

I just finished a job like that. One room was pastel lime green with green onto the ceilings. Next room was some crazy dark pink with roller marks onto the ceiling. The rest of the house was aqua green. Paint dripped all over the hardwood floors. All semi gloss sheens. Needless to say I went through 15 gallons of Zinsser to kill it all.

Tenant paint job.
 

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on the ceilings. crazy dark pink with roller marks on the ceiling. The rest of the house was aqua green. Paint dripped all over the hardwood floors. All semi gloss sheens. Needless to say I went through 15 gallons of Zinsser to kill it all. Tenant paint job.
Very typical :censored:
 
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