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Discussion Starter #1
Hi - I'm a small (solo) residential remodeler. I've been in business for about 7 years. I do bathrooms, home repair, occasionally an addition. A big project for me is 50K, but most are anywhere from 3-15K. No employees - I hire skilled temp agency laborers and helpers and then other licensed contractors that are friends that come in to work with me when I have bigger projects - but much of the time I work alone. Quite happily.

I am in the final stages of closing a contract to do a basement finish project. Nothing elaborate, basically building interior walls, floors and a bath into a unfinished basement space that has had some of the initial work done already (plumbing roughed, egress windows in). All to code...about 35K, and I really would love the indoor work in the winter!

The homeowners who want to hire me have a connection to a community non-profit organization that offers financial assistance for low income/disabilities. And this is where it gets sticky:

This organization has forwarded me a PQQ - a "Pre-Qualification Questionaire" which first asks some relevant, straightforward questions about: my experience, the individuals in my organization (uh, that would be me), licensing, bonding insurance etc. I am totally legit and never had a claim or a dispute. It asks if I have ever failed to complete a contract, lawsuits, judgements, arbitration...the answer to all is NO! It asks for trade references (no problem - I pay cash for everything and bank references (I've got a business checking account at a bank - not sure what they are going to ask them but OK)

But THEN they want the total worth of all projects for last 5 years, detailed list of the major projects for the last 3 years, and a rather invasive Financial statement (preferably audited) including my organization's latest balance sheet and income statement showing current fixed and other assets (cash on hand, joint ventures, accounts receivable, accrued income, deposits, materials inventory and prepaid expenses) current liabilities (accounts payable, notes payable, accrued expenses, provision for income taxes, advances accrued salaries and accrued payroll taxes, earned surplus and retained earnings)

I know some of you have this ready to go- and an administrative assistant and bookkeeper ready to give it out. I don't! Again, I'm a VERY small remodeling contractor. 1 man band. I don't have any of this. And if I had it, even though I don't have anything to hide, I don't really have any marquee income numbers to brag about. I don't want to show my money number to people - it's private!

I have good relations with my subs, my clients like the work that I do...I have plenty of references and happy clients. I know that I have a lot of work if I want to grow the business to the next level but at this point, because of some health issues I simply don't have the resources or the ability to take it there. For now, I am where I am - an honest, considerate guy with the knowledge and skills to do good work. I am not Walsh Construction. And clients who like dealing with the person who is actually doing the work like hiring me.

I'm a clean cut, drug free, family guy. I have no debt except my mortgage on my home - I own my truck, my tools and everything outright, pay off my credit cards every month, over 800 credit score...solid honest tradesman.

Think back to when you were small and hungry but certainly not desperate. I'm not sure if the homeowners know about the questions or care to know the answers to these questions, Evidently, I have impressed them with my ideas and knowledge to the point of wanting me to do the work. There isn't even any other contractors submitting a proposal! But now I have to impress this non-profit with my balance sheet - which I don't have!

What do I reply to the PQQ? Do I tell them upfront that I am not willing to share the financials and ask if they want my responses to the other questions? Or do I go ahead and answer only what I want to and just leave out the stuff I'm not willing to (and maybe they won't actually ask for the rest?).

It's my opinion that you don't put out things that aren't going to help you get the business, so if I am going to not give it. Turn a negative into a positive - I want to convey the impression that I am purposefully choosing to not give it because it's really none of their business, right?

I'd love to hear what some of you folks would recommend a little guy like me should do...
 

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Call the NPO that gave you the PQQ and talk to them.

The NPO is just trying to protect their investment & your client.
 

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Man, I've done a lot of jobs and never had to give out this kind of info. What they are asking I would consider proprietary information. You could politely tell them if they wish they can take out a performance bond on you, if it would ease their concern. You write very well and I think you can put together a good letter explaining this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Call the NPO that gave you the PQQ and talk to them.
The NPO is just trying to protect their investment & your client.
Thanks for your reply. The non-profit called me today and told me about the form they would be sending and mentioned all of the straightforward things that I don't mind answering. She didn't mention the financials. I don't know how important they are and I agree that is something I intend on finding out.

So that is exactly what I am asking for advice on: when I call or write the non-profit how do I (politely, skillfully, tactfully) say that I while I have invested many hours in my time on site, with subs and in conversations with the homeowners to get to this point - I am not willing to give them this kind of information. And (tactfully) turn it into not a deal breaker?

I mean, I'm a realist. I know that I can't impress them even IF I have all of this and IF I were willing to share it. But I don't have it and don't want to take the additional hours to put it together AND then have it be not impressive. It would be a lot of effort and at the end of the day providing my financial information would not do anything to bolster my image while my actual work and client references provide positives.

One more thing to point out: I'm not asking for a huge amount upfront. I bill in phases as milestones are achieved and inspections are completed. In other words, this isn't a massive financial outlay with no controls on what is being delivered.
 

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I agree with Griz. Give them a call and see what they really want and need.
I would take a pass on the job before I would divulge that sort of information to anyone.
I can't imagine how much time I would have to spend, getting all of that together, in a presentable manner.
Who owns the property, and what is the connection between the two?
 

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I quoted a job for veterens affairs and all they wanted to know was, if I was licenced and insured.
Also the specs of all materials being used.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Man, I've done a lot of jobs and never had to give out this kind of info. What they are asking I would consider proprietary information. You could politely tell them if they wish they can take out a performance bond on you, if it would ease their concern. You write very well and I think you can put together a good letter explaining this.
Hi Mike
Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one who is surprised at the level of personal probing going on here (as in proctologist exam).

I have a 20,000 Surety Bond that ensures that I will pay damages if order to by Oregon's Contractors Board. I've heard of them for big projects but how does a performance bond work? And since my agent is out for the weekend, do you know anything about what they might cost for such a small contracted amount?
 

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WoodPeckerwood said:
Hi Mike Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one who is surprised at the level of personal probing going on here (as in proctologist exam). How does a performance bond work?
Well I'm only going to be able to tell you what's applicable in my state, however it might still work the same in yours. A performance bond is something they would have to purchase. It protects them from you not performing. I do believe the bonding company may vet you somewhat. To see if there are any outstanding legal issues with you.

Here's an excerpt

A surety bond is not an insurance policy. A surety bond is a guarantee, in which the surety guarantees that the contractor, called the “principal” in the bond, will perform the “obligation” stated in the bond. For example, the “obligation” stated in a bid bond is that the principal will honor its bid; the “obligation” in a performance bond is that the principal will complete the project; and the “obligation” in a payment bond is that the principal will properly pay subcontractors and suppliers. Bonds frequently state, as a “condition,” that if the principal fully performs the stated obligation, then the bond is void; otherwise the bond remains in full force and effect.

Now if the the bond is needed for any reason, the bonding company will be coming after you for payment, simply put it's not insurance.
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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I'd fill out the form with what information you feel comfortable in providing, leave the remaining blank or a notation to the effect that it's asking for proprietary information.

If they continue to demand the info, then you apparently are not a good match for them.
 
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this is all standard stuff I fill out every year to be able to qualify for state/government contracts.
I dont see how these requests could pose a problem for a honest business.
And you never know what opportunities could become of this.
Not filling out all of the form could only hurt you.
Fill it out in its entirely, or do not fill it out at all.
or you want the job, or you dont
good luck
 

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For building walls, floors and a bathroom??

People are idiotic.

Call the people and tell them for information like they outlined they need to buy you diner and a movie first.
 

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I've been thinking about this. I'll bet they think you're a corporation. Tell them you're a sole proprietor your taxes are filled out jointly with you and you wife, therefore is personal and you're not willing to divulge this info.
 
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