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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Previous customer inherited a house and they are trying to sell it. Walls are in rough shape, so they want to give it a quick fix up. They don't want to put a lot of money in it. They just want it to look presentable. The house is kind of huge and has a complicated layout. Last time I worked for these people, they had a rather lengthy punch list at the end of stuff they wanted touched up. They promise not to be so picky this time, but I don't believe it. So I can easily see this turning into a big fight if I skip stuff. But if I paint everything, it'll cost a fortune. Writing an extremely detailed contract specifying every little thing that will get painted doesn't really seem realistic. Nobody has the patience for that. How do you handle something like this?
 

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I deal with those kinds of jobs all the time (have one now, in fact). Sometimes it's good to hire a painting crew and blitz that part (or most of it). Do a mark up for it, which you'll earn it with oversight, anyhow. Bid your other work separately. When you have a "value client", talk to them in terms of value. Define the job clearly, so if they do any add-on's, there is no misunderstanding with them incurring extra cost.

Edit: The customer you describe is actually the type I like. I welcome the "biggest bang for the buck" types, since there's usually an urgency to close it. I like to be on their side, offer some input, put a price together and get it going. When they know you're on their side, it flows. Just be confident in your numbers for if/when they ask. Nothing wrong with that.
 

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If you don't know how to bid it, SKIP IT! Wanna lose money, start bidding work without a clue how long it will take or what the customers expectations are.

Time and materials. And don't forget markup for the pita factor.
 

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I get the sense these clients are not the T & M types, so it won't be a "win-win" in their eyes. Maybe bid some "great flat prices" for them, and T & M any/all changes. I would not T&M everything unless I wanted to lose the job.
 

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Accidental Painter
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Man, once you skip steps in prep it will shine like no other what you skipped. Then they pick it apart. Thats because now that its shiny clean all the garbage shows.

Blue tape & pics before of everything to be fixed/skipped. You already know they're gonna pick it apart (as stated from your last experience). So just unleash the blue tape shotgun & use green tape to mark what they want fixed. Then take pics of the two colored walls before & after. Blue = skip green = fix.

Now you dont have to write a novel of a contract. Just refer to pics. Add that repairs not marked by green tape will be done @ hourly rate.
 

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Not many customers will go for a time and materials contract. Who keeps track of the time and materials? Oh...the honor system?
Maybe a family member or someone who trusts you implicitly. Or, someone there on the job whose willing to verify your hours.
Even then, you leave yourself open for a possible small claims court appearance. A time and materials contract is nothing but trouble.

Give them a bottom line contract instead. Lol...and add 15% onto the total if you even suspect they are gonna be a hard case.

Not satisfactory to them? Tough...walk away. Some customers are just the kind to be difficult and make your life harder.
 

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If you don't know how to bid it, SKIP IT! Wanna lose money, start bidding work without a clue how long it will take or what the customers expectations are.

Time and materials. And don't forget markup for the pita factor.
So how does one learn if they never have a first time?

The only way a contractor learns how to accurately and profitably bid is by screwing a few up and losing.
 

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Hair Splitter
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Not many customers will go for a time and materials contract. Who keeps track of the time and materials? Oh...the honor system?
Maybe a family member or someone who trusts you implicitly. Or, someone there on the job whose willing to verify your hours.
Even then, you leave yourself open for a possible small claims court appearance.

Give them a bottom line contract instead. Lol...and add 15% onto the total if you even suspect they are gonna be a hard case.

Not satisfactory to them? Tough...walk away. Some customers are just the kind to be difficult and make your life harder.
I don't do many, but when I do, I have never had an issue. I can understand not feeling comfortable doing them yourself, but saying that not many customers will go for it is false. When the situation warrants it, you should never have a problem providing a good persuasive argument to the benefits to all involved.
 

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I don't do many, but when I do, I have never had an issue. I can understand not feeling comfortable doing them yourself, but saying that not many customers will go for it is false. When the situation warrants it, you should never have a problem providing a good persuasive argument to the benefits to all involved.
A T&M contract has the potential to be a can of worms. Substantiate your hours. Who records that?
A time and materials contract pretty much makes you an employee of them. I'll pass on time and material contracts most of the time.

Small claims courts are ripe with T&M disputes between painter and customer.
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T&M contract disputes are rarely defensible, from what I know. I used to watch The Peoples Court, lol. Small claims court judge will ask the painter if his has a contractors license. If the painter answers no, usually the judge will favor the owner, who in cases like this is a like general contractor. Anyways, a homeowner in CA is seen by law to be like a general contractor in regards to hiring T&M workers. Contractor laws differ from state to state.

...what were we talking about? nevermind
 

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I do T&M for 80-90%+ of my contracts, I have NEVER had an issue or dispute. Weekly progress payments, always keeping them aware of unforeseen issues AS THEY ARISE, and always make sure they are completely satisfied keeps everyone happy.

The license issue you spoke of (not sure if it's everywhere, but FL is like this ), contracts written by unlicensed contractors are considered unenforcable. Meaning legally speaking(not morally) you could hire a CL hack to do your kitchen, let him finish, refuse to pay , and technically they can't do chit about it. I've never tried, but that is likely the system used in your " Peoples court".
 

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T&M can work, but can also bite you pretty bad

I had a job, bid a price, but the owner changed his mind so much I had to go to t&m. The owner would tear out a wall or something and tell me after the fact.

I worked about three weeks on the job, and then someone came Along and offered to do the work for 7.50$ an hour cheaper. Because the owner was already over budget (duh) he took the cheap guy.

I did get all my money but lost the job and had to scramble to line up more work.

I only do t&m now on service work and jobs under 500$.
 

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Hair Splitter
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A T&M contract has the potential to be a can of worms. Substantiate your hours. Who records that?
A time and materials contract pretty much makes you an employee of them. I'll pass on time and material contracts most of the time.

Small claims courts are ripe with T&M disputes between painter and customer.
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T&M contract disputes are rarely defensible, from what I know. I used to watch The Peoples Court, lol. Small claims court judge will ask the painter if his has a contractors license. If the painter answers no, usually the judge will favor the owner, who in cases like this is a like general contractor. Anyways, a homeowner in CA is seen by law to be like a general contractor in regards to hiring T&M workers. Contractor laws differ from state to state.

...what were we talking about? nevermind
It's obvious that you really don't know how to handle a T&M contract. It does not come close to making you an employee. There are many more factors.

They are qoute easy to keep track and you always give them a ball park number before starting. There are even guys on here who do the majority of there work on T&M.

A lot of states don't license or only license a few trades. Painters are not licensed here so asking then if they have one and then being biased because they don't is ridiculous. That would never happen here.

Sorry but someone who gives legal examples from Judge Judy should not be giving out legal advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I was thinking about T&M, but I needed to hear it. It always seems kind of unprofessional to me. I'm the expert. I ought to be able to give a price. But in a case like this, I think it was the right move. I figured, since I had worked with them before, they would know that I'm not a slacker. So I gave them a price based on time. They said okay. But then one of the sisters wanted separate prices for upstairs and downstairs. Then somebody wanted to know how much time it was going to take. Some guy is coming in to do carpet, so we've got that to deal with now. I don't know what's going to happen, but I stood firm on the time and materials and I think if they don't go for it, I at least dodged a bullet. :clap:
 

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It's obvious that you really don't know how to handle a T&M contract. It does not come close to making you an employee. There are many more factors.

They are quite easy to keep track and you always give them a ball park number before starting. There are even guys on here who do the majority of there work on T&M.

A lot of states don't license or only license a few trades. Painters are not licensed here so asking then if they have one and then being biased because they don't is ridiculous. That would never happen here.

Sorry but someone who gives legal examples from Judge Judy should not be giving out legal advice.
Sorry, but someone who agrees to T&M is basically giving out a blank check and going on trust. That's fine if you go on mutual trust. Do disputes get settled in small claims courts (Judy's or whoever) or is it pistols at dawn? Her "legal examples" are as typical as any heard in small claims courts, making her about a zillion times more knowledgeable than you.
 

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Sorry, but someone who agrees to T&M is basically giving out a blank check and going on trust. That's fine if you go on mutual trust. Do disputes get settled in small claims courts (Judy's or whoever) or is it pistols at dawn? Her "legal examples" are as typical as any heard in small claims courts, making her about a zillion times more knowledgeable than you.
Never had a dispute and always come in on budget.

Like I said one that uses judge judy, a tv show and not real court, shouldn't be giving legal advice. It is amusing though.
 

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So the kazillion service outfits around that charge an hourly rate typically betray that trust and wind up in court? :no:
I think the he is talking about subs not service. I wouldn't sub my plumber to fix a toilet for a customer and expect him to give me a fixed number. Well, I wouldn't sub my plumber for service, but you get the idea.
 
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