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I'll try to keep this short. I do primarily siding work and was hired by a contractor friend of mine, I'll call John, to do just that on a large ranch style home and detatched garage/office. He was hired by "MR. BIG", who himself is a comercial contractor. This was to be Mr Biggs own home, indoor pool and such.

John bid the framing/siding labor and was required by "Big" to include the matterials. John went to local lumber yard for a framing take-off with, so he says, an unapproved, unengiennered, reduced size set of plans. I would never have agreed to this under these circumstances. The bid was submitted and he gave mr big a "Quick Books" style "estimate". I have no idea what was signed etc. I came in on a verbal agreement. I came to realize about half way through there was trouble brewing. I asked to be paid for the garage portion. John said have "BIG" pay you. Big said nothing doing.
In hind sight should have packed my tools and left. I had spent 2k on labor mine not included. I stayed because I was already 25% done with the house at this point and knew I would not be able to lien the property unless I was done.
I finished, and pleaded with "mr Big" to pay me, as John was unable to because the before mentioned lumber bid was now $20,000 over budget.
He was very happy with my work but esentially said sorry, its Johns responsibility.

I got lawyer to lien. $500. I am first in line for the lien. Lumber store then serves me, because I am first in line, as well as "John" and "Mr Big'' as a defendant in a lawsuit. My lawyer then writes many letters to many reciepients for many dollars. $1200.00 or so. One letter was to Labor and Industries re: surrity bond/ Savings account. I was advised from the begining not to go after "Johns" bond. Lets get the owner he says. So now I am paying him for something he advised me against in the first place. Not to mention with the amount of time that has gone by, I am probably 10th in line if I'm Lucky.

Lumber stores lawyer called me one night and told me I would be served, it was really a formality because of my position in line. He also said he thought "MR BIG" would pay and that I would not have to spend lots of dough on my lawyer, ya know "ride the coat tails".

Sorry for the length, any advice would be greatly appreciated. GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD. We are talking around 14K on my end and about 22K on the lumber end.
 

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Nick said:
I was hired by "John", a contractor friend of mine, to do...Mr Biggs home. I came in on a verbal agreement. I came to realize there was trouble brewing [and] I asked to be paid. John said have "BIG" pay you. John was unable to [pay me] because [his] lumber bid was $20,000 [under cost].
I was advised from the begining not to go after "Johns" bond.
Your problem is with John. He didn't pay you because HE DIDN'T WANT TO! If he wanted to he'd have found a way. If he managed to collect the full price of his bid then you have no leg to stand on when it comes to Mr. Big. Like the old saying goes, with friends like that...
Maybe you can figure a way to "persuade" your "friend" to do the right thing.
 

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Oh the contray Washington law states that work done on anyones house contract or no contract you can lien the bastard. Contrator or not lien'em.

Oh btw never work for friends, family, church's or asian's with out a contract.
(this isn't meant to be racial but it is the truth)
 

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I never work with anyone without a contract. I cannot afford it.

I work alot with church folks and Asians. Not any more problems than any other folks from my experience.

Perhaps it has alot to do with versatility of communication. I have learned to work with different folks who operate a bit differently than others.

I have made good money with those folks.
I am not about to leave money on the table because of any specific hardships in the past.

There are some people who I will not do business with, but it takes some personal time with them to determine if they are my kind of clients or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I absolutley did lien the project and had every right to do so. That fact is the only reason I did complete the project. No completion, no recourse. Heared from my laywer today, probably to keep me from cutting my losses. He insists Mr. B ig is going to settel the action with me and the lumber company. It is just going to take a few more dollars and a little time. Yeah right.
When I say friend, I didn't mean it literally . He was/ is a guy in the trades, primarily a framer and sider who got in way ofer his head .I have known him since I was a greenhorn eighteen years ago.No love lost
Was wondering if anyone else had had such a three way quagmire before. Thanks for all your input. Nick AKA Dos Clavos
I have conducted business in Wa. since 94 and have been required to submit a contract only twice....I think. My work speaks for itself and my rep. is unblemished. Nevertheless, I will from now on draw up a contract on all future endeavors.
What is it with Asians anyway. "Not that there's anything wrong with that"
 

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I once did work for an asian friend of mine who I had come to know from church who later by coincidence turned out to be related to me, I did the work without a contract and I got screwed so bad I walked bow legged for a week. Or maybe I am mixing my fantasies together here? I don't know, something like that anyways.
 

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Nick said:
I have conducted business in Wa. since 94 and have been required to submit a contract only twice....I think. My work speaks for itself and my rep. is unblemished. Nevertheless, I will from now on draw up a contract on all future endeavors.
Nick buddy, you don't work off of contracts to protect the other guy from you, you do it to protect yourself from him and even protect him from himself in some cases.

You don't do contracts because as you said yourself - you have been working since 94 without running into a problem, you do contracts to protect yourself from the exceptions which of course you final ran into. Nobody goes into a job thinking they are going to get screwed, but those pesky contracts let you go into a job knowing you probably have done all you can to make sure you won't get screwed, which is nice because then you can just concentrate on doing the work. :)
 

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I know in WA residential there is hardly ever contracts signed. That is also why I don't trust half the guys who call themselves contractors in this state. But hey I have adapted to it all and I just get ruthless these days. If I have too.
Oh and about the church thing I know so many guys that did work for churchs that said they wouldnever work for a church again. Not so much getting ripped off the church tries to make you feel obligated to doing extra's and other stuff for free.

Asians the crafty business people they are will start trying to loball you after you start work and try to get extras for free.
 

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Middle easterners want to renegotiate every time they have to pull out the checkbook. You should see the proposals I give them. I can't discriminate but custom work can get really pricey sometimes.
 

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Okay, here is one you never thought of - Indians. Long ago I did work for an Indian casino, (not construction work). They were the slipperiest, most disgusting, petty, cheap ass clients I have had the displeasure of working for, trying to nickle and dime you out of everything. At one point I wanted to tell them "Christ all mighty, I know you guys feel like the white man screwed you, but I didn't do it personally!" They developed one of the worst reputations around, got to the point because the stiffed so many people that no body but some new sucker who didn't know anybetter would work for them unless they got paid COD. I think at one time I even heard them try to pay somebody with casino chip credits!
 

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Teetorbilt said:
Middle easterners want to renegotiate every time they have to pull out the checkbook. You should see the proposals I give them. I can't discriminate but custom work can get really pricey sometimes.
I am open for negotiations before the contract is signed. After the scope of work is decided and contract is signed the time for negotiations is over. I refuse to negotiate on anything.

I take it as complete disrespect when it comes time to pay and someone asks for a discount... and I am not shy to tell the asker how insulted I feel.
 

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I was in a very similiar situation a few years ago actually. I was brought into this industry by a real fly-by-night trunk slammer type of guy. I worked for him for about two years and quit after I realized how many people he ripped off.

Anyways we still spoke frequently, he called me one day and asked me to help him sell a roof and he'd sub it to me. So I did sell the roof for him. I got a downpayment from him also. That was all I got, when the job was done he quit answering the phone.

We got paid by the home owner, who did also pay him for the work we did. As it turns out this home owner was good friends with this scum's uncle and this scum not only ripped us off but ripped off the home owner a few weeks later taking a deposite for some masonry and never doing any work!

See what drugs will do to ya!
 

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Mike Finley said:
Okay, here is one you never thought of - Indians. Long ago I did work for an Indian casino, (not construction work). They were the slipperiest, most disgusting, petty, cheap ass clients I have had the displeasure of working for, trying to nickle and dime you out of everything. At one point I wanted to tell them "Christ all mighty, I know you guys feel like the white man screwed you, but I didn't do it personally!" They developed one of the worst reputations around, got to the point because the stiffed so many people that no body but some new sucker who didn't know anybetter would work for them unless they got paid COD. I think at one time I even heard them try to pay somebody with casino chip credits!
Geez Mike, right when i thought you were a levelheaded guy(like it matters what i think right?).. I read this paticular thread, about the natives.....Were not all like that...Still some good ones left LOL.. ;)
 

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Mike Finley said:
They were the slipperiest, most disgusting, petty, cheap ass clients I have had the displeasure of working for, trying to nickle and dime you out of everything.
Community based churches are the worst. Always on a shoestring budget, always with a knucklehead GC (if they don't have some clueless albeit well intentioned member running the job) and too many cooks in the kitchen to get time sensitive decisions made expeditously. The good Reverend will be tooling about in a $70K short, sportin' a $1,200 suit and $200 doo all the while swearin' by the Good Book that they don't have the money this week to pay for the work that's done.
 
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