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Clark Construction
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Discussion Starter #1
I just wanted to post what happened to me because I know we all deal with these type of situations at times.

A local doctor was building a new building for his family practice.
He got bids from 3 people. Myself, Lowballer, and Contractor A.

We all had a bid sheet and plans laying out generally what was wanted. It was up to the contractors to determine how to implement the build. eg. block, beams, roof layout.

We came in at around 320k. Contractor A came in at 350k. Lowballer came in at 220k!!!!!!!$##@[email protected]#

It was impossible to be that cheap. I checked periodically to see how he was possibly doing it that cheap. The ground was supposed to be built up because it was in a flood plane. He just layed block up to where it needed to be. He used 2x8 floor joist where it should have 2x12. I can't remember the spans, I just remember I planned on 2x12 joists. The block on one side was supposed to be 10" block and he used 8". This was just what I could see without going in and looking around.

Now for the good part. The owner wants me to fix a bunch of problems with the building. He didn't go into alot of detail, but I know it has settling problems, and squeaky floors.

I think I might charge him 100 thousand to fix it. I think he deserves it.
 

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In a way I feel sorry for these people. They are ignorant and they just want to save a buck....

But on the other hand, even when I was a young tradesman scraping by, I bought quality. I couldnt afford a new car for my wife, but researched and paid cash for a good car, not a clunker. I bought good tools, if I bought my wife a watch or a set of earings, they were quality. I have no patience for cheap chit.
 

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I would charge fairly, but at the walk through make a comment like, "I wondered how he was so much cheaper than me. I guess we found out!"
 

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PCI
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Be the pro that you are! That is why he came back to you! Charge him fairly, no discount or up-charge, and you will be his Superman. Let him tell the world how you saved the day.
Of course you can always hint or tell him how great you are (and tell all you friends) so you get all the referrals.

One step further is have him agree to a press release after completion on how you saved the day and run with it.
 

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Be fair with him since he did come to you; but also let him know that he is putting a Band-Aid on a gun shot wound, since the other contractor cut alot of corners. :rolleyes:
 

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Don't they have a permitting process there in WV? Where the block and joist size would have been scrutinized in their office?
I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but; be careful and take your time before you get involved in this.
 

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Clark Construction
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Discussion Starter #16
Don't they have a permitting process there in WV? Where the block and joist size would have been scrutinized in their office?
I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but; be careful and take your time before you get involved in this.
No permitting process in my county. They just tell ya not to build close to the property line.

The state fire marshal does do his job though on fire protection.
 

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Work is work if you need it. If you don't need it, this isn't a job you should mind walking away from. If you have no reason to doubt the Dr.'s business ethics I can't see a reason to walk away.

I would suggest that everything you touch be completely documented with the building owner's signature.

I would also do your best to work off of a retainer. e.g. If you agree to $50K worth of work get him to pay you in advance draws of $10K so you are never behind. Allow for yourself to withdraw from the project at anytime the terms are not met.

I would feel strongly that a considerable effort should be put into the contract documents.. If you get even a little loose in this respect chances are above average you will come to regret it.
 

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Clark Construction
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Discussion Starter #18
I would suggest that everything you touch be completely documented with the building owner's signature.

I would feel strongly that a considerable effort should be put into the contract documents.. If you get even a little loose in this respect chances are above average you will come to regret it.
Good point. I wouldn't want to get blamed for the fist guy's work.

Also, I see a couple comments about not getting paid. Is this something that happens a lot in these situations?
 

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Also, I see a couple comments about not getting paid. Is this something that happens a lot in these situations?
Yes.

We do rip-out and re-do stuff occasionally. Often the customer wants it 'fixed' but since they already 'paid' for it they don't want to pay to fix it well. Then you can look bad since 'if you touched it last, you own it'.

So, as someone else said, bid it fairly and add 35% - then keep the payments ahead of the work. I photograph EVERYTHING on these. What everything looked like before and then what we did.
 

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Good point. I wouldn't want to get blamed for the fist guy's work.

Also, I see a couple comments about not getting paid. Is this something that happens a lot in these situations?
Not necessarily. What you have is a customer that has recently been 'burned'. The customer is more likely to be on the defensive. This can lead to an unreasonably tight pocket book.

I say unreasonably tight, because if the customer had been treated fairly they would more likely trust the process. As you won't really know how the customer feels it's best to be a little preemptive.
 
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