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Discussion Starter #1
Was hired to remove carpeting in 4 rooms pluss hallway of a home on the market. Home had 1970’s carpet with the rubber padding and over time had adhered itself to the HWF’s. Realtor met me there and while she was there I pulled up sections to show her that there was a mess with the old padding and told her I would get up what I could. My team showed up the next day and removed the carpet and scraped a large amount of the padding but could not remove it all. We scraped with adhesive remover and noticed scraping was scratching and denting the floors) and suggested that it be either refinished or re-carpeted.

Realtor looks at it after we worked all day and said “your not done are you?”. I again suggested that she have it re-carpeted or re-finished and was then told that she has no money for that and she is disappointed and thought she would come back to see beautiful HWF’s.

The fee we agreed on was $350 (that included removing and disposing of all carpet, and tack strips in 4 rooms plus a hallway). She wants to re-bargain the fee – since she didn’t come back to see beautiful HWF’s. I’m new at this (Independent Contractor for 1 year) and am not quite sure what to do as this is the 1st time I have ran into this.
 

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Carpe Diem
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You're new and just learned a valuable lesson. Make sure you cover ALL aspects in your contract. When you're involved with remodeling, you don't know what you don't know. You can't put on x-ray glasses and see behind walls or under flooring. You need to have verbiage in your contract to cover your ass. It's in your best interest to be up front with your customer that you are going to perform a certain task and if anything else comes up, there may be extra costs.
This is a classic case of miscommunication. The realtor assumed the job was going to give her beautiful floors. You didn't convey the possibility of there being leftover residue from the padding. You did what you said you would do and should be paid for your labor. Now that there's extra labor to be performed, you shouldn't have to work for free. This all could have been resolved with you INFORMING your customer BEFORE the work started.
Lesson learned! :thumbup1:
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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1st of all, when someone carpets over HWF more than likely there was a reason. They looked like crap. There was a 1 in 50 chance that there would have been beautiful HWF underneath the carpeting. There is no way that you could expect to pull up a carpet and then live on the floor without it being refinished. Her expectations are not realistic. You should have had some verbiage in the contract that said that you were responsible for removing and disposing of the carpet, pad and tack strips. But the condition of the floor was unknown and no guaranties would be offered on how the look of the HWF would be. You did your job, now you need to get paid.
 

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Custom Stuff
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Leo said:

You should have had some verbiage in the contract...

Bet you a dollar to a donut that there's no contract. If there is, it is so ambiguous that it becomes a 'he-said-she-said' argument.

Lanham 79, I would tell her that you have accomplished what you both agreed to and you are sorry the floors are not in the condition she expected, but without funds available for refinishing, there isn't much you can do. You can be sure the agent told a seller or buyer that it would help the sale if the floors were taken care of. Her problem now and if she won't pay, go to her broker and give him the bill.
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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If she doesn't pay bring the carpet and pad back and dump it in the yard/house. If she doesn't pay then there is no removal or dumping.
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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How can you possible exchange money without a contract. I just don't see it.
 

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Flooring Installer
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That "bubble rubber" pad, actually had a clay base. Over time it reverts to clay and almost becomes part of the wood. The only way to remove it completely is to sand the floor.
 

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Flooring Guru
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Perfect example of customer expectations.
Even the most detailed contract will not cover customer expectations in full.

Good lesson to learn....
I call it "defensive selling"

It's just like defensive driving when I am on my Motorcycle....
I EXPECT:
the driver to swerve into my lane without a signal
the car in front of me to blow their tire and slam on their brakes
the boat to unlatch from the truck and come right for me
a pedestrian to run out in the road
a Moose to run out in the road

Knowing these things helps me prepare for any possibility....

When I sell Carpet I EXPECT:
The customer to think the Carpet seam will be invisible
the carpet will last forever
roll crush will exist
nothing will stain the carpet
stairs will never show wear

knowing these things help me prepare the customer during the presentation to set more realistic expectations....
even that doesn't gaurantee anything...but it helps.
 

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Floorwizard said:
I EXPECT: a Moose to run out in the road

Only in Alaska, Maine, and a few states near Canada. Best we can do here is white tail deer. Still mess up your car, but a moose; they're talking about you in past tense after hitting one of those. :sad:
 

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Chief outhouse engineer
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[
. My team showed up the next day


The fee we agreed on was $350 (that included removing and disposing of all carpet, and tack strips in 4 rooms plus a hallway).
You must not have any overhead to be paying more than one guy to work all day and dispose waste for tree fiddy.:whistling

Sorry but this has a very familiar odor...:w00t:
 

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Flooring Installer
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How much you can charge depends on where you live. For example, the going installation rate for carpet here is $4 per yd. Some areas it is twice as much. The average worker, factory, fast food, etc here, only makes $8-$10 hr.
 

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The realtor is being a jackass, whether she knows it or not. So don't beat yourself up too much for her failings.

That said, it's a good opportunity to think what else you can do to get a better result in the future. You mention trying to manage her expectations by showing her the area underneath, which is good. Obviously she didn't really get it.

Putting it in writing and having her sign it is one good way to make it feel like more of a commitment on her part. You can't put everything in a contract because it would be 500 pages long and no customer would ever sign it. But there is a healthy balance of specificity you can strike.

In the future, you could also ask more about her desired end result before starting work. Yes, she's a twit and it takes time, but she's not a GC and that's the cost of having customers. With the benefit of hindsight, you could easily have determined that she had no budget for the next step. You could have placed yourself more in her shoes to see that pulling up the carpet would not put her in a better place.

And lastly, either you fudged your work time or you need to raise your rates. This kind of job is the one nobody should take. If you seriously worked all day, with helpers, and including disposal, start charging more money before you're back on here with a question about the consequences of not having insurance or safety equipment. The right result in this case would have been for the realtor to go back to the homeowner for a real budget. Both a yes and a no from the homeowner would have been better than where you are now.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you for all of those who kindly replied. I wanted to take a moment to let you all know that the issue was resolved and received our fee in full after she had a contractor that specializes in HWF's take a look at the floors. He, as well informed her that the floors needed to be refinished. What she plans to do, Im not sure of.

I may be new, but Im not stupid. We did have a signed contract and recieved a deposit before the work was set to begin. I ALWAYS use contracts.

As far as my fee, this fee was a discounted rate. Also, bear in mind that I am in West Virginia. Your fees may not be the same as the fees in our area.
 
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