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Ancient Rocker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the dumbest thing you have ever done to satisfy a builder or general contractor? Many moons ago I was hanging a house in January in Illinois during a blizzard. The builder asked me to hang the garage even though the floor was not poured, the windows were not in and the overhead door was not in. Incredibly, there was a snow drift in the middle of the garage! He told me he could not get a payout until the garage was hung, so I stupidly hung the damn thing. He told me he would pay me and buy my guys a steak dinner. I was paid a month later and 33 years later I am still waiting for the steak. He later filed bankruptcy and screwed many life long associates. Years later he told a mutual acquaintance that his subs all "deserved" to get stiffed. Let's see you top that.
 

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Hardhead
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I know what you mean Rocker. We've had builders want garages hung where the floor wasn't even GRADED...piles of dirt one side,big pits on the other,garage doors installed and hanging below the track where the lip should be...other times it was the entire load of siding in the garage,or doors/trim/appliances...some guys just don't get it. I should have listed every job where we dropped the garage door tracks and sent it to the installer so they could void any warranty.
 

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Super Moderator
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Sounds like a scumbag to me.

At least he paid you. However flapping his lips in such a way tends to make the blood boil.

I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
 

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Yeah there's stupid GCs out there of all sizes and shapes. Before I went out on my own, I was a project manager for a guy who pulled the following...

- Back charged a sub $3,000 because he backed his truck up in the front yard because the driveway was being paved. This backcharge was ridiculous because it wasn't muddy and the yard hadn't even been final graded yet so it's not like there was any damage to any grass. He just didn't like the fact that the guy drove in the yard. He thought the guy should carry all the materials and tools from the street 200 feet away.

- Back charged a sub $500 for leaving a pop can in the yard of an unfinished house and when the sub disputed it and said he couldn't prove that it was his can, he backcharged every sub that was on that site that day $500.

- He insisted on installing 5,000 sf of wood flooring in a house despite the fact we repeatedly showed him that the subfloor moisture reading was well over 10% and that we wanted to put some dehumidifiers in the house for a few days to get it down. He didn't want to spend the money on the dehumidifiers or "waste" the time. You can guess how that floor turned out.

- Oh and one of my favorites...tried to weasel his way out of having to install a sport court in the back yard of this new custom home (it was part of the original contract) we built by telling the client that the city wouldn't let him do it. So of course the client went to the village and asked why he couldn't have a sport court and they of course didn't know what he was talking about and approved the installation of the sport court. So instead of just doing the right thing and eating the cost of a properly sized sport court, he gypped the guy and installed a 10' x 10' sport court with a basketball hoop that hung over the court about 4'. I stopped by just to say hi to this client a few months ago and he's never had the thing enlarged. Of course it never gets used because about the only thing you can do on it is shoot layups.

So many stories I could tell about this guy. These are just a few that pop in my head when I saw this thread. I'm still disappointed in myself for ever working for this guy but I look at the fact that I learned how not to run my company. At Least everyone I met and worked with back in those days understands who the ring leader of that circus was and I still work with many of my subcontractors from those days and have good relationships with many of those clients who were treated so poorly. Heck, I've done work for or been recommended to others by almost all of them.
 

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I am in the midst of splitting away from a nutcase I do co-op jobs with who sounds like the same exact guy. (He does the sales and presents himself as an expert in all areas)
I mostly do kitchen remodeling and his favorite game is to "act surprised" when there is actually something in the kitchen soffits that we are removing. There is always at least some electric or kitchen sink plumbing vent in there that needs to be relocated. Then, after this "discovery" he tries to get me to charge these as extras to the homeowner.

I have ended up more times than not just doing the relo's on my own time to keep the peace.

I can't stand scam artists!
 

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The guys who treat their subs and clients that way all have one thing in common...

They don't last.
Unfortunately, some last much longer than anyone could anticipate but your right...they all go down at some point and this economy seems to be helping that so maybe there is one silver lining.
 

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Another "gc"/remodeler I refuse to work for anymore tried to get me to ignore the NEC and do things "his way. I refused
He lies about anticipated close dates to get the jobs/deposits, uses his employees to perform electrical, structural framing, and plumbing work (they are unlicensed, cant speak english, and always screw things up-and he doesn't even know what language they speak so how good could his instructions be), isn't insured himself, isn't qualified on paper to do anything, has no work comp, his customers do nothing but complain about him, hits the HO's with extras that almost double the cost of the job EVERY TIME, doesn't return phone calls, has to be threatened with liens for legitimate subs to be paid, is always in small claims court defending claims, never has written contracts with the HO's , ......and can sell ice to eskimos.

Here's the kicker-he always has work coming out of his ears on a referral basis.

He's a true enigma!
 

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I'm not sure what suburbs you are working in RS but I bet if it's the North Shore I could throw about a half dozen names at you and one of them would stick because you are describing several crooks I have crossed paths with...but I suppose that would open me up for some sort of slander suit so I will refrain.
 

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Ancient Rocker
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65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
About 5 years ago I was driving through a development and I saw a taper on tall stilts taping an ungraded garage. I came back after he left and measured the height. The LOWEST height was over 10' high and the highest was 12'. Who would possibly risk their life to do that? You only get one guess.
 

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Pro
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670 Posts
I worked for a builder a few years ago who did mostly cost plus jobs. One day I hear that he told one of the supers to get the drywall delivered to the job so he could bill for it. The roof was not finished, electric rough not complete, etc. The super (stupidly) did what he was told and you can guess the rest.

I had an argument with the same builder a year later where he told me I had to start taking his side in disputes with contractors if I wanted a future there. I told him I did not take sides but tried to be fair with everyone. He says "if I was fair with everyone I'd go out of business". I quit a few weeks later.

Bill
 

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Worked for a GC during some slow winters,quite a few years ago.
Made us sign off on lien release before getting paid.
Said it had to be done so banks would release funds.
It started taking longer to get paid.
Then he started getting greedy,not paying subs at all.Spent alot of time in court!
Got greedier built himself a massive house while still owing many subs.Ran ninto problems and had to do a lot of blasting to install septic,foundation.
Ran up a ton of extra costs.
Started to not pay suppliers.
Two years later lost his home to forclosure,moved into appartment,closed business.

Your lucky all you lost was the steak dinner.
I understand that the banks can be slow on releasing funds,but that is how things work,so the GC has to be financially responsible to his subs or he starts cutting his own throat,taking his cut last.
The start up costs should reflect anticipated bank draws,eleiviating these cash flow problems.
Some guys just aren't cut out for managing the cash flow,so their days were numbered from the start.
 

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Pro
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Worked for a GC during some slow winters,quite a few years ago.
Made us sign off on lien release before getting paid.
Said it had to be done so banks would release funds.
It started taking longer to get paid.
Then he started getting greedy,not paying subs at all.Spent alot of time in court!
Got greedier built himself a massive house while still owing many subs.Ran ninto problems and had to do a lot of blasting to install septic,foundation.
Ran up a ton of extra costs.
Started to not pay suppliers.
Two years later lost his home to forclosure,moved into appartment,closed business.
The guy I talked about did just about the same thing. He sold his house declared bankruptcy and a lot of subs got hurt. Four or five of his last clients kicked him off the job. He now has another business with a very respectable looking web-site, state license and all. Is on some board related to green building and just finished a $2.5 milloion spec house in the area.

It never ceases to amaze me how these low lifes can continue to do it.

Bill
 

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Hi all i am new to the board but have been around the trades for over twenty years. I too have seen and worked for some real winners but my last boss wins hands down as a low life. I worked for him for far too long and as time went on things just kept going down hill.

He is the king of robbing Peter to pay Paul! He plays the I need this done to get a check game all the time. I swear we should have just built everthing twice and backwards we could have saved a ton of time and money.

One client just had a $25000 lien dropped on there step after the completion of the job by the material supplier that never saw a dime. Every sub that has worked for him has been screwed and tattooed trying to get there money. He brings them in and says he has multiple upcoming projects and needs there best price and they will get all of the jobs for there commitment, but those jobs never come thru and never will. It got so bad the sub's went to the clients looking into why they werent paid (he lied and said he wasnt paid after many draws on the job's were paid). In one case the client came back and took over paying the subs for fear of liens and lawsuits.

He screws employees, subs, and clients like he is filming a porn movie. His checks never clear. He will pay people and it bounces for weeks. He fired the entire crew after not paying them for weeks and hired a new crew, he does the same with subs. I have heard him say "well if they dont want too work I have a stack of apps just waiting to be called" He hired a guy to buy his equipment then fire him after he got a deal on the stuff.

And I can always tell when the office manager is lying becuase he is breathing. I am glad I got away from them with my name intact lucky for me the clients saw right thru both of there schemes and all the local subs have started to blackball him due too non payment. The company's name is now a joke. I just hope he goes out of buisness before he screws too many more people.
 

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Thom
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4,137 Posts
Bad GC's don't exist in a vacuum. The jobs they get are jobs that conscientious GC's lost. It takes a host of factors to allow bad GC's to exist.

1) Customers who don't do their homework. They buy an artificially low price or a line of shlt.

2) Suppliers who continue to extend credit to slow payers and non-payers.

3) Subs who continue to extend credit and work to slow payers and non-payers. Oftentimes these subs will do work for free or for less for the bad GC's just to avoid the hassle. The conscientious one pays the bills, making him uncompetitive.
 

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He plays the I need this done to get a check game all the time.
Always run from GC's like that. I don't EVER tell my subs about draws. That's completely unprofessional. Good GC's have a cushion fund they can pull from until they get their draws. The only thing my subs know is that they get paid when the work is done and my checks are as good as gold. Excuses are for losers.
 

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I kept pushing his BS off on the economy going south and that others were going through it too. I knew it was going too far south and it was time to go. It took awhile to find another job, not so much for lack of offers but for lack of a decent employer I had many offers but they were either underpaying or the company didn't seem to add up after I checked there background out.
I finally got a call from my present employer he runs a successful custom home business as well as remodels and restoration he has been in business for 30 years and everyone I talked to had nothing but praise for him and his company. Out of over 100 applications I got the job so I would like to think that says something about my qualifications as well.
I wish I had run as soon as I had the inclination the former boss was the loser he is, but live and learn. I guess the bigger mistakes come with the bigger lesson's in life..
 

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About 5 years ago I was driving through a development and I saw a taper on tall stilts taping an ungraded garage. I came back after he left and measured the height. The LOWEST height was over 10' high and the highest was 12'. Who would possibly risk their life to do that? You only get one guess.
haha believe it or not i did a fire tape on ungraded floor. done a couple actually. it wasn't that bad but yeah its stupid. i wasn't forced to but i did it anyway cuz i didn't feel like driving back out there.
 

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What is the dumbest thing you have ever done to satisfy a builder or general contractor? Many moons ago I was hanging a house in January in Illinois during a blizzard. The builder asked me to hang the garage even though the floor was not poured, the windows were not in and the overhead door was not in. Incredibly, there was a snow drift in the middle of the garage! He told me he could not get a payout until the garage was hung, so I stupidly hung the damn thing. He told me he would pay me and buy my guys a steak dinner. I was paid a month later and 33 years later I am still waiting for the steak. He later filed bankruptcy and screwed many life long associates. Years later he told a mutual acquaintance that his subs all "deserved" to get stiffed. Let's see you top that.

I'm thinking this doesn't even make the top 100,000 list. :no:
 
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