Frustrating contractor

noahpapiAugust 18, 2009

I am in the midst of a kitchen and bathroom remodel project and need advice on how to best handle a difficult contractor. I've basically had to be the one managing the project because he constantly either doesn't answer my questions or lets details slip. The biggest thing driving me nuts right now is that although we've already paid several upgrade change orders to our project which adds to his already significant profit on this project, we found a countertop guy that could give us the same countertop as my GC's guy but for $1000 less. I asked the GC to credit me the cost of his quoted price in the contract and let me use the other countertop guy. He's saying he wouldn't credit me the whole price because that includes his profit. But neither he or his countertop people have done any work yet. He's try to stick me for profit on work not done yet? Is this normal? I've tried treating him with kindness and respect, I've tried the indirect route of telling him he's not managing the job, and I've tried to, more recently, just be blunt in my unhappiness. Any advice would be appreciated.

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He is counting on the profit from the countertops as part of his total compensation. Maybe offer him a percentage to 'manage' the installation but use your guys? Might be a compromise but it could get you past the situation.

Btw, depending upon how large your countertop investment is, the $1000 difference could be what he built in for his profit.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 5:13PM
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From the contractor's perspective, he's done most of the work already, which is finding the materials, installer, choosing the style, and working out all the design details. If he's an honest contractor, his price includes occasionally absorbing the price of redoing the whole thing if an error, such as miscommunication, or even a mistake on his part, causes things to go wrong. If youÂve read this forum, and the kitchen forum, youÂll find that even very competent contractors run into the unforeseen.

The time to do your comparison-shopping is before you have made your purchase, in this case your contract with your contractor, not after he has figured out all the details.

ThereÂs an other issue here. The installation of the countertops has to be very carefully coordinated with all the other aspects of the job. If he doesnÂt have a working relationship with the counter top installer, it could mess up the whole job for the contractor. Before you decide to get someone else in there, read about all the things that go wrong with countertop installations.

Now, if heÂs not been on top of the job thatÂs another issue. I would recommend letting the $1,000. on the countertop go. I would focus on improving communication with the contractor. Make your expectations clear, and then ask him if he agrees with you that those are his responsibilities.

In case you are wondering what my perspective on this issue is, here it is. I am at the end of a remodeling project that started in 2005. I am also a decorative painter and have had jobs where the design was more work than the execution.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:34AM
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Your options are usually determined by the terms of the contract. In a lump sum contract it is normal for the contractor's cost to be credited to the owner but not his profit.

Usually your only recourse for incompetence is to terminate the contract.

Why can't your contractor use the other counter supplier?

If you aren't getting along with your contractor now wait until you ask him to reduce his income and have to put up with another contractor on the site.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:36PM
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