Incentive/ Bonus for the contractor to finish fast

GWloloJuly 8, 2013

Has anyone offered a incentive or bonus to their GC for completing the project sooner by a certain date? It would be great if you can share a bit about your situation, how you did it and whether it worked. We are in the end game for the project but GC and the subs don't seem to have enough skin in the game to come and complete it fast. Just wondering if this is an option worth considering. Don't even get me started on if this is fair or right :( I know it isn't but we may just need to do something to get the final inspection done and move in.

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Holly- Kay

GWlolo, I wouldn't want to offer an incentive for speed. Speed often means substandard. I did think of offering incentive for a job well done but then thought if they are craftsmen they will do their job well without incentive. With that being said my flooring installers were amazing and I gave them each $50. They were so sweet and insisted that I didn't need to give them anything but they were really great. I also thanked them and praised their work. They are the same team that will be installing my backsplash!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 9:43PM
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Didn't you have a horrible GC with problems with the work? I wouldn't reward that and sure wouldn't want anyone to be working fast!! lol

He won't just schedule some time?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Do you have a hold back? Is it enough to get someone else to finish the job?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Let me put this nicely:

Are you insane?
Have you read anything here?

Do you want fast, right, or a reason to justify b!tching about your horrible contractor for as long as you own your house?

I think you're actually talking about completion bonuses (boni?) Or penalties for missing deadlines. I know everyone's had this brilliant idea.

As my x-POC, GC husband would say to his ephifanied (is that a word?) clients that for every day they would charge him for failure to complete, the contract must include a bonus for early (i.e. read "fast") completion.

Living with the crap my x-POC left me with and how much i've paid to have his work redone without ANY bonus or incentives involved, I'm here to tell you not to awaken that dragon.

Just work with a reasonable contractor, who doesn't brag, who sets a schedule he feels in comfortable with you, and do your 1/3, 1/3, punch list, and final 1/3.

Don't make extra stress over an already-difficult part of your life.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:05AM
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Gwlolo - I had no idea you weren't in the house yet, yikes! What does 'complete it fast' mean? Come in two weeks vs. two months? What's still left to do and have you paid in full? More info and we may be able to better help.

Also - have you called Kohler yet? Make that call today please, that's one problem you can solve. Best of luck oldbat2be

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:15AM
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Note - This was a whole house rebuild not just the kitchen. There is not much work left but it is impossible to get the work scheduled. No sub has a full day's worth of work but there is a bit of electrical, a bit of plumbing, some finish carpentry, some kitchen cabinet work etc. There are dependencies with each other as well. The bottomline is that the GC is not putting pressure to get the subs scheduled and show up. He says that everyone is busy and tired of this project dragging on and are not wiling to commit time. I am tired of nagging and following up. My only motivation is to see if there is some way to get this project completed fast and the final inspection done so that we can get the gas hooked up and get the occupancy permit to move in. A friend who has experience in the construction business advised me that there is not enough financial incentive at this stage of the project for the GC and offering him a financial bonus for getting it all done may be a good idea to get us to completion. Am I still nuts!

snookums/ CEFreeman --> This is the horrible contractor :( I am so close to finish but the actual date seems far away.
Oldbat --> I did call Kohler and get the part. Thank you for the tip. They even sent it to me free. I hope this does the trick. Of course I have to schedule the plumber to take care of this.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:59AM
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You're at the worst stage for a homeowner, I've observed. They're often so willing to walk away and leave money on the table just to be done with you. His own words, >>everyone is busy and tired of this project dragging on and are not wiling to commit time. There isn't really any recourse here except calling the subs directly (bad thing on the whole) or calling the city, making a complaint, begging, something!. I cn't believe they're leaving you in a spot without even your gas hookup! How in the world is that OK with these people.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Financial incentives could be offered for the completion of a list item, but not for "finishing fast". Be specific. Be detailed, be firm. It's still insanity to have to do this, but it's looking like your insanity might be the only way.

What happens to these people to make this kind of crap OK? You know they'll walk away with the homeowner being the bad guy. Never wondering what they're doing to contribute to the horrible reputation contractors have.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:23AM
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A lawyer's letter threatening legal action might also be an incentive for them to finish the job!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Sure, go ahead and offer him extra money to finish fast. Then when he does, tell him you're too busy to write him a check and you're not willing to commit the time to do so. Unreal.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:57AM
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Have you talked to the subs yourself? Are you sure they are saying they don't have time to finish, and it's not just the GC saying that? Subs are used to doing half a day's job (or less) on various projects. They can't ALL be jerks, can they? If it really is the subs that are objecting, I would call the inspection office and speak to an actual inspector. If there are different inspectors for each trade, speak to each inspector. Let them know that there is an open permit. Ask him when the permit expires, and what can you do to move this matter along. I've been in that situation and the inspector told me he would apply financial penalties to the sub for leaving unfinished work. The call he made to the sub worked wonders!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:09AM
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"He says that everyone is busy and tired of this project dragging on and are not wiling to commit time. "

What is that? Oh ... we can't actually finish the job.

You could contact Angie for assistance. Having your lawyer write a letter is a good idea too.

It is such a shame there are so many bad contractors out there. It really takes a toll on the ones who are honest, hard working, ethical. They complain about the problem too. It really needs to be a strictly regulated field. No one should have to go through all this just to get their house fixed up.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:36AM
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I second the city inspector approach. I've used it when being given the run-around by the contractor, They came and looked at the partially completed work and deemed it completely unacceptable. They were a great help when I needed to boot a contractor. They also were helpful with my second contractor and got them to go the extra mile making everything up to code. Besides that it is free.

Try telling them that since they seem to think they are done you'll schedule the city inspection in two weeks (or whatever time you think is reasonable for them to complete the work). Then do it. The inspector can yank their license for leaving you with unfinished work. You can also tell the inspector what is going on and they can likely help you pressure the contractor. Contractors want to have a good reputation with the inspectors so they don't get scrutinized too closely. Contractors hate to fail inspections and this is often a greater motivation than an unhappy customer.

Remember your house project is not there for the recreation and amusement of the contractors. You have a contract and will pay a certain financial amount for completion of certain work. Don't give them one penny extra with their attitude. I often tip for great work but wouldn't give any thing extra for them taking you hostage.

This post was edited by mic111 on Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 12:28

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:15PM
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The biggest issue that the contractor is accusing me of is that I should not directly talk to the subs. This has been a big pain point. I feel he does not communicate the details well and the subs end up doing and redoing the same work because he did not take into account all the considerations that I went into great lengths to clarify. Some of the subs have been great and frankly many things got done right the first time because the sub and I talked up front and agreed on the approach. It is also challenging that he is not accessible by phone or in person where there is an issue like there was this week with the appliance installer who could not install as the hood was too big and the electrical box for the cooktop was not ready. So the sub goes away and it was wasted time and it is painful to reschedule. But I agree it is not optimal for me to talk to the subs directly as the GC should be the main person to track and follow up on this. So I am trying not to talk to the subs directly. A few weeks ago when we walked back from the precipice and I took over talking to the GC because DH and he got into a shouting match, this was one condition we agreed to. But the scheduling is not happening and he is unwilling to commit to a finish date.

I am frustrated and heartsick about this. I feel like this is my personal failure and am seriously having insomnia about this.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Great idea, mic. That is probably exactly the outcome that is needed, not just to get this job done but also for the ones that follow.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 12:30

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:28PM
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I would start talking about "failure to complete" and have your lawyer start the process for closing the contract without the GC finishing the job. It's a total nightmare, but one we had to resort to when our GC went belly up right before the subs had to come in to finish everything.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:36PM
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Don't let your GC intimidate you with his complaints. Your the customer and can talk to whomever you like if you feel it is necessary. If you feel it is better to talk to the subs directly so they understand what you are asking for then that is the right approach because it means a smoother job for everyone. If he wants to be present at the beginning of each subcontractor job then he can certainly show up but if someone shows up to do a job and you have no idea what they were told by the GC (and your experience is that he isn't communicating well) then by all means make sure everything is clarified before work begins. When I have a sub show up and I don't know what they know I simply ask what they will be doing today and they have always just given me a simple explanation and I can interject any comments or concerns then.

Your general contractor is taking advantage. I'm not kidding about getting the city inspector involved. They are pros and not the least bit intimidated by difficult contractors. Just the threat of scheduling the inspection will likely get your GC moving. If they had said to me what they said to you, then I would have immediately said, fine, you think your done? Your tired of the project? Then lets get this job scheduled for an inspection.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:44PM
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Speaking of belly up, do you have a waiver of lien in place for the subcontractors? Do you know that, to date, they have all been paid in full? You obviously cannot trust this guy one step forward.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Good point, snookums. Our GC had failed to pay his subs, which is why they weren't showing up to finish our job. He was trying his best, though, and came completely clean when we confronted him with a failure to complete. He stepped up and negotiated on our behalf with each of the subs for a reasonable price to complete each of their tasks without his involvement (my DH became the defacto GC at that point). We had enough held back that there was no financial pain for us.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 1:18PM
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Another thing we did was schedule our moving van to move our belongings back into the house, even before the gas was connected. We felt that would put pressure on everyone to complete their work so we could have the final inspection. We ended up living without hot water or gas cooktop for a couple of weeks but it was summer here and it didn't really make a big difference for us.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 1:19PM
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gwlolo, you can threaten the GC that you will file a complaint with the city and the CSLB. the CSLB is the group that manages licensing in CA. A very valid reason for pulling a GC's license is project abandonment. Sometimes the threat is good incentive to get him going.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 3:33PM
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