contractor jumped ship

plumberryNovember 17, 2013

Our contractor jumped ship last week to work on another job. what do we do? for a whole week not much got done and i'm not sure how to approach this.
he sent a couple guys to do wall sanding but we have lots of things to do materials waiting and no one to work on it.

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Sophie Wheeler

What does your contract say about a timely completion? Are you waiting on any components to be delivered? Are you self GCing the job, or was the the GC hiring all of the trades under his supervision? Have you talked with him? Communicated with him in any way? Did you have a correct expectation for the timeline from the beginning? Typical permitted and inspected kitchen renos are around 6-12 weeks if everything is on site in the beginning. If you have issues or are waiting on something backordered, there's no limit to how long a project can take.

Typically, renovation work doesn't go from 8-5 each day on a single project. Contractors work on more than one job at a time because the order of operations doesn't lend itself to doing straight through work on a single job. For instance, they may begin demolition on a second job while the sheetrock mud is curing on the first job, and then they'll pop back over to a third job to install the plumbing pretty stuff while they are waiting on the electrical rough in inspection on fourth job.

If you have talked with the contractor, and he doesn't wish to continue with the job, then you need to obtain a lien release from him and pay him a final settlement to go away. It will all be in your contract. Read it, and then see what your next step might be.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 10:16AM
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Where do you stand with your payment schedule? If you haven't paid more than the work he's already done, then you may want to consider dumping him and getting someone else to finish the work. You'll probably want to send him a lawyer's letter informing him of his non-performance and the reasons for termination.

If you've already paid him for more work than he's done, you probably first want to get him back to work assuming you're happy with his work. Again you may require threats from a lawyer to make this happen. What reasons did he give you for stopping work? Did he completely drop your job or is this just a temporary delay?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 10:18AM
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modern life interiors


    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Hopefully you owe this guy money. Forget the contract, lawsuits, etc. After checking references, hire someone new and pay him with the money you owe this guy and move on.

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Sun, Nov 17, 13 at 13:02

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Send him a registered letter indicating your concerns and ask if it's time for you to explore abandonment proceedings.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 1:11PM
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You can't entirely forget contracts, lawsuits, etc. A contractor can put a lien on your house if he thinks you owe him money.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 1:23PM
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It has been only a week, have you talked to your contractor? Did you hire him exclusively to work on your project? Every contractor I have ever known has always had more than one project going at a time.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 2:10PM
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thanks for all of the replies. I sure feel supported here. yes, millworkman. he has made it clear all along that he has other jobs going. I felt that he abandoned our project last week and I'm getting anxious to get this project finished. On Thursday night he told me he would finish our cabinet install on Friday or Saturday and didn't show up either day. I think I was overreacting but will give him another week to come through with more progress. will write back if he still seems to be mia. thank you all!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 8:28PM
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You mean he just didn't show up and didn't call to tell you that he couldn't make it? Good grief, how unprofessional. It amazes me that someone who does business that way would have multiple jobs going at once.

Rather than patiently waiting for him to fit you in to his "busy" schedule, why not call him and tell him that he needs to be back on your job by such-and-such date and have those cabinets installed by such-and-such date or face the consequences? If you allow him to treat you as if his time is more important than your own (making you wait around all Saturday and Sunday), he will continue to put you at the back of the line.

Having things come up on another job that need immediate attention is one thing and is understandable. But there is no excuse for not letting your customers know what is going on. It's incredibly disrespectful.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 8:58PM
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I assume it's the "OMG we need it by Thanksgiving!" pressures.

On Thursday night he told me he would finish our cabinet install on Friday or Saturday and didn't show up either day.

No phone call?

Call him and SWEETLY say you are sorry that his installation crew was injured in that horrible car crash.

He'll freak and say "What crash?"

You say sadly - "I'm sure that only something really awful would have kept them from doing the installation you said would be done Friday or Saturday. I waited both days and they didn't show and you didn't call, so I can only assume something horrible happened to them."

Then tell him that you are tired of being left hanging by no-shows and you need to see progress, and you need his crews to show up when he says they will, because you are starting to doubt his honesty.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 12:34PM
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Elraes Miller

It is not unusual for these guys to run short on funds, continue to acquire contracts and money up front. The money flow going outside of what is being done on yours. Then they get in a hole not being able to pay for the first in line and getting it finished. All starting to roll downhill. Just a scenario, but I would put him in a pickle before he does you. Follow the advice of other postings.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 12:57PM
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"On Thursday night he told me he would finish our cabinet install on Friday or Saturday and didn't show up either day."

I'll retract my original response, BECAUSE IT'S ONLY BEEN 3 DAYS.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 3:13PM
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This is pretty typical behavior. I am not condoning it, but contractors often start other jobs because they aren't the best managers of time or money and they need infusions of cash to pay subs for your job, often. And they avoid talking to you because they feel guilty about doing it, but they do it anyway.

Residential contracts Rarely have clauses regarding timeliness. Commercial contracts will because the commercial concern may lose income for every day the project runs over. However, these contracts often have financial incentives for the contractor to finish Early. --And they are commercial buildings so sometimes speed trumps fine workmanship because the lifecycle of most commercial projects is about 7 years.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Be the squeaky wheel. Call him and remind him that you were expecting him to work Friday or Saturday and ask him when he will be working next. While you're at it ask him how big a crew he will be bringing and what he expects to accomplish. There is nothing unreasonable about expecting him to show up and work when he says he will.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 6:36PM
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weissman - How long do they have to file a lien? I ask because I was in a similar situation and fired my contractor in February. They went back and forth with me for about a month and a half and then finally stopped.

My advice to the OP is document document document! I saved every text message, picture message, email, etc. and kept a log of who was at my home on what days and what work was performed. (Not sure why I started the log in the first place. Maybe I had a premonition that I'd need it.)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 9:29PM
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lien requirements and procedures vary by state

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 11:18PM
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I spoke with him tonight and he said they were working there today. we don't live on site- dh & I are going to visit the house tomorrow am to see progress.
someone made a comment about professionalism -I've lost all "faith" in this business and honestly I would not want to go through a remodel again.
so much wisdom here. thank you

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 11:31PM
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