With a contractor comes a contract.

She hired a contractor to pour a patio pad in her yard that will prevent her from setting her furniture on her well manicured lawn. Her being a new homeowner in her early 30’s nice car, house and job. Single and beautiful. The contractor is the average contractor (minus the contract) with not a lot of jobs going on due to the economy yet his prices are competitive but he likes to get in and out quickly. She ask him a couple questions like “How quick can you have this done, how much is it going to cost and what will be done to protect my lawn?” As always when a contractor is trying to get a job he says what she wants to hear (which isn’t always the facts especially if he’ll be sending others to do the work). “Once we receive the payment we’ll begin and we’ll have your pad poured out the day after, as far as the lawn we’ll place runners along our path to protect your beautiful lawn.”

So she pays the guy half of the money and his guys get started right away. Does all he said he would. Explains to her about the pitch to keep the water off of the pad, ask if the size and location is good, places the gravel and wire in, sets runners in the lawn to prevent damaging the woman’s well manicured lawn. “Wow I’ve made a good choice.” He tells her he’ll pour the concrete first thing in the morning as they pack up there tools wheel barrels and such. She sleeps well, but wakes up to no sounds of trucks, hammers and chatting. She’s nervous. She makes a call but no answer. Again and no answer fourth and fifth with no answer. He calls back with an excuse and a delay. It goes from the rains in the forecast to since its such a short load the concrete plant put our order to the back of the list to my truck had a flat on my way over. She gives up, frustrated and seeks advice, a little late but she seeks it.

First I say don’t go into handshake contracts. Second I say be quick to call slow to draw. Call several people for quotes but don’t rush to put money in hands of strangers without checking references, past clients and if it’s a big investment check with the contractors suppliers. Taking this to court isn’t worth it. Tally the losses, learn from the lesson you paid for and move forward.

If you have questions send them to askabuilder@thebuildersbuilder.com

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