We have a Contractor Dilemma Contest winner!
Brandon Kendall of the Kendall Group wins a DeWalt 20V Hammerdrill set (and more!)
April 27, 2018 by John Bleasby
Clients who don’t pay! Every contractor has probably been down that road before — clients whose weapon of choice in a dispute is withholding payment. In this case, Buzz Reynolds had been trying for two years to get the last $25,000 of a $150,000 contract from clients who had made a number of claims against him for workmanship, project scheduling and supervision of trades. Should Buzz go back to court, walk away, unload some gravel on their driveway, or something else?
As always, we had dozens of well-considered proposals for Buzz. The majority felt he should let it go and move on. Others felt that clients who act like this need to be taken to court. A few chuckled at the gravel-on-the-driveway idea. One even suggested that the clients be enticed into a rendezvous, taken into the woods and have some vital bodily parts removed… however, that was an extreme solution.
The consensus? Move on, Buzz!
In the final analysis, our panel felt that Brandon Kendall of The Kendall Group in St. Catharines, ON had some of the best ideas for Buzz, including using the experience to better identify potential problem clients at the outset. Some of these included, “Buzz could spend this time and money with new projects and new customers… Buzz should look back and make notes of his experience working with these customers. More than likely, there were other red flags that popped up during this project that could be used as key identifiers as to what kind of customers to avoid in the future, as well as the necessary paper work to file with the customer if the project is going longer than the completion date.”
Congratulations, Brandon. You will receive a DeWalt 20V MAX* XR® Tool Connect™ Hammerdrill, plus a set of Tool Connect™ Tags, a 3-part inventory management solution encompassing the Inventory Manager web portal, the updated Tool Connect™ mobile app, and connected products.
A new Dilemma Contest will be posted on-line shortly. Be sure to send in your proposal for a chance to win another great prize for DeWalt!
Here is a selection of thoughts from other respondents.
The importance of moving on
“The longer you hold on to this emotional stress the more it will impact your health and the people that look up to you for employment.”
Better contract needed
“A contract worth $150k should state very specifically what the job will entail, by whom, at what cost, and by what date. If changes need to be made, a change order should be signed by the contractor and the client. In this way, lines of communication are open, and misunderstandings are avoided.”
“The crux of this matter appears to be the breakdown in communications between Mr. Reynolds and his client.”
Vet clients in advance
“Buzz made his biggest mistakes prior to starting the work, the worst of which was not vetting his client thoroughly.”
Use the tax right-off
“Use the financial losses, including penalties and interest, as a write off against taxes so at least you get a tax break from it. Then, wash the filth from that thief off your hands and move on with life.”
Take the (very) high road
“A courageous thing for the contractor to do at this point would be to write a note to the client to thank him for his initial confidence in hiring him, to express regret that things did not work out as planned, and to offer future services in attempt to prove himself a worthy choice.”
Spread the word
“Buzz should contact the other contractors, 1) to see how they are getting paid for their work, and 2) depending on the conversation, to warn them on possibility of not getting paid… If Buzz is a member of a local construction association, he could register a complaint. This probably won’t get him his deserved money but will get the poor customer’s name out there.
On the other hand, don’t give up
“Find a lawyer. These clients will do it again to the next contractor.”
“I would hire a lawyer or paralegal to take this deadbeat client to small claims court .. call it an investment. It’s obvious that he has done this before and expects you to abandon your claim.”
“I would use small claims court. He can do this on his own or with a paralegal to keep cost down.”
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