16 Replies

Hello BP. 

My first flip is currently in process. The contractor is okay, but I have a question. We allowed our contractor to use our store credit card to buy supplies to rehab our house. For the most part he has done that, but he also bought major tools to do the work such as a miter saw ($400) and a power painter ($320). My question is:

(1) Do we keep these tools?

(2) Let him keep the tools and take the cost off his labor?

Is it normal for a contractor to buy major tools like this on the client's dime?

It is not common to give your contractor free range with your account.

I'm a GC and I always supply my customers with written proposals that include all labor and materials. If you worked out a deal to supply building material than you should purchase and deliver them yourself.

If I were you I would want to be reimbursed for these tools. They may be of no use to you in the future.

Thanks Gregory. I agree that we should have purchased and delivered the materials, but not knowing everything needed for each job (yet), it was easier to let him pick out the stuff he would need. He did measurements and knew how much he would need. Next time I think we will just order the major stuff and give him a gift card to get the miscellaneous stuff that we couldn't anticipate. After a few jobs, I'm sure we will have a better grasp in things,

I am doing my first rehab so my experience is limited to it.  I got a Home Depot commercial account and when a contractor needs materials Home Depot calls me to get approval to charge it to my account.  I like the control that process provides me.

A contractor should supply his own tools.  I would take that as an abuse of using your account and take the cost of the tools off his bill for labor.  I would also think twice about using this contractor in the future.

When I buy supplies, I go to the store with the contractor and pay for them myself.

@Shannon Elam  these are red flags.  I would micromanage this contractor and hold him to the letter of your contract on everything.  He's proven himself unworthy of the benefit of the doubt.

I would cancel his authorization on the credit account immediately. And have him purchase materials at a time convenient to your schedule or on a reimbursement basis.  If you leave him with authorization on your account, he can run up thousands of charges very quickly in a home improvement store.

This is very strange.

1. The contractor should be using his own account at the store.

2. You get a work proposal with a price. You agree to it and that's that. 

Thanks guys. Very valuable advise. 

@Shannon Elam  In the beginning its always hard to know what to ask/look for in a contractor.  It does get easier each time.  Did you have a contract signed describing the scope of work and who is responsible for what?   I always make sure that I include in contract that the GC will supply all the necessary tools and labor to complete the project.

Hope this helps!  Congrats on First Flip!

I'm a contractor and that throws flags all over the place for one he doesn't have the tools for the job you contracted him for.
Two in my opinion if he's buying stuff on your card that wasn't in the agreement what else is he doing? Three why doesn't he have any cash flow but maybe that was your agreement

We usually go to the store w/ the contractor, pick everything up and discuss anything that might come up (that we can recognize) prior to.

That's absolutely not ok!!! I'm also a licensed GC in Ma, if he cant provide his own tools how can he do the job?? Every contractor should have a MITRE saw  I use it for everything I do and you can buy A cheap one for 120 bucks.. Be careful and post the out come should be interesting.. Power painters are nice but not necessary . 720 should come off your bill no questions asked if purchases are for material only!!

You're paying for power tools now, how do you know he's not buying materials for another job on your dime?  I've had some growing pains myself, but now only deal with a contractor that can provide a line-item estimate before starting, can front the materials and labor and requires no payment from me until the work is complete to my satisfaction.  I may pay a little more for the privilege, but I have no issues with subcontractors, shoddy work or overruns.  I'd suggest you run as fast as you can from this contractor - after you close down your store account first, of course.

This is fairly common from the lowest bidder or the handy hack down the street.  Usually they tell you though.  "Hey I need such and such to do the job."  There is a reason they are the lowest bidder.  They only charge enough to get there drugs and/or alcohol.  Tools come off his labor and will be in the pawn shop shortly.  Quality work not likely.

No tools = Hes not a contractor.

He should have tools if he has been doing this type of work for a while. I would close the account and take the money out of his bill. A good contractor will come to work prepared with their own tools.

Your problems with this guy are just beginning. ..

take it off his labor payment and cut the credit card off immediately.

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