Should your word be your bond?

7 Replies

I just signed with a contractor using my own version of a @David Robertson and @J. Scott documents found in the fileplace. Upon signing, the contractor wanted to back out of installing quarter round at the wall/ceiling. He's mainly a drywaller installing new drywall and knock down on the ceiling in a hallway and bathroom. Is this a big red flag, pretty common, or not a big deal? Honestly, its probably a way to save me money as my TB can make this type of fix in the home themselves rather than myself. 

If I end up liking his work and using this contractor again I will call him on his word. Personally, I'm traditional because my word is my bond and if I break it it reflects poorly on me. I'd same something along the lines of 'don't say you'll do something if you can't deliver.' Thoughts?

@Steven J.  I would say no big deal. He is communicating with you. If I understand correctley he's asking for a change of the agreement. And it sounds like there is even a pretty good reason to do so. Integrity is very important for me, but flexibility would rank right after that. My 2 cents.

Sounds to me like he was up front with you at the time of signing a contract. Most sheet rock people I know don't do finish trim so it sounds like maybe he's just letting you know what he does and doesn't do. If you needed to renegotiate it at that point so be it but I don't think this is something to get bent out of shape over.

And to your general question about "your word" I think for the most part it's easy to make the right decision when the choices are black and white. It's that gray area in the middle where there isn't always one acceptable right answer to address the needs of multiple parties.

@Steven J.   It is unclear from your post if the quarter round was specifically listed in the original contract.  If so, you might ask for a reasonable reduction in the cost by agreeing on a change order to the original contract.  If not, then I agree with the comments by Marcus, above.  If he is good and you want to continue to use him, then you now have advance knowledge of what he is willing to do and not do as part of his work.  It might also give you ideas on what types of details need to be included in your contracts.  General descriptions in construction contracts can lead to these types of misunderstandings all the time.  Very specific scopes of work are the only solution.  Communication is key, but making sure everyone is thinking the same thing while talking about the same thing can only be solved by specific descriptions in your scope.  

I don't think it's particularly a red flag. He's being honest. So long as the dollars match the work.

We used to do a lot on someone's good word and a handshake. What we eventually realized is that too many people give in to the devil on their shoulder when there are tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars at stake. Now we don't do anything... ANYTHING for ANYONE without a contract. 

Thanks for the advice all. I agree that flexibility is high up there on my list of things I like in people I work with so I try to have it as well. 

The quarter round sas initially mentioned in the contract and we just crossed it out and initialed on the SOW. I'm glad I laid it out that way because its very clear what is expected and what isn't now as well. 

Its just a little pet peeve of mine if I'm told something will be done and then its changed as we're signing the contract. The reason was he'd have to buy a pin nailer and the saw - which is costly - I just wish he hadn't said he would have done it in the first place then. We did have a reduction in cost for it. I also included a penalty for not finishing upon the agreed upon date. 20% of the project per day that is late (unless its an act of God or something similar) What have you done in the past for payment if work isn't completed on time?

....... suddenly I don't like this guy so much. A carpenter without a pin nailer and miter saw is kind of like a truck driver without tires. 

Lol, he's a drywaller mainly. But yes, just sort of odd if you ask me.

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