How to work with GC who will not commit?

3 Replies

Any tips or suggestions on how to pressure the GC to complete the work?

So my wife and I bought a house and been doing some major remodel, open kitchen layout , new kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, hardwood floors , paint and new wiring for the whole house $$ and time spent is the least to say. This is the house my wife and I going to move in from our condo. So we will live in the house for at least 5 years.

We are at the final hour and I paid him almost 80%. Now he is taking his time working maybe 4 hours a week. I know he has other jobs going on, lessons learn I should of hold back as much as I can on paying him. This was our first experience on doing major rehab.

Any tips or feedback on what I can do to push him? Is there such thing as pushing the GC even.

I think i know at this point my hands are tied and there is nothing I can do. I am just frustrated and I wanted to share it for two reasons 1) don’t make the mistake I did and 2) maybe there is something I can do that I can’t think off.

Thank you

     Cancel the check you paid him with and never pay that much to a GC without being done with work.  

     Be relentless and call and text and borderline annoy him until he does what he was contracted and agreed to do   

It’s a balance of the carrot and the stick.  You already gave him the carrot (money) so now you need to use the stick.  

I've been a general contractor for more than 50 years and I don't like to see contractors take good hard-earned money from people and not deliver on their promises. I work with several attorneys and the state license board as a professional witness and to help resolve customer and contractor issues and to avoid going to court.

What state (California?) are you in. Contracts in most states are required to have Job Starting Dates and job Completion Dates. In California, a contractor must start a job within 20 days of the Starting Date and within 20 days of the Completion Date. The only thing a judge or the state license board cares about is the laws and what is in writing in the contract.

If your contract has a starting date and completion date I prefer to ask him to sit down while you are talking to him, be firm and talk about his contractual obligation. I do this by asking many questions more than telling and making threats. You want to ask (not tell) the contractor how he is going to resolve the problem and then ask what guarantee he can give you. I record every conversation in situations like this  (legal or not). You may not be able to use a recording in court, but you have it for your personal reference and you can transcribe what was said onto legal documents (from memory, of course). 

You want your contractor to tell you what he is going to do and then you want to put what he said in writing in front of your contractor. Then, you suggest something like a penalty of $100 per day for every business day beyond what the date your contractor tells you and regardless of whether or not your contractor agrees you write the penalty on your note and let your contractor see what you are writing. 

Tell the contractor (to his face) that you are sending the letter to your attorney for his (or her) advice and leadership because you want your attorney to be advised and on-board. Have an attorney who will fire off a letter to the contractor telling him about the notes you agreed to accept during your conversation and your attorney will add some more sweet threats.

Your other options are to wait, be miserable and be at the mercy of your contractor, or file a complaint with your state contractors license board. If he has a license this will really light a fire under his butt. Even if there is not a starting date nor completion date on your contract he probably already violated a lot of laws you are not aware of and he does not want the contractors board coming down on him with a microscope.

Lots of luck!

Hi Zack,

Was the project delayed/slowed down for reasons other than the GC hasn't been showing up?  At this point you may be better off cutting your losses and bringing in someone else to finish.