Painter wants to stay at night

14 Replies

Need some advice here.

Hired a painter to paint a vacant property.

Never worked with him before.

Not a big job contract about $1000 plus materials.

Painter says on first day he can get more done if he can stay over at the vacant property, he can bring in a sleeping bag and work longer hours.

I don't think this is a good idea.

First I have some power tools at the place.

I really don't think I want him sanding the ceiling at 3am...

I don't want to hand over the keys either.

There may be liaility issues as well.

Thoughts, bad idea or am I being too paranoid and is not really a big deal?

That is an odd request from him. Sounds like he may not have a place to live.

You probably won't have any problems, but he could claim that you gave him the keys and now he lives there. I would not let him stay.

If he is spending the night, why does he need the keys? All in all though, I would be most concerned about liability. If he leaves and gets some liquor, and falls down the stairs, that is on you.  Maybe if you knew him better but not if you don't know him.

@Sam Leon  

When we acquired our short term rental property in the Orlando area, we worked with a contractor from the Titusville area (he came recommended by our agent), to paint inside and out, and make some minor repairs. The house came furnished and was vacant. He asked if he and his other worker could stay there the week, since travelling back and forth from the jobsite would be very costly in time and gas.

He gave us a better price and they stayed there the week and emailed us pictures of the progress. It worked out great!

So I know that this is not an uncommon request by contractors. Even on some of these home improvement shows, they sleep over so that they can get more work done in a shorter period of time.

Perhaps you can get a better price from him. And if you decide to do this, make sure all the terms are in the contract, confirm that he is licensed and insured.

Does he live far away from the job site?  To me it seems like an odd request.  Is he a licensed contractor or is this some guy from Craigslist?  

Ask your Insurance Agent if your Vacant House policy covers that. Robyn Thompson has more than one story where the house accidentally caught fire and the insurance company would not pay off. If a person is sleeping in the house and has food in the house your insurance policy is in danger.

I am a huge proponent of figuring out the "real reason" (if there is one) on why he wants this unique arrangement. If you are okay with it  and it works to your benefit as in @Beth L.   than I would go for it. If he is going to be a squatter because he is just some body off craiglist I would RUN fast!

We have had lots of crazy situations turn out amazing and many more that we figured out the HUGE catch before we got stuck. So the key is figuring out the "reason".

Originally posted by @Sam Leon :

Never worked with him before.

That's all you need to remember. 

I'd tell him point blank: "We have no track record together, I appreciate your offer, but at this point I don't feel comfortable with that type of arrangement, let's see how this one goes and then we can talk about it."

@Sam Leon  , some excellent points were made:

  • Confirm your insurance by @Eugene Hoffman  
  • & @Elizabeth Colegrove advice to find the 'real reason'

I'm with @Beth L.  , a little flexibility can have bonus results. Some of these guys are willing to drive a bit for work, but if they can stay, it can be a win/win. If the reason is the drive time, I'd do it licensed or not.

If he falls down the stairs at night or during day, it's still a problem. 

$1000 job shouldn't take more than a few days if he's staying there. Be sure your contract has a due date & penalties for every day after the due date. He may not be in a hurry if it's a nice place.

When we were doing a rehab and it was almost done, our trusty electrician asked to use the vacant house for a valentine's date night. :-)  Worked out fine... I even helped him decorate for the occasion!

No way, for so many reasons listed above and whats going to stop him from taking everything in the house in the middle of the night? I would find someone else to do the job if he says this is going to be the best way to do it. 

@Sam Leon    It's your house. If your not comfortable with his suggestion, just say "No". 

He is a painter but works for himself on the side.

I found him while he was painting a house across another rental property of mine

If I go through his company it will cost X if I hire him off the side it will be Y.

I think he wants to do his "day job" and take my job in the evenings.

I told him I will consider it.  So during the day he went to "get coffee" and disappeared for an hour, then he had to "run to mom's house for medication" for 2 hours...signs of him doing multiple jobs and spreading everyone out. I told him no staying, and if he is not finished by tonight he will be paid on what's completed and I will finish up myself.  Now his butt is on fire LOL.

Originally posted by @Sam Leon :

He is a painter but works for himself on the side.

I found him while he was painting a house across another rental property of mine

If I go through his company it will cost X if I hire him off the side it will be Y.

I think he wants to do his "day job" and take my job in the evenings.

I told him I will consider it.  So during the day he went to "get coffee" and disappeared for an hour, then he had to "run to mom's house for medication" for 2 hours...signs of him doing multiple jobs and spreading everyone out. I told him no staying, and if he is not finished by tonight he will be paid on what's completed and I will finish up myself.  Now his butt is on fire LOL.

Even more red flags.

Let me guess, he wants to be paid in cash or if by check the check is made out to his name not a business, so he has no business entity, no insurance, no workers comp waiver for himself and certainly none for anyone if he brings a helper on your property.

Hope none of this ever comes back to bite you, like he falls off his ladder painting your house, breaks his back, becomes permanently disabled, somebody gets in his ear about how he can get his doctors fees and and a fat cash settlement paid since you're responsible for it, and that's just the beginning of the issues that could come up. Add to that the sleeping in your property thing, just another sign of a non-professional.

It's really shocking how investors stick their necks out in terms of risk just to save a few bucks. I've said it before, but if your business model only functions at a profit by doing everything with under the table workers and the lowest bidders you really don't have a legitimate business. If you're profitable but these things are part of your process just to make yourself more profitable, I'd seriously weigh the risks.

Give him the keys.
Sounds like he is going to throw a great party.

What's the address?

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