Time-lost with GC

17 Replies

This may be a bit of stretch, but I have been dealing with a contractor for the past week and a half about getting some work done on a property I am buying. He came by on Tuesday afternoon and took a look at the property and said he would give me a written quote with everything broken out, license #'s, etc by Thursday night.

Friday comes and nothing.

Saturday night comes, nothing. So I reach out and he said he sent it, Friday night. (and now he is travelling and will try to resend when he gets home)

Sunday afternoon, nothing yet. Monday afternoon, finally sends me a written out email quote (actually in the body of the email, most likely from his iPhone) after I texted him again asking where the quote is. 

Mind you that this is not all split out (labor/materials) or any license #'s etc.

I tell him I agree to price and we should move on and fill out agreements, get copies of licenses, etc.

2 days later...texts me and tells me he is passing on a 15k project, with no reason.

I know nothing was signed, but this can't be right, or legal! Is there anything I can do to recoup some of my time, or have someone investigate these guys and make sure they are legit and not screwing other people over. I know that no $$ was transferred or anything, but I just feel the need to get these guys inspected or something to give them some karma.

Thoughts?

You'll waste more of that time you can't get back by pestering him. Can't make everyone work with you. Good luck.

The guy didn't screw you over, and he didn't waste that much of your time. When he didn't follow through the first TWO days you should have bailed. In fact, he did you a favor by passing because if he TOOK the job he would have wasted way more of your time and money.

It sounds like the job was over his head, he knew it, probably wanted to take it but knew he couldn't handle it so he just bailed. 

As you said there were no contracts and no money was exchanged. You can't get your time back (that's impossible fyi). Don't get so mad over contractors because there are more lousy ones than great ones. You will experience this situation plenty more times and probably have to go through another 1-2 contractors just like this one before you actually get the job in question finalized. 

 If you're going to get vengeful about everyone you run into who doesn't run their business the way you want them to then you're in a for a very stressful career my friend. TL;DR Find a new GC, move on.

Instead of having these communications with one GC at a time, do it with several. You won't be out of luck when one does this (and they do!) Also, if they know that they aren't your only option you will have better results in terms of communication and professionalism.

Just like any profession: there are some great ones, some terrible ones, and a whole lot in between.

Yea, not much you can do.  I would just move on.  If you start going after him, he might counter by saying you owe him money for his time, inspection, estimating...who knows. 

Best thing to do is to just walk away.   I have been working for a GC for 7 years and I have jobs where the subcontractors bid on the job for 2 years, updating their pricing through the schematic set, design set, GMP set, and Construction Document set, just to tell them 2 years later they weren't the low bidder, or the job is a no go...see ya next time.  Nature of the beast.

The week or so you wasted isn't bad.

Originally posted by @Alexander Felice :

The guy didn't screw you over, and he didn't waste that much of your time. When he didn't follow through the first TWO days you should have bailed. In fact, he did you a favor by passing because if he TOOK the job he would have wasted way more of your time and money.

It sounds like the job was over his head, he knew it, probably wanted to take it but knew he couldn't handle it so he just bailed. 

As you said there were no contracts and no money was exchanged. You can't get your time back (that's impossible fyi). Don't get so mad over contractors because there are more lousy ones than great ones. You will experience this situation plenty more times and probably have to go through another 1-2 contractors just like this one before you actually get the job in question finalized. 

 If you're going to get vengeful about everyone you run into who doesn't run their business the way you want them to then you're in a for a very stressful career my friend. TL;DR Find a new GC, move on.

 Appreciate the tough love. This is my first investment. Never had to deal with contractors. Have literally gone through 7 different contractors that are "reputable" and are bailing on me left and right, or all of a sudden don't have the proper licenses. Even my mortgage lender is recommending people to me who I find out don't have the proper paperwork to use! It's just very stressful, and this guy I thought would work out and then boom..nope

Originally posted by @Robert P. :
Originally posted by @Alexander Felice:

The guy didn't screw you over, and he didn't waste that much of your time. When he didn't follow through the first TWO days you should have bailed. In fact, he did you a favor by passing because if he TOOK the job he would have wasted way more of your time and money.

It sounds like the job was over his head, he knew it, probably wanted to take it but knew he couldn't handle it so he just bailed. 

As you said there were no contracts and no money was exchanged. You can't get your time back (that's impossible fyi). Don't get so mad over contractors because there are more lousy ones than great ones. You will experience this situation plenty more times and probably have to go through another 1-2 contractors just like this one before you actually get the job in question finalized. 

 If you're going to get vengeful about everyone you run into who doesn't run their business the way you want them to then you're in a for a very stressful career my friend. TL;DR Find a new GC, move on.

 Appreciate the tough love. This is my first investment. Never had to deal with contractors. Have literally gone through 7 different contractors that are "reputable" and are bailing on me left and right, or all of a sudden don't have the proper licenses. Even my mortgage lender is recommending people to me who I find out don't have the proper paperwork to use! It's just very stressful, and this guy I thought would work out and then boom..nope

No tough love Robert, I just want to see you spend your time more effectively. You're new and probably not used to this type of industry. You will get used to it, and you will find good contractors, it just takes time. 

Any job that is based off our EGO (read: revenge) is pretty much guaranteed to be the shittiest paying job you'll ever have. Make a new post about recommendations for how to find good contractors, not how to burn the lousy ones ;) 

(my go-to move is to show up at Lowes at 7am and find the contractors who are up early and ready to work) 

Whereabouts in MA are you looking for the work to be done?

Originally posted by @Nick Noon :

Whereabouts in MA are you looking for the work to be done?

 Southcoast, MA

@Robert P. , once you do find a GC that is good, and can do what he says he can do, use everything in your power to keep him. There is no shortage of bad contractors. Like @Alexander Felice said, go to your local big box store in the am and look for contractors who are up early and getting their supplies for the day. Talk to the person at the Pro Desk and ask him who he would use to do some work on his house. He sees these guys every day, and knows who is in early and gets everything they need. He also probably knows who forgets things and has to come back frequently.

Do you know what you need to have done? Type it out, making sure you are really detailed. Give a copy to each GC you talk to so they are all quoting on the same thing.

Or learn how to do it yourself. No one cares more about your project than you do. After so many awful contractors, and paying large amounts of money for two different projects to be reconstructed, I have taken to figuring it out by myself. 

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

@Robert P.

Thats what i was figuring.  I know some good guys up in the upper middlesex county area that are good, but wouldn't travel that far.  Hell, I'd look at it myself if it were a little more North.

MA has separate licenses for roofing, siding, windows, deleading, plumbing, electrical, and just about every other aspect of construction you can think of. On top of that, EVERY contractor is supposed to have a HIC (Home Improvement Contractor) license and be RRP certified. The odds of finding one guy that has all of the licenses are slim to none. 

I'd be more concerned about insurance then licenses. If they're doing work without a license, it's them who could get in trouble. If they're doing work without insurance, it could be you in trouble if someone gets hurt or something gets damaged. 

Derreck Wells, Contractor in MA (#MR000910)
978-866-2020

Its perfectly legal to turn down work , even after you give a estimate .  There are many possible reasons as to why . A better paying job came up is the most probable .   I am a contractor , and until the contract is signed and a deposit is received , there is no contract .  

Forget the first contractor and find someone who wants to work with you. Lesson learned. Good luck.

You can do a search by town of licensed HIC at this link, just enter town and MA for state and hit search button:

http://services.oca.state.ma.us/hic/licenseelist.a...

If you've been through 7 different contractors and no one is getting back to you.....it's probably you.

All contractors are busy right now, even the bad ones. This is the biggest remodeling month of the year, in a year where the economy is good, so retail clients are coming out of the woodwork, and where there are more investor clients than anyone can count.  

Investors are difficult clients, and first-time investors even more so. I have a handful of great investor clients I work with, but I get probably 5 first-time investor calls a week, each wanting a bid that will take 2-10 hours to put together, and the first-timers often don't really know what they want, which makes it harder to put a bid together. I'm actually making a business decision to minimize that part of our business and only take new investor clients through referrals or personal contacts through investor groups, BP, etc. - there's far too much good retail-rate work out there right now. Profits are higher on it, and headaches are less. I know other contractors making similar decisions. There are soooo many investors out there right now - everybody is a real estate investor all of a sudden. Many of them are trying to flip houses they don't have a chance of making money on, and when they don't, it's somehow the contractor's fault.

On top of that, I can only imagine how much more difficult being a contractor is in Massachusetts, where Big Brother wants you to pull a permit to blow your nose and have an inspector check the Kleenex afterward.

But, still, if you've talked to seven contractors and nobody's bidding, you're either selecting poorly, or you're scaring them off somehow (unrealistic expectations? a scary house? personal mannerisms?).  In order to be successful, you're going to need to figure that out. DON'T take the first contractor who gives you a low-price bid, even though your gut has a bad feel about him, just because no one else is responding. That's a path to pain. Figure out what the issue is and fix it.

Originally posted by @Michael Hayworth :

On top of that, I can only imagine how much more difficult being a contractor is in Massachusetts, where Big Brother wants you to pull a permit to blow your nose and have an inspector check the Kleenex afterward.

Not sure if I want to laugh since that was pretty funny or cry because it is barely an exaggeration...

Shaun Reilly, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9517670)
1-800-774-0737
Plenty of good advice posted here. I will just expand on three points: 1. Be certain to get proof of insurance with a Certificate of Insurance made out to you or your company, whomever owns the property. 2. Never go with "crazy low guy" you did not win the lottery! You hired a contractor who doesn't know what he's doing, or forgot to include something important and will come to you with a change order/increase request when he realizes. 3.Your signed contract needs to include a complete scope of work, and a predetermined rate for unexpected but needed extra work. i.e. Inspector requires extra outlet to pass inspection. Good luck with everything.

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