I had to fire my GC. What, if anything, do I tell the contractors I'm now interviewing?

12 Replies

Hey all,

I'll try to keep this brief to start. We had to fire our GC on Friday and decided to take a deep breath and a couple of steps back and start from scratch. This means I'm calling contractors myself for all of the components of a very multi-faceted rehab. I believe that, although we'll have a temporary delay, it will wind up faster and more cost-effective in the long run.

We had started some work already, so when I bring new contractors in, they will see a house that's been partially gutted and a Dumpster in the driveway.*

Here's my question: what do I share, if anything, with the contractors I'm now bringing in for quotes? Do I inform them that I had to let the contractor go? I feel like I need to say something, b/c it will naturally be a part of my description of where the project currently stands. So what do I say, and how do I say it?

(*About the Dumpster still being there ... The guy who was acting as GC had brought us this deal and we agreed to split profit and give him the job, but he had to perform and was on a short leash. He has zero organizational skills, which is why we had to let him go as GC, but he does decent carpentry work so we will probably hire him for some individual components of the job as long as he can get us a coherent quote. He's the one who had ordered the Dumpster and will probably still use it. Hence, the Dumpster in the driveway.)

@Karin DiMauro  don't bring up anything about the GC you let go, and personally I would cut all ties with them altogether.  Also, you don't want to slander the guy as this can open you up for liability!  Keep the relationship with all your contractors professional and as for the dumpster, you are probably on the hook for it anyway so the company will be more than happy to sign it over to you and change contact information - they want to get paid too!  

Bottom line; since you are doing the GC duties yourself, then I don't think subs will even question why there is not GS, but be sure they know they must provide a quote for all work and they you will be getting other quotes as well.  This just comes from experience and having a release of funds based upon work is vital to getting the job completed on-time and within budget.

Best of luck!

I think it's unlikely anyone will ask, but if they do, just say, "Things didn't work out." Don't volunteer information, and don't elaborate. Stick to discussion of the job as it now is.

What is the total value of the rehab?

Personally, I don't see any harm-- and maybe some real benefit -- in saying that you had a GC and had to let him go because he was not meeting your standards. (no need to name names of course) This would  give a clear signal to the subs that you'd have no compunction about doing the same to them if they they don't do quality work and do it on time.

Thanks for the input, everyone. I certainly don't want to slander the guy or come across as slanderous; he didn't rip me off, he just couldn't get it together as far as providing detailed quotes or scheduling people. And cold weather season is fast approaching.

@Jean Bolger  that was part of my thinking as well, that it perhaps doesn't hurt to let it be known that I already let one person go. On the flip side, I don't want to give the impression I'm a hothead who's quick on the trigger and thus scare off contractors who may fear that I'm unreasonable.

@Frank Romine   this is an approximately 130k rehab. (Keep in mind this in CT, where prices are higher - though you're probably familiar w/that in California.) To state the obvious, it needs everything. And it's a 3100 sf gambrel Colonial.

When you find a good GC to pay them good, and they will do-good work but don't try and insult them with low pay.

Joe Gore

I agree, @Joe Gore - a good GC is worth their weight in gold and I would gladly pay the money for someone who can do the work quickly and do it well. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found that person. Also unfortunately, I'm not that good at haggling, so I've probably overpaid as well!

What kind of paperwork do you have?

 The guy brought the deal to you and you agreed to 50% profit share. So, If you just totally let him go without anything, I would be really p.o., if I were in his shoes. He was clearly more than a GC - a partner with equity share, so I don't think you can handle it like just firing a GC

My apologies if I wasn't clear on the profit-sharing aspect, @Michaela G.  . He is absolutely still a part of the profit sharing (which is being split 3 ways, btw). He found the deal and I would never renege on that.

The agreement was that we'd split profit and he could also have the job, but he would be hired the way we'd hire any other GC. We used this guy once before as a contractor and were very leery of hiring him again, due to his poor organizational skills and lack of contacts or a real crew. Whenever a fellow investor says that contractors don't change, listen! This guy was as poor as ever in those same regards; again, not a bad guy, just very frustrating to work with. So it was a very short leash. Bottom line: he stinks as a General Contractor, but he certainly gets credit for finding a deal.

I'm glad you clarified that ;-)

Are you indicating a very specific timeline in your contract?  Do you offer a bonus for completing the job ahead of schedule, provided it passes building inspection with flying colors?  I'd keep any contractor you work with on a very tight leash.  I learned that lesson a while back, the hard way.

Good luck to you!

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