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Posted: 2/23/2021 5:40:19 AM EST
Long story short, I have a client (I am a sub-contractor on this one) for whom we built a staircase. This is in a multi-million dollar new home, and the design was such that it really is an art piece. I provided a cost estimate but only agreed to do the job by the hour plus materials, this was clearly communicated and agreed to by the owners. Well, wouldn't you know it, but now that it's complete and they have moved in they have decided that they don't want to pay the remaining difference from the original estimate. They are not disputing the hours, nor the quality of the work, they just don't want to pay the 11k they owe.

To my point: I am not going to pursue court action, in my opinion it is wasted time that I could spend making money instead of chasing money I may never see, or only see a portion of, making the loss even greater. What I am considering, is informing them that I will be picketing their home if they don't honor the deal we made and pay the bill. I don't want to do anything that is unethical, but am frankly pissed that they see no problem screwing me out of what is owed. What are the hives thoughts? Ridicule is, after all, mans most potent weapon....
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:41:57 AM EST
Lien the property.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:42:45 AM EST
Scorched fucking earth
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:43:38 AM EST
Fuck that. Its the principle of the thing. Sue the hell out of them.
 But then again, I'm the kind of asshole who cuts his nose off to spite his face.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:48:31 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Fugitive:
Fuck that. Its the principle of the thing. Sue the hell out of them.
 But then again, I'm the kind of asshole who cuts his nose off to spite his face.
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Originally Posted By Fugitive:
Fuck that. Its the principle of the thing. Sue the hell out of them.
 But then again, I'm the kind of asshole who cuts his nose off to spite his face.

Originally Posted By merchantoffreedom:
Lien the property.
One of these.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:51:08 AM EST
Fuck his wife.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:52:56 AM EST
We're not talking about 1100 man. It's 11000.

Get your fucking money.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:53:20 AM EST
What was the final bill and how much of that are they disputing out of curiosity. I'd take them to court and sue for your time as well. Was there a written contract, please tell me there was? When it's all said and done print up flyers telling the story and hit all their neighbors with it.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:53:30 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 5:54:28 AM EST by Tweek218]
You’re going to do what? Picket??
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:53:51 AM EST
Did they not pay you anything, or were you off by 11,000 on your estimate?

Is anything in writing?

What was your estimate?

If you quoted me 100 grand and came in at 111, I would pay it. If you quoted 15 and came in at 26, that's a huge over.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:55:04 AM EST
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Originally Posted By merchantoffreedom:
Lien the property.
View Quote

Send both the GC and the owner an invoice and in Va it’s a 5 day pay or quit notice.  Go ahead when the notice is properly served file with small claims court.  (Small claims dollar amount vary by state)

They may change their tune when they are served.  If not it’s a day or two in court. The good thing is that they have assets to attach.

What you don’t want to be known as the nice guy who won’t goto court and have future business take advantage of you. Next time get it in writing and additional deposit for change in scope.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:56:54 AM EST
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Originally Posted By costanza:
Fuck his wife.
View Quote


And get his money
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:57:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:02:31 AM EST by sherm8404]
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Originally Posted By merchantoffreedom:
Lien the property.
View Quote


This.

Mechanic’s lien, labor lien, construction lien....what ever they call it in your state it probably isn’t more that a filing fee to do.

What’s in your contract for failure to pay? Arbitration clause? What’s picketing their property going to do? How much of your time you going to spend picketing that doesn’t add up to more cost to you.

What you’re doing is not the high road. It’s rolling over.

Link Posted: 2/23/2021 5:59:30 AM EST
Dude...that's a fucking Barrett worth of money, that's a small car worth of money....get your money. If they love the product, and you have everything in writing....slam dunk case of get your damn money!
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:02:11 AM EST
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Originally Posted By merchantoffreedom:
Lien the property.
View Quote


This, jeez, not that hard to do.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:06:00 AM EST
You need to both file a mechanics lien and send them a certified demand letter from an attorney with a date in the future where you will be filing in court.
Decent chance you get your money right before that date. If that doesn’t work.
Next take them to court, assuming your contract does not specify arbitration.
Find out what the max for small claims court as well and it may be something you can do yourself.
When you file you typically have to also put an ad in the legal section of the paper.  That’s not good for them or their business.
Your contract should also specify you can collect all attorney fees associated with getting your money.
You are not the only person they have done this to or will do it to and they are banking on you not being willing to get your money.
Prove them wrong.
Talk to the builder and every other trade and find out who else is in this boat. Band together.
Talk to an attorney to find out what you can and cannot do and go after their social media but be very careful
<———-  general contractor.

Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:08:20 AM EST
sorry...I'll spend $10 to collect $1

it's the principle, not the money

and if it comes down to it, fuck the bonus
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:11:51 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bellows1:
Did they not pay you anything, or were you off by 11,000 on your estimate?

Is anything in writing?

What was your estimate?

If you quoted me 100 grand and came in at 111, I would pay it. If you quoted 15 and came in at 26, that's a huge over.
View Quote


This interests me as well. But if it's the latter example, what does he owe the customer? An apology for the bad quote? If your quote was off 11K, that may make or break my budget.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:14:25 AM EST
Picketing is not taking the high road. Suing or filing a lien is following your contract and the laws in the state. That's the high road.

Does a lien collect interest during that time? If it takes them 15 years to pay back?
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:14:38 AM EST
I have a contract, and the final bill is about 30% over estimate BUT this possibility was clearly communicated, which is why we only agreed to do the job hourly. I still may sue, but have been down that road in the past, and in my experience the courts seem to want everyone to feel some pain. If I get 1/2 it really will cost me as I would have sunk even more time and effort into chasing those shrinking dollars. What I am really after is getting them to pay, and if they don't, knowing that I am going to call them out by name, in front of all of their rich neighbors, in their rich neighborhood, that they are freeloading pieces of shit who refuse to uphold what they agreed to. I want them to feel it, not have it swept under the rug in an anonymous courtroom. Court feels like the easy way out for them, if that makes sense....
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:17:34 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:18:01 AM EST by steelworker]
I wouldn’t want to walk away from 11k.

That was OWED to me.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:17:40 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cayau:
What I am really after is getting them to pay, and if they don't, knowing that I am going to call them out by name, in front of all of their rich neighbors, in their rich neighborhood, that they are freeloading pieces of shit who refuse to uphold what they agreed to. I want them to feel it, not have it swept under the rug in an anonymous courtroom. Court feels like the easy way out for them, if that makes sense....
View Quote



Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:18:24 AM EST
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Originally Posted By cayau:
I have a contract, and the final bill is about 30% over estimate BUT this possibility was clearly communicated, which is why we only agreed to do the job hourly. I still may sue, but have been down that road in the past, and in my experience the courts seem to want everyone to feel some pain. If I get 1/2 it really will cost me as I would have sunk even more time and effort into chasing those shrinking dollars. What I am really after is getting them to pay, and if they don't, knowing that I am going to call them out by name, in front of all of their rich neighbors, in their rich neighborhood, that they are freeloading pieces of shit who refuse to uphold what they agreed to. I want them to feel it, not have it swept under the rug in an anonymous courtroom. Court feels like the easy way out for them, if that makes sense....
View Quote

Makes sense. Do it!
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:18:28 AM EST
Well if you're the subcontractor on this project, then your beef would be with the GC...not the Owner. You would not have a contract with the owner if you're a sub. Presumably, you have a contract with the GC.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:20:44 AM EST
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Originally Posted By merchantoffreedom:
Lien the property.
View Quote

Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:20:59 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By iiibdsiil:
Picketing is not taking the high road. Suing or filing a lien is following your contract and the laws in the state. That's the high road.

Does a lien collect interest during that time? If it takes them 15 years to pay back?
View Quote
You may be right, this is what I am struggling with.... but damn....
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:21:48 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
You get it!!
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:22:25 AM EST
Punch him in his mouth.  

Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:22:27 AM EST
Did your contract put an agreed upon margin of error on the estimate?

Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:29:14 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:29:49 AM EST by Boom_Stick]
Originally Posted By cayau:
What I am considering, is informing them that I will be picketing their home if they don't honor the deal we made and pay the bill.

Ridicule is, after all, mans most potent weapon....
View Quote

Cant shame/ridicule people who have no shame. Plus their rich neighbors will take their side over you, the peasant laborer.

You need a remedy and there are laws exactly for this thing. Taking them to court is the right thing to do. Beating them in that format is what will deliver any shaming you intend to effect.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:29:17 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By p229s:
Well if you're the subcontractor on this project, then your beef would be with the GC...not the Owner. You would not have a contract with the owner if you're a sub. Presumably, you have a contract with the GC.
View Quote
I am a sub, and do have a contract, and yes, I should go after the GC as well, BUT: he is a great guy who we have done a lot of work for who is also getting a nice long tender dry lovin' from this client as well. I would just be piling on him, I won't kick him when he's down....
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:30:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:30:44 AM EST by TREETOP]
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:30:38 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Bucket-Back:


And get his money
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Originally Posted By Bucket-Back:
Originally Posted By costanza:
Fuck his wife.


And get his money
And then fuck that money too!
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:31:06 AM EST
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Originally Posted By cayau:
You may be right, this is what I am struggling with.... but damn....
View Quote


I'd be more concerned that they and their rich friends decided to destroy your business and life. They could bury you in legal, call in political favors, have your license pulled, who knows.

I guess they could do that if you sue though too.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:32:44 AM EST
If they did this to you they have in fact done it to others. The high road is making it hurt so as to make them reconsider their decisions in the future.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:35:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:36:49 AM EST by Snozberry]
Picket?

Just you?

That's even more of a waste of your time.
Start calculating manhours off that.

Lien the home. Fuck his wife. Something.
As another poster mentioned; that's a .50 cal purchase.

And if they were really that rich/influential, they wouldn't have a problem paying you your 11k.
They're shysters. I bet they've done it before and you're the next in line.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:35:23 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cayau:
I am a sub, and do have a contract, and yes, I should go after the GC as well, BUT: he is a great guy who we have done a lot of work for who is also getting a nice long tender dry lovin' from this client as well. I would just be piling on him, I won't kick him when he's down....
View Quote

Then take the fucking and move on.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:35:46 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cayau:
I am a sub, and do have a contract, and yes, I should go after the GC as well, BUT: he is a great guy who we have done a lot of work for who is also getting a nice long tender dry lovin' from this client as well. I would just be piling on him, I won't kick him when he's down....
View Quote


Unless you have a prime contract with owner, a judge would probably say you have "no standing" (I hate to say it this way) for legal action against owner. Sorry you are going through this. It sucks. BTDT.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:36:05 AM EST
Hey OP, I need a new roof. Can you tell me how many hours of picketing you would charge me for that?
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:36:10 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cayau:
I have a contract, and the final bill is about 30% over estimate BUT this possibility was clearly communicated, which is why we only agreed to do the job hourly. I still may sue, but have been down that road in the past, and in my experience the courts seem to want everyone to feel some pain. If I get 1/2 it really will cost me as I would have sunk even more time and effort into chasing those shrinking dollars. What I am really after is getting them to pay, and if they don't, knowing that I am going to call them out by name, in front of all of their rich neighbors, in their rich neighborhood, that they are freeloading pieces of shit who refuse to uphold what they agreed to. I want them to feel it, not have it swept under the rug in an anonymous courtroom. Court feels like the easy way out for them, if that makes sense....
View Quote
You do realize you will be the butt of all the jokes at their parties, right?

Oh Robespierre, is that funny looking little scamp still stalking you?

You should charge him rent on his little cardboard shack.

Better yet, have the rubbish collector throw it in the tipple and haul it off with him inside!
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:39:29 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:42:45 AM EST by WildBoar]
Lol. Picketing the home? That's going to waste more of your time and get you way less money back. I thought you didn't want to waste time or lose more mo money. Picketing will do both and the owners get free entertainment
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:41:11 AM EST
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Originally Posted By cayau:
You get it!!
View Quote

Lol. They dont give a shit and you still dont get paid.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:44:34 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:45:05 AM EST by maxima2]
You have to be making this shit up.

That is a terrible plan and probably the stupidest idea ever.

You don't want to waste time in court where you can actually get paid but you will waste time picketing at their home?

They LOVE you!

They will never pay!



Attachment Attached File


Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:48:23 AM EST
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Originally Posted By WildBoar:

Lol. They dont give a shit and you still dont get paid.
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Quite possible, but I know that my wife would be fucking mortified if she came home and some dude had her name on a sign as a scumbag.... I do realize that to some they wouldn't care.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:52:58 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 6:56:16 AM EST by nmxdavenn]
Op:

I’m a large scale industrial contractor.

It took me a long time to learn sometimes the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

Sometimes it’s best to walk away from something vs spend the time/lost revenue elsewhere chasing after getting a payment on something.

Luckily it’s not common for us, but when it does happen it’s big.

I chased after a payment for a long time for something and when I stood back and took a look at what I gave up in my time doing so I learned the lesson.

Not saying it’s the same case for you, just saying that it can be true. Generally you will know if it’s the case or not.

If I spend 80 hours in a week thinking about it, talking to lawyers, writing emails, making calls I’ve just given up that time I would be walking projects and getting stuff on the schedule.

Depending on the size of what I’m going after sometimes it’s better to take the loss and move on from a dollars and cents standpoint.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:56:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2021 7:03:14 AM EST by 98Redline]
OP, who is paying you? Is it the GC or the homeowner?

That is the entity that needs to be the defendant in your lawsuit. If the GC is paying you as an intermediary between you and the homeowner, he is not being a nice guy, he has a shit heel for a client and is passing the fucking on to his subs.

That said, if you didn't inform the GC or homeowner that the cost was moving up past the original quote, or kept them apprised of the costs as they mounted, then you need to take partial responsibility for that. I do contract type work and if I hit my customer with an invoice that was 30% over the estimate, even for T&M type work, they would all pitch a fit.

While the legalities of T&M work may state that you have a legal right to collect, the reality is that as soon as you realize the costs are going to be in excess of the estimate you need to be communicating with them to keep them informed and have them approve or at least apprise them of future expenditures. Perhaps you could contact them, and offer to settle for something like 50% of the total owed. Granted you are still out $5500, but it is likely better than having to go to court and you get your money faster. Make it clear this is a one time offer and if they refuse you reserve the right to seek any and all legal remedies.

ETA: The last paragraph is only if your contract is direct to the homeowner. If your contract is to the GC he needs to pay you the full invoice value.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:57:44 AM EST
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Originally Posted By 1245xx:

Then take the fucking and move on.
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Originally Posted By 1245xx:
Originally Posted By cayau:
I am a sub, and do have a contract, and yes, I should go after the GC as well, BUT: he is a great guy who we have done a lot of work for who is also getting a nice long tender dry lovin' from this client as well. I would just be piling on him, I won't kick him when he's down....

Then take the fucking and move on.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We have a winner.

Either sue the GC or move on.  Those are your choices.

Talk to your accountant.  Maybe there is angle there to help take the sting out.

There is a reason we have contract law.  This is it.  Your GC is in breach of a contract.  It is not personal.  It is business.  Are you a starving artist working in wood or are you a construction professional?  Professionals demand contract compliance.  

Picket the homeowner?  Come on man.  You will end up in jail doing that.  You want to exert leverage?  Ask the "great guy" who has stolen $11g from you if he is ok with you telling all of his subs that he has not paid you.

Another thing to get your carpenter head around is that you are never going to get your $11k.  Never.  Settlements are never 100%.  If you end up with $5k net you will be lucky.

Link Posted: 2/23/2021 6:57:59 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By nmxdavenn:
Op:

I'm a large scale industrial contractor.

It took me a long time to learn sometimes the juice isn't worth the squeeze.

Sometimes it's best to walk away from something vs spend the time/lost revenue elsewhere chasing after getting a payment on something.

Luckily it's not common for us, but when it does happen it's big.

I chased after a payment for a long time for something and when I stood back and took a look at what I gave up in my time doing so I learned the lesson.

Not saying it's the same case for you, just saying that it can be true. Generally you will know if it's the case or not.
View Quote
I understand completely what you are saying. In the end, they will probably offer a settlement, and I will probably accept it and move on. I only have so many minutes on this earth, and in the big scheme have been very lucky and very successful, I really can't complain.. But this shit really gets under your skin....
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 7:02:22 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cayau:
I understand completely what you are saying. In the end, they will probably offer a settlement, and I will probably accept it and move on. I only have so many minutes on this earth, and in the big scheme have been very lucky and very successful, I really can't complain.. But this shit really gets under your skin....
View Quote


Very true. And whether it’s worth the time sink to go after it is a judgment call on your end. In my experience it’s usually not worth it.

I would rather spend my free time with my family and putting work on the schedule for my guys than chasing after something I may never see the rewards for.
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 7:03:42 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 98Redline:
OP, who is paying you? Is it the GC or the homeowner?

That is the entity that needs to be the defendant in your lawsuit. If the GC is paying you as an intermediary between you and the homeowner, he is not being a nice guy, he has a shit heel for a client and is passing the fucking on to his subs.

That said, if you didn't inform the GC or homeowner that the cost was moving up past the original quote, or kept them apprised of the costs as they mounted, then you need to take partial responsibility for that. I do contract type work and if I hit my customer with an invoice that was 30% over the estimate, even for T&M type work, they would all pitch a fit.

While the legalities of T&M work may state that you have a legal right to collect, the reality is that as soon as you realize the costs are going to be in excess of the estimate you need to be communicating with them to keep them informed and have them approve or at least apprise them of future expenditures.
View Quote
You are correct, they saw the time spent, and knew we were going over,  but I did not formally inform them. In my self analysis I recognize this and will operate differently in the future..
Link Posted: 2/23/2021 7:06:33 AM EST
Lien.

Ultra rich fucks try doing this BS pretty frequently in the yachting industry. Never works if you cover your ass.

Depending on the marina ownership the boat owners were made to apologize face to face with the business owners they tried to screw before their boat was released.
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