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Old 03-13-2019, 06:39 AM   #1
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Default Loosing a client mid project

Have you ever had a client/customer pass away during a project? How did you handle the balance of the job and payments?

It happened to my old painting company. It was about 2 years ago we were working in a gut/remodel job. The home owner asked everyone to take a week off so the heat guys could get the heat going and the place warmed up (Temps at the time were zero or below). 3 days into our week off I was reading the news paper and my jaw hit the floor. The husband passed away from a massive heart attack. Of course we reached out to the wife who blew off all of the contractors.

We tried and tried to get in contact with her but no reply, same with the other contractors. She did owe us money. We waited as long as we could (45 days) for her to reply in any sort which she didn't. About 3 months later we found out she up and left after her husband dies. We did get our check almost 8 months later. The house was never completed.

This is a tough situation to be in.
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:30 AM   #2
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That is a fear of mine as I work for a LOT of elderly customers. The closest I came to an "event" such as yours @Epoxy Pro, was when a client died suddenly about a week after I re-did some oak floors for her. Another uncomfortable scenario is when a client is diagnosed with cancer or another terrible disease and you feel awkward continuing work in their home as they are facing the fight of their lives.
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:09 AM   #3
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If its a big job, Im sure theres a lien clause. If its a smaller job, I say just walk away and call it a loss.

I had a boss pass away that owed me money. I just wrote it off. One of our mutual friends actually asked me if I got paid for painting his garage, and I said no, and he paid me for it, even though he had paid my boss for it. This is when I was working for peanuts and it was all under the table though. I wasnt about to ask his widow for money....
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:08 PM   #4
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I'm thinking that's just another good reason to get a deposit, plus progress payments throughout a project..

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Old 03-13-2019, 07:53 PM   #5
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I'd figure that the survivors had enough on their plate with the death and the funeral that the work is the last thing on their mind. Consider the job most likely done and- with condolences- let them know you are free to finish up when they're ready.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:05 PM   #6
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I would just send condolences. The death of a spouse is about the biggest nightmare a person can get! Contractors are the last thing on their mind and sending a bill to the newly deceased will look heartless. (The person receiving said bill is bound to think "what kind of monster is this? Have they no concept of decency?) One could try sending the bill to the executor of the estate, that is who is responsible for finalizing all accounts.
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