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Old 05-09-2017, 12:30 PM   #21
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I'm googling and studying the nice tool, thank you. But I still can not see why/how it makes clients to pay without a court - what are they afraid of?
And you're saying two things at once: "without having to go to court" and "be willing to enforce/execute them". I thought that enforcing means going to court. Does lien enforcing work in another way?


We worked with many different GCs already but I've never seen a contract with a "payment due by" clause. They usually write something like "we'll pay you after we get money from our client/the property owner, but we never know when he pays us, so we are not able to give you even an approximate date when you may get your money, please wait another month". So what do you mean?
Execute/enforce. What I mean is you usually have to do paperwork periodically to keep the lien current. I don't know the details but you can't let them "expire". It is possible to go to court but most times that doesn't happen. I think you would end up going through court if you were to foreclose the property (which is rare). Most times, the owner or bank financing the project would rather cough up the money than lose the property completely.

Similar to if you finance a car, the bank has first "claim" on the title. By providing goods/services on a construction project, you're effectively financing the project until you get paid. If you don't get paid, then you're technically a financier of the project same as the bank. You make it official by filing a lien which basically gives you a "claim" on the title, just like the car I mentioned.

Eventually, the owner of the property will go to the bank to switch their construction loan to a fixed loan. As part of that process, the bank will hire someone to do "title work". Part of title work is researching to make sure there are no liens filed. Inevitably, the person doing the title work will find out from the county government (court system) that You filed a lien.

They will call the bank and tell them that there are liens filed. The bank will call the property owner and tell them they can't do the fixed loan unless the liens are paid. Because if they did, the bank would have second claim on the title (behind you). This is a problem for the bank.

It means that in the event of a default and subsequent foreclosure, you get paid before the bank does. They don't like/want that. Because they're financing majority of the project, they demand first claim on the title. In order for that to happen, they make all liens get settled/paid before they will do the fixed loan.

So continuing on, the owner will (typically) be forced to pay you otherwise they won't get the fixed loan from the bank and will be stuck paying high interest on a construction loan.


If their is NOt a bank involved with the project, you can still file a lien. The process just works a little differently. Whenever they go to sell the property, you will get paid before they can close the sale because the title person will discover your lien (that's there job!) and require that you get paid from the sale money. That could be many years though in some situations (and many years of keeping your lien active via paperwork). It also doesn't work as well on some things like churches because they may never be sold, or maybe not in your lifetime.

If you have done your lien correctly, you can foreclose the property in some situations. That means you get to seize the property, sheriff will auction it off, and pay you with the money. That takes a lot more time/resources though. Personally, that is a "last resort" and would have to be a lot more than 10k for me to go through the trouble. I'm not sure, but you probably can't do that in the shopping mall scenario.

I'm sure I've missed some details but that is the general idea of how liens work. You really need to talk with an attorney to learn about this stuff and make sure it doesn't happen in the future. The attorney will also teach you how to have good contracts and make sure your a$$ is covered in the future.

A lot of painters think they did everything right until they end up in court. Then all the loose paperwork shows up and bites you in the butt. And depending how much money's involved, they might hire a scientist to prove where you skipped a coat etc etc. You really need to be sure you did your job correctly including all office related work. That's what lawyers are for. It helps to have a fresh set of eyes look at your situation.

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Old 05-09-2017, 12:34 PM   #22
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My contracts specify payment within 10 days of completion of the described work.
Cool! But how do you make GCs sign your contracts?
They always send us their contracts..
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:43 PM   #23
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They usually write something like "we'll pay you after we get money from our client/the property owner, but we never know when he pays us, so we are not able to give you even an approximate date when you may get your money, please wait another month". So what do you mean?
Contracts are negotiable. Delete/cross out that paragraph out and write when you need to be paid. If they don't agree to it, don't take the job.

We probably delete 50% of the crap in the "Standard Subcontract Agreement". The way they are written is totally unfair.

This is stuff that lawyers will teach you. Or if your company's big enough, be like my dad and get your own law degree.


....the more you cross out, the more likely it is that they will just hire a different painter. And that is the inherent problem in the industry and why working for General Contractors basically sucks. There are too many painters who like taking the abuse. If half the painters would just quit, WE could be the ones writing the contracts. But that won't happen cause painting is so easy anybody can do it.


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Old 05-09-2017, 12:56 PM   #24
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Stretch67, thank you so much!

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Contracts are negotiable. Delete/cross out that paragraph out and write when you need to be paid. If they don't agree to it, don't take the job.
Could you show me please a paragraph you often use in your contracts regarding pay time terms?
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Old 05-09-2017, 01:00 PM   #25
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Stretch67, thank you so much!

Could you show me please a paragraph you often use in your contracts regarding pay time terms?


Are you prepared to lose 75% of your GC work?


I would strongly recommend spending $500-$1000 bucks to sit down with a lawyer and learn this stuff. Also, take some night classes at a local community college or something. It will pay for itself 1000 times over throughout your career. Our office manager has a Masters in Business. It's an invaluable tool.

The real players in this game know that contracts are the name of the game.

That's where the money is made or lost.

80% of the workers in this world are just average, period end of story. They all work an average pace with average quality. Your not gonna make a mint by magically only having the best workers. You can however have the best contracts in town. And that's what'll make your money.



That's why they're called General Contractors instead of General Workers or General Freelancers or General Busybodies. They know how to write contracts. And they win, most of the time.




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Old 05-09-2017, 02:02 PM   #26
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Are you prepared to lose 75% of your GC work?
You know, I'm so tired of working with GCs... Speaking with you here is like a breath of fresh air. I've never saw another option of the pay time terms so it maybe a mind-breaking thing for me to see.
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Old 05-09-2017, 02:19 PM   #27
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You know, I'm so tired of working with GCs... Speaking with you here is like a breath of fresh air. I've never saw another option of the pay time terms so it maybe a mind-breaking thing for me to see.
Lol. I'm on a roll here.

Also cross out the spec section that says your responsible for the quality of taping/mudding. And have the GC sign to acknowledge it. That way when the supt says you can start you just walk in with the sprayer hot. Who cares what it looks like.

If they gotta fix the drywall later then they pay you for repainting it. Had a multiunit building few years ago. 6 stories nicer 3 bedroom condos. The touch up was more than the original contract cause the tapers sucked! We're talking 6 figures. They tried to fight it until we sat down with them and showed them their signature right under our "touch up clause".

We generally "give" them 100 hours of touch up on 100k job. Of course it's figured in our price. When we start touch up (trade damage) we track our time and have supt sign the sheet daily/weekly. Once the 100 hours are used up, send the change order buddy!




You'll know you did a good job on the contract when the tile guy starts thinking about where to put his saw. And the carpenter's move a little more deliberately with casing/cabinets/countertops etc.

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Old 06-01-2017, 09:10 PM   #28
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So do I take it correctly that, if we do not file a lien in time, we have no any legal way to get paid for the work we actually did?

And another question: does lien effect clients (i.e. property owners) making them to pay only thanks to that lien reserve the right for us (i.e. performers) to sue them later?

And is filling a lien the only way (an obligatory milestone) to sue a client for work (which was done but not paid)?

You could file a complaint with the licensing board. GC might lose his license.

It's 90 days from when you last worked on the job. You said they wanted you to do more work? Go do it.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:17 AM   #29
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You could file a complaint with the licensing board.
That's interesting, could you tell me more how it works please?
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Old 06-02-2017, 12:36 PM   #30
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That's interesting, could you tell me more how it works please?

What is your state?
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:48 PM   #31
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What is your state?
SC. Most of our clients are from SC as well.

But sometimes we have no payment issues with constructors located in other states (like FL).
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:14 PM   #32
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You can really look back on this as a learning experience. I too learned the hard way but only once on a 8000 sq. ft. Custom in Folsom, California.

In your next project with a GC write your agreement up and structure it with milestones.
After "X" amount of work is performed in first 2 weeks first payment is due. Same for each phase of your work. If you kept painting and you did not get a draw for services performed you have no one to blame but yourself. Some builders when they get a pigeon like you (sorry but the world is a mean place) treat people like this on a regular basis, thus the name scum bag was created to describe these type of people. When you sit down to sign your agreement you should bring a portable notary and record video of all of the conditions with the GC acknowledging every one of your stipulations. If you run across a GC that will not agree with what I have described, it is best to walk away instead of getting burned. I have been there and it really sucks to get burned.
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