Professional Painting Contractors Forum banner

1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Forum,

I am a new painter, been painting just a few years. I landed my first ‘big’ job. For me this means full interior est 2,600 sq ft and partial exterior. It was to be a rush job completed in 3 or 4 days no more. The homeowner specifically inquired to ensure I would hire on multiple people to complete the project quickly. I hired on 3 guys to help me. The project over all went great and we finished right on schedule. I have emailed the homeowner throughout the process updating him on the status and estimated completion time.

The kicker, I call today at lunch to confirm that we will be finished by end of day (completed in 3 days as requested) and he’s all who is this? Robin the painter! Oh hi Robin…I ask him when he wants to schedule a walk through. I was not expecting it to be that evening as I know he does not live in the immediate area but expected sometime over the weekend or Monday, after all this was a rush job. But no he tells me he is in Tahoe on the slopes and won’t be back until Sunday night so he can meet me Wednesday at 10 am to do the walk through and final payment!

I feel fairly confident he is good for the money and not going to try to stiff me but I’m a little nervous. He did give me a 20% deposit even though I only asked for 10% per CA law. I have everything in writing with a signature including the completion date.

My biggest issue is that he insisted I rush the job so I contracted out all of this work, even promised finishing bonuses for them to get done in time. Further (my bad) but I did a bunch of extra work just to do an impeccable job and to go above and beyond for my first ‘big’ customer and he can’t even be bothered with a walk through and a check? If he was planning to go on vacay why rush me? I told him it was extremely inconsiderate but there was little I could do if he’s in Tahoe so I will see him on Wednesday but I really don’t like this. I expect to be paid upon the completion of the job not 5++ days later. . I haven't ventured into commercial only residential pay upon receipt/completion. This has never happened to me before so I'm not quite sure what do do. What would you guys do?

First if a homeowner adds extra work after the quote is agreed upon like retexturing a stairway do you charge extra for it even if there was not cost discussed at the time? He didn’t tell me directly his handy man did so I didn’t have the chance to discuss it. Basically when I showed up he said THEY decided I could re-texture the stairway (thanks!:thumbsup:) which was fine but I didn’t pack mud or a hopper because I wasn’t expecting it so it held up the work a few hours at least.

Further should I just be happy I got my first big job chalk it up to this guy is inconsiderate and move on? Keep him happy, be nice, get my money. Or do I tell him he needs to show up or send me a check one of the two because I really don’t have any desire to work for him again anyway? I am thinking about doing a final walk through myself with pics and video of everything then send it to him with the invoice due upon receipt. If he is too busy on vacation to show up and pay me even though it was a rush job should I charge a late fee? Am I making a big deal out of nothing or?

(Longest question ever Im sure please forgive)

Thank you so much for your advice! :whistling2:
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
10,323 Posts
Keep him happy. He probably had his reasons for the quick turn-around, maybe just wanting to ensure the job was completed.

Always have some change orders handy. Tough to do when the HO isn't around to sign them, so really good communication is the key. Document all your conversations with him if you aren't able to meet with him in person. Unless you have something saying his handyman has the legal right to authorize changes and additional charges the handyman's word may not be worth too much.

You're just going to have to be patient until Wednesday. Let us know how it comes out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
Take a deep breath..... Relax! Give him till Wednesday.

On your next big job have the customer initial your payment terms and methods so everyone's on the same page.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
I would say keep him happy. Sometimes homeowners assume a week or so is fine, some even seem to think they are on net 30.... It surprised me when I was starting out. But now I would say - if it was not specifically in writing - then it was not really agreed upon contractually. Same with change orders - at least send an email at the end of the day, and make sure they approve. Congrats on the big job tho. I am sure it will all taste better when the check clears!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,726 Posts
I wouldn't worry too much, sounds like you'll be paid NP and if you've done a good job without pi&*ing him off re payment you'll probably be in line for more work down the road. In this business ( around here at least ) waiting 5 days for payment is a pretty quick turn-around. Next time, as the old pros above have said make sure you have everything documented well including payment terms and change work orders. Would also help to have a bit of $$$ on hand to make sure you can pay your subs, even if you have to wait for your cheque. Congrats on your job !:thumbsup:
 

·
Delco, Pa
Joined
·
1,176 Posts
Did your contract state, "Payment upon completion?"
I wouldn't worry that he won't pay you but, if it stated payment upon completion in your contract, I can see how you would be upset.
If it were me, I would just wait until Wednesday and just chalk it up as a learning experience to keep the lines of communication open every day if needed. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,761 Posts
We painted a 7,500 sqft interior for a couple who lived in Germany, they were in the USA to start the project then they decided one day to fly back before picking colors and giving us our second deposit (we usually ask for 1/3, 1/3 and remainding balance upon completion), we emailed them every day, sent pictures every day. They never replied to us, the contractor was a wicked (it's a Boston thing) pot head and said just paint it any color then charge them for a color change. We decided to stop work until they made a color choice and a payment. This job was a 1 1/2 hour drive each way and we had nothing to fill in the down time. They came back and we meet them on the job, they paid us our deposit and gave us colors. The deal was for ceilings and walls only, they decided to add trim and wanted it sprayed, Great walls are 2 coated and now spray trim, we hit them hard on the price, paid us in full for the original contract, gave us a deposit for the trim, they then took off again and we never heard back from them, so the second deposit for trim we walked off again never to return. We got stiffed $3,000.00 I did put a lein on their properties and have not heard any thing still.
Long story short always get your payments in writing, some times ok most of the time people want the painting rushed and do not think of the money we have to pay oput to get the project done on time. I agree with the others keep him happy, a few days waiting for the check isn't bad. We some times let the HO pay us afer we complete the job usually with in a week after, so far only that one stiffed us th rest have paid with in a week and to me thats fine, a contractor we worked for holds the last payment for 30 days so we don't do much for him now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,515 Posts
Such a long post, for a short wait.

The issue I see that is tweaking your peace of mind: working capital.

You owe out more than you have (or want to pay out of pocket currently).
A deposit is key if your business isn't large enough to float money around.

Also, "PAYMENT DUE UPON COMPLETION" means "PAYMENT DUE UPON COMPLETION"!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,125 Posts
Peace be still!Every job I do I always look at if they dont like my work dont pay.I dont let them know that.Just the mindset.I also look at it while I'm working on there home I own it till job is completed and then they are just buying it back.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,196 Posts
The kicker, I call today at lunch to confirm that we will be finished by end of day (completed in 3 days as requested) and he’s all who is this? Robin the painter! Oh hi Robin…I ask him when he wants to schedule a walk through. I was not expecting it to be that evening as I know he does not live in the immediate area but expected sometime over the weekend or Monday, after all this was a rush job. But no he tells me he is in Tahoe on the slopes and won’t be back until Sunday night so he can meet me Wednesday at 10 am to do the walk through and final payment!
Don't be too upset that they don't immediately connect the dots about who you are when you contact them. This job, and the way you went about completing it, was a big thing in your mind but obviously not so much in the HO's. I've lost count of the times people have insisted time was of the utmost importance on a job - and it is if it's their time that's at stake. But not so much when it's yours. It sucks but it's reality.

I feel fairly confident he is good for the money and not going to try to stiff me but I’m a little nervous. He did give me a 20% deposit even though I only asked for 10% per CA law. I have everything in writing with a signature including the completion date.

My biggest issue is that he insisted I rush the job so I contracted out all of this work, even promised finishing bonuses for them to get done in time. Further (my bad) but I did a bunch of extra work just to do an impeccable job and to go above and beyond for my first ‘big’ customer and he can’t even be bothered with a walk through and a check? If he was planning to go on vacay why rush me? I told him it was extremely inconsiderate but there was little I could do if he’s in Tahoe so I will see him on Wednesday but I really don’t like this. I expect to be paid upon the completion of the job not 5++ days later. . I haven't ventured into commercial only residential pay upon receipt/completion. This has never happened to me before so I'm not quite sure what do do. What would you guys do?

First if a homeowner adds extra work after the quote is agreed upon like retexturing a stairway do you charge extra for it even if there was not cost discussed at the time? He didn’t tell me directly his handy man did so I didn’t have the chance to discuss it. Basically when I showed up he said THEY decided I could re-texture the stairway (thanks!:thumbsup:) which was fine but I didn’t pack mud or a hopper because I wasn’t expecting it so it held up the work a few hours at least.
When you say you had everything in writing I hope that included a very detailed description of the scope of the work - listing both what is and isn't covered. I can understand you wanting to impress this customer and go above and beyond since it's your first big job, but most here would agree that add-ons can be profit and schedule busters and that you should always have those written up, agreed upon, and signed off on by both you and the customer as addendums to contract. The more of those you give away the less you make which should be as important to you as a business owner as making the customer happy is. As Wolf already stated, don't do anything extra that the owner didn't specifically ask for. The handyman isn't the guy you had a contract with so unless it's written into the contract that he has the right to change the scope of the job, doing extra work he told you to do isn't smart. For all you know he was supposed to do it and decided he couldn't get it done on time so he threw it on you. Also, what would you do if the HO came back and was upset that you textured the stairway? Not likely but...

Further should I just be happy I got my first big job chalk it up to this guy is inconsiderate and move on? Keep him happy, be nice, get my money. Or do I tell him he needs to show up or send me a check one of the two because I really don’t have any desire to work for him again anyway? I am thinking about doing a final walk through myself with pics and video of everything then send it to him with the invoice due upon receipt. If he is too busy on vacation to show up and pay me even though it was a rush job should I charge a late fee? Am I making a big deal out of nothing or?
Yes, be proud it was your first job and you pulled it off as per your understanding of the terms of the contract. It sounds like you did a great job.

Yes, the guy is an inconsiderate jerk and unfortunately there are a lot more like him out there so get used to dealing with them. But there are a lot of great people you'll be working with so it will balance out.

Yes, get your check, move on, and learn from it. You really don't have a choice to do much else anyway and going off on him won't make him pay you sooner or make him to want to use you again or refer you to others. Telling a customer off may make you feel good but it usually isn't good for business. Always be the professional and try and keep emotion out of it - it's business.

Charge a late fee? Well, time was an issue so would you have had to forfeit anything if you'd not completed on time? How was that addressed in the contract? Personally I'd put an extra charge on the bill and not worry a bit about how the guy will react to it. And while you're at it, add in for that staircase texturing. But adding it on and getting it if it wasn't addressed in the contract could prove to be impossible - especially with this guy. Still, it's worth a shot.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gough

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,571 Posts
You've already gotten some sage advise. The only thing I would suggest is to clarify your "upon compleation" clause. I know that is plain and clear to you and me, but some people interpret that as they wish. In the future I'd put in "payment due on the last day of work", and have them initial it.

It never ceases to amaze me how much of my proposal people DON'T read. I have a detailed proposal explaining everything, but alot just gloss over everything and only read the price.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
I find that to keep I need to keep telling myself that "I am the best contractor working with the best painters for the best customers in the world!" At least until the check clears. This will keep me from saying out loud (or posting for the world to see) anything I may regret later. It's way easier to collect a check when you are both grinning up and down. As an aside, I find that it's much easier to establish a rapport with clients who you see on site everyday vs the ones who are away while work is performed. That is the dichotomy we are faced with: rapport with client vs. ease of working on site with no one in the way?

In your situation I would not worry about it until Wednesday at walk through. just gives you a few days to get a small project done and paid first! But I do recommend that you don't pay your subs until you have been paid, that should be stated on your contract with them. Buy them lunch or pints at jobs end or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,577 Posts
Welcome to the world of a Painting Contractor! Try not to get all worked up over this. If you did a nice job and treat him with respect during the walk through, then he might give you more work or pass your name around his network.

Just think, as your business grows, you can look forward to working all month while paying for your crew and materials without getting paid a dime for 10-40 days! Fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
635 Posts
I would also make sure that the other guy didn't charge them for retexturing the staircase and is stiffing you for the work while collecting the rewards. :whistling2: though it might be a case of having to suck this up if there wasn't anything discussed and agreed upon regarding this extra scope.

Though do make pains to point it out so they are aware of how wicked awesome you are.

Congrats on completing your first big job though, and wlecome to the world of headaches :)
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
10,539 Posts
It's generally only the growers around here that pay us the day we finish a project. Usually it's within a week; our contract language specifies paid within ten days after completion. Our personal best is 89 days. I had that one on the calendar, so I knew the latest day to file a lien.

As others have point out, building up some working capital, or a LOC, is important. It can be as important as any tool in the van.
 

·
PinheadsUnite
Joined
·
30,724 Posts
As one's business "matures" I can assure you how great the stress relief is when you can pay your employees before getting paid for a job.

When I was incorporated and had employees, I had invested enough in the company that I had enough to cover payroll. Many honest folks don't like being pressured to pay quick as if they were some kind of bad risk.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gough
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top