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mothrat1980

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Good Morning to everyone, thank you for taking time to read this and I appreciate any advice that can be shared.
Apologies if this is in the wrong forum or wrong section.
Three weeks ago we hired a contractor to re-landscape our garden, which would involve removing all current grass/weeds, levelling out the ground and putting down new turf; as well as putting in some new paving.
We have already paid about 80% of the quote and the work that has been carried out is quite little given the time already passed.
I have spoken with the contractor on Monday and he advised that the work will be done by middle of next week, however we have only seen workers here for half a day. He seems to be sub-contracting to get the job done.
I was hoping someone can illuminate me as to what I can do to give him a push. I've done some reading on the internet and it seems that he is legally obliged to finish the job for his original quote.
I've also read that if we cancel our contract with him, then he is liable for the cost of the new contractor finishing the job, but I'm unsure as to how this is enforceable.
If you have any insight then please let me know.
It will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
DK
 

flowerbug

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Good Morning to everyone, thank you for taking time to read this and I appreciate any advice that can be shared.
Apologies if this is in the wrong forum or wrong section.
Three weeks ago we hired a contractor to re-landscape our garden, which would involve removing all current grass/weeds, levelling out the ground and putting down new turf; as well as putting in some new paving.
We have already paid about 80% of the quote and the work that has been carried out is quite little given the time already passed.
I have spoken with the contractor on Monday and he advised that the work will be done by middle of next week, however we have only seen workers here for half a day. He seems to be sub-contracting to get the job done.
I was hoping someone can illuminate me as to what I can do to give him a push. I've done some reading on the internet and it seems that he is legally obliged to finish the job for his original quote.
I've also read that if we cancel our contract with him, then he is liable for the cost of the new contractor finishing the job, but I'm unsure as to how this is enforceable.
If you have any insight then please let me know.
It will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
DK

it's likely very dependent upon where you live, what the local laws might be. do you have a written contract? are the start and finish dates on there? contingencies due to weather allowed?
 

mothrat1980

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it's likely very dependent upon where you live, what the local laws might be. do you have a written contract? are the start and finish dates on there? contingencies due to weather allowed?
Unfortunately the answer is no to most of these! We have an agreement in place via email, but there are no start or finish dates specified in it. He just said that the job would take about a week verbally, so we have no record.
No contingencies for weather either, we honestly didn't think about it.
I've since spoken to the contractor and he has said guys are coming to day but neglected to mention any time.
I would really like my garden finished in time for Summer!

Thanks
DK
 

Ridgerunner

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Hi, welcome to the forum from Louisiana, glad you joined. Just wish it were in better circumstances.

Local laws could apply and I'm not a lawyer. You'd have to hire a lawyer to have any chance of enforcing that, which could get really expensive quickly. Probably not worth it. I think getting the contractor to pay for someone else to finish the work is pretty hopeless.

What you are experiencing is more the norm than anything unusual when dealing with many contractors, even ones not dependent on weather to stay on schedule. I'm not sure how big your job is compared to others he has. He wants to schedule his crew to work most efficiently so he may catch a smaller job when he has some spare time to show up from a big job. I was lucky in that recently when they finished up a big job early and could pop over to finish my small job in the afternoon. He's going to be dependent on material delivery, we know what supply chain issues can do to that. He will probably be using subcontractors, especially for that paving, so he'll experience the same frustrations to schedule you are. I worked with contractors all my working life so I've heard them all. Some are even true. Even when we had penalty clauses in the contract schedule was often a challenge. While I can understand it, that is still frustrating.

The only leverage you have is money. I don't know what the materials versus labor costs are on your job. There are two typical ways to handle that. One is a straight 50% of the money up front with the rest paid when the job is done. Another typical way is material costs up front with labor costs when the work is done. 80% seems high but I don't know if it really is for your job.

If it is a local contractor with an established business you should be OK as far as the work getting done. It may not be to your schedule but it should be done. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Call and let him know you'd like to get the job done. When I call I'm not ranting and raving, making threats I can't back up. I'm sure he gets that all the time and may do that to his suppliers and subcontractors. I inquire about how it is going and when can I expect to see him. Sometimes this seems to do no good but several times I think it has bumped me up on the schedule.

I don't know what they have done so far but with this type of job they can get a lot done when they show up with the crew and equipment. But the final details to finish can be another wait. Hang on to that 20% until it is all finished.

Don't take any of this to think I don't understand your frustration. I've been there and it is kind of a helpless feeling when no matter what you do that schedule just doesn't move. I try to control what I can and not get ulcers over what I can't, but I'm not always successful.
 

digitS'

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To further know that you aren't alone:

The neighbor lady bought and moved into her home after lots of work had been done. She hired people to do an amazing amount of work in the backyard.

Last Fall, lots of soil and gravel was hauled in and pavers were set down. One guy with a bobcat tractor - and he wasn't the person who was there with a clipboard before the work started. Winter weather arrived and work stopped. I thought that grass sod was likely to show up in the Spring and the fence along her driveway replaced but she had a different guy doing the work a few weeks ago.

Concrete edging was added on both sides of the yard. More soil was brought in. The "foreman" had somewhat of an unusual way of working. He would sit on a lawn chair for hours while others did the work. I don't know what his health was like but he didn't do anything but give instructions, almost continuously. One other thing was a little surprising, he often had only one "helper."

It took several days and weather didn't hamper them. The yard looks Great but ... the fence along the driveway is still in a pile and waiting. Maybe a different contractor will do that. Counting Winter, this "nearly completed" job has taken about 8 months. I'd say that altogether, about 10-12 workdays were spent out there.

Steve
 

Dirtmechanic

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Actually just a communication from an attorney is probably enough to say 2 important things, one is "Hey remember us?" and two, "We have a concern and are capable of self defense.". It won't cost much ( if anything) for such a communication and it is helpful to have a lawyer as a staff function in your life anyway.

Ever notice how gardeners are optimists about plants growing but can be worry-worts about everything else? I guess experience can have that effect.
 

seedcorn

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IMO, keep lawyers away from this until you have no other options. Not sure lawyers won’t just make it messier and cost you 2X+ more money.

Since you have no finish date, you are in trouble.

You’ve paid 80% down, you have very little leverage.

IF you hire someone else to finish, he may be able to sue you for the last 20% since you did not allow him to finish-See no finish date.

Your only option is to meet with him, get in writing (good luck) a finish date, and show up in his office every day see ask about his schedule. You really are at his mercy. When project is complete, send in a complaint to the BBB. They have no teeth but someone else may be saved when they read your report.
 

ducks4you

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Sorry, but this will have to be a life lesson for you.
DD (atty) hired a guy to do her porch last year, paid for it ahead of time. He is a mason and went down the mason rabbit hole and did a very nice job on half of the old brick on the west side of the 1920's house.
He hit DD up for all of the materials, which are taking up her 1 car garage.
Never did build the porch.
She got a minimal refund.
THIS year she hired an electric company to redo ALL of the electrics in the house. MUCH of it was...original. Yeah!
They had a WRITTEN contract, an estimate for time, only ran over 2 days, and never went over the original estimate, although we bought her the new wiring for her garage, bc it wasn't included, though they made time to do it.
DH is an attorney. I disagree about getting an lawyer involved.
I have 4 atty's I can ask, DH, DD, and 2 friends.
My costs are for the price of free.
If you hire a lawyer it will cost about $125.00, maybe more, and the lawyer will send a letter on his/her letterhead.
Actually, this shakes up a LOT of cheaters.
You might try a letter/email/texting/calling campaign and keep asking when the project will be done.
I mean, you keep this up, and may easily send out 100 of these, unless you get your texts/phone calls blocked.
NOTE: I REALLY mean keep it up!
I worked for a guy who told me to keep redialing until I reached the client.
I redialed for over an hr, but finally got through. Lesson learned!!
ALSO, be pleasant, but assertive. If you start loud and mad your have NOWHERE TO GO.
This will take up your time, so you will have to decide how much you care about getting cheated.
Might get you Something$ back.
You can also see if this person is on Angie's List or others and give them a rotten review.
Sorry, I think your money is gone.
 
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Dirtmechanic

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I have a business attorney and a tax attorney. Its not that much drama. Can I tell you its like having a Doctor? Kinda, yeah, but different.

Just ask for a prescription-letter type thing is what I am saying. Its kinda weird not to really.
 
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