How do you fire a contractor/builder?
We are building an addition on our barn for horse stalls. We hired our contractor back in October, he was referred to me by a local feed company who knew of him and his work. Long story short, the list is long for reasons I should have fired him ages ago but never knew how... as I have NEVER in my life of hiring contractors for various work have I EVER had such a horrible experience. As my experiences have always been pretty good I have never had to fire a contractor in the middle of a job. Which brings me to the question of how do you do it?
We were under the agreement/contract that I would pay him half of his fee when he was half way finished (which mind you was in November!- I paid him) and then the final amount when he finished.
He is a weekend builder (which I would advise no one to ever hire after my experience) as he works for a larger pole barn building company during the week so I am hostige to him working on the weekends, now I realize he works to his whim and will to show up. He is close-ish to finished however he hasn't shown up in over a month for more than a total of 4 hours. Again, he told me he would show up today and he isn't here. If he would just SHOW up it would propably take him 3 weekends to finish...but with his lack of attendance it could be May...which isn't an option.
He is the master at evasion (must be a skill 1, in the contractors book of how to screw over their clients). I can't get him to commit to anything. He literally has an excuse for everything. He is biligerent, evasive, argumentative and pretty much a liar as I see it now that I am in month 5 of this project with no end date in site and a list of issues that he has screwed up.:cry:
So how do you fire them when they are close to finished? How do you determine the value of what he has accomplished to date and pay him for it but not loss your shirt bringing in the next contractor to finish off his job? I see now that what he has to finish could be costly with another contractor (building the remaining dutch doors, trim work, etc). How do you protect yourself from getting sued by the contractor? Do you get a lawyer and just fire him with the knowledge you are going to get sued for break of contract? I have never fired a contractor and in ways feel it is almost better to just weather the storm and hope he will pull his finger out and get it finished before summer.
Does anyone have any advise, I am so exhausted worrying about this, trying to figure out a way to fire him and not get screwed over in the process.
Thanks for your help.
Did you get anything in writing as to time frames?
So many variables if nothing is in writing, but the next time he shows up, you will have to have a discussion on what you expect of him, if he cannot agree then he needs to move on.
I would either get a lawyer or send him a registered letter itemizing the issues the were not properly done/need correcting as well as what needs finishing and notify him that this needs to be done by XXXX or your agreement will be nullified. It will depend upon what your written contract says tho…..you could need legal help if that is not in order.
no deadline on contract
When the contract was agreed on in October, there was no timeline written into the contract. It never even crossed my mind as the builder indicated since it was a fairly small job that it wouldn't take to long. In the past, I have never put a completion date into contracts with prior jobs done by contractors. Now I realize it is more luck than good management that I haven't had this issue to date. This a major oversite, this I know all to well. Ij ust don't know how to navigate the issue now. The last time he was out, which was over a month ago now, and he spent time working I tried to get him to give me a deadline, I left him a message on his phone and said he needed to be thinking about when he would have the project completed. When I asked him about it when I saw him, he became very slippery, said it wouldn't take him to long to finish and evaded putting a deadline on himself.
Well, I probably would hire someone else and get it done. IF he comes back, I would then tell him that he was unresponsive (keep track of your calls) and you hired someone else to finish the job. Let him try and sue you. That is just me. I have supervised the building of 3 homes, a shed, a couple of permanent docks, hoists and numerous remodels. They know I don't kid around. However, I do have an issue if you have not told him you have a problem with the quality. That should have happened as it went along. I am known as "the lady with the 8 ft level"……and have had more than one rip out entire walls. Do it right and do your job-no issue. If not-I promise to be your worst nightmare. But-they know that pretty much from the start.
I have a feeling your contract is pretty loose, from what you are saying, and hopefully you have proof you paid him in November, and pictures of the progress then-there should have been specific milestones in the contract that, when met, got paid.
I would flat out tell him not to come back. Period. I'd ask for an itemized bill of what he has done so far and if it seems fair, pay it and be done with him.
Most jobs no call-no show leads to immediate dismissal. Just saying. Yes, you can ask him for an invoice, good luck agreeing on the amount due. I also would tell him not to darken my door again. You are being much too nice.
Let him know you plan on talking to his boss at the pole barn company. They may not be too pleased that he is moonlighting. Take pics of what he has done so far.
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