LumberJocks

advice for issues with collecting final payment

  • Advertise with us

« back to Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking forum

Forum topic by Jerry posted 07-05-2013 at 05:12 PM 2367 views 0 times favorited 103 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2182 posts in 2184 days


07-05-2013 at 05:12 PM

So I have had this issue with collecting a final payment. It is from a high end builder who is building 3/4 million dollar homes. He does not seem to be broke or anything that I can tell. We completed the final punch list at the end of April. He paid us but held a 20% retainer fee which totals just a bit less than 5,000.00. It is a large amount of money for us. It hurts just knowing this money is owed to us.

So I have emailed him the final invoice 3 times. My wife called him last friday and he advised her that he was in his office and would work on getting the final payment sent to us that day, which was 7 days ago. I don’t have an attorney but have considered getting an attorney to send the builder a letter requesting payment. I have not dropped by his office yet, but have considered doing just that. I am not a very confrontational kind of guy though so before a face to face meeting happens, I will need to be confident in what my exact rights are so that I can speak intelligently.

As far as I know there are no issues on the job. I have several photographs documenting this job, in fact it is one of the best jobs we have ever completed. It turned out extremely beautiful so it is hard to fathom someone ripping us off on this job. Both the builder and his Project Manager advised me everything has checked out good.

I typically do not run into this issue. Most of the time customers will pay out when the job is finished. Most of our jobs are with owner builders or owners who are remodeling so I am typically dealing with an owner.

Not sure if there are any good words of wisdom here. I am going to consult an attorney.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net


103 replies so far

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1008 posts in 923 days


#1 posted 07-05-2013 at 05:34 PM

What your rights are should be spelled out in the contract. You spell out the exact scope of work and you also spell out payment schedules. If he’s beyond the contract for final payment, you are well within your rights to go pay him a visit and just tell him you were in the area and thought you’d stop by to see if any problems have come up that you weren’t aware of.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7464 posts in 2285 days


#2 posted 07-05-2013 at 05:38 PM

When you are dealing with this sort of higher-end client
they may string you along for accounting and tax reasons…
assuming they aren’t out to cheat you.

There are books with polite collection letters in them
and I suggest you consult one or two to see if you
can find something that has a friendly/firm tone
you can adapt to your cause.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

14910 posts in 1204 days


#3 posted 07-05-2013 at 05:41 PM

it should also be in writing that after 30 days you have a right to charge interest. I know it doesn’t help, but sometime additional fees forces payment. I worked for guys like that. It seemed the more money they had, the harder it was to get it.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4510 posts in 929 days


#4 posted 07-05-2013 at 05:49 PM

Check out your state’s mechanic lien laws and don’t let them expire—some high rollers are notorious for cheating their subs out of small amounts of money—not enough to make it economically feasible to hire an attorney but enough to rob the sub of his profit. I know you hate to loose jobs in this economy, but my opinion is that its worse to do the job and loose your profit while just contributing to that high roller’s bank account.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

1920 posts in 505 days


#5 posted 07-05-2013 at 05:53 PM

Got to the mattresses.

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2882 posts in 1124 days


#6 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:05 PM

Hmmm, I’m not sure where you live but go into the building you installed the cabinets in and uninstall them.
I would bet that within 30 minutes you will have a contractor on site and a few minutes after that you’ll have a check (Although I would demand cash).

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

836 posts in 833 days


#7 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:22 PM

That is why I will never work for a contractor again, except for one. He was/is a customer of mine in the boating world and needs me for his boat so we already have that relationship. Anybody else, no. If they really need my skills I will only work for the owner. Good luck.
Jim

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View jimmyb's profile

jimmyb

172 posts in 529 days


#8 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:24 PM

I agree, a mechanic’s is your strongest weapon.

-- Jim, Tinley Park, IL http://jbuda.net

View Makarov's profile

Makarov

86 posts in 442 days


#9 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:31 PM

Small claims court get judgment then take his tools if he doesn’t pay you. No lawyers just you him and the judge. 10000 limit in TX.

-- "Complexity is easy; Simplicity is difficult." Georgy Shragin Designer of ppsh41 sub machine gun

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2182 posts in 2184 days


#10 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:32 PM

Thanks guys. I do need to do something quick as I am starting to wonder. I think I am going to seek the advice of an attorney as I think a letter from an attorney would not cost too much but could be a little more forceful than I am. Probably stopping by to see if there may be any problems would also work fine.

My thinking though, if he had issues with anything in the cabinet job, he has had ample opportunity to bring it to my attention and there is really no issue in a cabinet project of this magnitude that could possibly be valued at nearly 5,000.00 or justify withholding nearly 5,000.00.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2182 posts in 2184 days


#11 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:38 PM

Dallas, I am in San Antonio. One other thing, which should not matter really. The builder sold his model home. Then the home we did the cabinet job on, the builder leased that home from the actual owner in order to use as his new model home. So now his actual model home has our cabinets inside. I heard he is currently building another model home to move into when his current lease expires. So removing the cabinets will cause a big scene and probably could get me arrested. I don’t know. But I know I would love to go and get my cabinets. However there is some heavy granite on them. I could get the upper cabinets.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2182 posts in 2184 days


#12 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:39 PM

I just checked, the Texas Mechanic’s Lien expires in 4 years. That is really good to know. Thanks for that info.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Tim's profile

Tim

1251 posts in 598 days


#13 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:41 PM

It could be for lots of reasons, but it’s highly likely Loren is right. Pretty much all big companies do this to whatever smaller companies they can get away with doing it to. The longer they avoid paying out money the less interest, fees, etc they pay and the more money they have to earn money with. So find your leverage points and use them. Small claims/mechanics liens are powerful but keep them in your back pocket. You could talk to other contractors that have worked with them to see if they do it to everyone and if they eventually pay. If so, leverage harder.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2882 posts in 1124 days


#14 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:52 PM

Jerry, I haven’t done it in Texas, although I live here, but call the county sheriff and have them send a deputy with you.
You own that product, not the contractor.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2182 posts in 2184 days


#15 posted 07-05-2013 at 06:55 PM

Thanks for the info guys.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

showing 1 through 15 of 103 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase