Old 10-14-2008, 10:17 PM
AJ Lawnscapes AJ Lawnscapes is offline
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Location: Newville, PA
Posts: 322
PA Law will limit Landscape/Home Improvements Contractors!

Today I was told by a Home Improvement Contractor that is a good friend of mine and that is on top of PA Laws, that he and we will be hurt by Senate Bill 100 (SB 100) which is now sitting on the Governors Desk.

You can read the bill here: You can read the bill Here

You MUST WRITE THE GOVERNOR and tell him to VETO this bill!!!

EMAIL Governor Ed Rendell

We must stop this from taking effect!
Thanks for your help!

Copy of the letter that I sent to him:

Today, 10-14-2008, it was brought to my attention by a contractor friend of mine that there was a bill passed and sent to your desk regarding Home Improvement Companies.

I had not heard about this bill, nor after returning home from working today, was I able to find it on the General Assembly's website. The website is not easily navigatable, nor does it list which bills were passed by either house, or ones they are considering. You must dig dig dig to find anything there. If you look at thier calender, as of right now, it's for Novermber 12th.

Anyway, back to the reason for this email.

I finally found the bill, and it's SB100. It was brought to the floor last year, and recently passed today and sits on your desk.

Please Do No Sign It! Please!

I understand the pretense of the bill, and it has sense to it. It will help ****** Fraud, that's a great thing.

But there are things wrong with it.

Section 9, subsection 10. For a home improvement contract in which the total price is more than $1,000, receive a deposit in excess of:
(i) one-third of the home improvement contract price; or
(ii) one-third of the home improvement contract price plus the cost of special order materials that have been ordered.

This section alone limits us as contractors to basically working for free until the job is complete and the owner decides not to pay us.

If a job estimates out to $22,500, and the cost of materials is $8,000, and labor would be $5000, plus insurance, fuel, material replacement etc., the costs to start the job would be almost $15,000.

But if following Sec.9, sub 10, sub i:
We would be limited to collecting up front $7500. Well below the costs of materials and labor.
If following Sec.9, sub 10, sub ii: We would collect the Materials Cost of $8000, but then be limited to 1/3 of the remaining balance, or $4,833.33. This alone wouldn't cover the labor costs, nor fuel, insurance, etc etc.

I propose that you VETO this bill.

I suggest that you send it back to the General Assembly asking that they strike that section from the law. It allows the Owners and Contractors to abide by their Contract, and doesn't limit the Contractor from operating his/her business at a loss from the start of the contact. There should be no provisions of this bill that hurts the business.

I also suggest that they put in provisions that help Protect the Contractor from consumer fraud, as in the Owner doesn't pay up after the work has been completed.

I dont fell that there is a need for this bill as we already have Laws in place to protect the consumer. We should enforce the laws as they stand, not make new ones that hurt business .

Thank you for your consideration,


Abraham Brown
Owner - A&J Lawn and Landscaping
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:40 PM
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Sunscaper Sunscaper is offline
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Location: SW Florida
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It seems alot like Florida's regulations. One good thing is it will hopefully thin out your competition. One think Florida has going for it, you can lein a property without a judgement. You then have one year to prove the lein or it automatically is removed. Its more balanced here. I had a business in PA and there is nothing except the good graces of the customers to help you get paid. Basically if you walk into a courtroom with a contract that they breached like I did, you are STILL wrong. Just surround yourself with good customers and employees and you'll be just fine.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:02 PM
AJ Lawnscapes AJ Lawnscapes is offline
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Location: Newville, PA
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I just find it pathetic that they limit how much you can collect to do a job. They have no idea how business works.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:48 PM
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kootoomootoo kootoomootoo is offline
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If its a 20,000 job $15,000 is the design fee.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:57 PM
David Gretzmier David Gretzmier is offline
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Location: Fayetteville,AR
Posts: 3,645
maybe I don't understand the above example, or bids, but if materials are 8000, and labor is 5000, what is the other 9200 bucks for? my bids only have materials and labor. On my jobs i get a draw of half, which usually covers materials and some labor and fuel, etc. The other half is usually labor and the remaining expenses and I get that at the end of the job when I am done. Using the example further, it looks like you can draw 8 grand plus 48 hundred, on a first draw, or 12,833 on a 22,500 job. That's close to 60% of the job upfront. If you need more than that upfront on jobs you are not managing your cash very well.

If I am in business, I shoulder some risk of not getting paid. on 98 % of the jobs I have done, i get the other 1/2 no problem. the other 2%, well, I think we can agree that at least 2 % of the world are losers. At least I collected half my money from the losers.

Last edited by David Gretzmier; 10-15-2008 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:31 PM
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gusbuster gusbuster is offline
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Location: Sunny Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area
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So, whats the big deal?

instead of being able to ask for a large deposit, you have to change your business practice to get paid by progress of job rather than being dependent of having a cash flow.

Ca contractor law doesn't allow us to accept more than a 10% on a signed contract, but doesn't stop me from demanding 30% of job cost once I perform something to make good on the contract.

For example, if doing a sod and sprink job, i will not take more than 10%. After taking off existing sod, I will expect a progress payment which usually gets me enough to cover cost of materials and my crew labor.

Just going to have to change your business practices, that's all.
J-LC Landscaping & Maintenance Gardening
C-27 CA. Contr# 770044
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:09 AM
AGLA AGLA is online now
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"Up front" means before the job starts. There is nothing saying that you can't bill C.O.D. for materials delivered to the site.

These things sound way scarier than they usually are. The good news is that it would be harder for illegitimate companies and illegal aliens to compete with you.

There does not seem to be a huge requirement to get this license. A lot of you guys complain that landscapers get no respect, yet you fight anything that legitimizes it.
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:19 AM
Ch2008 Ch2008 is offline
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Location: PA
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being In PA and working in PA it does not seem like a big deal. As for the deposit area it says nothing in limiting progress payments. So on top of the example above somene gave you can then bill them 2 days into the job as a progress payment. As for this bill itself, it has gone back and forth since 2004.
This one is not sitting on the governor's desk yet either. It was revised by the House on oct 7, it was introduced in 2007, March and not even voted on by the Senate yet and will not be until 2009 because they are out of session until after the new year, due to elections. At that point the scope of the senate may change and this may not even be a blimp on the screen.
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:41 AM
syzer syzer is offline
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Always been 1/3rd up front only here.
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