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Old 01-09-2014, 09:23 PM
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DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is online now
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Maryland requires this paragragh and I disagree

I kinda have a knack for law. A little moreso than most small contractors. So a little over a year ago the MD Dept of Labor & Licensing implemented a rule that all contractors have the following paragraph in the FIRST page of their contract and the customer(s) are required to *INITIAL* this paragraph. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to somewhere around $1500 (or is it $1800?).


• This contract creates a mortgage or lien against your property to secure payment and may cause a loss of your property if you fail to pay the amount agreed upon. You have the right to consult an attorney. You have the right to rescind this contract within 3 business days after the date you sign it by notifying the contractor in writing that you are rescinding the contract.

Number 1: Placing this paragraph on the first page of my contract makes my contract look tacky. I take pride in the appearance of my contract and something like this makes for a bad looking document.

Number 2: The part that says the contract creates a mortgage or lien against the property can be intimidating to the prospective client. So if I have that paragraph on my contract and the competing contractor does not - the prospective client may say "I don't like Andrew Hardscape's contract, I'm not gonna sign it, so we're gonna use the other contractor". I'd bet that 65% of Maryland's contractors are not even aware the paragraph is required to be in the contract.

Number 3: In order for a contractor to secure a lien on a property - all individuals listed on the deed MUST SIGN THE PROPOSAL. Ok, well I do list all individuals listed on the deed on my contracts, this info is available through a state website. But most contractors are not aware of the legality nor are they aware of the website that lists the owner(s).

So if a property is deeded to both Frank Homeowner and Helen Homeowner - then in order for anyone to place a lien on the property - the contract must bear the signature of each individual listed on the deed. You can not place a lien on a property if the contract was not signed by all individuals listed on the deed. I know this from firsthand knowledge through another family member, and I have friends whom had a lawn mowing business and they were also told this by their attorney.

My point being is that if the contractor does not have all individuals listed on the contract and obtain their signatures and initials - then that paragraph, required by the state, isn't worth the paper it's written on.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:40 PM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is online now
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Arizona was pretty heavily regulated in terms of contractor and contract law when I was selling out there. We had a really intimidating looking 8x14 master contract, plus an addendum relating to liens, etc. I sold a LOT of jobs and I'd say 4 out of 5 homeowners never even looked at any of the legalese, they just signed the contract and wrote my boss a check. That 1 homeowner out of 5 would usually ask a bunch of questions... and still sign the contract and write my boss a check. So it slowed the sales process by 5-10 minutes.

As far as it not being worth the paper it's written on, show me a state where the contractor laws are weighted on the contractors' side. You probably can't find one.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:20 PM
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alldayrj alldayrj is online now
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New york does the same thing and you have to show a copy of your contract when applying for the license to prove that its in there. What freaks me out is on smaller or last minute jobs, im usually starting in that three day window. Can they cancel mid job? I dont like that at all but ive never had anyone mention it.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:07 PM
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And RJ's post brings another point. We're also required to state on the contract an approximate start date and completion date.

LOL - with the way people drag their feet these days......I have no idea what the start date is!

I wonder if something like this is acceptable:
"Proposed work to be started within 2-4 weeks after client acceptance of proposal. Contractor estimates the proposed work to take 6 work days (conditions pending).
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My Equipment Brag List:

-1 CAT hat
-16 pairs of Hanes socks (the Heavy Duty model), many with holes.
-12 pairs of underwear, ranging from Joe Boxers to Jockey, many are in need of replacement. (no more photo requests please)
-hundreds of t-shirts. Some w/ grease stains, some torn & tattered.
-7 pairs of jeans, ranging from Levis to Polo to GAP. 1/2 of them have holes in 'em.
-1 belt
-1 pair of old worn out Nike shoes.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:29 PM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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I'd write something a bit more descriptive than "conditions pending"

I'd mention change orders.... I'd mention a lot of things.

One of the problems with writing down when your start and finish dates are is, what if you have three sales guys and they all sign a contract that same day, with the same time frames?

Are you always going to have THREE crews capable of doing that work? What fit hey happen to be three hardscape jobs, but you only have one hardscape foreman?

In retrospect you space out your sales contracts, but for whatever reason, jobs you promised for the month of april never got signed... now you have no april work??

The way we do it is like a "now serving X" number at the deli.... the sooner you sign and make a deposit, the sooner you get a lower number.

IF I promise Mrs. Jones a start date of april 29th, but Mr Smith I started on April 1st, and he had three change orders, added a pool and cleared some trees and an additional 20k sqft of lawn that wasn't in the original bid...OR (which happens a lot) adds a 12 zone irrigation system... How do I 1) get HIM done on time? and 2) Get to Mrs. Jones now?
BOTH customers (not to mention ALL the ones IVe sold after that...) have changed.

So I would definitely have verbage about change orders, weather, unforeseen circumstances, force majeure etc.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:30 PM
whiffyspark whiffyspark is online now
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Sometimes Maryland laws drive me up the wall. All I want to do is make a living

Now we're even required to have a fertilizer license.

Have you read about ccw laws? Jesus take about a pita to get
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:46 PM
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sildoc sildoc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVS Hardscaper View Post
And RJ's post brings another point. We're also required to state on the contract an approximate start date and completion date.

LOL - with the way people drag their feet these days......I have no idea what the start date is!

I wonder if something like this is acceptable:
"Proposed work to be started within 2-4 weeks after client acceptance of proposal. Contractor estimates the proposed work to take 6 work days (conditions pending).
Could you not use "some time in the near future" as a approximate start date?
Some times you have to work outside the box and deal with their jargon.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:51 PM
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alldayrj alldayrj is online now
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Wow a start and finish date, just forget it. Lock me up for making a living. What if you start in december and get two feet of snow the next day?
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:26 AM
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DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is online now
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I do understand why most states want an approximate start and finish date specified, as many fly by night contractors will start a job and drag it out for a ridiculous period of time. Or they spend all the money the customer gave them so they don't return after starting. As a professional who takes his work seriously I totally understand the motive behind the rule. Also, if 30(?) days passes and no work has been done - then it's considered abandoned and the state will take action.
__________________
"It's You vs. You"

"People Throw Rocks At Things That Shine"


My Equipment Brag List:

-1 CAT hat
-16 pairs of Hanes socks (the Heavy Duty model), many with holes.
-12 pairs of underwear, ranging from Joe Boxers to Jockey, many are in need of replacement. (no more photo requests please)
-hundreds of t-shirts. Some w/ grease stains, some torn & tattered.
-7 pairs of jeans, ranging from Levis to Polo to GAP. 1/2 of them have holes in 'em.
-1 belt
-1 pair of old worn out Nike shoes.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:28 AM
newz7151 newz7151 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVS Hardscaper View Post
Number 2: The part that says the contract creates a mortgage or lien against the property can be intimidating to the prospective client. So if I have that paragraph on my contract and the competing contractor does not - the prospective client may say "I don't like Andrew Hardscape's contract, I'm not gonna sign it, so we're gonna use the other contractor". I'd bet that 65% of Maryland's contractors are not even aware the paragraph is required to be in the contract.
Can't you put something in there that says "The following statement is required by law on all contracts presented by legitimate contractors and does not necessarily reflect the operations of XYZ Company." ?
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