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Here's a classic scam in the making from a builder....

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by PAPS, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    Did some work for a builder on a new home a few months ago and got paid on the first $4000.00. However, did some additional work that added up to apprx. $1300.00 extra. To date, the builder still owes us, like $950.00. So I called him, to no response, sent letters, no response. Finally, just showed up at the site to speak with him. He told me he was un-happy with a $400.00 charge on some additional topsoil we needed, but otherwise, there were no problems. he told me I should have authorized the topsoil through him and NOT his right hand man. Meanwhile the entire time, his man was running the job and makind decsions for him and told us to get the topsoil. So he told me to call him the next day becasue he had to discuss the bill with his wife :rolleyes: So i called and no answer and no call back.... 2 days later, i showed up at the job site again... and he says that his wife will mail a check... i told him... forget it.. i'll come by and pick it up... he says NO.. my wife will mail it dont worry about it !!! :confused: Here it comes, another scam from another classy builder in the making..... Told myself I would not work for them, and this is why.
  2. morning dew

    morning dew LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Put a lien on the house or maybe his personal house. This might scare him into paying. Threaten to expose him to his neighbors.

    This situation sucks! I think we've all been there.

    Get 'em!

  3. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    Yeah... thats my next step is a lien... the new house he is building... he owns, and is trying to sell, so a lien will put a big damper on his selling the house. However, is there a certain amount of time you have to put a lien on someone??? Let me know if your experienced with this type of stuff.
  4. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    I sit here with not alot going on these winter months wondering if I should be doing more to grow my business. People tell me to call on builders and real estate agents and so on but I just can't bring myself to look these people up. I just think that it will be more headache than it's worth. I am trying to grow the business by myself and don't want to be whored out as a sub or deal with some loser home contractor like the experience you are having. I really find it hard in todays day and age to trust too many people. I am just trying to be careful but I know some situations are unavoidable. Not that a homeowner can't screw me but it seems less common than these builder schmucks that are harder to track down. I hope you get your money from this guy. I'm sure you aren't the only one he treats this way, it'll catch up to him eventually.
  5. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    Actually, this is the second builder I dealt with. The first one got us for $2000.00. He is currently out of business. I decided to work for this builder because he was vouched for by a friend.
  6. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 509

    Be weary of the builder that lets you in the door without having to work for it. If the first calls ends with "sure i have a ton of work I can throw your way... YIKES!!

    Builders are tough to work for and tougher to get paid by...not in my business plan at all

  7. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    I always check them out before I work for them. Some I've run actual credit checks on, others I just ask several worthy subs.

    My take is this guy was ticked at the foremans decision and decided to take it out on you. If he is good to his word, you may want to get the ground rules straight before any further. Things like who is in charge on a daily basis and getting contracts and add ons authorized in writing should clear things up. Maybe that the field boss has authority up x$ and the owner on all purchases above that.

    Builders never were my favorite place to earn money. Seems like us guys that are working at the end of the line are always on the short end of the stick.

    Good tactic to me aggressive and keep up the pressure. Sometimes you have to talk in terms they understand as well. You know, bad stuff can sometimes happen on a job.
  8. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 678

    He's a building "contract"or and you're a landscape "contract"or but neither of you used a contract? Now it's he said, he said, I said. You made the decision to work for some guy you didn't know based on trust?

    Try running your business strictly as a professional whether the other guy does or not. USE CONTRACTS AND CHANGE ORDERS!

    Be careful on filing mechanics liens especially on properties where you didn't do any work. You can be held liable for damages on inaccurate liens.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    This is exactly why I never have and never will work for builders.

    There may be a few good apples in the bunch but from what I hear, they are very rare. I like the results I get with residential work. I've never been stiffed on an installation done for a homeowner. Been stiffed on lawn care some times. But never installs.

    Coming from someone who learned almost all of his lessons the hard way (me), this is one lesson I was grateful to learn from others' mistakes. I heard enough from fellow landscape contractors to know not to enter this arena before I ever had the chance to make the mistake myself.
  10. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 549


    I checked into liens last year for a maint. customer in Bergen Co. and was told you have 90 days from the time you do the work. I don't know if it's different in other counties.

    A friend just started a plumbing business and already learned about builders. After 2 days of work for this guy he can't get in touch with him. Doesn't answer the phone or return pages but another sub on the job has no problem reaching him.

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