1. Use T-I-L to Close More Deals

    Use T-I-L to Close More Deals Most contractors want to get paid when the job is done. That’s human nature. But it may not be the best way to do business. Ask any car dealer what would happen if every buyer had to pay cash on delivery. Sales would tank. Credit can create sales opportunities you didn’t know existed. Some of the most successful builders offer a credit term -- monthly payments after the job is done. If you’re in a position to defer part of the income from completed jobs, consider making credit part of your sales pitch. It's perfectly legal to take an IOU for part of the job or stretch out payments after work is done. But a construction contract with a deferred payment term has to include disclosures required by the Federal Truth in Lending Act (T-I-L). Banks, car dealers and finance companies are good at writing agreements with all the required disclosures. It’s at the heart of their business. But any construction contractor can do the same thing. And Construction Contract Writer makes it easy. Continue reading →
  2. Construction Contracting in the Age of COVID-19

    As of this writing, governors of five states have issued “stay at home” orders. How many more states will do the same is anyone's guess. So far, each of these orders is different.  But all prohibit going to work – except for essential services. On that basis, nearly all construction jobs in these states will stop. What should you do...
  3. 3-Day Cancellation -- State vs. Federal Notices

    “If I give my state’s 3-day cancellation notice, do I also have to give the federal 3-day notice?” A simple question. And a good one. But the answer gets complex. Continue reading →
  4. Construction Management Contracting

    Construction Management Contracting in Montana Dr. Gary Jystad practiced family medicine and surgery for over 50 years in Montana. In 1991, he built a log home on Flathead Lake in Rollins, MT, the “dream home” of his wife Mary Ellen. A tragic fire in 2016 devastated the main building, leaving the garage and guest house damaged but not destroyed. In February 2017, Dr. Jystad signed a contract with Flathead Management Partners (FMP) to oversee reconstruction. FMP agreed to “coordinate and facilitate” remediation and “work at the exclusive direction of Dr. Jystad”. FMP didn’t plan to do any work with FMP crews. Continue reading →
  5. An Act of Bad Faith

    Bad Faith Contracting Dominick Vivona has a home in a wooded area near Greenwich, Connecticut. In June of 2017, he set out to build a treehouse for his kids. Vivona sketched a design and found an experienced carpenter, Walter Reyes, to do the work for $6,000. Reyes drew plans for the job, pulled the permit and bought most of the materials. Reyes wanted to be paid 35% on the second day of work, 30% on the fourth day of work and 35% when the job was finished. None of this was in writing. If you read my blog post last month, you know where this case is headed. Last month I described how a Connecticut contractor couldn’t collect the final $8,000 on a roofing job because the written contract was lame. In fact, the agreement was so bad that the contractor had his mechanics lien rights wiped out. Continue reading →
  6. Liens vs. Contracts in Connecticut

    Liens vs. Contracts in Connecticut Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia require a written contract for residential work. See my blog post Contracting on a Handshake for the list of states. But the obvious question is, “What happens if my job in one of those states doesn’t have a legal contract? Can I still collect?” Continue reading →
  7. Do you know roofing?

    Do you know roofing? We have an excellent, detailed manual on how to install and estimate all types of roofing materials on all types of roof.  It’s been selling well for 25 years and is used as a textbook in construction schools throughout the country. But it was written 25 years ago and some of the materials and methods are...
  8. Who Pays for Mistakes

    Who Pays for Mistakes You’ve been here before. Every contractor has. Something doesn’t pass inspection. It’s clearly wrong. Work has to be torn out and re-done. The question is, “Who pays?” Was it the fault of the prime? Or the sub? Or the architect or engineer? Continue reading →
  9. Contractor Without a Contract

    Contractor Without a Contract Nearly all public works projects are done on terms set by the public agency. The contractor has little or no say in the matter. It’s only on smaller residential and commercial jobs that contractors get to shape the agreement – offer terms likely to save the day if the job goes bad. It should be obvious: Contractors with an opportunity to write their own agreements should jump at the chance. Yet, some don’t. Here’s an example: Continue reading →
  10. Deletion Change Orders

    Nothing I’ve seen causes contractors more legal headaches than change orders. If you’ve dipped into the pages of this blog over the last ten years, you’ve seen how changes in the work can spoil nearly any job. A New York case decided last month illustrates the point. Here’s what happened. Lanmark Group, a New York prime contractor, won the bid to do nearly $15 million in improvements to the Vince Lombardi School in Brooklyn. Lanmark awarded the masonry part of the job to Graciano Corp. at a subcontract price of $5,320,000. It didn’t go well. Continue reading →

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