Renegotiating the PriceBy Michael Stone
How should you respond when a client wants to change the price AFTER the job has started?
Changing the Terms of the ContractBy Michael Stone
Why do clients enter a contract and then think they can unilaterally change the terms?
In Construction, Communicate the DetailsBy Michael Stone
Are you giving your clients the information they need to be confident you’re building the job they want?
Residential Construction Quality StandardsBy Michael Stone
In residential construction, it’s not unusual for your client to have an unrealistic quality standard. That’s why you need to establish the standard ahead of time.
Liquidated Damages in ConstructionBy Michael Stone
When customers start talking about liquidated damages in construction, it’s time to ask why.
Contracts Matter; Collecting Final PaymentBy Michael Stone
When you provide a dishonest client a cost breakdown of their job, things can go wrong.
Rapidly Increasing Material CostsBy Michael Stone
Quoting a firm fixed price is riskier when material costs are increasing rapidly, which is why your contract needs to address unexpected material cost increases.
Wrapping Up a Difficult ProjectBy Michael Stone
It can a challenge to finish a project, especially when it was priced too low for a difficult client and with a weak contract.
Why Do You Need a Written Construction Contract?By Michael Stone
Almost all conflicts contractors face could be avoided or quickly resolved if there is a clear, detailed construction contract between the parties.
The Skinny on Change Work OrdersBy Michael Stone
A compendium on change work orders on a new home, remodeling or renovation project; why they matter, how to price them, what to include, and more.
Cost-Plus ContractsBy Michael Stone
Why cost plus and time & material contracts should be avoided, for both contractors and building owners.
Unclear Change Work OrdersBy Michael Stone
Pricing changes for a change work order isn’t easy when the scope of work isn’t clear.
Time and Material WoesBy Michael Stone
Time and Material contracts are full of risk, especially on larger jobs.
Business or Charity?By Michael Stone
If you’re a business owner and take on a project out of the goodness of your heart, recognize you might not get paid and will be funding the project.
Payment MethodsBy Michael Stone
I don’t think writing a check is old fashioned, but there are so many advantages to using a credit or debit card that it’s become the preferred payment method for many.
Protect Your TimeBy Michael Stone
Some people are used to snapping their fingers and having others jump. It’s irritating, but you have to remember that they’re writing the checks.
Clear Sales Communication; It’s Your ResponsibilityBy Michael Stone
I want to share a recent phone conversation with a contractor concerning a problem they were having with a client.
Protecting Yourself from the ProtectorBy Michael Stone
I’m not a fan of working with government agencies, but some situations are unique.
Final Payments and GuaranteesBy Michael Stone
When clients try to change the terms of the contract, you don’t have to go along.
Contract Language That Puts You at RiskBy Michael Stone
Over the years, I’ve seen contract language evolve, shifting more and more responsibility to general and specialty contractors.
Handyman vs Service AgreementBy Michael Stone
Is it a good idea to have a service agreement to cover small jobs under a certain amount?
Protect Your Business – Get PaidBy Michael Stone
Avoid losing money by recognizing some of the games that building owners play to avoid paying.
Protect Your Business – Change Work OrdersBy Michael Stone
Michael discusses a ploy some building owners use to not pay for all of their change work orders. It happens in both residential and commercial projects.
Overhead and Profit on Change OrdersBy Michael Stone
You shouldn’t sign a contract that stipulates what you can charge, even if it’s just on the change orders.
Design Agreements Gone AwryBy Michael Stone
We discussed design agreements last week; today we’re going to look at them from another angle. The first step is setting the budget with the client.
Protecting Design WorkBy Michael Stone
A contractor who has designed projects asked how to protect his design work.
Dodging PaymentBy Michael Stone
There are things you can and should do when a client tries to dodge making payments.
Pricing Handyman and Service WorkBy Michael Stone
There are two schools of thought on pricing handyman projects and service work: T&M or flat rate pricing. They both have advantages and disadvantages.
Dishonest ClientsBy Michael Stone
We often hear from contractors dealing with a client who, for whatever reason, has decided to change the terms of their contract. Other professionals have the same problem.
Collecting Payment from a Dishonest Homeowner – UpdatedBy Michael Stone
Not all of your clients are honest. There are even a few who have no intention of paying you for the work you do.
Cost-Plus with a “Not to Exceed”By Michael Stone
A contractor asked for my opinion on a request he recently received. It’s not a win-win proposition.
Let Them Know What to ExpectBy Michael Stone
If you’re doing service work, make sure your client knows what to expect before you start.
Cancelled Design AgreementsBy Michael Stone
A call came in from a friend recently. It seems that a client of his wants to cancel a signed design agreement.
Clients Changing the ContractBy Michael Stone
I’ve written before about clients who decide to make changes to a contract. Last week I heard from two different contractors who had to deal with this, and I want to share their stories.
Mediation or Arbitration?By Michael Stone
Your contract should call for arbitration, not mediation, to settle disputes.
Client Causing Job DelaysBy Michael Stone
If you want to lose money on a job, agree to let your client do part of the job or provide their own materials without setting clear boundaries.
Right of RescissionBy Michael Stone
When I’m working with a group of contractors, I often ask how many are providing a Right of Rescission form with their contracts. Many contractors aren’t even aware of the document or realize its importance.
Construction Allowances: What They Are, How to Use ThemBy Michael Stone
A construction allowance is a dollar amount included in the contract for a particular item. There are two types of construction allowances: material and installed.
Clients Wanting Cost-PlusBy Michael Stone
Many building owners want a Cost-Plus contract because they believe they’ll have more control over the total cost of the project. It’s your job to educate them on the downside.
Maintaining Your Right to LienBy Michael Stone
At least once a week I hear from someone who can’t get paid for work they’ve done.
Documenting JobsBy Michael Stone
There are two benefits to documenting your jobs. One is protecting yourself in case there is a disagreement about the project. The other is providing information that will help you when you’re promoting your business.
Itemization WoesBy Michael Stone
We’d like to share an email received from an anonymous homeowner. If you believe that it’s smart to provide an itemized invoice, this will make you reconsider.
Payment Schedules on Small JobsBy Michael Stone
It’s important to manage the payment schedule on your jobs, but not all jobs are the same.
Design Agreement Contract, Letter of IntentBy Michael Stone
A design agreement allows you to get paid for your work. Don’t waste your effort or your time.
A Few More Contract IssuesBy Michael Stone
Retainage clauses, removing the finance charge clause on the last payment, “we’ll pay you when we get paid”.
Contract Language for Client-Caused DamageBy Michael Stone
What do you do when a client calls about a problem they created? Preventative measures make the difference between a profitable job and losses.
Business Protection for ContractorsBy Michael Stone
The popular belief is that contractors are the villains and homeowners are the victims. But if you’ve worked with the public for very long you know there are also dishonest clients.
Final Payments, Emailed QuotesBy Michael Stone
Never let your final payment exceed 2% of the sales price. And your contract should include a finance charge clause for payments not made on time.
Progress Payments: Keeping a Positive Cash FlowBy Michael Stone
We used to get three payments on jobs. 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. That’s not a smart business practice.
Money Changing HandsBy Michael Stone
It's easy to ask someone to do something; it's harder to hand over money. Your client isn't committed until they've written the first check.