Setting a Standard of Trust
No Money Up Front?
That's right. I have heard too many horror stories and work so bad it could easily be considered criminal (see my Hall of Shame). One time after I took a look at the work in progress in this old Victorian style 2 story home built over 100 yrs ago, I talked the homeowner into calling the Sheriff's department, when they arrived I showed them the work (destruction) and she pressed charges. Turns out they had warrants for their arrest for other destruction they caused on previous homes they worked on. The homeowner was out almost $20,000
This is inexcusable and tarnishes the name of everyone in the business, including mine and I am sick and tired of hearing stories like this. I fully understand why people have to be extra cautious and are nervous about anyone coming in and working on their home. If a ceiling fails in the wrong place it could hurt or even kill someone.
So I came up with a plan that eases the homeowners stress and lowers the risk of being ripped off. Most jobs that take only a few days or a week or 2, I can simply be paid when the work is finished. For longer and more expensive jobs I do the following:
1) Only ask for reimbursement for materials already on the jobsite. I will get materials, deliver to the jobsite, you can inspect and make sure it is all there and no materials leave the jobsite once reimbursed.
2) If needed I will only accept money for work already performed so I can make payroll. My timesheet app keeps the hours worked and at the end of the week I may make a draw on hrs only, meaning just enough to pay my workers and no more, no money for work not performed yet. Also I incourage you to inspect the work and pass it. All hours are kept track on a timesheet app that I and my workers use, we clock in, punch out for breaks and punch out to go home, they cannot edit the times, cannot clock in for each other and the app uses GPS to show their location at all punch in and out times. They have to pick a job name that I enter in the app and the GPS location must coordinate with the job name. All this minimizes cheating.
3) Also, if you have checked out my pictures you already know I take an abundance amount of pictures showing the work that may be covered up, the work inside the walls, above ceiling, etc. I welcome anyone to Google proper procedures, the correct way to do something, the right amount of screws, etc, etc. I have nothing to hide and it is easy, with a little research to check out someone's work. I will even show you how if you like.
4) I can provide a list of websites that help homeowners to check remodel and home repair prices to be more sure you are not being overcharged, you can customize them to suit your particular job. Just remember all jobs are different and different companies charge differently but these websites give you a general idea of what something may cost. One example is Homewyse.
The payroll and material draws will never exceed the time left on the job compared to the original quote. In other words if the job is half way through the draw amounts will not even be half the bid and we can set a ceiling on draws, so there is always money that you hold on to until the job is complete.
5) I will NOT add charges without prior consent and it will be put in writing, such as a change order. Plus I am not one of those that will say "This is going to cost more than I thought" in the middle of the job. I stick by my quote even if I under-quoted. Now this does not include "unforeseens" and "unknowns" as clearly stated on all my quotes by default. For example, if I quote a price for a drywall repair but and I find half the wall eaten up by termites that was unknown by either of us, the drywall patch cost can't possibly cover repairing the wall as well.
Also, me and my workers always assume there are hidden webcams, nanny cams etc. We don't look for them but go on the assumption that they are there.
Finally, to tighten the trust a little more I am happy to give plenty of references and you can even pick your own if you like, for example you can point out a set of pictures on my site and say I want reference from them or I want to talk to them. Most of my customers are happy to do so, I have had no one say no not me.
So, there you have it, a way that you can rest easy that I have minimum chance to "take the money and run" and, with a little research by you, can be assured that I am doing the job right and not over charging. This is all for you, my customer, to help you rest easy. I couldn't take anyone for their money even if I wanted to, I don't have what it takes, most likely I would give myself away, lol.