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In the realm of residential construction, there are all kinds of homeowners and, unfortunately, all kinds of contractors. In some cases, contractors do not act ethically. On Markup and Profit, Michael Stone shares a note from a contractor asking how to help a homeowner dealing with a shady contractor. After the homeowner hired a contractor to do an addition on her home, the contractor overshot the original budget and claimed the homeowner owed almost $40,000 above the original contract price.

I suggested [the good contractor] encourage the homeowner to file a complaint with the state contractor’s board. I also don’t think it’s wise to get involved any further as long as the original contractor is in the picture.

I’m reasonably sure that many of you have either been in this situation, a similar situation, or have heard these stories from a friend. Contractors like this continue to cause problems for home and building owners, and the good guys pay the price. The GC written about in the note should have his license yanked and get the heck out of our industry. He’s one of the reasons construction has a bad name.

What can you do? Be honest. Be fair. Quote a firm, fixed price to your clients and educate them on why that’s the best way to hire a contractor. Write a detailed contract and build the job according to the contract. Don’t take shortcuts, and don’t expect the owner to pay for any of your mistakes. Good guys win in the long run.

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