We are now Building some offices in a Los Angeles Medical Clinic

Filed Under: Jobs Log, Resources, Tips for our contractor-partners    by: admin

There are many lessons to learn in the building contracting business, even if you think that you have already learned all of them, there will always be a new one lurking around the corner.

This job is going well as planned, we are building some partition walls, installing hospital-style track for curtains, installing one door and one window. Seems simple and straight forward enough, so when we drew the work agreement and had the client sign it, we never thought that new doctors that happen to be as well decision-making partners would show up out of nowhere!

What seemed to be simple and approved on paper had to be put on hold with many layers of changes, proposed changes, what if’s and at that point I had to put my guys on hold to discuss the current state of affairs.

Pains me to be paying wages, workers compensation, and the cancellation of appointments that could have been very profitable to discuss changes made on the fight to a small contract….but it was clear that we had to stop everything and review their requests… So that is exactly what I did. I cancelled all my appointments and went back to the job site. Ask me why most of the building contractors turn down small work.

While 4 of my guys were snacking and talking in the parking lot, I was going over the changes that the client wanted implemented. He decided that a portion of the work I had already done was going to be done by somebody else instead! If I understood well, someone mumbled about his cousin would be doing the installation.

I pointed out that undoing work on a drop T bar ceiling was out of the question and he immediately came to his senses once I suggested to look at the document signed by, the first Doctor who represented himself as the decision maker.

The second decision-making doctor agreed to keep the ceiling tiles as is and agreed to allow us to continue and install the hardware they were ordering. Although we reached agreement, I still sensed that he was not totally happy, perhaps because some family member must have offered to do the work for less, so I offered to remove a $600 change order we made to make up for the money he would have saved by doing that work with “somebody else”. His mood instantly changed to the better and he accepted the offer, so we moved on with the project.

Beside making the client happy and minimizing losses by getting the workers back producing, I started to think about ways to stop this from ever happening again. The first lesson I learned since I started contracting is that we should get things on paper and well explained — in the most details as possible, then get a signature from the decision-maker.

How do you know when one decision-maker (while the work is being done) turns out not to be the only one? The answer is, you do not know even if you ask. I DID!

So, the lesson learned here is to have another paragraph on our work agreement stipulating that only the signer has the right to contract and make decisions regarding the work that is being accepted. This is going to be just another clause in a work agreement that I think is too long already — 6 pages!

Please tell me: When is the number of clauses in a contract all-inclusive enough?

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