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  1. #1
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    Default Landscape Contractor Not Performing Work After Deposit Was Paid

    My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Illinois

    I needed some yard work done, so I was recommended a self employed landscaper. He gave me a bid and I accepted. He asked for half moey up front and other half due on completion. He typed up a contract and we both signed. I paid with a check, that has been cashed.

    My friend was supposed to dig up some bushes right away and remove them before the landscaper started as to save me $ with the landscaper. My friend ended up taking about 2 weeks to do the bushes which pushed the landscapers start and end date back. It has been a month and the landscaper has barely done any work. He said that he planned on having the job done in the first 2 weeks, but he got delayed 2 weeks because of the bushes. Now he hasnt had time to work on my job because he had other jobs lined up, but that he will work on it as much as he can. I waited another week and he still hadn't shown. I threatened to call the police and have him arrested. Is this something I can do since he took my money and has not done the work? The job was to be done 2 weeks after the contract was signed. What can I do to get my money back?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Landscape Contractor Not Preforming Work After Deposit Was Paid

    I threatened to call the police and have him arrested. Is this something I can do since he took my money and has not done the work?
    the police have no place in this issue.


    What amazes me is you are the cause of the delay and now you are complaining because the contractor won't drop everything he is working on (that was scheduled before even accepting your work) and run back to work on your place. You don't contract and schedule a person and then delay the work. They schedule their work and you binding him to your work that first two weeks means he couldn't go elsewhere and replace the money he lost while you delayed him. Depending on the contract, if you terminate it, he might even have a claim against you for the money he lost those 2 weeks while waiting for your friend to remove the bushes.

    You have no valid complaint, yet.


    The job was to be done 2 weeks after the contract was signed.
    but because you delayed the start of the work, he couldn't, now could he?

    What can I do to get my money back?
    unless there is an actual date of completion specified in the contract that has come and gone or it reaches the point it is obvious the guy just isn't going to complete the work, you have no valid claim for the return of the money. Even if he never does a minute's work in you yard again, he did earn some of the money. That would have to be calculated and deducted from the total paid to figure out what you would be due.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Landscape Contractor Not Preforming Work After Deposit Was Paid

    It's not right to blame the op for delaying the job as the cause of his problems. The contractor probably wasn't going to come back anyway since he got his money already.

    In the real world when a contractor asks for money up front before starting a job, it means he's using your money to finish his last job.

    Whenever a contractor asks for money up front, you get someone else to do the job.

    I can tell several stories along this same fact pattern.

    I needed pool repairs done, and the guy said he needed money up front to buy the parts. Sounded plausible because they were special order. He never came back, and I never got the parts. I was embarrassed for being duped and never told anyone. Had I spoke up, this second one might not have happened.

    Friends were getting a block fence put in. The guy said he needed money up front to buy the blocks. Friends wrote the check, guy never showed up, and the blocks never came.

    After that last one, I started spreading the word about what really happens. A co-worker thought he was being really smart when he went with the workers to the Home Depot to make sure he'd actually get his materials even if the workers didn't perform the work. However, the coworker didn't have a truck. After loading the materials into the workers' truck, he went home. The workers returned the material, and the co-worker was out the money.

    I've had good luck going forward never paying up front. I'll make progress payments as the work is satisfactorily completed, and I may pay more if I need to get someone else to finish a project, but I've never had to take another total loss again.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Landscape Contractor Not Preforming Work After Deposit Was Paid

    chyvan;645206]It's not right to blame the op for delaying the job as the cause of his problems.
    Oh, you mean because the OP specifically stated he was the cause of the delay one should not put the cause of the delay on the OP?


    The contractor probably wasn't going to come back anyway since he got his money already.
    Great to know you have a crystal ball handy.

    In the real world when a contractor asks for money up front before starting a job, it means he's using your money to finish his last job.
    sometimes but that is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    Whenever a contractor asks for money up front, you get someone else to do the job.
    not in the residential world, no, you don't.

    I can tell several stories along this same fact pattern.
    apparently not since it does appear the contractor had intended on working in that initial period that the OP prevented, that is, unless you caused a delay in some work you contracted.



    .

    Friends were getting a block fence put in. The guy said he needed money up front to buy the blocks. Friends wrote the check, guy never showed up, and the blocks never came.
    so because you and your friends do not investigate who you hire to do work somehow means the contractor in this thread is of the same guile?

    After that last one, I started spreading the word about what really happens. A co-worker thought he was being really smart when he went with the workers to the Home Depot to make sure he'd actually get his materials even if the workers didn't perform the work. However, the coworker didn't have a truck. After loading the materials into the workers' truck, he went home. The workers returned the material, and the co-worker was out the money.

    I've had good luck going forward never paying up front. I'll make progress payments as the work is satisfactorily completed, and I may pay more if I need to get someone else to finish a project, but I've never had to take another total loss again
    One should never pay in full up front. That is common sense. In the residential world, it is quite typical for a contractor to demand an initial payment up front though. If the owner fails to do his due diligence as investigate who he hires, they really have nobody to blame but themselves if they get taken advantage of.

    sorry chyvan but you are way off the mark here. Just because you had some problems doesn't mean the OP has the same issues. In fact, the info in this thread prove it isn't the same. OP has been able to contact the contractor, and still has that ability, from what is stated. The contractor has not run away with OP's money. It's just that the contractor has other work that was already contracted that he is not being delayed by the home owner to get done. OP screwed up here, not the contractor.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Landscape Contractor Not Preforming Work After Deposit Was Paid

    Quote Quoting gia coll
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    Well Police at least have to write the report for this.
    The police need to write a report for what? Because the OP didn't remove the bushes for two weeks when they were to be removed the same or very next day delaying the contractor from performing there work on the grounds?

    Again, the police have nothing to do with this situation and if the OP were to try to pursue this civilly in court, they would lose.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Landscape Contractor Not Preforming Work After Deposit Was Paid

    Quote Quoting Fatherof5
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    My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Illinois

    I needed some yard work done, so I was recommended a self employed landscaper. He gave me a bid and I accepted. He asked for half moey up front and other half due on completion. He typed up a contract and we both signed. I paid with a check, that has been cashed.

    My friend was supposed to dig up some bushes right away and remove them before the landscaper started as to save me $ with the landscaper. My friend ended up taking about 2 weeks to do the bushes which pushed the landscapers start and end date back. It has been a month and the landscaper has barely done any work. He said that he planned on having the job done in the first 2 weeks, but he got delayed 2 weeks because of the bushes. Now he hasnt had time to work on my job because he had other jobs lined up, but that he will work on it as much as he can. I waited another week and he still hadn't shown. I threatened to call the police and have him arrested. Is this something I can do since he took my money and has not done the work? The job was to be done 2 weeks after the contract was signed. What can I do to get my money back?
    In the future, never pay for work that hasn't been performed yet. No legitimate construction contractor will ever ask you to pay for their services up front. Even if they claim to need the money for supplies, asking for money up front is a HUGE red flag, because an established contractor will have enough cash money in the business to buy the supplies he needs.

    From this point forward, I would suggest you negotiate a new contract with him that stipulates new start and finish dates. Now that your property is ready for the landscaper, his only excuse is finishing the other jobs he already has lined up. Once he is finished with those, he should return to your property and perform the work he has been paid for.

    If it becomes obvious that he has no intentions of returning to complete the job, take him to small claims court.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Landscape Contractor Not Preforming Work After Deposit Was Paid

    Quote Quoting lawaholic
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    If it becomes obvious that he has no intentions of returning to complete the job, take him to small claims court.
    "Take him to small claims court" and what, lose?

    The OP breached the contract, not the contractor. Reread the post and you will see.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Landscape Contractor Not Preforming Work After Deposit Was Paid

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
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    "Take him to small claims court" and what, lose?

    The OP breached the contract, not the contractor. Reread the post and you will see.
    actually, lawaholic said IF it becomes obvious the contractor is not going to return. I have to agree with that as well but making that determination isn't as easy as; he isn't here when I demanded he be here so he isn't going to return. A busy contractor schedules work. He had scheduled the OP's work and OP screwed up by delaying him.

    Now OP has to weight until contractor has open time to do the work.


    lawaholic:

    In the future, never pay for work that hasn't been performed yet. No legitimate construction contractor will ever ask you to pay for their services up front. Even if they claim to need the money for supplies, asking for money up front is a HUGE red flag, because an established contractor will have enough cash money in the business to buy the supplies he needs.

    From this point forward, I would suggest you negotiate a new contract with him that stipulates new start and finish dates. Now that your property is ready for the landscaper, his only excuse is finishing the other jobs he already has lined up. Once he is finished with those, he should return to your property and perform the work he has been paid for.



    Actually, asking for some percentage of the contract is typical in the residential world. If it was me, I would pay 1/4-1/3 up front and then payouts as work percentage is completed in 2 or 3 additional payments. The last one would not be paid until the work was completed, including punch list items.

    The OP has no right to negotiate a new contract. There is an existing contract and until OP attempts to terminate the contract, he won't know of the contractor will be amenable to such an action. If he terminates the contract, I suspect the contractor won't be too willing to engage in another one. Contractor got the shaft once. I suspect he will see OP as being too difficult to work with and refuse the work.

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