Mark Balicki Painting
Policy for rental units, second homes and vacation homes for new customers.
The payment structure for projects in this category of dwellings for new customers are as such:
50% of the total amount estimated or quoted to start the job.
Then the remaining balance with any adjustments or subtractions will need to be paid at the halfway point of project to continue the work to completion. That halfway point will be made known to customer in the estimate or quote. After halfway point and payment is already made, any other additions or subtractions from the halfway point to finish will be billed or refunded upon completion. If any additions exceed $250.00 it will need to be paid before the item(s) can be added. If delay of payment occurs it may result in the remainder of the work being rescheduled for a later date.
Additions- refer to anything that might be found that was unknown at time of estimate or quote and (or) the customer wants added. No additions will be made unless customer approves it. A supplemental to the estimate or quote with a description of the addition and cost will be sent to the customer and will require date & signature of approval before work can be done on the item(s)
Subtractions- There are many times the amount of work and material needed is reduce for any number of factors. It has always been the practice when using an estimate or quote, that it is right to refund the amount or minus from the balance owed the difference from over estimating. Personally, and operating as Mark Balicki Painting, I do not believe one should take more than what is justified in doing the work, and because of this attitude many of my repeat customers do not ask for a prices anymore. They call I do the work and invoice them when I am done or along the way and they pay promptly. It is a trust the I am very grateful to have with these customers.
The reason for this policy unfortunately follows, please read.
My damage has been very limited over the last 20 years of business, but some contractors have been really hurt by customers who do not pay. Our area here consist of a lot of vacation homes, a growing rental market, and homes for sale with no occupancy. If you do work here in our area you will end up with some of these as customers. What happens sometimes is a dubious customer contracts the work from an unsuspecting contractor. They come to an agreement on the work to be done and the price. The agreement by the contractor and customer is carried out and the work is completed. Then because this particular type of customer does not live here they decide not pay or partially pay. Then they go into action giving reasons they will not pay and some of these stories are just unbelievable. I personally have heard many stories from very competent reputable contractors over the years.
Why does this happen? Of course, you have your occasional contractor who does a bad job and doesn’t deserve to be paid. Although, what I am referring to occurs because this type of dubious customer does not live here and chooses to manipulate that to their advantage knowing or gambling that unless the amount is really high you will not take them to court. Or you are a novice in dealing with people like this and they bank on you won't know what do, so they just don’t pay. And even if you take someone like this to court and get a judgment against them you will still need to collect and they already know this. Rental unit owners can also do this for similar reasons as well as people who have moved and have their home listed needing to get painting done to sell and then hoping to have the money to pay when balance comes due..
Here is one recent example of my own. A potential customer from California owned a cottage on a nearby lake. He called me and used another customer’s name of mine as a reference. That customer was a nearby neighbor to this person's vacation home. That customer has always been a good customer and always paid timely, but did not live here either. This gentleman needed his log cottage restained. The exterior of the home was a mess having been let go for over 20 years and was black with mildew and logs were cracked from no coating protection. He flew in for a weekend mid fall and we met. He wanted to shake on the work that needed to be done and the amount it would coat, in mutual agreement. Because it was mid fall, I needed to get this cabin prepped which required a lot of elbow grease with pressure washing and scrubbing. This needed to be done right away so the logs could dry out, be repaired and stained.
The customer had said once he gets back home he would send the agreed on down payment. I had sent him the quote the next day with description of the work to be performed and price we agreed on. So, I did the prep work, the cabin was cleaned and was all ready for log repair and stain. This was a big part of the job already done. A little over a week passed and it was time to continue to work on this cottage, but no check or word from the owner. I called him to tell him I hadn’t received the down payment check yet? He replied, "would you be willing to do it for XXXX amount of dollars?" The new amount was for almost half of the original price we had agreed on. I said, “no we agreed on a price” which was reasonable for this job. He replied, “well I don’t know what to say then?” which he kept repeating until he said he had to go. After that he wouldn’t answer my phone calls or email. I sent a bill for the prep work and never received payment. Late the next spring, I was out that way and drove past the place out of curiosity. Someone had stained it! Maybe himself or someone else who maybe didn't get paid?. A little later after that incident I had happen by chance to run into another contractor who also did work for this same person whom also didn’t get paid.
These types of thieves have always been around. You can do your best to guard against them, but sometimes you will end up being unsuccessful protecting yourself from this kind of loss. But now added to this is the changing culturally norms where people are contracting work, but do not have the money to pay for it or just plain dubious. They will come up with the down payment, but don't have the money to pay the balance once the work is completed. This is why I decided to implement this policy here in 2019. I do not want to turn away work from potential new customers who live out of town or who have rental units, but I also don’t want to be out money for work performed and materials purchased. And it is almost impossible to always know who the bad apple will be, then hunt these people down and try to collect your money when they don’t pay. This also doesn’t include the stress and time lost trying to do so. It can be a real disheartening experience.
When a new customer proves to be a reliable customer, then they at my discretion will be moved from being a new customer which this policy applies to and added to my reliable good customers not under this payment structure of this policy.
I do realize by having this policy some potential customers will take their work to someone else because of the same uneasiness of paying for the work before it is completed just as much as I have wanting to be paid. Either way, if I have the opportunity to serve you or not my hope for you is that you find the best person to do your job. Thank you for your time taken to read this.
Sincerely, Mark Balicki