Job Contracts #1: Always get it in writing.

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Blog entry by falegniam posted 06-04-2010 04:12 AM 1930 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Job Contracts series Part 2: Part 2 - Always get in writing »

Hello LJ members,
This is what happened. A couple of weeks before Christmas of 2009 I started helping a “so-called friend” with a couple of jobs. This is someone I have known for about 10 years. The first couple of weeks we built wall in a basement for a home office. On another job we built a bunch of walls on a remodel. And another small partion in a sales office. All this in 114.25 hours, at a bargain rate of $20 per hour. Now mind you, I have skills like many of you on this fine website, so the money was just for something extra, and to spend some time with this friend. I got $500 on January 25, 2010, and nothing since, so i stopped helping him. This ended all communication on his part. At this point i was calling, and emailing him until i was fed up. I sent him one last email to let him know that my next step was small claims. Well this friend is very stubborn, so of course i didn’t get a response. He defaulted on the first court date, a week before the second court date i get notified by the court that he filed a motion to dismiss the default. A new court date was set for June 1, 2010, but the second court date was still active i was told by the court clerks office. I show up again, and he did not. Defaulted again, i thought, but no. So we both show up on the third court date. He came with some made-up story about how he did snow removal, and the court bought his story. So today I got my court judgment from my local court house notifying me that I lost the case. So I worked for free. $1785, plus $40 filing fee, gone. This is not justice as far as I’m concerned. If you go in with “truth” as your ammunition, and the other guy has a bag of crap, i think the truth should prevail. This is not how our court system works. So I learn an expensive lesson. Always write a contract, and both parties sign it. ALWAYS. There is not such thing as friends when it comes to money. I hope some of you will use this advise. I will use it from now on. Good luck to the people that don’t. Sincerely, Falegniam

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

15 comments so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4621 days

#1 posted 06-04-2010 04:23 AM

man that sucks…

I had a similar situation where my Brother-in-law bought a car off of me and was going to make payments.
I think I got $250 of the $4000 out of him

-- San Diego, CA

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 4162 days

#2 posted 06-04-2010 04:28 AM

Every time I read stories like this about what can happen between friends, it makes me worry about what the world has come to. I’m still young (25 next week) and have noticed a change in peoples attitude in manners like this. Who knows maybe its partially due to the economy we’ve come to love so much. Just remember to look on the brighter side of things and consider it a “lesson learned”. Good luck on your future endeavors.

-- Drew, Delaware

View rustfever's profile


800 posts in 4473 days

#3 posted 06-04-2010 04:30 AM

A lesson we all must learn the hard way. Friends and family are two groups you must NEVER work for. A recipe for hard feelings.

Sorry, I feel for you. But then, I did the same thing.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 4522 days

#4 posted 06-04-2010 04:56 AM

I must speak for the other side. I was recently asked by an elderly neighbor to do some repairs on a house that the tenants had trashed. I gave her an estimate of the number of hours that it would take and told her my rate was $20 per hour (I’m retired and only agreed to do this because my wife asked me to). As usual, there were some extra things that she asked for along the way, and I did them too. When I was done,I told her how many hours I was billing her for and she said she would have the cash for me the next day. Sure enough, she knocked on my door the next day and handed me an envelope. Not only was all my money there, there was an extra $200 and a note telling me that I hadn’t billed her for enough hours. I realize that this is something of a rarity, but there are still some honest people out there.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View dan abalos's profile

dan abalos

106 posts in 4146 days

#5 posted 06-04-2010 05:14 AM

WOW WHAT A BUMMER OF A “FRIEND”? I have done some work for my wifes family and fortunately I have been paid every time. They are VERY generous and I try to do good work for them. The friends/family thing still is true, make sure you have something in writing even if it’s on a napkin from a bar. The courts love paper evidence. I guess I would say you have learned a great lesson and lost a not so good friend. Cheers and better luck in your future.
All the best to you,

-- Beer is the reason I exist on this earth, that and my family! (Aurora, IL) my blog:

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4471 days

#6 posted 06-04-2010 06:14 AM

It used to be that a persons handshake and his word was as good as gold. Not any more…very rarely. .unfortunately. We all have had unfortunate dealings with such assholes.

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4740 days

#7 posted 06-04-2010 06:18 AM

Your title says it all”get it in writing”


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4278 days

#8 posted 06-04-2010 02:56 PM

what a dum a…
even in writing sometimes the words isn´t worth what the paper cost

I come from a area where a handshake count more than anything ells
betwiin people even the cortsystem say good for them if there is a witness
ofcourse they prefure written things

take care

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 5033 days

#9 posted 06-04-2010 03:07 PM

you can deni anything said, you cannot deni anything written and signed

View Jason's profile


660 posts in 4671 days

#10 posted 06-04-2010 05:53 PM

My dad has told me often: never do business with friends or family.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 4115 days

#11 posted 06-04-2010 06:10 PM

sikrap is the only lucky one in this bunch i see. Good for you. Take care of the elderly lady, she’s a keeper. It is true that there are still honest people. I still think that 90% of people are good, and the rest can go straight to hell with no A/C, including this idiot i was dealing with. His own brother sides with me. His own brother doesn’t do work with him, and refuses jobs if this idiot is on the same one. I guess I should have known better. We keep saying that we learn from our mistakes, but in this case it’s difficult to not be who I am. I went into court with the truth, and he came in there with a bag of crap, and won the case. My family, and friends all reacted the same way I did. What? How? Are you kidding me? No way, How could that even happen. The assistant judge magistrate did not do her job, so i loose my hard earned money. It was open, and shut you would think. But he worked the system. How could anyone ask a good friend for a signature? It damages the relationship I think. I look to strengthen it, and make progress, not damage it. I have and ex-wife, so i know all about heartache. I still have confidence in the goodness of people. The lesson learned here for me is that if there is any doubt about who the other person is, then just don’t do business with him/her.

I wanted to share this experience so it could maybe save at least one of you from loosing hard earned money. Thanks for letting me vent, and your comments. They are appreciated.

p.s. I am waiting for the judge magistrate to call me back.

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4454 days

#12 posted 06-04-2010 07:19 PM

”The lesson learned here for me is that if there is any doubt about who the other person is, then just don’t do business with him/her.”

Good lesson; so the question for you is, DID you have doubts about him?

My brother is twice divorced; he says that in retrospect, he had doubts about both women.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 4115 days

#13 posted 06-05-2010 05:49 AM

to JJohnston…I guess i did to, i don’t know why we over look some things, but we do. Maybe we want things so bad sometimes, that we think it’s true in our own heads. Your brother must of see something in both women that mentally gave in rewards, or maybe they were very pretty and he couldn’t help himself lol
If we all had a crystal ball.

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View FordMike's profile


155 posts in 4634 days

#14 posted 06-05-2010 07:33 AM

i agree with the writer, i do alot of after hours work for people, and most of them are fine, but every once in a while (usually a lawyer) that will give you trouble. My soft spot is for elderly people on fixed incomes, the good examples are the memories I cherish the most, and the bad cases are the ones I learned the most from. Karma and God still rule the world and the bad ones will get theirs and the good ones will also. FordMike.

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 4190 days

#15 posted 08-29-2010 06:26 PM

Trust no man but God !! Always get it in writing and get a signed contract with deposit!!! even with these things aren’t always Guaranteed Just ask me about our union contract :-P By getting the deposit (mine is non refundable!!)
you minimize risk and you can always sell the finished piece and retain profit. However never turn down a need church, elderly, or the poor by doing things for people in need always wind up coming back as many blessings in the line of work, good name, and compassion of which most small businesses lack in today’s society of gimme money gimme it quick, Business is tough whether you do it for a hobby or for a living, but always whether for family, friends or acquaintances Get it in writing :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path [email protected]

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