Here is a typical Inline Tile and Stone contract. (Click the image to see a larger image.) It started out as an estimate (or quote) and immediately became the contract after "verbal agreement" with the home owners. BIG effing mistake! Standard protocol and compliance to building codes dictates that contracts be signed by both parties. Notice that there are no signatures on this contract, there are no signature or date lines on the document, and there are no priced line items.
Caveat emptor! About priced line items. It is to the contractor's advantage to have as few priced line items as possible in a contract. If an item or task, for example baseboard or floor transition strips is not listed and priced in the contract then the contractor will later tell you "That was not included" and if you want it, it becomes a "change order," and of course change orders are not free, even if they are caused by a contractor's mistake. There were a lot of changes in this contract and the cost was not discussed with nor approved by the home owners.
A customer could "assume" that tile trim, floor trim (transition strips), and window trim would be included in the price of those items, but that was not the case with Borad's contract. Although the contract included floor and wall tile, and a new kitchen window, trim for these items was NOT included.
The original price for the bath project was $12,700. After a couple days the contractor told us he could make us a "nice kitchen" for an additional $56,000. Instead of taking the time to provide us a detailed plan, as required by the CSLB, he simply walked us through what he would do to expand the original 9 X 11 foot kitchen to 11 X 13 feet, and where various appliances would be placed. The kitchen was eventually expanded to 11 X 14 feet to accomodate contractor errors.
The contractor didn't do plans, which are required by the California State License Board (CSLB). They take time and cost money; both reduce Borad's profit margin. As a consequence of "no planning" there were cabinets and doors left over, which, of course we (the customer) paid for. The contractor also didn't get the required permits because they also take time (two weeks delay).
After the contractor added all the "verbal change orders," and after all was "said" and "done" (Well, he never did complete the job) the price increased to over $80,000. Do the math; that's an additional 17% added to the "bottom line price." And he insisted on being paid IN FULL, although he knows he didn't complete the project.
Of course these "verbal change orders" were not in writing and were never discussed with and approved by the customer (as required by contract labor laws) prior to being implemented, so Borad didn't get paid for them. In fact, he still owes us over $8,000 for over-payment and for an incomplete job for the electrical and plumbing, as well as other items.
In spite of not finishing the job, the contractor thought he should be paid the full price, including the cost overruns. How arrogant is that?
At the time of this contract Borad was dba (doing business as) Inline Kitchen and Bath.