What to do about unfinished work?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Bradford
4/22/2015 at 1:58:18 PM

We are getting our bathroom redone. The work started on April 19 and was suppose to take 2 to 3 weeks, it's been 5. It is almost finished and we've really enjoyed the contractors that have come in to do the work. They've been friendly, gave us daily updates on the work, identified issues in a timely manner, added a few extras because it would add value to our bathroom, and have in general been really nice guys.

However, the 'foreman' (boss man) has been something else. He told us originally that the best way to get a hold of him was by email. Turns out email is the only way to get a hold of him as he doesn't answer his cell and doesn't reply to messages at the shop. However, he rarely responds to emails. We barely talked to him during the work and we had to keep bugging him to make sure our supplies arrived when they were needed. We even had to ask him how the issues that came up during our reno were going to effect our budget.

We've received several excuses including the delivery guy no longer works for him, he's going through a marital separation, there was an emergency... Problem is he doesn't tell us there will be any delays until we bug him about it. His communication sucks!

Now there is very little left to do (curtain rod, mirror, fix a hole made by the electrician, remove the bin, etc) and he told us it would all be done last Monday. No one has come since! And again he isn't replying to email or the voice mails that we've been leaving. I am planning to shop by his shop today, but the employees tell us he's never in.

We have an initial contact, but he never updated it with the agreed on increases. The contract does not include a start and end date or an estimate on the time the work should take.

Do we have any options here for getting this job done?

I really need the space on my driveway occupied by the bin back for this weekend. Can I get it removed myself?

User Icon
B. Vince from BVM Contracting in Toronto
Date/Time4/22/2015 at 3:14:32 PM

Sounds very unorganized! How can he stay in business being like this? You need to contact him AGAIN and leave him a message/email stating that you require an end date because you would like your home back. If he doesn't respond, call the number on the bin and ask the company to come and take it away (the contractor is being billed for the bin and charging you).

I hope you held back some money from the contract as a way of getting him to come back!

Good luck!

User Icon
Date/Time4/22/2015 at 3:36:40 PM

Firstly, call the bin rental company and have it removed, they should. If you still owe him money, email him with an ultimatum to complete the work by a specific date or you will bring in someone else to complete it and hold back that amount plus compensation.

User Icon
Date/Time4/22/2015 at 5:03:47 PM

HI there,

As far as the contact for the sounds like you hired a company who subs there work out or doesn't do any work other than sell jobs. There are companies out there who claim they are a contracting company, but only send out sales people to sell the job and manage it a bit. With regards to the bin, you can try to contact the bin company and see what they can do but as far as we understand, you cannot move the bin without the companies permission. If the disposal company hasn't been paid for the bin as well, they won't pick it up ethier as that is there leverage against the contracting company.

Try to go to the companies shop and tell them you will wait for the person until he shows up. With respects to the extras or additional work, you may really want this as soon as possible because without any trace of an agreed amount, he could also claim it is much more than you agreed.

Hope it works out for you.


User Icon
Date/Time4/23/2015 at 7:46:43 AM

For sure he's out of business. Who takes 5 weeks to finish a wash room? The delivery guy probably quit because he hasnt been paid. Did they do a proper job? did you test the plumbing yet? You might want to call in someone to check their work. Call the number on the bin they have to come get it. Any smart bin company would take money first.

User Icon
Laurie from Ability Millwork in Kamloops
Date/Time4/23/2015 at 10:13:20 AM

I understand your position and feel for the decisions that are in front of you. I can offer you my advice based on my experience only, since I have no knowledge of the scope of work or the way the contract was written.

I would suggest you double check your contract to see the details in it and do everything possible to keep the lines of communication open till you know exactly where you stand as far as your contract goes.

Contracts are a real good idea because they will protect each party from themselves, as well as inform each party if the other is out of line. The bonus of a good contract is that it allows one party to give the other a gentle push to get back in line if needed.

User Icon
Date/Time4/24/2015 at 10:46:07 AM

Hi Chris & Daina,

I certainly feel for your situation and will offer some advice in trying to deal with it.

As for the dates you provided I am a little unclear here, you stated that the job started April 19th and was told 2 to 3 weeks to complete. It is now only 5 days later, so it seems well early of their timeline and almost complete. Possible typo?

As for the staff, I am glad to hear that there are great employees out there that truly care about the work and the customers even though the boss or company seem to be lacking.

If the foreman is not reachable, my suggesting would be to put something in writing asap and have it mailed to them via registered mail and have a response timeline to take action, otherwise they will forfeit the remaining balance, as well as any other possible money you may owe them as compensation to have another company come in to finish it. Wait for time to elapse and move forward. A proper contractor will have all of these items written into the contract, and have start and end dates, payments details, extras charges and how they are payable, and sign change work orders throughout the process to approve of such costs and extras. Unfortunately, homeowners put a lot of blame on contractors, but you have also signed a contract with no end date, and had extras installed with no change orders signed. By law, if you did not sign the work order, you really don't need to pay for it as there is no way to prove without paperwork that you had asked or requested such things, so the contractor depending on how you choose to deal with them, may be on the hook for those extras unless you sign off on them.

As for the bin, most disposal companies will take an initial deposit for the bin before sending it out, then once they pick it up, they will bill the adjusted pricing to the client/contractor whoever ordered the bin. I would call them, tell them your situation and ask them if you can pay the deposit or fees to remove it, and then deduct that from any payments owing to the contractor as that garbage removal would most likely be included in the contract price and hopefully hasn't already been paid for.

I feel for every customer that has to deal with this type of contractor, however as a homeowner you MUST do your due diligence before hiring and signing paperwork, your house is your biggest investment.


Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

It appears you may be located in the US

TrustedPros is designed to deliver results targeted to your location.

Get Free Estimates

Post your project and compare offers from top-rated pros.