When people ask what we do as property restoration contractors, I always like to explain whenever there's a situation where someone says, "Who's going to clean this up?" - that's what we do. Many people, consumers and contractors, are frustrated by the insurance claims process for mitigation (drying structures) and repairs. Disagreements about what was done and what is owed can occur on projects large or small. For this article and the accompanying video, we will introduce you to a story that will resonate with contractors who feel like they have completed the work, BUT the customer is playing games with the check.
When it's time to pay, the customer says, 'Thank you for helping us buuuuut...'
RJ Construction vs. Arlington Independent School District
So, what happens when the help is provided by a contractor but then there is a disagreement when it comes time to collect payment. The customer says, "Thank you for helping us but..." Recently, one such issue came across the desk here at The DYOJO Podcast between RJ Construction (RJC) and the Arlington Independent School District (AISD).
RJC claims they dehumidified about 450,000 square feet of wet air within Sam Houston High School for what they believed was an agreed-upon price of $2.50 per square foot, plus some expenses. The total amount invoiced by RJC at the completion of their work was $1,245,600. When the school district delayed on payment, owner Robert Jordan took his case to the local community and to YouTube. RJC's initial video on the dispute received over 33,000 views.
We did the job we were hired to do." - Robert Jordan (RJC)
Contractors or the Government Behaving Badly?
Jordan states, "I believed the AISD board could be trusted. So, my company went into action. Over the course of days, working around the clock, Sam Houston High School was dried and dehumidified. We did the job we were hired to do."
Some people, even fellow contractors, watch this video or have read the Fact Sheet produced by AISD and conclude, "I got all the information I need. It's clear this contractor's a gold digger. RJC is just another opportunist that doesn't know what they are doing; seeing only dollar signs and trying to paid on the big one."
Others, including local community members, have listened to what RJC has to say and read some of the court documents. They heard RJ Construction share their plight, "The AISD is hired a team of lawyers to claim that the district does not owe a penny for the hard and diligent work my company performed." Some are concluding, "The school districts is a bunch of crooks, probably in cahoots with the insurance companies, hiding behind sovereign immunity, trying to put a local company out of business."
Is An Email A Contract?
This dispute between RJ Construction and the Arlington Independent School District will provide all parties with lessons that can be learned from this regional winter storm. While there are many details to sift through, a key element for any contractor is understanding what constitutes a contractual agreement, especially when there are multiple parties involved in the decision making tree. This is central to the RJC v. AISD litigation, as they are arguing whether a string of emails constitutes an agreement or a contract.
Tune in on Thursdays to The DYOJO Podcast as we dig further into this story and help contractors shorten their DANG learning curve.
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Keep your eyes and ears open as you listen to this series of upcoming podcast episodes.
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