A GC I have done a few jobs for called me the other day and said he has two jobs he wants me to do BUT he has a problem with my contract. I asked which part and he said most of it.
Now, my contract is pretty basic and has the usual content (scope of work, payment schedule, GC/EC remedies if either defaults, warranty). Nothing is one-sided or unfair. He said all of his other contractors simply send him a proposal outlining the work they will do and he signs it.
I asked him, "Are you asking me to throw out my contract ?" He replies "No, but I think we can condense it down to one page." My contract is six pages. My first thought was, "I'm going to need a BIG piece of paper."
I told him to make a list of the specific parts of the contract he has a problem with and get back to me. Haven't heard from him sense.
The homeowner on one of the jobs I have done for this GC told me another contractor was telling her (the homeowner) he hasn't been paid for the last nine jobs he (the sub) has done for this GC. My first thought was, "Why are you still doing work for him ?"
I have yet to meet a GC who didn't have a hidden agenda....
At this point you pretty much have two sensible alternatives. You can tell him, nicely, that you really aren't interested in wwhat others do, this is how you do it- and he'll have to take it or leave it. This approach is best made when you both have plenty of other work lined up (and don't need him), and are very certain that your contract is not unusual in any way, that it truly is representative of the the "normal" contracts out there.
The second approach is to have your lawyer talk it over with his.....that should clarify whether the GC has any reasonable concerns. Assuming your paper is reasonable, his lawyer will tell him to quit stirring the pot. (Or your lawyer will tell you he's playing a game).
Big paper or small print. If it is a word doc. can't you click "size to fit 1 page"?
I hate to admit it, but I may be one of those "other" contractors. Not literally, I know we are both Chicagoland, but I doubt we really know the same GC. My contract lays out scope, price, and extra charges if collection becomes an issue. So far this has worked out fine being a small shop and having a lot of face time with the people paying me. It is harder to screw someone you know. But as I grow, which is in the plans, and even in the works, a better contract may be in order, to both ease risk exposure, and show people you mean business.
I have to agree, the more I deal with GC's the less I like them, and this is 10 yrs dealing with them in my own business. I should note we have one good remodel GC, but that is because we have found favor with the lead carpenter who pretty much runs the whole show from pricing to running the job.
One other possibility is that he's not "planning" on cheating; he's just not very professional. He is unfamiliar with contract law and the less he has "officially" agreed the safer he feels. Kind of how you or I would feel giving a 6 page contract to a high profile lawyer to do work on his house and getting a 12 page counter offer. We'd be intimidated thinking he knows more than we do.
This possibility is no safer than if he were an intentional cheat. You will still get cheated, just out of his ignorance and lack of fastidiousness, verses his ill intent and maliciousness.
But back to your contract, could you post or email your terms? I'd be curious to see how much I would consider necessary. Heck, all 6 pages might be good stuff.
A new EC working with a weak GC is running exposed.
Most weak GC's are, by definition, in over their head. Too many GC's should have never struck out on their own.
It is an absolute requirement for every sub to evalute the GC. You might run to your banker and have him pull a D&B report on a prospective GC. Tell him you'll pay him, but that you can't afford a D&B minimal subscription. ( Even a limited subscription goes for thousands per year. A single report to a subscriber is 'free' much in the manner of 'free minutes' in a cell phone contract. )
It is worth your while to contact prior subs, absolutely!