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#205761 03/28/12 07:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11
sjb Offline OP
Hi folks,

Especially in the northeast: Ken Silva - Internacional Sign and Construction. And, whatever name used: he calls and says that his electrician backed out and he is desperate - doesn't want to get his customer mad, etc. Plays on your good nature. You do the work, the customer pays him (in our case in cash) for way less than what he owes the electrician. Electrician never sees the money. I just talked to a guy in New Jersey who had it happen 6 months ago. Now it happened in Boston. (FYI - not sure how bright the guy is since I found the other electrician because there is a testimonial by Ken on the electrician's website...) Anyway - please be on the lookout. And let me know if you have any info, if you could. Thanks! (And I am SO kicking myself for not confirming his business info before we did the work...just one of those times good nature "wins" over caution...)

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,282
Likes: 3
OK, I will spread the word to the sparkies in my area.

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
At this point in the business cycle such debacles are the NORM for ANY new GC that you "discover/ run in to" and don't check out first.


To restate the obvious: throughout the trades contractors are trying to 'hire-down' -- replacing 'expensive' seasoned men with talent at lower rates of pay.

This is why you constantly see CraigsList employment offers at a time when the trades are back on their heels.


The same dynamic drives GCs to hustle for ever cheaper electrical contractors -- as well as stiffing their previous ECs.

If you're getting stiffed you need to take legal action.

In most jurisdictions non-payment of sub-contractors is grounds for loss of license.

If you've properly documented your work winning a judgement should be open and shut.

( Try and keep the suit in small claims court so that you can represent yourself. )

Letting a GC really get into you for big money means slavery: he'll have you over a barrel.


More generally, try and get out of ANY sub-contracting. This may mean that you end up becoming a multi-hatted contractor.

For some, it may mean getting a GC license on top of an EC license.

I've been on more than a few jobs where all the GC did was watch me work.

You'll see that dynamic in remodeling.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,282
Likes: 3
I agree with what you said, and it is good solid advice. In the OPs case, it sounds like the 'sign guy' is long gone.

Without going off on a soap box, what the OP said is a really good example of making sure the permit process is in place. IF the GC had permits, that's a good place to start the search to find him. NJ has a Home Improvement Lic, and for Comm, the GC has to have a Lic. in most (if not all) municipalities. That' no guarantee of getting a sub paid, but it is a starting point to track them down.

I suggest to the 'newbies' to check out anybody they do not know! Established GCs usually have a EC/Plumber/etc. Are they shopping? Talk to the local AHJs, ask them; talk to other ECs, plumbers, HVAC guys; it's like chicken soup; it can't hurt.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
A scam? Criminals scouting for victims? Or, some "businessman" bottom-trolling for a sucker?

Here's an excerpt from an ad I recently saw:
"(Licensed and bonded guy...)
needed to pull a permit on existing fixtures for construction temp
to start electric service and sum wiring once carpentry work is finished"

And that's the nicest such ad I've seen in a very long time. Are you simply 'renting your license?' He'll hire you for the first hour of the job, and the last, while who knows what is done by the 'carpenters.' Your name, your license on the hook.

As if there's a shortage of real apprentices looking for work! No, it's not enough to pay the 'market' rate, a rate already depressed by this awful economy. No, these clowns still want to shave corners.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 402
Can you file a lien against the owner of the sign?

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,282
Likes: 3

"Are you simply 'renting your license?'"

This is a real issue that is very, very difficult to do anything about, even with 'strict', shall I say rules.

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11
sjb Offline OP
Thanks for the replies - I know - stupid of us to not check the guy out. Have since talked to the owner of the sign and they of course paid in cash for half the amount of our invoice. This guy had the balls to tell them that OUR employees were HIS guys... Plus, our guys met him in person. Not to bright so perhaps we'll catch him... Ah well - we will be filing with police this morning and alerting them of the 6K scam experienced by the NJ electrician.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233

I can't tell you how many GC's start out good and then go bad after several jobs with them. On the first job or two, they are right there with the money, after awhile, they start slowing down with their payment, and soon after that, you are trying to play catch up with them. They give you every excuse in the book, they will say that They didn't get paid, or they needed the money to get the next job started, etc.

A lot of EC's I know right now are not even working for GC's anymore, They will only work for the homeowner. This way, they have better legal recourse.

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