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Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



The Importance of a Paper Trail

An old relationship goes sour. A co-op in White Plains that I’ve been managing for some time needed some facade work. I went to one of my go-to contractors whom I’ve known for more than 20 years. He came in with the best pricing. I knew his work ethic, and I saw no issues. The board moved forward with a large contract, and all of a sudden there were no-shows, half-days, different men on the job. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. Basically the job blew up in our faces. We turned around and ended up suing him.


Paper trail. Even though I’d worked with this contractor for so long, I still followed every rule I would follow when it comes to dealing with vendors. I was lucky that this board left everything in my hands because I had a trail of paperwork and communication. Every time we had an incident with the contractor, we put it in writing and emails. I had photos of everything he did. We put together a timeline and gave it to our attorneys, who served him and took him to court. The co-op ended up getting back about $80,000 out of a $120,000 job. We hired another contractor, and everything went smoothly, and we fixed the building.


Pay attention, now more than ever. This happened pre-pandemic, and I’ve noticed you really need to pay even more attention since the pandemic hit. With the way the prices for materials are going up, guys not wanting to take on jobs and overcharging for jobs, you really need to be careful with your contractors and vendors, and documentation is everything. I keep a paper trail for everyone I deal with because they’re still contractors. I mean, they’re there to make money. They’re not there to protect me or the board.

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