Jane and Joe

After signing a contract and a handshake, Joe the Contractor asks Jane the Homeowner to give him a check to buy materials and start. Jane feels uncomfortable about giving him a check, but doesn’t have a choice. Next week when she calls to check the progress and Joe says “next week”. Since Joe is an honest person, he really thinks “next week”, but Jane’s trust is a bit shaken. After one more “next week” conversation Jane threatens to hire a different contractor  and asks for her check back, but Joe says he already ordered and paid for materials. Jane realizes that there is no way back anymore and gets on a warpath and Joe is on defense. Again, Joe is an honest person and has all intention of finishing the job, but other construction sites are not going as planned and his crew is busy. He’s assuring Jane that everything is going to be OK, but Jane seems not to care for his excuses. Joe finally starts the work and progress is visible. Jane likes the progress, but with lack of trust in Joe, she’s on the lookout for any possible sign of things going wrong. Joe feels the lack of trust and is frustrated himself because it’s not pleasant to work with somebody who is looking over your shoulder. Crew is also getting nervous. Jane, not being a professional in construction, doesn’t really know what to look for, and is often making naive mistakes and suggestions, which infuriates Joe and the crew. Situation reaches a climax somewhere half way through the job with a big shouting match and slammed doors. After calming down and realizing that easiest way out is finishing the job, they both continue. After few weeks job is done, small pickups are taken care off. Joe believes that he finished the job correctly, but Jane feels negotiating power on her side and feels that she needs to be compensated for the frustration. Joe asks for a final payment and Jane says “next week”. Joe is starting a new job for Paul and needs cash to pay his crew and support his cash flow on the new job. He pays the crew for the Jane’s job from the advance on the Paul’s job and continues calling Jane. Between Jane not paying and Paul asking if he ordered materials and when is he starting, Joe finds himself saying “next week” to Paul. After many calls Jane asks for a discount and Joe bitterly takes the cut because every day of postponement is costing him on the other side. Joe doesn’t pay himself a full salary this month and continues with Paul’s job hoping that it’s going make it up. At least he’s not going to lose it since Paul is already nervous asking for his check back.

Jill and Joe

Getting ready to do her home improvement project, Jill the Homeowner, did some online research and decided to use online platform for managing the project. She looks up architect on the platform that did similar kind of work before and contacts few to interview. She selects Philip and they sign a typical contract provided on the platform. They set tasks,  timeline, fee installments and Jill puts full fee amount in the escrow account on the platform. Philip, since he doesn’t have any upfront cost, is willing to start when money is deposited. As the project progresses they are uploading drawings sketches, comments, decisions to the platform, and Jill is releasing payments to Philip on  the schedule. After few weeks they are ready to involve the contractor. Jill selects 3 contractors to ask for a bid and invites them to the project on the platform and they get access to drawings and documentation.  All 3 contractors submit proposal on the platform in the same format easy to compare. Their notes are visible to everybody making sure they are all offering same services. Jill selects Joe and they use Joe’s proposal he submitted on the platform to sign a typical contract, set tasks and timeline. Before start of the work Joe needs to buy materials and asks Jill for the payment. Jill deposits full amount of the contract to the escrow on the platform and asks Joe to send a purchase order for materials through the platform for her to approve the payment. Money goes straight to the supplier and material is delivered to Jill’s home, awaiting Joe’s crew to show up. Joe’s crew is busy on the other construction sites, but knowing that Jill might cancel his contract at any time and in the need for cash flow from this project to start coming in, Joe shows up with the crew in few days. As work progresses, Jill, Joe and his crew members are taking photos using the app that automatically uploads them to the platform. Jill is releasing payment from the escrow account for work completed. Joe’s doesn’t like that his ability to redirect money from this project to other project is limited to his profits, because he could really use some money on the other projects, but at least this project is going smoothly. Jill is happy to see the progress and feels safe with financial arrangement. Jill and Joe have good working relationship and are solving problems as they appear. They are using workflows form the platform to communicate and exchange information between themselves and others involved in the project. After few weeks job is done, small pickups are taken care off. Joe is proud at finished work and Jill is happy that everything went without any of the nightmare scenarios she was warned by her friends. Joe asks for final payment and after small adjustment negotiations Jill releases last installment from the platform. Joe can put some profits aside and use some of it to prepare for Paul’s project that is starting soon. Jill refers Joe to her friend that is planning to do construction at her place in few months.

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