How to hire the right contractor - Around the House® Home Improvement

Episode 1225

Our tips to hire a great contractor in 2021! How do you find a good one?

Hiring a contractor can be a scary task! You are writing a check to someone that you are hoping will take your project more seriously than even you are. Did you hire the right person? Eric Goranson and Caroline Blazovsky will walk you through many of the important steps to finding that right licensed and bonded contractors and what to watch out for during the process. This is a must listen to if you are getting ready to hire out a project. Did you know if you hire the wrong one their employee could get hurt and YOU are on the hook for their medical bills and expenses? That can add up quick!

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Transcript
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[00:00:41] Eric Goranson: You know, something, I am perfectly okay with that because they have to put hours. They might put in six or eight hours to build that estimate. I don't think that they have to work for free.[00:01:00]

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[00:01:35] Eric Goranson: A little David Lee Roth to start out the show today

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[00:01:50] Eric Goranson: I'm a fan , but unfortunately he needed to yep.

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[00:02:03] Eric Goranson: No, no, no, no. Not at all. Not at all. Well, we, weren't going to talk about. Not only David Lee Roth there.

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[00:02:29] Eric Goranson: And how to deal with them because man, you know, we're going to have a guest on here soon. Uh, we'll talk about some of the horror stories that are, that are going on out there, but from building a new house to do a remodel, there's some problems and I want to help you. We want to help you navigate.

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[00:02:53] Caroline Blazovsky: I've had some really bad experiences with a contractor with experience, you know, knowing things. And so you want to [00:03:00] give, have you ever had a bad experience with a contractor? Maybe talk about it a little bit.

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[00:03:16] Eric Goranson: My buddy who's on the local news here was just raving about his contractor. Who's a buddy of mine. That's been doing their big kitchen remodel, but my first warning sign that I've had problems with a contractor and it's a personality type and I call him Superman. And what Superman is, is that contract.

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[00:04:01] Eric Goranson: Mm. A normal contractor will sit there and get on the phone with the cabinet company. Get another one come in. They'll take the door off. They'll go put it in their truck. The homeowner never sees it. And oh yeah, that one's damaged. When the homeowner has to go that one's damaged. We got another one coming.

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[00:04:44] Eric Goranson: That is the Superman contractor. And that is the one. When I see that my red lights go on because it is going to be the most stressful project, even if they're good at what they do. It's horrible, man. [00:05:00]

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[00:05:15] Caroline Blazovsky: And I had to go put a level on it and I'm like, ah, this is off guys. And they're like, no, it's not, it's completely fine. And then it proceeded to. And I'm like, no, it's not. And I had to kick them off the job. And that's the most uncomfortable thing. I think people don't like to have to get rid of a contractor.

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[00:05:43] Eric Goranson: so let's, let's get with some rules here for people out there just so you can start.

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[00:06:15] Eric Goranson: But here's the problem that we have across the country is there is no standard out there for what is a contractor. For instance, in my state, in the neighboring states around me, it is a state contractor's license. In other states, they are a local or a city or a borough or a county or whatever they are.

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[00:07:07] Eric Goranson: So that $5,000 ambulance bill that shows up for the medevac flight, that's a hundred thousand. You're paying for that out of your pocket, because they're your. And

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[00:07:35] Caroline Blazovsky: Like you can go down to a local convenience store and they stand out there for work and people will go down and pick them up and say, oh, look, I'm only going to have to pay this guy 10 bucks an hour to do work at my house. If that person gets hurt and ends up in the emergency. You are responsible. Yep.

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[00:08:02] Eric Goranson: we're gonna have to go out to break here in a minute. I saw one this last week on social media where somebody had asked a question and she's like, well, they don't have their, uh, insurance and stuff.

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[00:08:27] Eric Goranson: Has to be licensed. So that is the, as I call it, sorry, anyone named Chuck, but the Chuck in the truck out there that, uh, is a big one. And that's one. And when we come back here, I want to talk Carolyn about a problem that I've been seeing happen with identity theft of contractors, where somebody shows up and they say they're a licensed, bonded and insured contractor, but maybe that's their former employer in there trying to.

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[00:09:13] Eric Goranson: To give you some warning signs on that before we go out to break for all our podcasts listeners out there, make sure you have liked and subscribed on your favorite podcast player. We'd love for it to automatically tell you when the next episode is out. All right, we'll be right back after these important messages.

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[00:10:15] Eric Goranson: Welcome back. I found the house with Eric G and Caroline B your home improvement source every week. Hey, make sure you're following the podcast. If you're liking it, following it, subscribing whatever you do for your podcast, listening ship out there, make sure that you tune in and grab that. So you get notified every time we've got a new show coming up and we've got some great shows coming up,

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[00:10:42] Caroline Blazovsky: Thanks to Eric. He has downloaded the coolest podcasts.

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[00:10:59] Caroline Blazovsky: and see our [00:11:00] pictures are little cartoons, where there

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[00:11:03] Eric Goranson: Well, we've been talking about contractors here, right? And some of the things that you should be really careful with and Caroline brought up. Before we went out to break that we need to, to kind of revisit that I want to add, because we were talking about this between breaks and you know, when people go out and let's say a contractor rules up in front of, you know, the, the lumberyard, the home improvement store, and you've got your, um, immigrants that are out there working, and they're trying to find work and they'll pop up and stick two fingers up.

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[00:12:02] Eric Goranson: You can get yeah. Picking them up. So. I've seen problems where they're not paying the payroll taxes for those people. And thus they're not paying workers' compensation insurance for those people either. And so the problem with that is, is now you're in this gray area of, did you hire him or did the contractor hire him?

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[00:12:49] Eric Goranson: And they were up on the, on the first floor doing stuff on it, not in the basement. What happened was, is that they ended up getting hurt. And because the guy had [00:13:00] come downstairs and asked the contractor where to put the trash and the guy goes, oh, just go ahead and use the dumpster out front. Because he had given him direction.

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[00:13:19] Caroline Blazovsky: he didn't have.

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[00:13:35] Eric Goranson: He went and hired them, brought them there, everything else. And so it was really a sketchy deal. So this can be as troublesome for contractors as homeowners.

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[00:14:04] Eric Goranson: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's horrible. And it's, it's bad for the worker. It's bad for the homeowner, you know, it's just bad for everybody, you know, and that's in that standard. Now we were talking earlier about, you know, the licensed, bonded and insured contractor, and you have to kind of learn in your area what those rules are.

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[00:14:33] Caroline Blazovsky: like the New York Metro area. I mean, they've got, we've got our hands in everything. You're going to have a license for everything, whether it's mold remediation, gun.

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[00:14:42] Eric Goranson: wants your money. The state will not your money. Exactly. But great example. I mean, I know somebody, um, that's a contractor in Seattle that advertises and I mean, the person that's the contractor, they [00:15:00] didn't finish middle school, let alone high school. And there's absolutely no training. No. In that state and that's, uh, that's kind of a problem to me.

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[00:15:10] Caroline Blazovsky: rarity though. I wonder how many states really don't require licensing anymore? I mean, is it began? I mean, I would think it's the, state's probably want their hand in the money anyway. Right. The revenue comes from,

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[00:15:23] Eric Goranson: There's no continuing education. There's no test, you know, like California, you know, is probably the hardest place to get, to be a contract. With all the inefficiencies and hoops, you have to jump through as a contractor down there. Um, on the other side, you know, further up the west coast, you can go to Washington and anybody can be a contractor.

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[00:15:54] Caroline Blazovsky: With molder, mediators and things like that, too. There's a group called acac.org and that [00:16:00] has all of our different certifications. Right? So if you're an indoor environmentalist, if you're a certified molder mediator, if you're a certified allergy consult.

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[00:16:27] Caroline Blazovsky: Yeah. It's

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[00:16:53] Eric Goranson: And it's hard to do research on that. You want to see if they've got business cards, which anybody can go down to [00:17:00] Kinko's and get business cards made, but where the, where you want to pay attention to is who you're paying. Who are you writing that check to? If you have a contractor that is I'm going to make a name up here, ABC construction.

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[00:17:28] Caroline Blazovsky: so hard for the homeowners. I feel so bad. Cause especially if you have a disaster, right. If you've got some kind of water infiltration, you've got flooding. I mean, you're more worried about your contents and your family and everybody's displaced and you want to be able to just trust people.

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[00:17:58] Eric Goranson: now in one of the worst [00:18:00] referrals that I get out there.

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[00:18:19] Eric Goranson: And we come back. Let's talk about that. Where can you find contractors? Because I've got some big problems with some of these companies out there and I'm Eric G I'm Caroline B and you're listening to around the house.[00:19:00]

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[00:19:21] Caroline Blazovsky: trying to save from disaster.

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[00:19:39] Eric Goranson: We possess the bathroom.

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[00:19:52] Eric Goranson: Oh, okay. So it came out in, I I'll be honest, you know, as a member of the media, I have to give some of these stations that [00:20:00] took this story and wrote a very bad headline, telling the.

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[00:20:22] Caroline Blazovsky: like they had, yeah, they had sounded like they'd been around a while. Cause I read the article and they were, yeah.

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[00:20:27] Eric Goranson: yeah. So yeah, absolutely. It seemed to be good. And they came in and started working on the tile and the shower and I don't know the entire scope, her and I have chatted back and forth with her on social media a little bit. And I've gotten them to be more of the story. But you saw this Yahoo in there swinging a hammer saying that she hadn't paid it.

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[00:20:48] Caroline Blazovsky: the bathroom, like Reese, like the bathroom was supposedly done and he had come in and he was smashing it up with a hammer, like breaking it down completely.

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[00:21:09] Eric Goranson: And you could clearly see, there was no shower door installed. She had paid for a shower door. He couldn't even provide her that it had been ordered and he's in there with the neighbor he's in the house

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[00:21:25] Eric Goranson: was filming it because she was still at work. And he's like, he's literally sitting there and destroying this bathroom.

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[00:21:45] Caroline Blazovsky: Oh, the bathroom Eric showed me. I was like, oh, well maybe he was just mad. He was saying he was doing this because he wasn't getting paid.

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[00:22:10] Caroline Blazovsky: No door, no shower

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[00:22:23] Caroline Blazovsky: the seat, you know, how it had the, the shower.

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[00:22:36] Eric Goranson: I mean, the edges were wrong. The, you know, the curb, you know, that it, it stops the water from leaving the shower, going into the room was razor cut tile that he hadn't even reassessed the edge on. It was like having a Ginsu knife right along. But you would be, I mean, all it would take, I mean, you would have like a major injury trying to get in and out of the shower and it was all chipped up and [00:23:00] nasty.

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[00:23:20] Eric Goranson: Or didn't back butter, the tile, and then you could see there's no water barrier. And yeah,

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[00:23:36] Caroline Blazovsky: And I'm like, I understand with contractors, we're constantly being put off and homeowners don't like to pay us or they want to pay us less. So I've been in those circumstances, but Eric was completely a hundred percent, right. This guy just went nuts. I mean, he seriously went crazy and his work was shot.

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[00:23:56] Eric Goranson: paying him and she's already paid him way too much because [00:24:00] it's going to cost her more to rip it all out and start over. There's no saving this project. It has to get ripped out, back down to the studs again. And then once it hits social media, he started sending her threatening texts and messages on social media.

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[00:24:24] Caroline Blazovsky: He lost it. He looked at me.

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[00:24:38] Caroline Blazovsky: from Artex everyone.

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[00:24:43] Eric Goranson: master Thai. So that in one of his buddies, who's a huge tile industry person that we will, uh, name later. Uh, he'll be going out there. So we'll have some content, make sure you watch her, our Facebook and stuff, because I want to [00:25:00] do a Facebook live with them.

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[00:25:08] Caroline Blazovsky: it's going to do a Facebook live,

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[00:25:31] Eric Goranson: Oh, God,

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[00:25:48] Eric Goranson: recently Angie list and all that other stuff that you see out there, I'm scared of problem with these.

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[00:26:19] Eric Goranson: That have met my standards at least of doing the research. And there's a lot

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[00:26:35] Caroline Blazovsky: Even those people may have 50 good reviews and get five stars. It, a lot of that stuff. Sometimes people pay their clients like so when they leave, they'll give them a gift card. Like this happens with dentist doctors all the time. They'll say, Hey, if you're ready to review for me, here's a gift card and people do it.

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[00:26:56] Eric Goranson: there's even a worst problem out there. And it just made the news here a couple of weeks ago [00:27:00] with one of our sponsors of the show here in Portland. And it happened with the whole, um, pest control service.

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[00:27:35] Eric Goranson: But it was somebody out there that was just attacking everybody. So you've got to be careful with reviews. Now I do have one. If you're hiring a company, that's got a handful of employees. I'll give you a great one. And have you heard of glass door? So that is a kind of a jobs job hiring service, right? So it's [00:28:00] like, you can go find a job there, but the thing is.

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[00:28:23] Eric Goranson: In this last segment here, let's go out to break real quick. Let's pay the bills. We come back. Let's talk about that. Where do you see. Um, what you should be looking for. Let's do that just as soon as around the house return.[00:29:00]

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[00:29:29] Caroline Blazovsky: hard.

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[00:29:32] Eric Goranson: 30 years?

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[00:29:36] Eric Goranson: Juul? Oh, wow. That was an expensive run. Divorce lawyers got made millions though. I think.

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[00:29:59] Caroline Blazovsky: Eric didn't [00:30:00] have me at the time to get rid of them. I would have gotten no. So you needed it. He needed his partner in crime to be like, no, she needs to go.

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[00:30:33] Eric Goranson: That's the better business bureau.

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[00:30:43] Eric Goranson: So I always don't support them. And I'll tell you my personal opinion. I had my kitchen and bath business in Seattle. We were about two years old, had never had a complaint. Had never had an inquiry. We were just not on their radar.

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[00:31:22] Eric Goranson: And I'm like, whoa, wait a minute. So I have to pay you to have an, a. Well, and then, well, Mr. Goranson now, by doing that, we will now give you priority service. So when you file a case, somebody files a complaint against you before it shows up on your rating. You're going to have a chance to take care of that as one of these accredited members.

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[00:32:09] Eric Goranson: So they are not someone that I work with. No,

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[00:32:27] Caroline Blazovsky: And I'm like, wow, this is really a scam. I couldn't believe it. Cause I had always thought, you know, that this was early in my career, but I thought that the better business bureau was like, you know, authentic and real and actually helping people. But it's all about money

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[00:32:45] Eric Goranson: Interview where they exposed all this. So this isn't just Caroline and me talking about it. Some of the best places are, stay off social media, you know, the next doors, all that stuff, stay away from Craigslist. All those [00:33:00] things stand those you're better off talking to friends and family, talking to neighbors.

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[00:33:26] Caroline Blazovsky: kitchen, and bath, kitchen, bath places,

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[00:33:36] Eric Goranson: To see what you can do to find out that person, you know, piling and then do your research. Do your research, look them up online. Now we're going to run out of time here in a few minutes, but these are some of the things that I want you to do before you have a contract. I want you to verify, uh, don't trust the contractor.

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[00:34:27] Eric Goranson: I want to see the products in there. I want to see the quality of materials. I want to see all that stuff spelled out in this and written out really well. The day that you sign that if they're coming over at noon for you to sign that contract, I want you that morning to call again and verify that the insurance in the bond in the license are in good state.

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[00:35:11] Eric Goranson: If that contractor runs away with your money.

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[00:35:19] Eric Goranson: Here's one of the warning signs I want you to look for. Here's another great takeaway. Make sure that you take a look because many times that agency has all these forms that are required, that they have to give. Maybe it's a lead to paint thing for a house.

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[00:35:56] Caroline Blazovsky: also be weary.

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[00:36:15] Eric Goranson: build that base for it, like any road.

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[00:36:33] Caroline Blazovsky: It's going to be great. And they'd come in and do all these people in the neighborhood. And then within a year everybody's driveway, that pavers were popping up. They were waving, they'd get a rain, everything was lifting and they were destroyed. So you have to be weary of those guys who come and knock on your door and say, Hey, we're going to come to your neighborhood.

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[00:36:50] Eric Goranson: I will not buy products from somebody that has knocked on my door. I don't it's that's my personal rule. If you're knocking on my [00:37:00] door, especially when you walk past my nose, soliciting sign to do it, not hiring you, not hired yet. Find somebody get estimates, do it right. Get two or three.

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[00:37:12] Caroline Blazovsky: always get estimates. That's huge. I tell my clients, even if you're going to go with someone and you like them, get an estimate, another one, just to get an idea, they may have a different idea. They may have a different concept. It's always good to get more information.

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[00:37:29] Eric Goranson: If they're going to sit there and give you the, if they look at it and say, you know, that project is probably going to be anywhere from 80 to a hundred thousand dollars, depending on what you want to put. For a remodel, but I'm going to charge you $300 to put together a very detailed estimate, but I'm going to take that $300 off your bill if you buy it that we're going to, we're going to take that off there.

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[00:38:20] Eric Goranson: Sounds good. And two things before we go out to break, one of the biggest things you can do is if that project is starting to go sideways, there are people like I've got a guy called construction, dispute resolution in Seattle. When things start to go sideways before they blow up, you can bring in outside mediators before the attorneys get involved, to help them negotiate and get things back on track and have somebody come in, figure out what, whatever.

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[00:39:02] Eric Goranson: property.

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