91°Clear

“the contractor took the money and ran from a job to fix up the playground outside of our daycare”

by Prince Of Petworth August 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm 40 Comments

image

“Dear PoPville,

The contractor took the money and ran from a job to fix up the playground outside of our daycare. It is located just one block away from the Petworth metro on Rock Creek Church Rd. and takes care of infants and toddlers up to age 3 or 4. I have attached a photo of the playground in its current state. Below is more information about what happened.”

Sunshine! Running! Playing!

These are what kids love and sadly, an unethical contractor for a playground at Ideal Child Development Center (NAYEC certified) has taken these simple things away from the kids. This contractor started the work, got paid for most of the project, and stopped the work without notice and has not been able to be reached for the last four months.

The estimates from other contractors to take over the playground project is $6,000 over the remaining budget for the playground. We are hoping to raise this amount to finish the playground.

About Us: Ideal has been providing quality childcare for baby and kids for 40 years in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC.

  • Kingman Park

    This looks like a job for Adam Carolla.

  • dat

    First, who is the contractor? You should name (and shame) them here.

    Second, have you made any attempt to pursue legal claims against this contractor?

  • Kelly

    I’m sorry, but it has to be said…who prepays a contractor for anything, let alone the bulk of the work? That is simply never the way it works. Any contractor who asks is either going to run with your money, or has such poor cash flow and management problems, that you don’t want to work with them anyway.

    Whats the name of the contractor?

    • also anon

      I thought it was pretty common to ask for some kind of deposit up to 50%? Is that not true? Asking as a recent home buyer who is considering getting some work done.

      • Kelly

        No, not at all. You never prepay for work and any contractor who asks isn’t going to be in business very long.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry but you are wrong. No contractor is going to start work without some kind of deposit. I have paid a 1/3 deposit to start work, with additional payments as work progressed. It’s not unreasonable for a contractor to ask for a deposit.

        • mmm

          many contractors require deposits, especially on large(ish) jobs such as this.

          I agree that legal action should be the first course of action here, but details are scant in this post (what proportion of the work was completed, what proportion was paid for, etc) so it is hard to really finger point. That said, the contractor should be outed and sued.

        • AnonV2

          It’s very common to expect some sort of payment upfront when a contract is signed, usually 1/3 (or 1/4). This typically goes towards materials for the project. Then 1/3 upon the completion of substantial work and the final 1/3 when all the finishing touches are complete. Never pay the full price up front, and I’m guessing that didn’t happen here (it sounds like some of the budgeted money is still there). Unethical people will do unethical things. If you have a legally binding contract and they are a licensed contractor you have recourse. If not then you’ll have a hard time recovering the money.

      • Krampus

        It is common to pay some money up front, though definitely not “most” of it.

      • textdoc

        With the major house-related projects I’ve had done, I generally had to pay a deposit of 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost in order for the contractor to begin work.
        .
        I don’t understand how this contractor “got paid for most of the project,” though. Half of it, maybe, but most of it?

        • textdoc

          I guess I should have stated that as “1/3 to 1/2.”

      • anonymous

        Its common for contractors to ask for all sorts of payment terms, but as the client you get to dictate what you will give them and if it doesn’t work you can always find a new contractor. Generally, beginning a job only requires permits & minor material costs which will be no where near 50% of a project, it shouldn’t even be 25% as others have mentioned. They really only need a few hundred to get started. My suggestion would be to create terms that will allow you to pay as the work is done based on a punch out list where certain milestones need to be hit and nothing is “prepaid”. You might also what to write something into the contract where they have to finish by a specified time or they knock off some $ from the price (they hate this, but it’s incentive to get the job done on time). Its too bad what happened to the poster here, though I’m sure it happens a lot :-( ……

    • RCS

      +1 – It doesn’t take away form the fact that it’s still awful to have happen to your business. Very expensive lesson learned.

    • dat

      How many projects have you actually done around here? 1/3 up front, 1/3 part way, and 1/3 on completion is pretty typical. Lots of “legit” contractors ask for even more. This is often negotiable. It is RARE to not pay anything until the end. I’ve worked with at least half a dozen different contractors on various project and the only instance where I paid entirely at the end was for < $500 work.

    • JS

      Yeah, no. You have to pay something to get a contractor to show up on the 1st day of work. Usually it’s between 1/5 to 1/3 of the total job cost upfront, payments at other contractually agreed-upon benchmarks, and the last payment due AFTER final walkthrough with the property owner.

    • anon

      Yeah, think of the children before paying the contractor too much up front!

  • Anon

    I’d want to hear more details about what happened before donating anything to this cause. Who was the contractor? Why not name him if he absconded with money?

  • 14th Street

    Ditto. This post requires a lot more explanation before I (or anyone who doesn’t independently have more information, I would think) should consider donating. This is a for-profit daycare center, correct?

    • Ward One Resident

      Not sure what being a “for profit” daycare center has to do with anything, but if you clicked on either link there is additional information about the daycare center which is NAYEC accredited (and that’s no joke, A LOT of work goes into that accreditation) as well as the fundraiser as well as a way to contact the person organizing the fundraiser. Seems like all the information you could possibly need to move forward should you choose to help out. Not everything is a scam.

      • sproc

        +1. As someone tangentially involved in child care program administration, NAYEC accreditation is the gold standard, for- or non-profit. Without knowing anything about Ideal, it’s automatic respect in my book.

      • 14th Street

        I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about the child care business, but I still say that the fact that this is a for-profit company, however impressively accredited, has plenty to do with the question of this fundraiser. I’m not saying it’s a scam per se, just that it boggles my mind why anyone would donate money to a private business without a clearer explanation of the circumstances. Of course folks are welcome to ask questions individually, but that fact that more information is not being proactively shared makes me suspicious, or at the very least puzzled.

        • Anonymous

          I get what you are saying. The same argument is made about raising money on Kickstarter for a project that will generate money for the person seeking financing but not money for any of the Kickstarter “investors.”
          I guess you could demand to see the books of this daycare center to see if it can afford to cover the rest of the costs itself; check out the contract to see what it says; ask for a written explanation of everything that happened up until the contractor walked off the job; demand to see all the communications between the daycare center and the contractor.
          Or you can just take it on faith that the money you give will be used to provide a playground for some cute kids – they are really cute kids; every time I see them in the neighborhood the attendants make them say “Good Morning!” – and just write a check.
          Your call. Either approach is reasonable.

          • dcd

            “Or you can just take it on faith that the money you give will be used to provide a playground for some cute kids – they are really cute kids; every time I see them in the neighborhood the attendants make them say “Good Morning!” – and just write a check.”
            .
            I think you meant to say, “Or you can just take it on faith that the money you give will be used to assist this for-profit enterprise in continuing to charge parents daycare services – and just write a check.”
            .
            Happy to help.

          • Worst argument ever. Seriously? Look at what you are saying – give money to cute kids and don’t ask questions? Let shady contractors steal from you because you’re stupid and your kids are cute? Anyone ever giving money to anyone should absolutely always demand to ” see the books!”

        • anon

          Why wouldn’t a daycare be for profit? I have 2 kids and they’ve been in several different day cares around DC and I can’t even tell you which ones were profit vs. nonprofit. Trust me, they aren’t making a ton of money here. It’s expensive to send kids, yes, but the cost of space, insurance, upkeep, salaries, and accreditation is really high. I don’t see any day care owners making a ton of money – especially if it’s a local neighborhood place, not a fancy federal center or a bright horizons.

      • 14th Street

        Oh, and yes, I clicked on the links before posting. You are not the only one who knows how to use the Internet. The fundraising page had no more info than was provided in the original post, and the info about the daycare center informed me that it was indeed a daycare center. Did you see anything else at these links of importance or interest to the current discussion?

        • Another Ideal Parent

          Just so folks are clear: I’m pretty sure this post and the fundraising page were written by a parent whose kid goes to Ideal Daycare, not Ideal Daycare itself. I’m clarifying this so people don’t think Ideal Daycare is responsible for the lack of information in this post, or for responding to questions in these threads. Hopefully the author of the posts will be here to provide additional information.

          And, for what it’s worth, my yearlong experience with Ideal Daycare has been overwhelmingly positive. If my wife and I have another kid, we are sending her to Ideal.

  • Petworth

    Can’t you file a claim against a bonded contractor?

  • Anonymous

    For those asking about legal action, I have a neighbor who has been in litigation with a contractor for almost a year. And if you win at the first level, the contractor can appeal. Sure you can, and should file a claim. But it won’t be resolved anytime soon.
    Everything should be done to make sure the contractor doesn’t get off scott free. I think the funding solicitation should make it clear that a claim is being pursued and that if there is a recovery, people who donated will be paid back from it.

  • say what

    Well this at least explains the site. I walk past it everyday to metro and I wondered what happened. I do think this is a combo of shady contractor and really poor management on the part of the daycare. A lot of people rave about this place though. We toured it and werent that excited about, especially the crappy outdoor spot. I agree with prevous posters that they need to 1) name the contractor and 2) file a formal complaint.

  • say what

    Well this at least explains the site. I walk past it everyday to metro and I wondered what happened. I do think this is a combo of shady contractor and really poor management on the part of the daycare. A lot of people rave about this place though. We toured it and werent that excited about, especially the crappy outdoor spot. I agree with prevous posters that they need to 1) name the contractor and 2) file a formal complaint.
    I also wouldnt give a dime to the fundraiser until the director of the daycare offers and actual explanation of how the contractor was selected, who signed off on the contract, was it a licensed contractor to begin with and how will they do a different job once they raise the 6k?

  • SomePeopleOnThisSiteSheesh

    Agree with what most have said–the lack of detail here speaks volumes. It doesn’t make me think that this is a scam, or anything like that, but it definitely makes me want to not donate any money until I learn more.

    • Another Ideal Parent

      I’m pretty sure this post and the fundraising page were written by a parent whose kid goes to Ideal Daycare, not the daycare itself. So Ideal Daycare is not responsible for the lack of information in this post, or for responding to questions in these threads. Hopefully the author of the posts will be here to provide additional information.

      And, for what it’s worth, my yearlong experience with Ideal Daycare has been overwhelmingly positive. If my wife and I have another kid, we are sending her to Ideal.

  • dcd

    What a Joker. I bet the contractor got on a big old Jet Airliner, Going to Mexico on a Journey From Eden. He may as well have said to the daycare center, Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ but Trash. I wish I could just say Abracadabra and get the money back.

  • Parent

    I’m a parent of a child at this daycare. This was a fundraiser we set up to help our center and I guess POP was kind enough to post this at the request of one of the parents. Please be aware, the center did NOT start this fundraiser, some parents did. Feel free to ignore it as you see fit.
    Please know this is a local business/businessowner that takes wonderful, loving care of many children from this community and simply made the mistake of trusting the wrong person for construction work. Let that be the only hit on them, not a trove of comments subsequently deriding the decision and unintentionally maligning the business. Again, this fundraiser was not set up by the center, it was done independently by some parents who had good intentions at heart. Thanks.

    • 14th Street

      Thank you, parent. That is very helpful information.

    • anon

      Thank you – I would be really upset if this happened to my kids’ daycare and would probably try to do the same thing. Sounds like a good, decent business got screwed over. I hope the legal recourse is successful. Good luck to you.

  • Yet Another Ideal Parent

    Ditto the above. I have 2 kids at Ideal, and I feel terrible for them. They were so excited to finally have the money to redo the playground. We’ve been talking to the Center about the details, and how to avoid this happening again. They trusted where they shouldn’t have, to be sure. I understand that some parents are going to steward the money raised by the fundraiser and help choose a new contractor to make sure the money is spent appropriately.

  • Parent of 2 at Ideal

    We have two kids at Ideal (our oldest since early 2013) and have nothing but wonderful things to say about Ideal and its Director. She is a diligent, hard-working, qualified, dedicated director, who works terribly hard every day to provide excellent and loving care to all the kids and to maintain the phenomenal achievement of NAEYC accreditation! The teachers and all staff there are also wonderful and very loving and hardworking. Some parents started the Fundly page to create a mechanism where our friends and family members who know us, know the center, and trust us could donate to help make up for this unfortunate theft. POP was kind enough to post. In response to the posting and increased awareness, some of the parents are creating an accountability / advisory group to be accountable to all the donors. Thanks to everyone for your support.

  • Public Space

    I would like to point out that some of the work was done in public space without a permit. The portion in front of the building line matches the property line, thus they illegally raised the “public parking” area, which is intended to be landscaped and could be required to remove all that concrete.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list