The folks we did this project for sent a letter with the check, informing me that they would stop payment if we didn't deliver on time. That's fine, because as far as I know our crew is on the job, doing what we contracted to do. Why we need permission to get paid I'm not sure.
This afternoon, just before the bank closed, I finally heard from the owner. "I was supposed to call you earlier," she said. It won't be credited until Monday, but you can trust that I raced to the bank to get that check out of my hands before she could change her mind.
Dealing with a private owner is different from dealing with the government. When the state hires us to do a job, we know we'll have to wait, but we'll get paid eventually.
This current job is for a homeowners' association. I've never dealt with one that wasn't flaky, in one way or another. Too many cooks, I guess, and nobody's quite sure who's the head chef, so a lot of stuff boils over. We've had a check held up because the executive director and the general manager disagreed over which one should sign it.
On the up side, we can usually write the contract so that we get a big deposit before the job even starts. This makes paying our crew and suppliers much easier. Contrast that with the state job we can't deliver because of snow. It's basically done, but they won't even consider paying us, even in the form of joint checks made out to our creditors.
No wonder we're always working on borrowed money. If this house of cards ever meets a stiff breeze, I could end up living in a refrigerator box under the Third Street overpass. That's the construction business, at least the way the Boss does it.