I needed a variety of yard work done around my house. I found a contractor and scheduled him to come out and give an estimate. He did not show up on time to give the estimate. However, that is typical in the business. However, I did try to contact him a few times, with no response. I was not happy and started looking for another contractor. He did show up several hours later and gave me an estimate. We ended up agreeing on a price and scheduled the work to be done 5 or 6 days later at an unscheduled time on Sunday. He said it would be "after Church." Sunday came and I tried texting him a few times with no response. He was a no show. While at work Monday, I started looking for another contractor. When I arrived home from work, I saw that all the work had been done in my absence. He did not contact me in any way, just left a bill in my door. He did everything requested and did a good - not great - job. If I had been there, I would have had him touch up a few areas. However, I was satisfied with what was done and mailed him a check.

However, I was wondering what would have happened if I didnt want him to do the work. Verbally, we said Sunday. Can he just show up Monday and do the job without my permission? I wouldnt think so. Im in Virginia, if that makes a difference.

  • If "time was of importance" it should say that in your agreement to do the work, ie: "All work shall be performed on Sunday, Sept 16, 2018 between the hours of X andY and shall be inspected prior to contractor leaving". You don't have to be that specific, but if you wanted it done at a specific time it should say that somewhere. This is where a written contract can be useful. – Ron Beyer Sep 19 '18 at 21:09

I was wondering what would have happened if I didnt want him to do the work. Verbally, we said Sunday. Can he just show up Monday and do the job without my permission?

Your contract or amendment thereof --whether verbal or, preferably, in writing-- would have to include some statement from which the contractor would know that a delay (1) voids the contract, or otherwise (2) extinguishes the purpose of the requested work.

Absent any such clause or notice, the parties' conduct and other circumstances determine who would prevail under contract law and to what extent. For instance, had you made a non-refundable deposit to contractor B as a result of contractor A's no-show, you would be entitled to deduct that deposit [the one you made to B] from A's invoice.

Another type of circumstances is where the work's reason of being provably ceases to exist by the time the belated work was performed. For instance, the belated work on the yard might not have to be paid for if it can be proved that the yard work was needed for no reason other than a TV interview that was scheduled to occur (and already occurred) right there.

The previous example is admittedly weak or controversial because the contractor can argue that the yard work still provides utility to the customer. A better example to illustrate the point made above is a wedding cake which is delivered after most of the guests to the wedding have left. That delay extinguishes the contract's reason of being, whence the contractor might not be entitled to payment.

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Absent an explicit term of the contract, parties must discharge their obligations within a reasonable time.

The failure of the contractor to show up on Sunday is not a breach of the contract - his statement that he would do it on Sunday "after church" is not a term of the contract, it is a statement of intent. In the context of a gardening contract, a delay of a week or more is starting to look unreasonable as this is the sort of period where maintaining a garden needs to be carried out. However, if your garden was heavily overgrown and the contract was to bring a "wild" garden under control, a longer period may still be reasonable.

As such, you do not have the right to terminate the contract. If you did repudiate the contract, he could sue for damages.

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