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How does a verbal agreement , not written contract, hold up when it costs more to do the job in the end?

OklahomaMechanics Lien

I am a landscape contractor. I did a job without a contract, just verbal agreement. The agreement was to do the job for $8500 and lighting for $1000. I know I told him it would be hard to have much lighting for $1000. I did tell him I do not bid jobs of the unknown problems. I am sure he heard what he wanted to hear. But that I thought I could do it for $8500. At the first day or two of the job, we encountered difficulties that I knew would make it hard to get thing done within $8500. I did not mention anything at that time about how many hours we worked. We continued on the job. And the cost was about $5330. But the labor ran us over 162 hours and that tallies more than $8500. Then the lighting materials were about $1000. But the installation cost more. Near the end the client ask for some trees. I take his wife to my wholesale nursery and we buy $1735 worth of trees. I never talked about landscape stock until this late in the job . We have to move these trees with a bob cat and tree carts . We even transplant a tree . And need soil, compost , fertilizer and mulch. He sent a certified check for $8500 and another $1735 stating trees and landscape paid in full. However , the materials alone cost me more. I can’t even cover the cost of material s and labor. I am in debt $10000. Should I file a mechanic’s lien with success of getting enough money to recover?

2 replies

Aug 2, 2022
First of all, you should always put a contract in writing. I don't think you can successfully file a mechanic's lien on a verbal contract.
Aug 2, 2022

I have taken two verbal contracts to civil jury trial and won: it can be done. The key is whether there is any evidence of what was in your agreement. On one hand, we know there was an agreement because you did work and they gave you money. On the other hand, we don't know if there is any witness or record of the terms of your agreement. If you have witnesses to the handshake deal, you might be able to get somewhere. There are legal claims you could make, but you definitely have an uphill battle if you don't have any witnesses or other evidence of your agreement.


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