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Contractors should treat a contract that contains the phrase "time is of the essence" as if it were a package from the Unabomber: Examine it with great care and suspicion, because it might blow up in your face. In a contract with a "time is of the essence" clause, the completion date is so important to the customer's needs that if the contract is not completed on time, the work is practically worthless and the customer does not have to pay for it. "Time is of the essence" language means that the contractor's failure to finish on time is so damaging to the customer that the contractor might as well not have bothered starting. For example, every