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-   -   Am I getting Duped? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/am-i-getting-duped-9439/)

tapout 06-26-2007 02:13 PM

Am I getting Duped?
 
Hi,

I am new to this forum but i've read several posts here and there's no question there are some seasoned veterans here. I really have a couple of really quick questions. In short though, I feel like I may be getting ripped off by a guy that was referred through a friend of mine to do some work.

He has only done a few things but the red flag is already coming up. He replaced a few of my doors -- the frames and surrounding area was rotted due to termites and the fact the wood was 30 years old. The place has since been tented and no signs of termites -- at any rate, he replaced the doors and frames and now has moved on to replacing some old and rusted windows. His prices were initially higher then I've checked but he does a great job and went through the entire sanding and painting process as well so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

The only other job now is to replace 3 sets of old windows with impact resistant windows that slide up and down. My current windows are "crank" and there are too many issues with the crank and other components, I thought the windows that slide up and down were the way to go.


I Don't want to get into a detailed story because nobody will care, I just want to provide as much info as possible. I guess getting straight to the questions, could someone please tell me what it would cost "approximately" to do 2 jobs.

1) Replace 3 sets of windows -- I don't have the exact size, but basically, each set of windows is maybe 3 feet by 3 feet, so a total of 9 feet wide and 9 feet long for the entire set. I've already purchased the windows -- this job includes removal of the old windows and then installation of the new windows. I know there are various areas that go into cost, I'm just trying to get an approximation for the actual "labor" involved and about how long something like this would take.

2) The 2nd job is basically removing a smaller set of windows in the bedroom and installing an impact resistant sliding glass set of doors. The wall is pure concrete so there would be the labor of knocking down the wall and/or cutting through it. The size of the area for the sliding glass doors is right around 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide -- So the wall would have to be cut to fit the doors and a frame installed, etc.

The price quote I got on #2 seems ridiculous to say the least -- so I am hoping someone could give an estimate so that I could compare. I know without picture and the exact sizes to the inch I can't get an exact quote, and I understand that completely. I'm not looking for an exact quote, I just think this guy's estimate is almost twice as high as the labor would be from most contractors for the very same job.

I'm thinking because I know he does great work and I didn't put up a huge fight on the door pricing because it wasn't that much higher then the other quotes I got he may now feel like he can dupe me. His quote for this installation job damn near floored me and I have a limited budget for this so if my hunch is right on this guy i'd rather just part ways right now.

any information regarding the estimates on pricing would be really helpful and greatly appreciated. If there's any other info I need to provide, please just let me know and i'll do so asap. Thanks a ton in advance. :thumbsup:

WNYcarpenter 06-26-2007 03:23 PM

I may be wrong, but I don't think many professionals here are going to give you a quote to compare...Do you have any experience hiring a carpenter to work on your home?

I'm speaking for myself, to use a rather overused cliche...you get what you pay for. You mentioned that your carpenter is satisfying your idea of workmanship. That's the most important thing. Take into account as you balance your check book....

punctuality, is work being done in a timely manner, are unforeseen problems affecting the anticipated cost, is the job site being kept clean with respect to your home, and is your carpenter acting in a professional manner? IMO each of these adds to or lessons the value of the work.

Again, I'm speaking for myself....it sounds like there has been some rot and costs involved that weren't expected. Perhaps the quote of phase 2 is meant to cover any problems that may occur now that your carpenter is more familiar with your home.

Sorry to drag this out, but I have an example....I'm a professional, and this has happened to me time and again, as well as my co-workers, and just about every tradesman I know. We're home owners too, and we have the same issues to deal with. The perks are that we do the work ourselves, and have better resources available to us....I'll be damned if every project I've done on my own home hasn't costed 1/3 more than what I anticipated.

Please don't be offended, pricing remodeling isn't like buying tires, or replacing your brake pads. Many contractors only work time and materials on projects like this.

That's my 2 cents

AtlanticWBConst. 06-26-2007 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tapout (Post 50516)
The price quote I got on #2 seems ridiculous to say the least -- so I am hoping someone could give an estimate so that I could compare. I know without picture and the exact sizes to the inch I can't get an exact quote, and I understand that completely.

Can't give you even a ballpark on something like that without seeing it in person. In the industry, we never qive quotes over the phone for removals and installs because there can be very little work involved, or ALOT of extensive work involved.

Quote:

Originally Posted by tapout (Post 50516)
....His quote for this installation job damn near floored me and I have a limited budget for this so if my hunch is right on this guy i'd rather just part ways right now.

If you have already accepted the quote and he is doing the work, or has finished it, then you have no choice but to pay him the amount that you agreed the job would be done for. (FWIW: If you are coming on this forum in order to find some kind of justification - to go back and tell him that you don't want to pay him the full amount for the job - DON"T DO IT).

His additional charges may be justifiable....or they may be high. If it sounds high (you said you were floored) then get some other quotes for the work.....

tapout 06-26-2007 04:29 PM

firstly, thank you for the reply. Let me clarify, because my post has been clearly misconstrued. First, no, the window work has NOT been done, and I am NOT trying to get any justification for anything. The only work done was replacing some doors and the job was done great, but after the fact I was told by a couple of contractors the job should of been about $800-1k for the work that was done, that was what they would charge and they had been doing this type of thing over 20 years. This guy charged me $1,200 for this and he game me a range we discussed prior to the work. When it was done he came in at the highest figure.

I didn't sign a contract to the penny so that was my fault and again, I was happy with the work. But to clarify, at this point I think this guy thinks he can just throw whatever price he wants out there and i'm gonna bite. I'm far from loaded and I have a budget for these jobs. Basically, this guy said to knock down this wall in my bedroom and install these sliding glass doors his labor charge would be $4,500. I immediately jerked when he said that because I am no contractor but that just didn't come anywhere near my common sense figure for something like this.

I do work with a couple of guys that have done similiar jobs and they say that a job like this shouldn't be more then $1,500-$2,000, but again, couldn't give an exact figure without seeing the job. I'm not trying to get any "EXACT" figure, I was just curious as to if this guy's number is absurd.


To just reiterate, the job is basically knocking down and cutting a concrete
wall to fit a sliding glass door. Is there anyone that can give a ballpark figure of a "LOW END" estimate for a job like this, as well as a "high end" estimate should problems be encountered?

I guess if someone says that a job like this "even with a few hitches" shoudln't be more then such and such, I can gather if this is ridiculous or not.


To sum it up, if you had a family member or friend tell you that they had a concrete wall knocked down the size of about 8 feet by 6 feet to install a sliding glass door and they paid nearly 5 grand for the labor alone, would that raise any eyebrows or would that seem "normal?"

Hopefully someone will let me know. If worst comes to worst I'll get quotes from contractors from Home Depot and i'll know then, I just feel like there are people much more seasoned here so I thought i'd ask.

Thanks again for any info or help with this.

AtlanticWBConst. 06-26-2007 04:43 PM

OK,

Based on your description...
For an area that size of concrete, the cost to get it professionally cut out is about $650 to $700 +/- (with you breaking up the conrete and you disposing of it).

Installing a slider in the area and finishing it off. 2 guys, almost no over head: $600.00 labor
Anderson type slider: Lots of parts to assemble: up to $700.00

Company with some overhead: Whole ''kit and kaboodle'': $2500.00 + $200.00 + to get rid of your concrete = $2600.00 ballpark...

If that is what you have described. I personlly wouldn't even be able to look in a home owner's eyes and say $4000.00 -$5000.00.

Sometimes, there are guys that are intimidated by the whole job and have not done it before, so they price it into the stratosphere. Or they don't really want to do the job, but will do it if they can make a "Killing"...

Get other prices...

Clutchcargo 06-26-2007 05:11 PM

Maybe the contractor just doesn't want to do the job, but he can be convinced to do it for $X.

tapout 06-26-2007 05:14 PM

"Atlantic" thank you very much for your reply #1 and your specific breakdown, more importantly. LIke I said, I wasn't sure what this was going to cost, but I think sometimes you just have a common sense switch that kind of gives you an estimate in your own. I've always had common sense and it's usually pretty accurate. Still, even with that, I wanted to ask someone like yourself who has professional experience.

Your breakdown was detailed and I appreciate it. This is for the best because as I mentioned, it isn't the fact that I just "felt" like that was crazy, it's for the best because i'll take your advice and get other quotes and just part ways with this guy. I didn't give other minor details with how his character is which also raised a red flag with a couple of other issues that came into question. Now i'll just get other quotes and check for people with many years of experience and who I feel comfortable with.

I do have one last quick question for you, if you don't mind. About how many man hours/labor hours do you think a job like this would take for 1 person themself or for 2 people? Obviously 2 people would get the job done a lot faster, but i'm just curious as to how many labor hours someone like yourself could do this job in if you were just doing it on your own with your own tools, and how much faster it would take if you had a partner working with you?

ONce again, you've been a huge help already and I really do appreciate it!

AtlanticWBConst. 06-26-2007 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tapout (Post 50539)
"Atlantic" thank you very much for your reply #1 and your specific breakdown, more importantly. LIke I said, I wasn't sure what this was going to cost, but I think sometimes you just have a common sense switch that kind of gives you an estimate in your own. I've always had common sense and it's usually pretty accurate. Still, even with that, I wanted to ask someone like yourself who has professional experience.

Your breakdown was detailed and I appreciate it. This is for the best because as I mentioned, it isn't the fact that I just "felt" like that was crazy, it's for the best because i'll take your advice and get other quotes and just part ways with this guy. I didn't give other minor details with how his character is which also raised a red flag with a couple of other issues that came into question. Now i'll just get other quotes and check for people with many years of experience and who I feel comfortable with.

I do have one last quick question for you, if you don't mind. About how many man hours/labor hours do you think a job like this would take for 1 person themself or for 2 people? Obviously 2 people would get the job done a lot faster, but i'm just curious as to how many labor hours someone like yourself could do this job in if you were just doing it on your own with your own tools, and how much faster it would take if you had a partner working with you?

ONce again, you've been a huge help already and I really do appreciate it!

Honestly, this is not a difficult job. The only specialty factor is the cutting of the concrete.
If, I were you, I'd just find the guys to do the install of the door (if you are not willing to take it on yourself). Then find and hire a company directly to do the concrete cutting. Just try to schedule it so that the concrete cutting is done in the morning - 1st thing. The door should be onsite. Then have the guys come in and install it behind the concrete guy.

To Do:

1.) Find a concrete cutting company. Get prices & exact work description. Save money breaking up the slab yourself and it's disposal (if possible). You could rent a jack hammer or demolition hammer for the day, to do it.

2.) Make sure that you or the guys you hire come over and mark the proper door opening dimensions (R.O.) on the concrete for the cutting guy.

$$ Savings = HUGE....

3.) Go into business for yourself :wink:

tapout 06-27-2007 11:33 AM

"Atlantic"


thanks again man. Excellent advise as well. Unfortunately, one thing I
don't think I have the patience "or skill" for is construction/home repair, etc. I'd prefer a specialist. It's not that I "can't" do it. It's like a car. Sure, i've learned how to repair certain things over the years, but for the most part, that takes a lot of time and there's always a steep learning curve which only time will help reduce. I definitely have skills, just not in those areas. :no:


I'm a jack of many trades, but definitely not a jack of all trades. I would rather leave these types of jobs up to someone that is seasoned and professional and feel comfortable and at ease doing so. At any rate, thank you very much for all your help and advice -- as well as the detailed break-downs. Thank you.

mt232 06-27-2007 02:46 PM

HOMEOWNERS VIEWPOINT

50% more for the job just completed sounds high, but stated as 200-400.00 more, sounds like another day or two to finish it right = well worth it

on the big job, is he still 50% more than others, or 200-600.00 more?

I don't hire proffessionals often because I can't afford to, I just hired a cheap one and now I'm paying for it. I respect the business, and in the future will try to hire the right guy over the cheap guy.

Joe Carola 06-27-2007 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. (Post 50534)
OK,

Based on your description...
For an area that size of concrete, the cost to get it professionally cut out is about $650 to $700 +/- (with you breaking up the conrete and you disposing of it).

Installing a slider in the area and finishing it off. 2 guys, almost no over head: $600.00 labor
Anderson type slider: Lots of parts to assemble: up to $700.00

Company with some overhead: Whole ''kit and kaboodle'': $2500.00 + $200.00 + to get rid of your concrete = $2600.00 ballpark...

If that is what you have described. I personlly wouldn't even be able to look in a home owner's eyes and say $4000.00 -$5000.00.

Sometimes, there are guys that are intimidated by the whole job and have not done it before, so they price it into the stratosphere. Or they don't really want to do the job, but will do it if they can make a "Killing"...

Get other prices...

Where's the cost of the concrete lentil, header, or steel above the 8' opening once you cut out the concrete wall? Where's the labor for supporting the floor joists/ceiling/rafters or whatever is above this 8' opening?

send_it_all 06-27-2007 11:38 PM

throw a heel hook on him...until he drops 30% off his price.
(a little tapout humor)

jproffer 06-27-2007 11:54 PM

Quote:

If worst comes to worst I'll get quotes from contractors from Home Depot and i'll know then
Yea then you'll know beyond any doubt what the price should be...:no:

HD or Blowes prices are not at all indicative of what a price "should be", if there is any such thing as "should be". The big bixes tend to strong-arm their subs into taking less $$ for a job so that they (the big box) can price the job for less and get the job.

That's all good...to each their own...everyone has their own free will, as do the subs have the free will to tell the big box to stick it up their a$$...but some of them won't..or can't because that's the only work they have going. So they take the job...for the slashed price, just to be doing something rather than nothing.

Well guess how long it takes to realize you're making about $10 an hour and slip into the "why should I give a $#i+" mode. Quality goes down, prices were already down. The industry as a whole suffers, and HO's start complaining about the poor quality job they got, and start to assume that all contractors would have done it the same way, when in reality, any good contractor would have charged double or triple what the big box charged...and been worth every penny.

Rant over, thank you for listening:thumbsup:

btw, no this is not a personal (non)success story, just my views on how the quality of jobs done by the big boxes gets to such a low level.

AtlanticWBConst. 06-28-2007 06:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Carola (Post 50713)
Where's the cost of the concrete lentil, header, or steel above the 8' opening once you cut out the concrete wall? Where's the labor for supporting the floor joists/ceiling/rafters or whatever is above this 8' opening?

Joe's absolutely right.

However, we are talking labor. Remember that the poster is talking about the costs of labor only.

....Anyhow, I don't know what I was thinking: We did 3 of these on a basment just last year. I had a pretty severely damaged hand (smashed by transporting the lintels in my truck - load shifted - all healed up now - thank goodness, I almost lost part of a finger and thumb, but at least my truck is ok :wink: ).

It would actually be a steel lintel (if the area were cut out with concrete left at the header location (Lintel jack supported: triple 2x8's on each side with 2x8 PT layer on the concrete). We opted for the regular steel as opposed to Stainkle$$ and primed it ourselves (for 2 of the openings).
The third, we had the concrete cut straight up to the bottom plate (After setting up temp supports to hold the floor joists) and then installed an appropriate header (LVL)

As far as the header and framing goes, yeah, that's extra work, setting up the temp supports, installing a lintel with supports (or header arrangement): 3 - 4 hours tops. That still does not equate to a total labor cost of $4500.00 in my book.

For labor only: $3000 to $3200 (ballpark).

BTW: That also makes this job a Permit required project (structural)

Joe Carola 06-28-2007 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. (Post 50726)
Joe's absolutely right.

However, we are talking labor. Remember that the poster is talking about the costs of labor only.

....Anyhow, I don't know what I was thinking: We did 3 of these on a basment just last year. I had a pretty severely damaged hand (smashed by transporting the lintels in my truck - load shifted - all healed up now - thank goodness, I almost lost part of a finger and thumb, but at least my truck is ok :wink: ).

It would actually be a steel lintel (if the area were cut out with concrete left at the header location (Lintel jack supported: triple 2x8's on each side with 2x8 PT layer on the concrete). We opted for the regular steel as opposed to Stainkle$$ and primed it ourselves (for 2 of the openings).
The third, we had the concrete cut straight up to the bottom plate (After setting up temp supports to hold the floor joists) and then installed an appropriate header (LVL)

As far as the header and framing goes, yeah, that's extra work, setting up the temp supports, installing a lintel with supports (or header arrangement): 3 - 4 hours tops. That still does not equate to a total labor cost of $4500.00 in my book.

For labor only: $3000 to $3200 (ballpark).

BTW: That also makes this job a Permit required project (structural)

Atlantic,

What about framing around the cut out with 2x's and then trimming the inside of the door with casings or whatever trim he has, and finishing off the cuts made and lentel put in on the concrete on the inside and outside and patching in the the concrete on the outside with stucco/paint or whatever the finish is?

Is there furring strips and sheetrock on the inside of the concrete wall, or is it just concrete and painted?


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