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Old 09-25-2008, 10:49 AM   #1
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


I hired a contractor to do the framing on a garage conversion. I detailed the work, he gave me an estimate, I accepted. Once the job got started, some things began to change from the original estimate. Mainly:

(1) When he came onsite the first day, and began giving the job some serious thought, he made some recommendations that seemed very logical. The major one being instead of 10' foot cielings, move the floor up a foot, giving me a crawl space, and making the room look less like a dungeon. It also meant that he did not have to cut the foundation block as originally priced. A few hours saved.

(2) His estimate included him assembling and installing a double-window. I happened to get a deal at the local lumber yard where they joined the windows together for like $40. So now the contractor simply has to place into the frame. An hour or so saved.

(3) I also noticed some reasonable shortcuts he has taken. For instance, rather than buying a new header board for a patio door, he was able to take the header from the old garage door frame and cut to size. A few dollars saved.

So what normally happens when a job comes in BELOW the original estimate due to changes we both agreed on? Does he pass that savings along to me, or does he pocket as profit?

Thanks,

Chris

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Old 09-25-2008, 11:11 AM   #2
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


Unless it's turnkey or priced per square foot at a fixed dollar amount (and you didn't add things that cost money and time) I would expect the price to come in lower. I consider all estimates the highest the job will cost if I don't change anything that would add cost or something unknown comes up such as a boulder that needs blasting for a basement, etc. Almost all the time, the final price is lower. Most contractors over estimate just in case to cover things they may have overlooked. Sometimes they underestimate and eat the cost.

I had a framer forget to calculate the glue and tyvek in his price but included it on the quote under the details. He ate the cost even though I offered to allow him to adjust the price accordingly. That's why I use him on all my jobs. He's honest and does excellent work.

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Old 09-25-2008, 11:23 AM   #3
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


IMO, you accepted a bid for $XXX. If the contractor comes in under he makes more money, if he comes in over he loses money. Lets say things the contractor uses cost more than he thought, would you pay for his mistake?
All said the changes took up what a full day? That is very little money to worry about. My 2 cents
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:29 AM   #4
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


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IMO, you accepted a bid for $XXX. If the contractor comes in under he makes more money, if he comes in over he loses money. Lets say things the contractor uses cost more than he thought, would you pay for his mistake?
All said the changes took up what a full day? That is very little money to worry about. My 2 cents
I couldn't agree more. You're nickeling and diming this to death. If you're unhappy with the work, address it with him. But if he bid the job satisfactorily, and the job is done for the bid amount, good for all involved.

Sounds to me like he did you a heck of a favor in addressing the crawlspace issue.

This is why I don't do too many side jobs anymore. People don't think that contractors have the right to make profit off them.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:22 PM   #5
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


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Lets say things the contractor uses cost more than he thought, would you pay for his mistake?
I'm not talking about mistakes, as much as changes. If I made a change, that resulted in MORE work, I would expect him to charge me MORE. This is common, right? Customer changes his mind, adds more work, and the customer gets billed more at the end.

At the same time, if I made a change that resulted in LESS work, then I would expect him to charge me LESS. I think it should go both ways.

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All said the changes took up what a full day? That is very little money to worry about. My 2 cents
You are correct. Which is why I am debating this online, and not to my contractor. Fact is, I am am grateful he gave me advice as I am getting a better result.

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Old 09-25-2008, 01:30 PM   #6
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


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Fact is, I am am grateful he gave me advice as I am getting a better result.

Thanks
Think of the slight cost difference as a tip for the contractor. He could have kept his mouth shut and did exactly as you initially wanted, not the better result.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:56 PM   #7
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


What part of this deals with doing it yourself?
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:07 PM   #8
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


Your contractor came up with ideas and cost savings and gave you a better job (no dungeon).

If the tables were reversed, would you offer to pay more even with an agreed price.

You were lucky to have a good contractor you could work with and give you what you wanted (or better) for what you expected to pay. - Why question?
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:13 PM   #9
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


wrldruler,

If this is the old grouchy contractor void of people skills that gave you the good numbers just the way you wanted them.... is handling the permit inspections as needed.... I suggest you be very careful how how you bring up the subject of a discount.

Good old pros have a way of making it look easy, they have been there done that and can get you where you want to be... faster with less cost.

This knowledge came at a price. The costs to him include hard knocks, paid for mistakes, long hours, time away from family, and painful blisters & callouses...etc....

I won't accept a completion date penalty clause unless an equal bonus is offered for early completion. Fair is Fair.

PS. There are some jerk contractors out there that make it look harder than it is and pump up change orders just to make a buck.

Last edited by Big Bob; 09-25-2008 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 09-26-2008, 12:48 PM   #10
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If this is the old grouchy contractor void of people skills that gave you the good numbers just the way you wanted them.
Had no idea you guys knew each other. Old, grouchy, bordering on "a-hole". But came highly recommended and does excellent work. He's been doing it for 30-40 years.

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I suggest you be very careful how how you bring up the subject of a discount.
Yes, he scares me a bit. Hence the reason I am asking you guys.

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This knowledge came at a price. The costs to him include hard knocks, paid for mistakes, long hours, time away from family, and painful blisters & callouses...etc....
I think he just cut some of his left thumb off. Literally. Came in all bandaged, said he didn't move it out of the way fast enough, but won't tell me any details.

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is handling the permit inspections as needed.
Actually, this is the only problem I've had with him. He's so old school he doesn't believe in "the man" and his permit process. Just paperwork to slow him down. He told me not to pull a permit, and got started on the job without one. I have since done the research (including the Permit sticky thread on this forum), and I am pulling a permit anyway, against his advice.

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 09-26-2008, 01:59 PM   #11
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1610 CUB View Post
IMO, you accepted a bid for $XXX. If the contractor comes in under he makes more money, if he comes in over he loses money. Lets say things the contractor uses cost more than he thought, would you pay for his mistake?
All said the changes took up what a full day? That is very little money to worry about. My 2 cents
I agree, the price you agreed to is "the price". If your contractor gave you a price and then found that the material had gone up in price since the last time he bought you would expect him to eat that extra cost. In my experience the price the contractor gives you is the real price. Not an inflated price with "just in cases" added in. They can't do that nowadays there are too many hacks out there waiting to underbid them and too many cheapskates willing to keep the hacks in business. If your contractor is doing a good quality job for you then stop looking for breaks in his price. He has to feed his family also!!!!
By the way great site
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Old 09-26-2008, 05:09 PM   #12
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


Now I'm lost . Was it this guy...?

"Follow-up: I think I finally found a guy willing to do only a chunk of the work. References say he is reliable and does superb work. He is the opposite of the fast-talking, charmer GCs that came before him. He's actually grumpy, has no people skills, and barely said 10 words while he was there.

Add block out front, frame, install two customer-supplied windows. Cut block in back, frame, install customer-supplied sliding door. All inside framing and floor framing. Rebuild entry stairs. $4,800. I've been told by others that this is a reasonable price.

Thanks for your advice,
Chris"

Where are the "Carpenters" ????

J
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:00 PM   #13
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


Yes, that's the man.


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Now I'm lost . Was it this guy...?

"Follow-up: I think I finally found a guy willing to do only a chunk of the work. References say he is reliable and does superb work. He is the opposite of the fast-talking, charmer GCs that came before him. He's actually grumpy, has no people skills, and barely said 10 words while he was there.

Add block out front, frame, install two customer-supplied windows. Cut block in back, frame, install customer-supplied sliding door. All inside framing and floor framing. Rebuild entry stairs. $4,800. I've been told by others that this is a reasonable price.

Thanks for your advice,
Chris"

Where are the "Carpenters" ????

J
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:49 PM   #14
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Contractors when job UNDER estimate


Thanks Chris, hope it works out satisfactorily for you.

J

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