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Old 05-22-2014, 12:38 PM   #16
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


That is a lovely deck, but I don't know that it's $5k lovely...especially if the starting price was only $2k, plus materials...then again, I'm not a contractor, and my carpentry skills are amateur at best.

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Old 05-22-2014, 12:48 PM   #17
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


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Old 05-22-2014, 12:53 PM   #18
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


That is how this happens.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:03 PM   #19
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


Whether or not a contractor is entitled to additional money at the end of a project is entirely a function of the way the contract is written. Unfortunately, homeowner contracts are often short form, rarely cover complex issues such as change orders adequately, and often do not even fully describe the scope of work.

Even in the commercial/industrial world I live in, disputes over extra compensation are common, in fact I can't remember a project I have worked on where there wasn't at least one request for extra compensation by the contractor. The difference between commercial projects and residential projects is that the contracts for commercial jobs are typically very thorough, are reviewed by an attorney on both sides, and are typically based on well developed model contracts where the meaning of all the words has been carefully thought out, the scope is usually pretty clear, and the commercial terms and conditions have been litigated to death, so both sides usually know pretty well what they are in for. Even so, disputes over costs are common.

There are many potential legitimate reasons why a commercial contractor may be entitled to extra money, even on a "fixed price" or lump sum contract. For example, if the Owner requests additional services, that is always grounds for extra compensation. If differing site conditions are encountered that requires extra time or materials, extra compensation is usually in order. If there is an increase in cost of commodities such as fuel or copper, that may be legitimate grounds for cost increase. Acts of God such as flood, fire, tornado, earthquake etc. that damage equipment or make the site inaccessible may be grounds for increased cost. Force Majeure (this means actions that impact a project beyond the control of the contractor such as a strike delaying shipment of equipment or materials) may be grounds for extra compensation. There are many other possible reasons for legitimate extra costs, for example defective plans, material shortage, defective specifications, inconsistency between plans and specs, and a variety of less common issues.

The point of all this is that without reading and understanding the contract, it is impossible to make any meaningful statement about whether a contractor is entitled to additional compensation on any project. The problem is made worse if the contract is incomplete, poorly worded, difficult to understand, or unusual.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:03 PM   #20
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


I can sympathize with both sides on this. If I was to tell someone I would do the job for $2K then I would do it for that. If I take a savage beating then it is money (poorly) spent on education. If I was the home owner I would feel bad for the guy and may be tempted to give a little more. But in the end the neighborhood handyman screwed the pooch and needs to take his lumps.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:16 PM   #21
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


You are dealing with a handyman, not necessarily a seasoned, licensed tradesman with business savy. The difference is with the latter the owner would have known what price changes they were in for before the last nail was hammered home and it was time to settle up. Each time something unexpected would have happened work would have stopped and not started again until new charges were agreed to. And a contract would have been signed at the onset saying home owner must eat any extra charges related to more labor and materials due to factors the builder could not have seen at the time of the estimate and which he could not be held responsible for.

With the former, well, you get what you paid for. Which is, a guy who hits a water line and underestimates his price by 150%.

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Old 05-22-2014, 03:59 PM   #22
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


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What is T&M? I'll have to ask about that and the agreement.
T&M is Time and materials. it is also the three card monte of the contractors game. I could say it will cost X and then hand you a bill that says Y. Were as I like to deal with people up front and say this is how much it cost for materials This is how much I charge and hour I should be done in this amount of time barring any unforeseen problems. if any excavating is to be done I have the Home owner get all electrical water gas and sewer and any other buried utility marked three days before work starts. Then if I hit a water pipe or anything it is on the home owner and the utility company. and I charge for the extra hours I had to work. I do this all in writing. If my stuff breaks down I don't charge for the extra time if I go over the time I said and it is my fault I give them a 10% discount. If it is the HO that caused me to go over I charge accordingly.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:45 PM   #23
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


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T&M is Time and materials. it is also the three card monte of the contractors game. I could say it will cost X and then hand you a bill that says Y. Were as I like to deal with people up front and say this is how much it cost for materials This is how much I charge and hour I should be done in this amount of time barring any unforeseen problems. if any excavating is to be done I have the Home owner get all electrical water gas and sewer and any other buried utility marked three days before work starts. Then if I hit a water pipe or anything it is on the home owner and the utility company. and I charge for the extra hours I had to work. I do this all in writing. If my stuff breaks down I don't charge for the extra time if I go over the time I said and it is my fault I give them a 10% discount. If it is the HO that caused me to go over I charge accordingly.
I agree with you in essence haveing an agreement/understanding/informal contract with your customer.

I don't think TnM is any three card monty though.... it is merely an arrangement with the risks inherent in estimateng is borne by the customer.... either savings or costs.

When my son was late high school/early college, he started building decks in my area. We'd do a takeoff estimate, and Mike would offer the customer a TnM contract, or a fixed price at our estimate+25%.

The customer could bear the risks, or pay more and Mike would bear the risks.

(Now I'm sure there are both "three card monty" fixed price and TnM contractors. One pads time and material... one cheaps on quality)

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Old 05-22-2014, 06:51 PM   #24
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


all of my contracts...on plumbing, heating, remodeling, state any exrta cost to the contract labor or material will not be performed until a written order signed my me and the home owner is in place
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:37 PM   #25
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


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all of my contracts...on plumbing, heating, remodeling, state any exrta cost to the contract labor or material will not be performed until a written order signed my me and the home owner is in place
Well written contract.... goes back to the very basic... what was the agreement between the HO and the handyman.


(Incidentally, and of no consequence to the issue, that deck (from the pics) looked nicely constructed, maybe 20+ by 12+, and $5K labor, depending on design, materials list, and odds ends provided by handyman, seems a fair price)
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:19 PM   #26
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


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all of my contracts...on plumbing, heating, remodeling, state any exrta cost to the contract labor or material will not be performed until a written order signed my me and the home owner is in place
Amen! I have beat out more Contractors when I spell out how much it will cost. and explane to them what T&M can do to them. I usealy get the job. An have it done a head of schedule and the customer is happy.

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Old 05-23-2014, 04:40 AM   #27
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


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Neighbor had a deck built by the neighborhood handyman guy. He was working alone, took him about 3 weeks. I know he hit an underground drain pipe, so that took some extra time. I believe the initial labor quote was $2,000 (which seems pretty cheap to me). About the time the deck was wrapping up, he said it took longer than he planned and ran into some things, and wanted another $3K. I think they said they were going to split the difference with him, but I haven't had a chance to talk to them yet to get the rest of the story.

What is the right way to handle this, on both sides? Should the contractor let the homeowner know at the point when he 'runs out of hours for the money' or what?

Just took me by surprise. Wondered how common that was.


Good chance the handyman was asked what an average deck would cost, and he shot them a number from a description they gave. Then when deciding on what they wanted their deck to look like, and how well constructed. The amount of work changed. And the handyman failed to let them know it was more work then they originally discussed. Perhaps even thought he might be able to do it in the same amount of labor hours.

Unfortunately, none of us were at the meeting when the price and time line was discussed, so we can only speculate.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:58 AM   #28
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


my only problem with this case....did the handyman just spring it on the homeowner at the end of the job, with no discussion of extra cost during the install. most if not all of us would know when we are at the cost we bid a job at and if its going to run over...IF IT WILL RUN EXTRA...WE SHOULD DISSCUSS IT WITH HOMEOWNER...NO EXCUSES.... THAT IS A FAIR BUSINESS PRACTICE ...FOR THOSE WHO DON'T THINK SO...LOOK IT UP WITH THE BBB.
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Old 05-23-2014, 07:14 AM   #29
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


communication....communication....communication... ...only jobs i ever had problems with over the 40 yrs of doing business....the ones where we lacked communication with homeowner.........moral of the story...talk to your customers ...
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:37 PM   #30
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How common is it for a contractor to ask for more money at the end of a job?


Always communicate with either the contractor or the home owner if your the contractor. I always talked with the HO if there is a problem that will increase cost. Failure to do that makes one a hack! and to put all the risk on the home owner with T&M makes one a hack. If you don't know how many man hours it will take to do the job and how much the materials will cost, and to do a T&M because of it shows the ineptness of the contractor.

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