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Old 09-15-2010, 10:10 PM   #1
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Contractor's charges


I'm adding on to an existing home. My contractor and his crew are charging by the hour plus material. I don't have a problem with this. When I looked over the receipts I noticed charges for drill bits, saw blades, blue tape, a key hole drill kit, and other items that I don't agree with. I don't mind paying for items that stay on the job or are part of the construction. Is this common practice for someone doing work, labor plus material?

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Old 09-15-2010, 10:25 PM   #2
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Expendables like saw blades and tape, yes. Drill bits, not so much as they often get little use and become something the contractor will add to his toolbox.

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Old 09-16-2010, 07:02 AM   #3
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Typically,If it is used on the job and is expendable,you pay.

This is one reason that contractors usually bid a job--complete--

Will you be upset when you see a bill for a dumpster? You sure won't be able to keep that--

How about rentals for heavy equipment like scaffolding,jack hammer or other items that will not remain on the job.

I've actually had a customer not want to pay to have materials delivered to the job--Can you imagine that? Then they assumed that I would pick them up without charging for my time and gas and overhead---

Hard to believe,I know, but these things happen.
I once had a customer argue when they were billed 24 hours for drawing plans and applying for the permit---I had suggested an engineer to do the drawings but the asked me to do it---


These are all reasons to get a firm quote on a job--and a contract,spelling out what the contractor is to do--what you are to provide--and a pay-out schedule that is fair to you and the contractor.


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Old 09-16-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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Contractor's charges


And if some of you should happen to be having a contractor do a job at a "turn-key" (complete) price, please don't get too attached to everything you see on the job site. You paid for a job to be done, not for each piece of material you saw on site.

For instance, blocks, plywood and drywall (among other things). Most of these are usually ordered with the anticipation of breakage or excess waste due to odd cuts. That means the contractor may have more pieces delivered than he uses. This makes good economic and business sense. If there is a need for a little extra, it's already there, and no one has to wait for more deliveries.

Many times excess materials not used will be returned for credit... or loaded up and taken back to either the contractor's warehouse or to another job. As hard as it is for some homeowners to understand and accept, it is not your material. The contractor paid for it, and it belongs to him. You paid for a finished job at a pre-agreed upon price. And you got that job. That is all you paid for. And you got everything you paid for.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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Contractor's charges


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Originally Posted by chicken lad View Post
When I looked over the receipts I noticed charges for drill bits, saw blades, blue tape, a key hole drill kit, and other items that I don't agree with. I don't mind paying for items that stay on the job or are part of the construction. Is this common practice for someone doing work, labor plus material?
did he use the blades and bits on your job? Then they are a cost of the job.


Boy are you going to be surprised when you see that bill for a new table saw
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:53 AM   #6
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I suggest that you go Time and Materials only with a contractor that you know and trust------

Some times T&M is the only way---Antique houses are a good example--to many unknowns for a contractor to give a good quote---

However, In most cases you should be able to get a 'Turn Key' price before work starts.--Mike--
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:07 AM   #7
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Contractor's charges


I understand material quanities and cost. My contractor seems to be constantly purchasing more material to complete one aspect of a job. This is on top of material that I purchase. (I don't mind purchasing the items since I get a 10% military discount). This is not how I would do business, but I can only blame myself for being too trusting and have accepted it. What I have a problem with is items I'm being charged for such as chaulk gun, several rolls of blue tape (one was used to tape down brown paper), utility knife, auger bits, door lock install kit, hole saw, etc. Aren't those tools of the trade? I also noticed several drinks purchased at the same time that were not subtracted from the receipt. I know most of you think this is a minor issue and wouldn't see a problem with it, but to me it's a integrity issue. To make matters worse, since I'm paying labor costs, I'm also paying for them to correct their mistakes. I believe today I've reached my boiling point after seeing them re-use a bad piece of molding after having to reinstall a pocket door that they installed incorrectly.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:19 AM   #8
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Contractor's charges


I think I have been very understanding and reasonable and paid every bill without question. I fully understand costs involved in the building process and expect to pay what is fair. I think some contractors fail to communicate and customers fail to ask the right questions. For instance, I was not aware of equipment rental charges. My contractor has his own equipment and yesterday I was presented with a bill for over $5000 of rental for his equipment. A couple of month ago I asked about a piece of equipment with a United Rental sign on it. I was concerned about having to pay rental on a piece of equipment that is not being used. At that time I was told that it was his equipment, but no mention that I would be charged for hourly use of it.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:34 AM   #9
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Contractor's charges


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I understand material quanities and cost. My contractor seems to be constantly purchasing more material to complete one aspect of a job. This is on top of material that I purchase. (I don't mind purchasing the items since I get a 10% military discount). This is not how I would do business, but I can only blame myself for being too trusting and have accepted it. What I have a problem with is items I'm being charged for such as chaulk gun, several rolls of blue tape (one was used to tape down brown paper), utility knife, auger bits, door lock install kit, hole saw, etc. Aren't those tools of the trade? I also noticed several drinks purchased at the same time that were not subtracted from the receipt. I know most of you think this is a minor issue and wouldn't see a problem with it, but to me it's a integrity issue. To make matters worse, since I'm paying labor costs, I'm also paying for them to correct their mistakes. I believe today I've reached my boiling point after seeing them re-use a bad piece of molding after having to reinstall a pocket door that they installed incorrectly.
yes, if you are paying T&M, you may end up paying for the same work twice. you should not do so if it is due to the contractors or workers error but if it is just one of those "crap happens" situations, yes, you will pay twice.

as to materials; as others have said, consumables do fall into the materials category. Tools are another thing. Now, in a bid job, some tools are actually often considered in the bid but with a T&M job, they shouldn't generally be so. It's a tough call if it belongs under consumables or tools sometimes and depends on other factors as well.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:39 AM   #10
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Contractor's charges


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My contractor has his own equipment and yesterday I was presented with a bill for over $5000 of rental for his equipment. A couple of month ago I asked about a piece of equipment with a United Rental sign on it. I was concerned about having to pay rental on a piece of equipment that is not being used. At that time I was told that it was his equipment, but no mention that I would be charged for hourly use of it.
with a T&M job, you will almost always get charged individually for equipment costs whether that be the rental cost or an hourly charge of owned equipment. That is a legit. It is no different than paying $X/hour for one guy or 2X $X/hour when there are two guys on the job. It is an actual cost to the contractor.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:47 AM   #11
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Contractor's charges


I don't know if I missed it, but why did you (op) decide to go with a T&M contract as opposed to a fixed price contract? Just curious.
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:52 AM   #12
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Contractor's charges


We built a Deltec addition to an existing Deltec. There are not many contractors trained in Deltec construction in the area. He also came highly recommended. We did get an estimate of what to expect for the work from the contractor, but he only works T&M. As you may have noticed, I did not complain about the quality of the work. Like everything else, mistakes are made and have to be corrected. I would be very surprised if there were no mistakes. Any work I added, I knew I would have to pay for. I never expected to get anything done for free. I'm well aware of the difficulties of being in business for oneself. I also should add that we are at the estimated price and are running over because of some of the changes and higher than expected cost. This entire project is also taking longer then expected because the crew is not on the job site everyday. There have been countless times when they were suppose to show up and did not. No phone call. There have been calls telling me they would be here that day, and did not show up. The bottom line, if I had to do it all over again, I would:
1. Insist on a completion date
2. Ask for an explaination of all expected charges so there are no surprises
3. I would keep a closer eye on hours worked and number of people working
4. Insist that material not being used, be returned since I'm the one paying for them.
5. Most definitly be less trusting
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #13
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Contractor's charges


Thanks, good list.

This stuff here is unacceptable, I don't know how people stay in business (and with a good rep) pulling this kind of stuff.

We all have unforeseen delays and such at times, but that's what the phone's for.

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There have been countless times when they were suppose to show up and did not. No phone call. There have been calls telling me they would be here that day, and did not show up.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:36 PM   #14
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Contractor's charges


Quote:
Originally Posted by chicken lad View Post
When I looked over the receipts I noticed charges for drill bits, saw blades, blue tape, a key hole drill kit, and other items that I don't agree with. I don't mind paying for items that stay on the job or are part of the construction. Is this common practice for someone doing work, labor plus material?
It could have been a mistake--an oversight, if you will. Bring it to his attention, and maybe he will correct it.

Mistakes are, in many ways, the very heart of DIY. We must learn from our past errors from the sanctuary of the present.

Addressing this with him will be mutually beneficial.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:02 PM   #15
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I've done just that. I needed a place to vent. I didn't want to say anything I would regret later, because my contractor is such a likeable guy. Mainly I wanted to get some opinions about the matter before addressing it with my contractor. He was very receptive and after venting on this site, I was able to give contructive critizism/suggestions. He addressed all of my concerns and we agreed on a credit for the material charges I felt were part of doing business. He is also crediting hours for work that needs to be corrected on the final bill.

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