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Old 09-16-2010, 02:17 PM   #16
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy Vinny View Post
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.
Good advice, Vinny!

And I'm glad things worked out OK for you, Chicken Lad.
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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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Old 09-16-2010, 03:39 PM   #18
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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
I believe THE most important item in that list is the last one. Communication starts at the very first discussion and doesn't end until the warranty has expired. That communication actually included several of the other points you have included.

Along with that communication is education. The consumer needs to be educated, both on their own and by the contractor as to what to expect. That includes the charges you have questioned here as well as many others you may or may not have experienced.

as to #4, you should not have to pay for unused material in most cases. While there are times an item must be purchased in larger quantities than needed and it is not really salable to another customer, you should either be offered the material (1st, especially if it can be considered to be replacement material in the future for repairs) or figure the contractor is going to do with it what he wants and not worry about it. You will not get a credit on your account for the unused material. Now, there are times that a contractor will buy more than you need so as to be able to get a quantity discount and charge you the regular price (just for what is used at your site) and then have material for another job that, strangely enough, he charges full price for as well. I see nothing wrong with that as it is his purchasing power that allows him to gain from his bulk purchases.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:11 PM   #19
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Here are my thoughts (some of which have already been stated):

You will be charged fro small items like tape, saw blades and drill bits. And it may be true that he will take the blades and bits to the next job. However, if that is the case, he's probably brought bits and blades form a previous job, so you'll get that benefit. He shouldn't be charging for durable equipment as that is and will remain his property. Going T&M puts the risk of the project on you in that you don;t know what the final bill is. However, the benefit that you get is that the job may cost less than originally estimated. Conversely, you could insist next time on a lump sum, but in that case the contractor is going to start figuring on extra blades, bits, and labor hours to make sure he is covered. In the end you trade the known and the unknown. If the budget is good and the contractor is capable, T&M is your cheapest option. As a contractor I prefer lump sum bids since both parties know what they are getting into and it's less hassle for me in terms of accounting.

I wouldn't sweat what you are going through too much. If you want, ask him about the costs on the receipts and make sure he doesn't add sodas and other non-chargables. He knows better. The not showing up issue is a horse of a different color - especially when there is no notice. His dawdling may be costing construction loan interest (if applicable), but if not, I'm sure that you as an owner have an interest in when your property will be once again fully usable. And he should understand that. Just chat with him and you might find that all or most of your anxiety goes away.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:52 PM   #20
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Excellent post Chad---You got to vent over a bad situation--But more important--you have helped a few strangers learn from your experience---

Glad that you dropped in here--hope you keep us updated--Mike----
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:12 AM   #21
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Glad things worked out for you. We just finished up a T&M job and it went very well for us and the HO. We replaced a bathroom and kitchen for the home owner. At the begining we scoped out the work and had a rough estimate of when we could complete the job and both parties agreed to it.. No completion date was set and both parties aggreed that we didnt know what we were going to find behind the walls, but the HO was preggo so we knew we had to get it done. The HO issued us Home depot gift cards at $500 a time and anything not purchase from there They(ho) had to get it to the job for us to install. We agreed to be paid every other friday so they could keep track of labor and material costs. The job lasted a little less than 3 months.
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:31 AM   #22
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After several remodeling projects, we learned the hard way that "time and materials" is never ideal. There is no motivation for the contractor to be efficient with his time, and you have no idea of how much the job is likely to ultimately cost. After doing it both ways (T&M and fixed bid), I would never do T&M again.

That doesn't mean you can't have problems with fixed bids. Contractors who underbid are sometimes inclined to cut corners. I always tell my fixed bid contractors to let me know if something unexpected comes up, and we'll revisit the required work and price. That way both of us are focused on getting the job done right, and not just the bottom line while at the same time having some predictability with regard to total job price.

Now if anyone wants to give me advice on my current contractor who refuses to own his mistakes... I'm all ears!
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:37 AM   #23
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Nice kitchen. I noticed your range hood. We installed our own range hood, also on a slanted ceilling. Your finish around the top looks very good, better than ours. Can you show a picture of the top. I think we could make ours look a little better.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:05 AM   #24
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I dont have any other pics of the range hood.. If you notice the cabinets on the right of the sink are missing their doors.. The designer messed up the center line of the window over the sink on the drawing and we had to cut 3" out of the width of the upper cabinets and order new door fronts. We used the scrap door fronts to make the box above the range hood.

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