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nwwoman 02-21-2013 04:48 PM

Was the fee for tile work excessive?

I needed to have tile removed around drain in older shower and redone to deal with a leak created by a sulphuric acid product a contractor used earlier that splashed on the tile, destroying the mortar and tile surfaces. It was a 2-inch area around the drain that was damaged. Let's not talk about the prior contractor...a discussion for another day.

I live in a small rural town in Idaho. When he did the oral estimate, he said he was not sure how long it would take so he would do the day rate, which was 250. Well, he started the job at 11 am and ended it at 2:30. 3.5 hours of work=250. This guy only does tile; and yes, he is licensed/bonded.

I am fine with it if that's the norm and is reasonable. Is it?

oh'mike 02-21-2013 04:55 PM

It sounds reasonable----seriously---He used up his day and could not earn the rest of the day somewhere else--

A days wage is what you were told----and what you were billed, I hope you understand ----

nwwoman 02-21-2013 05:05 PM

I realize he used part of his day. He could have started at 8 am, though, and finished at 11, so that argument didn't work too well for me. I provided all of the materials, including grout.

I ask because I have run a PR agency for thirty years, so I am not unfamiliar with fees for service. We will sometimes use a per diem fee (same as day rate) but that's only when we know we're providing a day of work....7 to 10 hours.. I would have cut the fee in half for any client we only did 3.5 hours of work for. We also review the job beforehand to determine the cost. After years of doing work, you understand how long something will take, even if it requires multiple employees. He, also, looked at the job.

I probably will get knocked over by you folks here for this question to him...but I did say to him that if I was being charged for the day, couldn't he do a little more work? I had other tile work he could have worked on..even if for another hour or two.

At that point, I was told "Well, yeah it was a day rate but it was for the project. So, more work will cost more even if I stay right now and do it."

Boy, that's sure different from how agencies bill for their hourly labor and materials.

firehawkmph 02-21-2013 05:18 PM

I understand your point. He shouldn't have quoted the job the way he did, e.i. by the hour. He should have bid it at 250, knowing he would be covered for up to a day. If he would have given you a bid price, and you agreed to it, there would be no complaining about it. He probably didn't have another small job scheduled since he thought he could be at your place all day. Matter of poor communication on his part.
Mike Hawkins:)

nwwoman 02-21-2013 05:29 PM

You are right on! Thank you!

In our field, we also deal with labor hours and overhead..same as tilers. The unbilled hours are part of overhead. I have to work hard to make sure those unbilled hours stay at a certain level to maintain a consistent hourly fee that can vary by employee. Basically, most employees must bill out 75% of the day hours, based on 2080 work hours per annum. That means a factor of 3.1 against per hour cost of employee.

It works.

onward...thank you..

JazMan 02-21-2013 06:17 PM

I wouldn't charge only $250 per day unless it was a long-term job and was not rushed to bust butt. $400 or so per day is more reasonable, plus I'd want to sell all the materials at retail or at most 10% off. But everyone is different.

Small repairs are usually not very rewarding. You do the client a favor and there's often complaints like this. It's likely he could not pre schedule anything other than your repair. So it was an easy day and perhaps covered his nut. Also remember he had to come to look at your repair before you gave him the ok to do the work.

I think he xplained it wrong. I sometimes give the customer a choice. 1. The cost is $500 or 2, $75 an hour, or whatever the rate is. You choose. If you choose the set price and it takes 4 hours, it's still $500, otherwise the hourly rate till done. Very often we have to take a WAG, and live with it.

Good thing I don't have to do this very often. It's not like replacing the starter on your car, which should always take about the same time and you make money by beating the clock as with all other car repairs, for example.


woodman58 02-21-2013 06:49 PM

If you are happy with the repair, then the price is fine. I have a minimum price of $300. It does not matter how long it takes. Most of my jobs are 1 to 2 hrs. away. You did not take into consideration how far he may have to travel and possibly get supplies from a supply store.

sam floor 02-21-2013 08:18 PM

If I bid a job as a minimum, and figure 4 hours and it takes 2, I did OK. But sometimes I figure 4 hours and it takes 6. Then I sure can't charge more than a minimum. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

747 02-21-2013 08:27 PM

I would have wrote the check before he decided to change his mind.:thumbsup: Great deal i would have expected 325 up to 4

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