Charging for a bid?

5 Replies

I am just a homeowner who needed a bid done on some very minor water damage in my master bathroom. I was given a name and number by a relative who said he does great work. I call him, he comes to my home, asses the damage and tells me he'll send someone out to take some measurements. Someone comes a few days later, was here for less than an hour and left. I didn't hover but he had a tape measure so I assumed He took some measurements. They send me a bid a few days later, I send it to my homeowners insurance company and wait to hear from them. My insurance company told me that the quote didn't seem right and they want to send their own adjuster out. The quote that they gave me was less than half of what this general contractor had in his bid. My insurance company informs me not to sign anything and not to use them because they double charged for everything. A few weeks later, I get A bill for $1300 in the mail for this company. I was never informed if I didn't use them, I would get charged X amount. I never signed anything. Am I liable for this bill? Can they put a lien on my house? The house isn't even in my name, it's in my husbands name.

Does this relative hate you? What a terrible referral to what appears to be a crook. They did zero work and have nothing signed on paper therefore they have no right to bill or charge you for anything and unless you agreed to pay for the bid, then tell them to kiss off and tell your family member some choice words too!

This contractor can not file a lien against your home as they did not perform work, did not file and record a pre-lien, and if they try to, you can go to the contractor's board and file a formal complaint. You may want to do that now just in case so it is on record what these guys are trying to do. If they are trying to scam you, they are likely doing it with others.

Wow...I wouldn't pay them anything. I agree. Start saving/documenting everything just in case. Having said that, I wouldn't stress/worry to much about this. 

So do I even call this guy and ask him why in the heck he sent me a bill?  The guy called me several times after my insurance company told me not to use them.  I finally called the guy back and told him that we weren’t going to use him and he then informed me that he was going to send me a bill for $1000-1500.  He never informed me prior to that.  I had every intention on using him until my insurance company told me about the shady bid and advised me not to use them.  We actually just sold the house and will be out of here by this weekend.  I hope this doesn’t have any affect on us closing.  One more thing to add to my stress!  

Hi Heather,

Honestly, I would ignore him.  Sounds like you dodged a bullet by not hiring him!  A reputable and honest construction company would not charge you for an estimate.  

I charge for estimates a lot of the time. It helps separate the tire kickers from those who are serious about their projects. That being said, I am very up front about it and put a proposal together outlining the fee and the deliverables. I also credit the fee against the cost of the contract should they choose to build with me. However, I don't really do projects this small. 

Not sure where you are located but the construction market is a bit crazy right now. Lost too many tradesmen in the housing bust and there are not enough workers around to do the work. Prices are going up. And prices are all over the place. For example, I can put a house out to bid for framing and in Denver I can received bids as low as $4/sf and as high as $12/sf. 

Not sure why anyone is trusting their insurance company to accurately give them the money they are owed for proper renovation or to accurately estimate a construction bid. Contractors definitely have a bad reputation and it sounds like this guy pulled a slimey move trying to charge you after the fact, but I didn't know that insurance companies where about anyone's interest except their own. I've seen insurance companies underbid claims so they don't have to pay out. You typically have to negotiate with them to get proper payouts. Their are construction companies and consultants who make a living doing this.

I wouldn't bother calling this guy back, but if he calls you tell him that you never agreed to a fee and he has no right to try and charge you. Tell him not to call back. I also would not trust the insurance company estimate to be accurate. Get at least three bids on the work and see how they compare. 

Best of luck!