Contractor billed me for a estimate

8 Replies

We solicited a bid on a rehab from a new contractor, which included a walkthrough with him.  He provided a 19k estimate, which was much than our other bid (of 9k).  I told him I'd get back to him.

4 days later, he sent me an invoice for 4 hours worth of work, total of $200!  What in the world!  I've solicited of bids from dozens of contractors, without even the slightest hint of being billed for an estimate.  I think I just got a guy who realized he wasn't going to get the job and wanted to squeeze extra money from me.

I want to just blow him off, and make it a point to never use him again.  What would you do here?  Any legal safeguards I need to take?

I'd ask in writing for the signed contract or where you agreed to pay for a bid or even better where you authorized billable work.

Originally posted by @Matt K. :

I'd ask in writing for the signed contract or where you agreed to pay for a bid or even better where you authorized billable work.

Ditto.  My thoughts exactly.

"Hi _____,

Thank for for this correction/addition to your previous bid, we will consider it when reviewing your estimate.

If you are requesting payment of this invoice, please provide one of the following

1) A signed contract for work to be provided, or work provided

2) The written correspondence where our company authorized billable work.

Thank you."

Looks simple and to the point.  I would use something along those lines as well.  Make sure to keep records of the correspondence.  

Send him a bill for $300 for the time you spent with him.

When I was exploring the residential sector, I have approached a client somewhere along the lines of: I would give you a detailed bid, complete with labor and material bids separate, line by line, trade by trade, in return, I would ask for your honest opinion about my bid, and where I was low or high or ridiculous. Would be very much appreciate it if it were on writing, I will be spending hours to estimate your bid, it will only be fair to educate me on where my bid was and so I will know how to improve it.. Worked every time.

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