Contractor wanted to change price after completing the job

18 Replies

I have a guy that has done a few jobs for me and we've not had any issues. I recently needed a roof replaced. Asked him for his bid and he sent me his quote via text. Afterwards We agree on color, date, time etc.  He asked for a $ to purchase supplies. I paid him and informed him that I would be keeping both of us accountable of the balances via text.  After the initial deposit, I send him an accounting of what was given and the current balance owed by me . No problems. When  he finishes the job he informs me that it cost more that what he initially thought and wanted $200 additional dollars. I stated to him that I believed it was his responsibility to price the materials &  labor BEFORE the job began so I could've at that time agreed or found someone else. I told him that I would go broke if I agreed to pay contractors more $ after a job was completed because the materials cost more or whatever. Anyone ever faced this issue. Did you pay or walk away?

Happens ALL of the time. It depends on the situation, the contractor and the market you are in, but generally, if this is someone you've worked with, you trust and they do decent work, I'd chalk it up to miscommunication, offer to split the difference as a peace offering and devise a plan to mitigate this in the future.

Roof jobs typically reveal rotten wood/etc that needs to be repaired after the shingles come off.  But, that of course should have been noted up front.  If he does good work at reasonable prices, $200 doesn’t seem worth arguing over.

@Val J. This depends really. A roof is not something that can wait (especially in this weather). If you were somehow not available to sign a change order the show had to go on or risk a leak. On the other hand, he should have contacted you somehow even by via text if you were unavailable. 

From what I read he bid this sight unseen? If so its on him. If he miscalculated the size that's on him too. But if he gave a per square price and an estimate on the size then you owe it. 

I guess we need more info to figure out but 200 is not that big of a number if you trust him and want to keep using him. Let him know that it is not acceptable to do this very often though. 

Happens all the time.  If you have a contract, then stand your ground.  If you want to use that contractor again, and you relatively like them, think about agreeing to a modest renegotiation.  

It's not always easy to stay on budget with a project.  Lots of things come up that you can never potentially discovered.  Of course, always factor in reserves.  

To keep a good contractor I would literally tip the guy the $200. In fact when a contractor we found finished the amazing trim work he did in our addition my wife tipped him $400. Another guy I often use did some cleanup for me on a foreclosure we got. He sent me a bill for $150 I sent him $250 as it was very nasty work. He has since bought 6 investment properties from me & hopes to retire into REI.

200$ is peanuts if he shows up ( many don’t!) and does good work . I know it was unplanned and a  surprise but So is peeling off old shingles and finding rotten wet panels . Be thankful it wasn’t 2,000$ and pay him promptly . Quality good work costs good money and If all you want to pay is peanuts then all your going to get is monkeys 

@Dennis M.

Thanks. I've already called and resolved this with him. But going forward it will be my expectation that in as much as possible he will not bid the job until he knows all of his cost. This $200 wasn't for  additional labor; it was for materials.  

To keep a good contractor I would literally tip the guy the $200. In fact when a contractor we found finished the amazing trim work he did in our addition my wife tipped him $400. Another guy I often use did some cleanup for me on a foreclosure we got. He sent me a bill for $150 I sent him $250 as it was very nasty work. He has since bought 6 investment properties from me & hopes to retire into REI.

@Val J.

Sometimes materials go up. Be careful being too strict. If a client does this to me Ill put a cushion upfront on the next job instead of bidding as tight as possible expecting them to understand if something comes up during work.

Would you have approved original job if it was 400 more? Most would. 200 on a roof sounds like a decent guy who tried to give you best price possible. Or maybe just scratching for more money who knows but again If he is good take care of him. A good contractor is a great asset to keep.

My day job is owner of a construction company, roofing specifically. There will always be unknowns with construction in general. Your contractor should have at least communicated this with you when before incurring the cost of the extra material, best practices is to provide you with a change order as an amendment to the contract. Not all contractors have contracts in place, nor are a majority of them are the best at the back end of running a business. My suggestion to you is to have your own rehab contract if your current contractor doesn't have one. This will protect you from liens on your property should the contractor produce an invoice for additional work that you didn't sign off on/agree to.

When you price a roof , you cant see thru shingles . Plywood replacement is around $50 a sheet . $ 200 is minor .  Replacing 4 or 5 sheets of plywood is common . If I were doing that same job I wouldnt stop to call or text you  unless we found something major , like all the plywood needed replacing or  major rot on trusses . 

Whenever I had a roof replaced as a homeowner, the contractor (experienced and reputable) gave me a written quote with a "subject to" disclaimer. He explained the price could increase if he found unexpected issues during the job. Luckily, none were ever found that caused the cost of the job to increase.

I see both sides. If you and him have a good working relationship I can see paying the extra $200 with the understanding that he needs to be more accurate on his bid. Assuming he viewed the property and did his own measurements he shouldn't have missed $200 worth of materials.

I agree that additional scope happens after projects begin, especially roofing and other projects where you start to dig into the structure. This doesn't sound like a case of additional costs, it sounds like a case of misbidding material cost or quantities.

At the end of the day $200 probably didn't break the bank on a roof replacement (assuming the work was thousands), and if your contractor is good and reliable, could be money well spent.

Pay the $200. Keep a good relationship. In the grand scheme, $200 is pocket change. 

It sounds like everything was done through text. Which I'm going to assume means you didn't have a contract because you've worked with him before and trust him. If you're comfortable enough to work without a contract, 200 in materials is really nothing. Additional materials are common on roof jobs. However, if you want to avoid this in the future put him under contract that requires change orders. Then if he needs additional materials he needs to submit a change order or he forfeits legal claim to any more money. That being said 200 dollars could have easily been 1000 from someone else. It's always risky to work without a contract. Similar to conducting business with friends. Contracts keeps everything professional and while it may seem too formal, will actually keep the relationship more healthy. Just my .02. I'm quite new to the REI world but I know contracting haha

@Val J.

If it is a true unforeseen condition then his increase of $200 may be fair. If it took his guys longer than he thought...that should be on him. If they did it faster would he give you a refund? Prolly not. What was the exact reason for the price increase?

@Val J. I am seeing a couple of your posts now. I would recommend getting a better team in place which includes a lawyer. Normally roofers will tell

me on the quote if they have to replace rotten wood how much they charge for each 3 x 8. 200 is probably 3-5 3 x 8s they replaced. If they are reasonably priced you can't expect them to pay that or else they will just start raising their prices because they know you will put up a fuss about going over. Now if you think they are charging you for additional repairs incurred that were not expected then you need to make the decision on whether you are fine with losing the contractor over 200 bucks. At a worst case scenario it should be you cover their cost and make sure they let you know going forward. For me I don't want to wait by my phone and they definitely don't want to sit there waiting for me to say yes or no because time wasted is money wasted and again they will just charge you more on next job if they think you will make them call to approve a 50 dollar upcharge everytime.

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