Am I Being Unreasonable?

Old 07-24-14, 07:28 AM
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Am I Being Unreasonable?

Sorry in advance if this is in the wrong place or wrong board period - I decided to hire a painter rather than "do it myself" - I just know there's contractors that hang out here so I thought I'd ask a quick question.

Before we agreed on a price, we walked room to room and identified all the various tasks. He gave me an estimate but I wasn't comfortable with it being open-ended, so he also gave me a higher "not to exceed" price. Towards the end of the project, he started grumbling about how things popped up he couldn't anticipate (like putting extra work into repairing drywall after scraping a ceiling), and he asked for more money. I told him this was why I asked for a guaranteed maximum price, and that I had to stand firm on that. He said there is an "unwritten rule" that there is a "20% safety zone" above the maximum price, but I'm not budging.

Anyway, it looks like he's going to finish the job, but was I unreasonable? I feel for the guy getting into a project and finding more work than anticipated, but I also feel like that's his risk to bear as the professional painter, and I have a right to rely on the quoted price. Thoughts?
Old 07-24-14, 07:31 AM
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You went with the higher price and not to exceed. If me I would not pay any more unless more work was added and agreed on.
Old 07-24-14, 07:37 AM
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If it's not written, it's not enforceable. Were you reasonable? Hard to answer without being there. Did there end up being more work than either of you anticipated? Did something happen that wasn't reasonably foreseeable?
Old 07-24-14, 07:56 AM
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He saw the job, gave an estimate, then gave a higher not to exceed price. After he started, he wanted more for stuff he didn't pick up on during the walk through?

How could he not anticipate sheetrock repair after scraping a ceiling? Or at least mention it might be necessary and would add X amount.

Sorry, this isn't like repairing a transmission where you give an average rebuild cost, then find out the torque converter and valve body are bad as well and it will be another $500. Not like contracting to put down new flooring, then finding bad subfloor when you tear the old stuff off.

I think you are being perfectly reasonable. He should have taken his original estimate and added 15% or so as the do not exceed. If he's asking for more after hitting the higher amount, then he needs to learn how to estimate better.
Old 07-24-14, 08:06 AM
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I've bid a lot of jobs over the yrs and there have been times that I underestimated what it would take to do the job - I always figured that was part of my tuition for learning to be a better contractor! There are times when unexpected things come up and you try to renegotiate the price to cover the added expense but I've always tried to keep those charges at a minimum. I've always absorbed minor things that came up.

There is no reason to pay more than the agreed upon price unless you feel comfortable paying more!
Old 07-24-14, 06:26 PM
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No, you are not being unreasonable and the others have given excellent reasons why you are not being unreasonable. I suspect that this contractor is fairly young and has a minimum amount of experience in either doing the work or in estimating just what could be involved in the job. He/she will learn with experience and as noted, this is the cost of learning.

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