Job Pricing Dispute


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Old 12-29-09, 12:03 PM
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Job Pricing Dispute

I'm looking for neutral opinion on a $200 pricing dispute with my contractor. He stripped and reshingled roof, rehung gutters, re-wrapped fascia, drilled soffit vents and wrapped soffit in vinyl.

Original roof was around 27 years old, all the gutters sagged, and I knew I had some fascia board rot b/c original builder didn't extend first row of paper and shingles enough. Fascia was wrapped in aluminum but water was flowing behind the fascia.

Dispute is over 2 issues. 1) During bid process, contractor knew he needed to remove and re-hang all gutters and replace any rotten fascia boards. He said he would try to re-use the old aluminum fascia wrap if he could remove it without damaging it too much, but "just in case" he wrote in a price for replacing the fascia wrap if it was too damaged. Price was $400 for about 92' of fascia and that price included the wood, labor and wrap.

Based on final outcome, I feel he never intended to make any effort to re-use the existing wrap and always intended to push me into the wrap replacement and the extra fee. During first day of work, I was called away from my job to come home and discuss the issue with his worker. Worker said, if we reused the old wrap, we risked water penetration thru the old gutter spike holes. Worker had no suggestions for how to mitigate that risk. The spike holes should not have been a surprise and this issue should have been discussed during bid process. I called contractor and suggested putting new wrap in front only and then using 2 overlapping layers of the old wrap in the back to resolve the spike hole issues. He said that wouldn't work b/c he couldn't make the bottom edge look right b/c the inner layer would stick out further. He repeated his workers concerns about the spike holes and offered no alternative solutions except for new wrap. Overnight, I think I thought of a solution by double wrapping with the old wrap if he just trimmed off the bottom edge of the inner layer, but when the worker returned in the morning he had already disposed of all the wrap from the front of the house.

Dispute 2): Initially, I had no interest in wrapping my soffits in vinyl. My entire house has vinyl siding, but my soffits were painted plywood. 20 year old Paint was still in good condition. To improve attic ventilation, I wanted to cut vents into the soffit. Competing contractor was going to cut in vents and install vent covers for $400. Selected contractor aggressively pitched wrapping soffits in ventilated vinyl as a solution that would eliminate all need for future maintenance. He agreed to add vinyl wrap and drill vent holds for $800 (96' total). At the time, I didn't have my roofing terms straight, and I thought he was going to cover all the painted plywood in vinyl (soffit and eaves). Unfortunately, he just did the soffit. So for $400 extra, the house is still not maintenance free.

Issue 3: I don't really know what amount to attach to this, but it really ticked me off. When I was called back to discuss fascia wrap, worker had already installed about 12' of vinyl soffit and I didn't notice any holes cut in the soffit he was about to cover. I asked him if he had already cut vent holes in the soffit he had already covered. He said yes. I then asked him how he was cutting the holes. He said drill and hole saw. Then I asked him to show me the drill. Then that jig was up b/c the drill and hole saw were still in his truck box. He then admitted, he hadn't cut any holes yet, and we both called the contractor. Contractor said he forgot to tell worker to cut the holes and thanked me for catching the error.

So, given all these issues, I think he should knock at least $200 of the price.
 
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Old 12-29-09, 12:58 PM
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Dispute #1. If I were the contractor, I would never have mentioned the possibility of reusing something that's been hanging outside for who knows how long. If I were the worker, I would have told you that it was too much of a pain to remove the old wrap (that was the #1 reason) instead of the #2 reason, which also had validity, the water issue. The holes could have been caulked. If I were the home owner, I would have wanted new wrap anyway. No one was thinking on that issue.

On the soffit issue, the worker made a mistake & both the worker & the contractor tried to BS their way through. That's where you can claim your entitlement to a $200 discount.

You can try to negotiate with him, appealing to his sense of fairness. That's a good line to use. Or, you can just deduct it & leave the ball in his court. Or, you can pay it & put in a complaint with the Dept Of Consumer Affairs.

I bet you didn't call them for a report before you hired the guy.
 
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Old 12-29-09, 03:07 PM
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The fact that the worker lied about having cut the holes and that you fortunately caught the problem before the job was completed saved the contractor a bunch of money and time. He could have had to come back and re-do all of the soffits.

If he said he would try to save the old wrap, right or wrong, and he failed again to instruct the worker to do so or never intended to do so in the first place, it was his failure not yours.

If there was an issue with terminology, that is to be expected with home owners and contractors have an obligation to write up the details in a manner in which all home owners can understand exactly what is to be done. If he failed to provide you with a properly detailed contract, explaining all of the work, again it is his failure.

He has obviously decided he doesn't need any more work from you, so why pay him for poor contracting. He is being a bully and shouldn't be rewarded for it. What do you think your chances will be getting him back to fix any problems, even if you pay in full.

He won't take you to court for $200 IMO and when you pay him, write on the check, payment in full.

Bud
 
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Old 12-29-09, 05:52 PM
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I am going to disagree a bit on this issue. To me, the contractor agreed to do X amount of work for a given amount of money. If he did the work he agreed to, then you should pay the money you agreed to pay for it. Even if he had to be kicked the whole way to do it right. He's just a crappy contractor with crappy customer service.
 
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Old 01-04-10, 08:46 PM
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I agree with Bud.

As a contractor, if I were shorted $200 (likely what, somewhat less than 5% of the contract?) on a job, I probably wouldn't pursue it outside of maybe a call to see what we could do. If the answer was nothing, I wouldn't worry about it. Sometimes you can agree to disagree.

I'd write the check for the $200 less, assuming you really, honestly feel that thats what the work was worth. Expect a call and have some points to make on why and see if you can agree on a solution.
 
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Old 06-20-10, 05:45 AM
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End result. I submitted $200 less. He called. I explained why. He said okay.
 
 

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