Final bill hugely inflated from original costs

(18 Posts)
CountessFrog Sun 14-Jun-20 21:18:54

It’s a bit of a WWYD really.

We were looking for somebody to do a building job in our garden (new patio area) and another tradesperson we use recommended a relative of theirs.

Came to the house to look at the job, priced it up as costing £3.5k. £900 of this was for labour. He said it would take a week. We were happy, we didn’t get other quotes.

The actual job became more complicated because we wanted some electrical stuff adding. There was already a costing for electrics, but we added more lights. He was going to use an electrician but decided against it, however he hit a few problems and needed advice from a spark - which we paid for.

A few other bits were more complicated - eg the ground wasn’t as level as he first thought.

In other ways. The job was less complicated, eh because he expected to remove some old tree stumps, and we actually got a professional guy in to do that before he started.

The weather was quite good at the beginning and he was here 8-4 most days, but then it rained sad the work dragged on and on. Some days he only came for a couple of hours.

The work is now completed. He says it took 17 days, not a week, and his labour charge has increased from £900 to £3,000.

What do we do?

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FindMeInTheSunshine Sun 14-Jun-20 21:24:31

Did you get the quote in writing? Or, was it an estimate? I think a quote is binding, but if you added extra work and didn't get the costs for that as a separate quote that's likely to be where the problem is.

CountessFrog Sun 14-Jun-20 21:50:58

The quote was emailed, following a visit to the house and discussion.

I had the impression he didn’t spend long looking at it to come up with the price. For example, I knew there was a big difference in the ground height of the front and back of the patio, so it would need levelling. He wanted to level it downwards, which I could see would then expose the bottom of the fence panel and earth, but he seemed surprised about that when he came to do the work, and it caused more work because he had to cut some stone to cover it.

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CountessFrog Sun 14-Jun-20 21:53:17

Also he doesn’t call it a ‘quote’ or ‘estimate’ - he calls it an ‘invoice’ on the email.

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Eileithyiaa Sun 14-Jun-20 22:19:50

I would tell him to fuck off and that you're only paying him the originally invoiced 3.5k.

CountessFrog Sun 14-Jun-20 22:25:28

I think we will have to reach a compromise. We have paid for materials on an ongoing basis, which has already amounted to 3.5k.

Basically the coat of the job doubled and the cost of the labour more than trebled.

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CountessFrog Sun 14-Jun-20 22:27:29

Sorry pressed too soon.

I can accept the increase in materials. Some is because of choices we made, some because he under-estimated.

But the difference in labour from £900 to 3k is staggering, and I need to somehow discuss with him that much of this appears to stem from the job taking almost three time’s as long as he thought, which in turn appears to have stemmed heavily from the weather.

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Eileithyiaa Sun 14-Jun-20 22:34:57

Does the original invoice he sent include anything that says you're liable for additional costs incurred other than what's already agreed?

He should really have discussed that with you before he started the work, he sounds inexperienced in his quoting.

My dad is a tradesman and he won't get out of bed for less than £300 day rate, however if he tells a customer it will cost xx then that's what they pay. Even if it takes him twice as long, because it's up to him to assess the work properly. Unless something ridiculous pops up that couldn't be foreseen, but he would always talk to them about it and come to an agreement.

I don't think he has a leg to stand on personally and you could hold your ground, however it will probably sour the water with your original tradesman of whom he is a relative.

I would ask to see an itemised bill of all materials and ask him to break down into detail why the job took 17 days as opposed to the original week he quoted. When the weather was bad was he turning up at all or has he billed you for the days he should have done the work however couldn't due to rain? If so that's not up to you to pay.

tenlittlecygnets Sun 14-Jun-20 22:35:42

You need to highlight to him the difference between the estimate and the final quote. Tell him you were thinking that the estimate would be the final cost. Did he he tell you that the costs might increase?? Why has bad weather meant that his costs have increased?

He will find it very hard to take you small claims court if he has only given you a low price and the final price has ended up higher.

He sounds crap,

CountessFrog Sun 14-Jun-20 23:04:21

On the days the weather was bad, he would sometimes turn up, tinker about and say he would come back if the rain cleared. He had a couple of indoor jobs going on concurrently.

He did mostly turn up again, but not always. I can think of several days where he did about 2 hours work. I wish I’d kept a diary - I didn’t envisage having to.

The cost of materials - I trust this, I’ve seen some receipts.

My DH thinks we should meet him halfway - pay £2k - however I’m trying to work out how to justify this, other than yours quite for labour trebled.’

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Cissyandflora Tue 23-Jun-20 23:58:50

I feel sorry for you. This is why I do all my own work! I’m no good emptying people. I hope you manage to stand your ground.

321youreback Wed 24-Jun-20 03:32:51

You are protected by the law. The builder should have given you a contract with his prices and services listed on it. Also details of how you cancel. If he didn't then he's broken the law. Can't remember the law name but it's some type of consumer protection law brought in to save you from crap like this.
I'll google it and post an update

321youreback Wed 24-Jun-20 03:38:06

CountessFrog Wed 24-Jun-20 08:33:42

Cheers guys. We did stand our ground and reached a compromise. I knew there was a chance of unexpected costs but his quote for labour was ridiculous!

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Smallgoon Wed 24-Jun-20 08:41:11

What was the compromise?

CountessFrog Wed 24-Jun-20 08:43:57

We paid him £1300 rather than 3k

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Smallgoon Wed 24-Jun-20 10:17:20

We paid him £1300 rather than 3k

Wowzers! He was deffo trying it on then!

CountessFrog Wed 24-Jun-20 16:18:49

I honestly dont think he was - he’s a nice guy but bad at pricing jobs. If we use him again, I want an agreed price up front with no changes that aren’t agreed in advance.

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