When you hire a contractor, you generally have an amount of money you agree to, or an estimate of how much it’s going to be. No one likes surprise fees and the cost of work going up. However, some contractors can’t help themselves but to raise the price during working, going way beyond the estimate or initial agreement. Sometimes, it is warranted. Other times, however, it’s not.
When It’s Okay
While no client wants to pay more, there are legitimate reasons why a contractor may raise the prices during their work for you. They have to make a living after all, and they may have a good reason for raising their prices. Here are a few examples.
Let’s say you hire a contractor to fix your roof. At first glance, it appears as though your roof woes are due to a small leak. Then, it’s soon discovered your entire foundation needs to be fixed that was not noticed the first time around. Naturally, paying contractors more money for a job that turns out to be bigger is a good idea.
When a contractor is raising their prices, they need to notify you ASAP so you two can agree to an increase in price. If a contractor does not tell you and slaps on the extra fees on your bill without telling you, that is a problem.
Their Prices Increase the Next Time
If you hire the contractor in the future, their prices may increase. They may have improved their craft and expanded their business, and thus may have to charge more. You can always negotiate with the contractor, or look for someone else. With that said, good pay deserves good work, but don’t pay more than you are willing.
When It’s Not Okay
A Mistake on the Contractor’s Part
The contractor underestimated how many materials or days it would take? Too bad. Mistakes do happen, but it shouldn’t be on the client to pay up. Instead, it should be on the contractor to provide the agreed upon amount. Unless the underestimation was due to unforseen damage, as we discussed above, contest it.
Did your contractor give you a price way above the estimate? An estimate is just that, an estimate. Prices can be a little more. However, if it’s substantially bigger, and you don’t know why, you need to contest it and see what the reason can be.
The problem with figuring out if a contractor was justified in raising their prices is that it’s all circumstantial. Sometimes, they are right, and other times, they’re wrong. You should pay fairly for good work, but there is a difference between that and getting ripped off. It’s a case-by-case basis situation.
With that said, doing your research about the contractor can help. For example, if you look on Con-Tractors and see that this contractor is ripping everyone off, you have a reason to complain.