Originally Posted by Larry Florida
Get a fixed price for the job. I have used outside contractors my whole career, most of which were companies not individuals. I always ask them to quote the job, never paid by the hour. If they could not quote the job I ask them what they needed to give a firm quote. If they can't do it move on. They should know their cost better than me. Time and material is for amateurs.
There are fair contractors that provide estimates and others firm quotes.
There are also unfair contractors in both camps.
provides an estimate based on anticipated time and materials.
It shouldn't cost me to work on someone else's boat, because there were unknown issues before the job start.
If I provide an estimate, and time and materials is less, I charge less (the norm).
If a job takes longer than estimated due to unforeseen issues (for example, crappy DIY wiring
that has to be corrected before a new device can be installed), why should it cost me to fix the owner's boat outside the scope of the job?
If a contractor gets stung by a customer insisting on a firm quote, what kind of after-service is expected? How about the next quote?
If a customer asks me for a firm quote, I just say, "OK, add 50% and you pay that even if takes half the time I estimated." (That's what firm quote guys do. They have to, they are in business to make money
not lose it.)
My estimates are usually less than firm quotes by others, and I certainly invoice less than estimate more than invoice more. (It is our policy to contact the customer the instant it becomes known that the job will go over estimate so that alternate arrangements can be discussed). Some want to stick to budget
so we change the job, others are OK with the increase when they realize it is for a legitimate reason and they will be better off with the additional work completed.
You are far better to find a fair contractor who provides estimates for time and materials than insist on a firm quote from a crook. One way or another, the business has to be compensated adequately for the materials used and labour consumed.