Was I overcharged?

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Recently, I had a tile backsplash done in my kitchen. It required approx. 30 sq ft of coverage of 4 x 4'' tiles.. The guy had to remove my old Formica backsplash, and then installed cement drywall. In this process he also hard wired a new kitchen hood from an old outlet that was at the bottom base behind the range. Originally, he was going to make a hole in my cabinet above the stove so he can exhaust thru an opening he would have to make to the outside wall. He asked for $2000 for the job. I thought first that was kind of high, but thought well there is some labor in making that opening to the outside brick wall. IN the process, the purchased hood could only allow a 7" hole and he said its not possible because of the size of the cabinet and etc..he was planning on a 4'' hole at the max. so that part was not done. He did a beautiful job otherwise, and very pleased with the outcome, so i did not want to rock the boat..although i made a comment that it was kind of high and he said that labor has increased these days in the contracting business...BTW, we are talking about NYC, if that should make a difference. I do not know what the going rates are for such a job. He spent 8 hours of work the final day and 4hrs or so the previous day for the removal of the Formica and put up the cement drywall. Would appreciate an honest opinion from other contractors who do such work...not another owner who may have used an unlicensed handyman, and obviously got it done for a lot less. This one was a licensed one. Thanks
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wrote:

Well, IF the man works for $65 per hour (that would sound reasonable for NYC), 12 hours of LABOUR is $780 - add to that the backer board, tile, adhesive, grout, wiring supplies etc, I'd say the price was , at the very least, fair.
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On Jun 19, 3:50 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Not sure if your saying that he bought the backer board,tile,adhesive, ( he did not use grout ) wiring supplies etc? I purchased all those items. to the tune of $1000 approx, which also included a $325 kitchen hood.
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wrote:

Then he must be charging more like $166 per hour - which is a bit over the top even for NYC, I would think.
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On 6/19/2011 3:19 PM, Anthony wrote:

Prices in the downstate NY area are going to be in the $100 per hr range. If he gave you a price that included work that ultimately wasn't done, his bill should be less than the quoted price. Unless there were other things done, that hadn't been included
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One aspect you didn't include in your figures is the time he spent, away from your house, to think of the design and game plan of attack. One can't just show up and do a job with no plans specific to your house, though his forethought about the vent opening may have had to be altered. In remodeling, there are almost always unexpected issues, as the vent issue, that arise.
I agree, that sounds like reasonably priced work. If the work is excellent, you might keep his number handy, for future work. It's not always easy to find a good craftsman/expert.
Sonny
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Makes a huge difference.
I do not know what the going rates are for such a

12 hours on the job correlates to about 16 hours total. Who paid for the dumping of the waste? It has been a while since I've done that kind of work, but at today's rates, I'd be about $1200 + material and expenses, such as dumping. This is outside of NY in a more rural setting. In the city, it is probably fair.
Considering that he did not make the 7" hole, he should have knocked something off, unless he did some other extra work.
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I don't understand .If the range hood requires a 7" round duct, and he put in only a 4" duct, it sounds as if he did something wrong. What kind of range hood do you have? And what are the specs of the hood?
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On Sun, 19 Jun 2011 19:20:15 -0700 (PDT), Mikepier

I'd supect it was a "convertible" hood and he installed it ventless.
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On Jun 19, 11:20 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Sorry I misread the original post. The contractor never drilled a hole.
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As for others who mentioned 16 hours total of work , in my math 8 and 4, equals 12. His labor was $2000, i spent $1000 for tiles, drywall, range hood, paste and all that goes with installing tiles in a 30sq.ft area with no grouting., total $3000. The hood is a Broan Allure QS2 series 36" in length...Paid for dumping? Isn't that part of the contract..? BTW, what waste are we talking about? The Formica was placed outside my home where the sanitation depart. picked it up..free, so he had no dumping to do...also, all those extra screws and bx cable and connectors that were left over, i gave to him...i had no personal use for them.
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Did he give you a $2k quote to start with? I'm guessing he installed the hood but configured it for recirculation instead of venting outside?
If he gave you a $2k quote and that included making a hole in the exterior wall then he probably should knock a little off. But I wouldn't expect much, a couple hundred dollars maybe.
You don't make it clear if he gave you an estimate up front?
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wrote

You missed the point. 12 hrs _on the job_ correlates to 16 hrs, and I think that's a bit on the low side. Surely he spent at least 2 hrs per day travel time & getting the appropriate tools in order.
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The hours spent are irrelevant. The OP did not ask about a time and materials accounting. He's trying to reverse engineer the pricing of lump sum work after it's done. The work got done - beautifully - so it's extremely unlikely that the contractor broke in and did the work while the OP was away. The OP agreed to the price that he thought was a little bit high, and now that the work is done, he's trying to squeeze the contractor. I am not convinced that the OP has enough wherewithal in the home improvement experience bank to make a determination of what constitutes 'beautiful' work, but that's another issue.
As far as NYC pricing, I had a buddy that had a wood closet door installed in an existing metal jamb, and he provided the hardware. The contractor picked up a used door and installed it in a morning and charged $900. He paid it, and I think he was nuts, but people charge what they can get.
The OP's post starts off with a misleading subject line - "Was I overcharged?" No. No he wasn't overcharged. There's no set price for what was done. The OP got a number from a contractor, gave the go ahead (admittedly with some reservations), and the work was done beautifully. What's his beef? That the contractor didn't stretch it out to three or four days to make it seem like he was getting his money's worth? Sheesh. If the OP wants a Buyer's Protection policy, he should try eBay.
R
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You're absolutely correct.
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wrote

city,
think
travel
The hours spent are irrelevant. The OP did not ask about a time and materials accounting. He's trying to reverse engineer the pricing of lump sum work after it's done. The work got done - beautifully - so it's extremely unlikely that the contractor broke in and did the work while the OP was away. The OP agreed to the price that he thought was a little bit high, and now that the work is done, he's trying to squeeze the contractor. I am not convinced that the OP has enough wherewithal in the home improvement experience bank to make a determination of what constitutes 'beautiful' work, but that's another issue.
As far as NYC pricing, I had a buddy that had a wood closet door installed in an existing metal jamb, and he provided the hardware. The contractor picked up a used door and installed it in a morning and charged $900. He paid it, and I think he was nuts, but people charge what they can get.
The OP's post starts off with a misleading subject line - "Was I overcharged?" No. No he wasn't overcharged. There's no set price for what was done. The OP got a number from a contractor, gave the go ahead (admittedly with some reservations), and the work was done beautifully. What's his beef? That the contractor didn't stretch it out to three or four days to make it seem like he was getting his money's worth? Sheesh. If the OP wants a Buyer's Protection policy, he should try eBay.
================================================ It's really simple. He had a specific contract to have worked performed that wasn't performed. Would you be happy if you bought a car to find out that the seller removed the seats before turning the car over to you? Have you ever worked at a job where you got paid for 5 days while deciding to only work 4? This is a simple case of the terms of the contract not being fulfilled (at least as I understand it) because a substantial and difficult portion of the work was not performed, it was not performed legally or to code and the recirculating solution is far inferior to a outside exhaust system that he contracted for. Three strikes.
+A judge could even order the first contractor to pay another, licensed contractor (and electrician) to rip out the non-complying work and repair to it code in a "workman-like" manner. I'd say this contractor has some serious legal exposure even if he did "wonderful work." If the underlying electrical work was illegally performed and not to code, the OP is in the driver's seat, legally speaking.
Judges are very loathe to accept "set offs" as in "I did more work than the contract required" because they are not part of the contract. You can't bind someone else to paying for work they didn't agree that you do (except under very rare cirumstances like the delivery of emergency medical care when you're dying). You can't claim unagreed-to setoffs in court. The proper course of action is to get a job change order. A written, 'agreed to by both parties' job change order.
I'd be in small claims court in a heartbeat if the contractor didn't make a reasonable rebate. Just like I'd sue someone who sold me a car and then yanked the seats on delivery. Contract = a promise on both sides to adhere to terms written into the agreement. The OP fulfilled his, the contractor didn't. As open and shut a case as you can find unless the OP agreed in writing to the change. Most contractors hate to hear that, but that's contract law.
-- Bobby G.
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wrote:

Does contract law only listen to one party and then make a ruling?
Didn't think so. But that's exactly what you're doing. I'm telling the OP to grow some balls - they are essential when dealing with contractors. It might not help so much on this project, but it will stand him in good stead down the road.
I don't know if you've ever been in small claims court in NYC, but on Long Island, well, let's say it's not exactly a speedy process. The OP would have to pay for filing, serving, take a day off from work, if there's a delay, take another day off...it rarely pays unless you're talking more serious money or if someone doesn't value their time highly. In this instance, what's the difference? A couple or few hundred? It's borderline at best.
I'm not going to tell the OP what to do, as I don't know what happened - just his version and he's admittedly unedumacated so it's entirely possible that he got a great price and a great job and just doesn't know it. There may have been changes (you ever seen a job that had no changes or surprises?) or conditions that entirely prevented the through wall vent.
If there's a material change to the originally quoted price/work, then the new number should be negotiated as soon as the cost changes are known. If the OP just blithely paid the contractor without asking about why there wasn't a price reduction since some work wasn't done, then that's getting into the beyond believable category.
There's always more to a story than the one party posts on a newsgroup.
R
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<stuff snipped>

whether
to
non-performance.
All good points to consider. NYC still uses BX so they are still a little paranoid about electrical fires in buildings that could spread to an entire block of rowhouses. I assume they are equally wary of non-licensed electricians doing electrical hook-ups. The OP would have to get a ruling from the AHJ as to whether the work was legal. Since it doesn't sound as if it was inspected before it was sealed up, my guess is it would be flunked for that alone. But it's just a guess. I left NYC in 1970. Only the AHJ knows for sure. The problem is once you alert them, you can end up on a forced path of redoing the work.
My neighbor had an entire unpermitted sunroom added to the back of her house. I told her Google's gonna get you sooner or later and you may have to take the whole thing down. They used an enormous amount of concrete for the foundation and attached the addition to the brick wall of the back of the house (her sister works for a concrete contractor so they got a deal). Both our houses are built over some pre-existing springs. As you might imagine, as the foundation settles, and it's settling pretty seriously, it's pulling the back of the house down with it. The addition may self-destruct long before the inspectors find it. She enjoys the heck out of it though, so it may be worth it to her in the long run.
Still, as the old saying goes "you can't fight city hall (or gravity!)."
-- Bobby G.
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<...snipped...>

It may be customary in some areas for some contractors to charge labor time for travel hours, and if they don't do so explicitly, they will build that cost into their overall pricing. On the other hand, most workers don't get paid for their commuting time and I think this is the perspective most consumers have.
--
Better to be stuck up in a tree than tied to one.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
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Anthony wrote:
...

You don't break the charges down but the 12 hours was at your site doesn't include his travel and other overhead charges--around here, even plumbers charge hourly for the truck sitting in the driveway any more.
I've no idea what even base labor rates would be in NYC, but for a skilled craftsman anywhere from $100-150/hr or so fully burdened doesn't surprise me at all.
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