5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Rebuiding deck

I have to rebuild a deck before an assessor comes by to look at it.
One contractor who seemed to have some integrity (rare around here) won't give me a bid. Instead he wants to work hourly at low hourly rate. Says it'll take him a week. Other handymen/contractors say it'll take them 2-3 days, but they charge more by the hour.
The last time I hired a contractor by the hour, he ended up charging me twice what he first quoted.
I checked licenses, reviews, etc. of others and they ended up doing such a poor job that I filed a complaint with the state licensing board and the county. The result of that? The county threatened to red tag my house and the licensing board did nothing but go through some meaningless motions.
Any expert advice about hiring contractors by the hour rather than a formal bid - which can change to I suppose?

Re: Rebuiding deck

Let's see your options:

1. The slow guy by the hour.
2. Faster guys by the hour.
3. Continue looking for someone by the job.

If you can't find #3 and you can't repair the deck alone, then go with #1 - because he is trustworthy, as you mentioned.

But, draw something on a piece of paper with a time limit. If he says he needs a week, let it be a week and not two. Then agree with him on a payment schedule, something like progressive schedule, but keep a retainer (of about 10%) to be paid after completion. You also have to specify material purchases: who will buy and on whose time.

This way he knows he has to show up on time, do his job, complete it on time and not drag it.

Re: Rebuiding deck

Good ideas on modifying the by-the-hour contract

1- final high amount limit

2- time limit

3- penalty if not finished on time with allowances for weather

4- Pay partial for each day so if it looks like he's not going to finish on time he doesn't get each day's full amount. When he finishes on time he gets all the amount withheld. A sliding scale in between.

Re: Rebuiding deck

i can understand some wanting to do it by the hour.. in some situations where they might have to make changes or might run into issues with the siding to properly flash the deck they run a major risk of losing their shirt if they just give a price and dont anticipate issues. this is a common practice with renovations. if it were a straight up new deck on a brand new house under construction theres no messing around just built it for a price

Re: Rebuiding deck

Hiring a contractor to do a project on time and materials is a sketchy way of doing things. A good contrator will quote the job based on his expectations as to how much time and materials to do the job. Sure there are always unexpected and unseen issues but an experienced contractor should be experienced to anticpate unforseen things.
Besides usually anything above and beyond the scope of work quoted is spelled out with change orders or exceptions.

Different than calling an appliance repair man , an electricain to sort out an electrical problem , or a plumber for locating a leak ; you can understand time and materials.

But, in this case if you are willing to go with time and materials then going with restrictions mentioned earlier would probably be a good idea.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.