I shouldn't make a stink about this, right? (bill for roofing job)

TL;DR had a multi-thousand dollar roofing project done. During the quote I asked for a bit of extra work and the guy said ‘sure, it’ll be like an extra $10’. It ended up being an extra $50. I should just shut up and pay it, right?
A few weeks ago I got a quote for a new roof. While the guy was out there, I asked him if he could replace a few feet of fascia and trim, he said that it wouldn’t be a problem and that they would probably just tack on 5 or 10 dollars. Considering my time and cost, that was no problem for me. Especially considering the drip edge was going to totally cover the trim, to the point where I wasn’t going to be able to get at it, and also, I even mentioned that I really don’t care how they slap it up there (as long as it looks somewhat nice). In my words, 'They can just use their nail guns and shingle nails for all I care, I just need it to get done before the drip edge is done.

No problem he said, 5 or 10 dollars he said.

Got the final bill today, $50 or ‘replacing rotted fascia and trim’.

My first thought was to let him know that A)That’s considerably more than what I was quoted and B)they only replaced the trim, not the fascia (which probably wasn’t rotted, just needed some paint).

But then, as I thought about it, on an $8k project, is it worth saying anything about an extra $40? The extra $40 represents less than a half a percent, so it’s not that big of a deal, also, if he had said ‘yup, we can do that, it’ll probably be an extra $50 or so’, I’m sure I still would have agreed. He emailed me the final bill today and I thought about saying either ‘Hey, everything looks great, the extra charges are a bit more than you said they were, but I’m still happy with the outcome’ (or something like that), ‘the check will be in the mail tomorrow’, just to let him know I noticed OR directly saying that this was way more than he said it would be and also pointing out that they only replaced the trim and not the fascia, because, for all I know, the roofers said they did both and he doesn’t know any different, he wasn’t on the site while it was getting done.

OTOH, I don’t know anything about the roofing/construction industry. Maybe when he said ‘5 or 10 bucks’ in his head he was also thinking ‘plus labor’ and maybe it took someone an hour to do it.
I’ve certainly run into miscommunications (both from and to me) where one party mentioned a charge and the other party didn’t implicitly understand that there would be other charges along with that. When you’ve been in an industry so long, sometimes you forget that people not in that industry don’t know these things and need them explained.

My initial gut reaction was to say ‘hey buddy, that’s not what you said’, but as I thought it out, I realized that the $40 is basically nothing and they did to a good job, so it doesn’t really matter. OTOH, maybe he needs to know, maybe I’m getting billed for materials that someone took home and labor that was never done, as I said, it was only trim, no fascia.

Also, as I said, there’s a drip edge that totally hangs over the (raw) wood, I have no idea how to paint that. I can get at the exposed bottom edge, but that’s it. Any ideas?

This is the best picture I could find. I have a 1x6 fascia with a 1x2 trim running just under the shingle (which I think was supposed to act as the drip edge to begin with). The new aluminum drip edge is totally over the 1x2 trim. Since it’s basically not exposed to rain/snow, it’s probably fine, at least for a while. OTOH, my thought is just just get up there, tape off the new shingles and drip edge and spray it with some Kilz. That should keep it safe for quite a while. I have no idea how I’ll go about replacing it some day, though I assume the idea is to bend the drip edge back while working on it, but I’d rather not do that a week after getting it.
And while we’re at it, I’m curious as to if I can paint this? I was thinking about changing the trim color on my house (whole 'nother thread), but if I can’t paint (easily) the new white aluminum, I’m sort of locked into white fascia, which isn’t all bad, it’s one less decision I have to make going forward.

I’d like to just send out the check to him in the morning and be done with the project. Other than a few hiccups along the way, it went well and looks great so I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ that they have to hound for the money (and I want my lien release ASAP).

So, what say you? Just pay it, keep my mouth shut and move on?

Another option I have is that when he emailed me the bill he offered to pick up the check, I can certainly say something like ‘sure, that would be great, I haven’t had a chance to do a thorough walk around, maybe you could take a peek and make sure everything looks good, besides, I wouldn’t know what to look for’ or something like that. A bit passive aggressive, but it gets him out to the site and give me a chance to point out that, hey, they replaced like 10 feet of 1x2, is that really worth $50? (Of course, when people say similar things to me and I respond ‘well, YOU could do it’ they nearly always refuse and let me do it, so there’s that).

Well, he is being really trusting. When we finish a job we don’t leave the premises until payment is made unless discussed beforehand. On a concrete pour, we don’t pour any concrete until paid when the truck arrives.

Was the guy who said $10 the boss? I had a habit of throwing little things like that in for almost nothing, just material if the customer asked me. My stepson (the company owner) hated this because he would charge a lot more for time, overhead, profit, etc.


Regarding payment, the contract specifically said that 25% was required upon signing the contract (which I did) and remainder would be due within 10 days. The project was finished done last Thursday. Yesterday I emailed him to ask him about payment (just to make sure they weren’t waiting on me) and he said he was waiting to see the project folder to see what the crew charged for the ‘fascia and trim’ and if there were any decking boards that were replaced and thanked me for keeping in touch. I replied and told him to just let me know when he has a total and I’ll get it to him ASAP. At that time, I really thought about telling him that they didn’t repair the ‘fascia and trim’ but just the trim, but I assumed he’d see it in the project folder. Also, it’s possible that he just billed it that way, regardless of what they actually did.

Now, he’s not the owner, he’s a salesman, the trim/fascia repair, he made it sound like it would be ‘next to nothing’. He did say ‘meh, it’ll be like $5 or $10’ every time I brought it up.

Considering how much materials and time would cost me (keeping in mind going to the store, dragging out the ladder, saw, nails etc) even if he had said something like ‘we’ll just charge $50’ or better yet ‘I’ll tack on an extra $50 and we’ll catch any rotted fascia we see while we’re working’. I would have agreed to it. As I always say, I can fix, I can’t build (and this is, to me, building).

But, just to be clear, this wasn’t COD, it’s Net 10, so getting paid ahead isn’t part of the problem, and, for that matter you really can’t pay ahead on a project like this since certain issues won’t arise until they start working, for example, they may very well not know that some of the decking is rotted out until the shingles/underlayment is off, then you have to go back to the person and ask for more money. (BTW, I was made aware, from everyone I got bids from, that this would be the case).
And just to reiterate, I plan to just pay him the full amount, I just want to make sure that I shouldn’t be saying something. On an 8k project, it’s not like an extra $40 is exactly them laughing all the way to the bank.

I’d mention it but I wouldn’t make a huge stink about it. Maybe even give him a bit of an out. The questions are overall did you like the job and did you think the overall price was acceptable and do you want to be perceived as someone who forgets little details and can be hornswoggled?

Just something like “Hey, I seem to recall you said about $10 and you charged $50. Was the work more involved than you first thought?” It’s lets him know you are paying attention. They’d notice and say something if the check was $40 short.

The time you’ve spent dwelling on the matter is probably worth over $40. I’d let it go.

We had the opposite issue with our roof replacement a few years back. The contractor didn’t examine the job closely enough before giving his quote. There ended up being considerable chimney repair necessary, which added a day’s labor and materials. We wanted to pay, he wanted to eat the loss and stick to the quote.

We ended up paying for the materials. We hired him the following year to re-side and replace windows.

That’s kind of what I’m thinking (giving him an easy out, but he can ignore it too) with my comment above about saying ‘I thought the trim was going to be cheaper, but it looks great, I’ll drop the check in the mail tomorrow!’ It’s funny you mention the $40 short part. That’s one of those things my dad would say. If I mentioned this to him, it’s probably exactly what he would say, in fact anytime I say ‘hey we got billed a little more than the quote, but it was just a few bucks so I’ll just pay it’ he’ll say ‘pay them a few bucks less, they’ll call you…promise’.

That’s pretty much the plan, but there was no mail yesterday, so I had time to stew about it and I wanted to get some more input.

Now that’s interesting. Both the contractors that gave me serious bids said the quote is exactly what I’d be paying*. Didn’t matter if they messed up measuring and needed an extra $700 worth of shingles, forgot to add in for the this or that, started tearing off and ran into some problems (other than the specifically mention decking), what it says is what I’ll pay.
But I don’t have a chimney (assuming you mean a real brick one), so I don’t know much about that, if it needed to be rebuilt, relined, tuckpointed etc, that’s a whole thing and I can almost understand wanting to toss them the money to make sure it’s done right and not a rush job.
*Of course, if they mess up the wrong way, that is, over estimate the job, I’m sure they’re not going to hand all the money back to me. Even I’ll admit that that’s just bad business practice.

Isn’t it just possible, your, ‘it’s just a few feet’, informed his, “5-10$” quote. But as such things usually work out, it proves to be slightly more complicated than it first appeared. Involved more footage, took more time or materials, or presented a slight setback, unseen till work was actually undertaken.

I think if you question them this is most likely what you’ll hear. My experience is that such developments are quite common in home repair.

I’d pay it, no problem.

We had a problem with our pond; the bank in several areas was eroding. We had a water conservancy company examine the situation and present a plan.

When they did the work, they finished 3/4 of a day early and had material left over. He had noticed a swampy area behind our barn, and suggested he use up his time/materials installing a French drain. No extra charge, other than a few bucks worth of plastic pipe. Totally fixed the swamp.

Great company, I’ve handed out their business cards whenever possible.

But shouldn’t they get back to you and say “oh, it’s going to be more expensive - do you still want us to do it?”

Even ignoring the back and forth emails where he (because we seemed to have this ‘repertoire’ asked me for the dimensions of the fascia and trim and about how far up the rot went (it was just one section) as well as the pictures I sent up…when he initially said “oh, just 5 or 10 dollars” that was during his initial, on site, walk around of the house and quote. He was quite literally looking directly at it when he made the comment.

Also, since they didn’t pull the fascia off, just the trim, it’s not like they ran into any other problems since they didn’t expose anything hidden (like, say, a bad roof joist that they decided to replace right away as long as it was right there).

And, again, I’m planning to pay it, I just wanted to make sure everyone wasn’t like ‘oh hell no’. I don’t have a whole lot of experience contractors.

It’s not worth the aggravation for $40. It doesn’t really matter why he inflated it to $50, maybe he forgot, maybe his boss made him put down $50, maybe it took a little longer than he thought, maybe he thought he didn’t get enough for the rest of the work, there could be a thousand more reasons and none of them are worth the time you’ve spent thinking about it already. Don’t hire him again, or if you think he did a good enough job remind him next time and see if you can get him to throw you something. But just forget about it, life is too short for a worry like this.

Also, if he had said it would have cost $50 initially would you have said ok? Maybe it didn’t take much effort to do but $50 for any item of work is pretty cheap these days.

And a final thought, I feel for you. These things may seem to be pointless but they can just annoy the hell out of you. There are so many more difficult problems to resolve, fraught with anxiety from the git go, but something that should have been so simple has a way of needling you. Get hit with 100 stones and you’re sore all over, not any single one of them matters much compared to that, but when you get hit with that one stone you feel it in particular. But there’s nothing to do about it now. Remember it if you like and if you have to throw that stone back some day then put a little extra on it.

He’s mentioning fascia. They didn’t do fascia. Your conversation doesn’t need to be a big deal, but I would ask about it. You won’t know until you ask. It’s just a question. Maybe it’s boilerplate, maybe it took more time than they thought, whatever. Just ask.

It never hurts to be a polite advocate for your own economic interests. It’s no different than raising an issue with a waiter for a $2 mistake on a bill. I don’t have a problem with it.

If you want to do business with the same folks that give these sort of estimates in the future you need to demonstrate that money is valuable to you and that you pay attention to details. Otherwise the next quote may have a bit of padding on it. And it’s not about being rude or looking cheap or looking for a fight. It’s about not being perceived as careless with money.

Bejesus, what happened to your eaves … you’ve got rainwater coursing down the inside of your siding against the sheathing … very very bad. We can tell by the way the edges of the siding are warping. Face-nail the siding flat and chalk, it will be a continuing headache without a proper two foot overhang.

The flashing over the 1x2 can be very carefully pulled away the 1/8" you need to slip paint up underneath it. I’ve replace many a trim board just like that because of rot and the rot almost universally starts where the metal ends. Don’t be worried about sloshing paint all the way up, just a little bit and you’ll be fine.

Bejesus, what happened to your eaves, it should be illegal to build houses without two foot overhangs. You’ll be having water damage problems the life of that building.

As to the contractor, you said you were pleased with the work done. I’m holding you to that here. You’ll get honest contractor more often than not, just that the few “nots” tend to be total nightmares, expensive nightmares. If you’ve found yourself a good honest contractor, you will be going back to them again and again. $8K for a re-roof is on the low side, the contractor isn’t making much profit here. I think charging you $50 for what you were told would be $10 is certainly tacky, but then that might be a fair chunk of the profit too.

My advice: Write the check, no questions this time … [sneer] … wait until next time … it’s a handwave away while they think you’re a one-and-done customer … when you call them back for another job they’ll be thinking “repeat business” and you’ll get better treatment.

Bejesus, those eaves, what were they thinking?