How should I pay a builder for part work? HELP, PLEASE!?

I have someone building an addition on my outside work shed. I have purchased all the materials. He wants to now take off for two weeks, and has presented me with a large bill. The walls and roof are framed, except no trusses yet, and there isn't any protection from the elements, as in roof decking or shingles. I am concerned about the untreated lumber being damaged by the elements. The slab had been placed there before I bought the property. I have two questions: First, what is a reasonable figure per square foot to charge for a shed addition, which will eventually include electricity and water? And, at this stage of completion, giving that I have purchased all of the materials, what is fair for me to pay him? Wouldn't the presentation of such a large figure suggest he didn't plan to return after the holidays?


This story, like most of mine, is a long one. We don't have a contract, as he knows me to be a fair person, and I believe him to be honorable, just perhaps,being strained a bit with long word problems. I will pay him fairly and completely for everything he has done, and will do. He's a good fella - not a crook I believe. When someone mentioned 25%, would this be a fair estimate of how complete this job is? Also, he would like to charge for roofing by the square, in addition to the cost/sq ft for framing it up. How much is labor per roofing square? I've got to get the figures like roofing costs, materials, electrical, etc, and be certain the final cost/sq ft is not adding up to a figure resembling the HGTV dream home. YIKES! I think I'd rather go back to making my Christmas candy now. But!! Since I can't....

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This a tough one.

    Was there an original agreement/contract (written or verbal) ?

    If so what percent of the agreed work has been completed.

    With the completed work being open to the weather you can have problems. Have you asked that he at least weather it in before his vacation?

    Having been a general contractor for over 30 years I will tell you that I have always had either an agreed total contract price or a cost plus agreement when there are items subject to change or modification during the course of the work.

    There is not a square foot price per say for the description you have provided. In new home construction there are but it qualifies certain allowances such a $ per sq. yd. carpet allowance and a set door/window allowance.

    If there is no contract at this time I would urge you to sit down and come to an agreement along with the scope of work and who is to supply what.

    Source(s): General Contractor residential and Commercial work 30yrs.
  • 1 decade ago

    I will sometimes do work on the side, and while I cannot give you what a fair price for what is being done, I generally never ask or collect money until I have the job completed. Bear in mind that the work I do on the side is usually small jobs, decks finish basements that sort of thing, but I have been told some people will collect their pay in draws, which means when an agreed upon percent is completed, you will pay a specified amount, with final payment at the end of the job. Also when being charged by the square on roof shingles, if you don't already know, a square of shingles is a 10 foot by 10 foot area, not total square footage of the roof. I know it is too late but in the future a job of this size requires a contract, not just to protect you but also the builder.

  • 1 decade ago

    I there is a signed contract then she have to abide by the contract. The only thing that I can suggest that you place in writing your concerns for the incomplete, untimely finish of the shed.

    I would let the contractor know that we did not discuss you taking anytime off, and I stand the risk for my property being damaged, and think that it is only fair that you discount this job.

    If you want to end the contract call the city inspectors have them come out and take a look at the results get a city estimate, and pay for the job that was completed, and I would highly recommend that you find another contractor to finish the shed. Once things like this happen; you are bound to be unhappy with the future work experiences.

    The sq ft is generally a figure that the contractor can make. They is not good fee. If is unfortunate that you did not discuss this in detail with the contractor in the beginning of the process.

    Look at your contract and see what he charged per sq ft, and what he has already completed, and just pay this balance to not be sued for the entire contract.

  • 1 decade ago

    develop a payment schedule. If your person claims he/she is 25% complete, then pay him 25% of the total price MINUS 10% retention. ( if the payment for work completed is $200 then withhold $20).

    Remember that you never pay for work , or portions of work until complete. Why would you pay for something that you have not received?

    If you do pay based on a schedule of payments, base that schedule on tangible items. (IE framing, electrical, plumbing, roofing,etc...) each of these items must be completed prior to payment. Don't forget the 10% retention. If you pay 100%, what is going to bring the contractor back if there is deficient work? The retention monies are payed in full, by you, at the absolute completion of the project, when YOU are satisfied the work is complete. Also remember that a contractor can include materials as part of a payment schedule, but only if those materials are on site.

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  • Doug R
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Did he give you a total for all of the work??? If so, take about 25% of that and pay him no more than that - you need a carrot to get him back to finish up. I don't care if he is a good guy, a contract should be drawn up next time - that way, both of you will know what to expect. On a project like this, it is not unusual to expect completion before pay since you bought the materials. His labor ought to be about the same as all of the materials cost, so judge from that what you owe him for his progress. On larger projects, it is good to set up progress payments when it will take more than a month to complete. Anyway, next time do a contract!

  • 1 decade ago

    Ask if he is returning to complete the job. The bill should be itemized for the work he is charging. next time the holiday season is not the time to undergo an addition.

  • 1 decade ago

    Call the contractors state licensing board. He can charge you for labor but that needs to be spelled out. If hes 25% done, then pay him 25% of what you agreed to....etc.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's a little late to ask these questions now...I take it he's not a contractor. If you agreed on the price in the begining, you're stuck but it is customary to pay half up front and the last half when he's finished.

  • 1 decade ago

    total labor should be about $ 6.00 per sq ft.

    what he has done is about 25 %.........

    shingle labor is about $ 28.00 per sq.......

    he needs a permit for this work........

    tell him u cant pay him until it is dried in, this is a norm..

    a good fellow wouldn't walk off and leave ur building open to the weather.......

    lic. gn. contractor

  • 1 decade ago

    low ball whatever you give him or else you might not ever see him again. and take the life lesson dont ever deal with friends its a bad combo

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