Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I started a construction project on an hourly basis. I told the
contractor what my budget was and he assured me he could get the
project done for what I could afford to pay. We have made a few small
design changes along the way, but nothing major. He comes to me
regularly for money like a heroin addict looking for a fix. Do I have any
recourse other than paying him?
When you pay for work in the trades, there is a huge difference
between an estimate and a bid. I’m not an attorney, but generally an
estimate is a finger pointing in the direction of a completed project,
while a bid is a commitment to complete the work for the bid price.
Depending on the nature of the project and the character of the
contractor, he might do inferior work to keep the project at or under or
bid price, and a provide better product if you are paying hourly (as in,
more). But more money doesn’t ensure better quality. It’s all a
function of whom you hire. Without a signed bid, you’ll have to work it
out with your current contractor or find a new person to finish things
up. References before your begin are your best step next time.