Profile picture for home1965

When hiring a contractor, Is it better to pay by the day or project?

  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 05 2009 - US
We think we've answered this question for you!
  • Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.
 
 

Answers (14)

I agree with Michael as well. Being a contractor myself I am sure to give my clients a detailed estimate before starting any work. Additionally, if it is a large project I will sit down and go over different paymant options with whomever it is to see what works best for them. Once we've agreed on a payment schedule the work authorization is signed and we begin work.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 25 2009
Michael Head

Spot on!!!
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 24 2009
If you are hiring a licenced contractor ( recommended) you should receive an estimate detailing the scope of work, a schedule of work ( a timeline) and a payment schedule that identifies the when payments are to be made upon completion of the work outlined in the scope and schedule. If you are just having a little work done (ie painting the living room only) then you dont necessarily need a payment schedule, you just pay a small deposit ( amount varies by state but in NO case more that 10% or max $500) then the balance upon completion. I would NEVER recommend paying by the day.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 20 2009
Profile picture for BigMoose81
Pay by the job, when paid by the day, you could be suspect to lower work efficiency.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 20 2009
Mr. Sinsley was dead on with his response.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 20 2009
I always think it's better to pay by the job.  Then, it's up to the contractor to get the job done quickly.  If you pay by the day or hour, the contractor may work slower because that way he can earn more money - so it will cost you more and take longer which is a lose lose.

We always price by the job.  If it takes longer to do, then we pay for it not the home owner.  We do, however, as virtually every other contractor will do, put in a clause that it does not cover any unforeseen issues.  As an example, we do flooring.  You usually can't see what's under the floor until after it's ripped up, esp if it's tile, so if the subfloor is damaged, that's no one's fault and you have to address that if/when that comes up.  But, that is different vs. doing a slow job or a poor job estimating.

www.westchester.floorcoveringsinternational.com
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 16 2009
Pay by the job, no question! If the price for the job seems fair to you, and the job is done, then you didn't pay too much, period.  If you pay by the day you have NO idea what your job may wind up costing you. In addition always insist before signing that any overages not presented in writing will not be paid for at the end of the job. 
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 09 2009
Profile picture for SirKala2000
The most important questions are "is the contractor reputable?" and are they reliable. If you can answer yes to either one,  I would pay them based on their timeline and milestones. If your project is is based on a set price and negotiated accepted through a bid process, than you there should be no problem negotiating with the payments based on the completion of milestones. Doing this may require about a 1/4-1/2 of the payment upfront and make sure you obtain a copy of the project schedule to see if they are completing the according to milestones and If NOT, be sure include in the contract that for each day the milestone is not completed according the project schedule that you deduct a percentage or dollar amount from the overall cost for everyday that each timeline is not met because this will usually mean the project will go on longer than scheduled thus making your project enventualy overbudget.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 09 2009
A licensed contractor getting paid by the day ?
I have never heard of this .

I do everything from bank foreclosures to multi million dollar custom homes.

I have all my subcontractors review the working drawings and give the home owner a complete line item estimate.

When it comes time to sign the contract, 95% of the time it is a " Cost Plus" contract.
People change their minds along the way during construction.
And If I am working with my home owners money, and I can save them thousands of dollars here and there I am going to give it back to them.

Like they say, the best contractor is NOT the one with the cheapest price.
The BEST contractor for your project is the one you trust the most with YOUR checkbook !
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 08 2009
Profile picture for jjacksack
It would make sense that "by the day" payment would be more efficient as the contractor does not need to build in extra $$ for unforseen circumstances, the problem that we ran into with one project is that the contractor defined a "day" as from 9ish to around 3pm. A different project was priced by the hour -- this contractor took around 3-5 trips per week to home depot to get supplies -- the hourly rate was low, but we paid for what I considered excessive trips to get materials.  

I prefer work priced by the job, as there's no incentive to work at a less than professional pace, and we're not monitoring work done each day to ensure a fair day's work was received.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 08 2009
I usually offer either approach to my clients. Unless it is a very simple job I tell them that if they want a firm quote (by project) they will end up paying more than if they go with "time and material" When quoting a project like that I have to assume a "worst case scenario" so any hours that I end up not working ends up as extra profit for me. For that reason most of my clients prefer to pay me "by the day" Of course, this requires that they trust I will not "pad" the bill so most of my clients come to me by word of mouth" I warn you against the "cheapest bid from multiple proposals" method to home improvement. If you don't know the contractor, chances are that you will get exactly what you pay for.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 08 2009
If you want it done at a set price I think the chances are pretty good that you will get precisely what is outlined in the contract, nothing more nothing less.  Don't be surprised when the sheetrocker doesn't pull the masking paper and clean up the dust; he was contracted at 42.30 a sheet to hang and tape and that is it!

If you want a contractor to look out for your interests, provide quality work and go the extra mile (cleaning after themselves, protecting your possessions, repairing unforseen dry rot etc...) hourly might be the way to go.  Reputation in business is everything; if you want to be known as the guy who billed 120 hours to hang a ceiling fan so be it but don't expect the phone to ring.  
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 07 2009
Profile picture for pplants
It would seem reasonable to figure by the project is the better way to go ... but ....being a small contractor, I have a few customers with whom I charge by the hour/day. I give an approximate total time. I've found that about 7 times out of ten I'm on or slightly under my time guess. That surprised me, nevermind the homeowner. I think its because I spend my time on the work at hand and forget about the deadline. Time is money they say and its very true in the construction industry. Another thing I noticed is quality is slightly higher from my normal above average work. I do understand why customers lean greatly for a total project price and hardly ever mention by the day/hour as an alternative except to steady customers.  Good luck
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 05 2009
Profile picture for agentblu15
Generally, you're probably better off paying by the project, because MOST jobs will end up taking longer than quoted, due to unforseen delays, etc.

However, you should always get multiple quotes from different contractors, and ask them to include an estimated timeframe for their "by project" quote, that way you can break it down yourself and see how it compares to the "by day" quote.

You may also be able to work a clause into your contract with them that you'll pay by the day up to a certain number of days, but if the job runs over their estimated timeframe, the daily rate should be discounted or eliminated altogether for that additional time.
  Flag content
Close
Report a Problem

Please enter a valid email address.

Close
Content flagged

We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

Close
We're Sorry
This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.
August 05 2009
 
Related Questions
Why is my home estimated less than others on same street?
Profile picture for evandor
Latest answer by evandor
12 hours ago | 3 answers
Why do I need a water softener and Reverse Osmosis system in my home?
Profile picture for James Bell
Latest answer by James Bell
2 days ago | 2 answers
How easy is it to install smart home automation systems?
Profile picture for Frank & Rebecca Malowany
Latest answer by Frank & Rebecca Malowany
2 days ago | 3 answers
Looking to remodel garage in to a living space-
Profile picture for David  Burg
Latest answer by David Burg
2 days ago | 12 answers
Be A Good Neighbor

Zillow Advice depends on each member to keep it a safe, fun, and positive place. If you see abuse, flag it. More on our Good Neighbor Policy.