From the Forum – Contractor rates?

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Contractor rates:

“I have a contractor that does decent work. He charges by the hour not by the job. $100 an hour. He does do plumbing, electrical, demolition, renovations. Works by himself and at times does take too long to finish a job. I’ve used and trusted him for several years but lately I feel I’m overpaying. What is the average hourly rate here in DC? Should I be paying by the job and not by the hour?”

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18 Comment

  • I would not be paying by the hour. Only way to be sure is to get three quotes for a job and choose the person who seems to be asking for a reasonable amount and gives you the impression they are honest and know what they are talking about. $100/hour is an awful lot for handyman services– what do you do if he works all day? Pay him $800?

    • i’m guessing you’ve never hired a contractor in DC

    • This is an intelligent answer. Put an ad on CL for the work you want done, get 3 estimates from contractors, and go with who you want.

      You’re clearly getting ripped off at $100/hr. It should be more like $20/hr.

  • first off, if he’s doing the work by himself he’s not a contractor – more of a handyman (he’s not sub-contracting with anyone…)

    $100/hr seems very high for a handyman, unless perhaps that includes all materials?

  • gotryit

    Wow, I’ve paid closer to $30/hr (labor only) + material for that type of work. And $10-$15/hr for any basic laborer with him.

    I’m sure that goes higher with a top notch company (that I’d expect to get things right the first time), but this sounds more like a regular guy that’s hit or miss.

    Paying by the job can sometimes be better, but it’s hard to sum up in a comment how to make that call.

  • justinbc

    I’m not sure there’s an average rate “for everything”. It really depends on the type of service needed and the certifications, insurance, etc of the contractor in question. For most jobs I try to get a quote for the actual job, but my plumber for example works by the hour and charges $115 I believe. They’ve done outstanding work though and even come out to the house for free when I’ve had concerns about things afterwards.

    • justinbc

      Also, as always with regard to this subject, I highly recommend doing some research on the website Checkbook, which for most professions has pretty thorough comments, advice, and even cost breakouts of what to expect in DC.

      • Do you think Checkbook is better than Angie’s List? I have had Angie’s List for several years and have found a few decent providers but nothing spectacular. Not to mention I have been looking for someone to redo my kitchen for months on end with no luck from any Angie’s List providers (my budget is fairly small so I’m not looking for a huge design firm).

    • You can’t just casually mention that you have a reasonably priced reliable plumber and not tell us who it is. Spill the beans!

  • Hourly is not the way to go unless you have a wide variety of on-going projects that require daily work (all week long). he should give you an estimate beforehand for each project and materials and if he exceeds costs projected, then you should ask him for receipts.

  • $100/hr sounds way too high. Normally, for simple type of work such as plumbing, demolition, etc I pay $30/hr.
    I pay $50/hr for higher skilled contractors like electrician, HVAC, brick layer.
    I think you’re getting ripped off at $100/hr especially if there is no upfront estimate.

  • Any good contractor should be able to estimate the number of hours a job will take and give you a quote for the whole job. (And any good client will understand when unexpected impediments make the job take longer and pay accordingly.) Yes, $100 is too high for a general handyman working alone.

  • I’m furloughed and will be happy to do your demolition work at the low, low price of $75 an hour.

  • Wow, $100 per hour is very high for a general handy-man. I might pay that for some very skilled labor, but we’re talking very specialized stuff. I usually pay in the range of $20-$30 per hour for a handyman (plus material costs).

  • You are getting hosed. You should either be paying by the job, or find a better guy who charges less. For $30/hour, if there is a decent amount of work, you should be able to get skilled labor. If you go to $50 for electrical and such, you are paying fairly.

    $100/hour is nuts….

    • I thing a good plumber is typically 100 an hour give or take + materials. electricians are only slightly cheaper

  • For those of you who have hired a reasonably affordable handyman, could you provide the name?

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