14 hours, $5,000. ? Charged too much?

The local roofing company owner came out and checked my roof leak and said he can’t give a price till he tears it apart. That did not take long.
Tile roof. The leak was in a tile valley, totaling maybe a square or so in area. He sends out his 2 workers the next week. They work for just under 6 hours, including a l o n g lunch and then a long break. The next day they came back to cement the tiles. That was for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Materials used were tar paper and tile cement.

I believe in paying a fair wage, paying for material and all overhead, and a profit for the owner. The bill I was sent was for “$4,935.00 Repair Tile Valley on Roof as Proposed.”

My question is how do I say to the owner that the price is outrageous, and help him figure a fairer price?
Thanks for any help.

you either have to had an estimate for the job or a per man hour rate (time and materials )… Does sounds expensive for one days work …

Dont you have a contract ??

What state are you in ??

What does your contract state? How did this compare to all the other contracts proposed to you? What is his daily overhead? How much is his work comp costing? Does he pay fair wages for skilled workers? lots of questions before we can accurately answer.

Let me ask this question, Is your home with its content worth investing 5k into it? You must have had a contract of some sort and when prices are not given normally i have called the customer to let know of final price before sending an invoice out. I agree with what Aaron is saying.

Tampa Bay
No contract. The owner himself did work for me on another house. He put in 2 1/2 days (short days) and charged $1,425. So I thought I could trust him.
Could it be his 2 workers told him they put in many more hours than they did?

Well without a contract he should have never touched your home. Secondly this opens a large box of worms for you. Does this guy even have a licence, insurance and stuff. I do not know of a single contractor that is legit touch any work without a contract. Something does not sound right to me with the addition information you gave me. Not sure what it is tho maybe the no contract thing. Without a contract how can he collect?

I agree with kevin . no contract could lead into many problems… this is one of them .

If there is no contract there is not much we can suggest… Sounds like an attempt to do it under the table :? … srry

I dont even think you are obligated to pay him at all. Since there is no agreement .

Thanks all for your help.
He is licensed & insured. Has 7 workers total, and told me he can’t find good laborers (inexperienced) to help his regular guys even tho he’ll pay them $10. p/h (hot, Florida sun?). He probably pays a chunk for workmen’s comp, I agree. secretary, office, vehicles, true. But come on, 14 man hours (not counting initial inspection), little material,s and billed for almost $5,000?!
You do the math, how much would be fair. Is it me that is screwed up?

hey mark,
im in st pete, and that is certainly a high price.
unless you have some kind of special tile, 2 storys, real steep, that sort of thing. thats the only way to get up to those #s.
and your in tampa bay you know how to negociate.
i dont know how many sq ft you have but i replace whole roofs for those kinda numbers.
if ya need local help let me know.

good luck.


Well with knowing that doing a valley on a tile roof is alot of labor and experance. 350 bucks roughly an hour is a bit high no much tho. The price is a little high but not enough to make a major problem over. Good help does not come cheap so look at it this way, it protects everything you have worked for, for many years and many to come. Hope all goes well with this. I would never let anyone touch my stuff without a contract or a price line nor would i do any work without a contract stating what the price is. I dont do business like that, its a shady way of making money.

Thanks, all. And gweedo, I’m in Dunedin. Do you work up north here?
Thanks for the offer. Will probably need a new roofer before I am through with this situation. My gads, man, 5 grand for 14 man-hours labor, not much more than nothing in material. Hate when that happens.

dunedin is fine.
you can email me roofsbygweedo@ij.net
ill atleast let ya know what ya need to do and about how much it
should cost.

eya later.


here is what I’d do. First, I’d call him and ask him what his man-hour rates are for the foreman and for his helper. It will probably be something like $45 and $35, or maybe even as low as $35 and $25. Then do the math, multiplying each workman’s hours time the rate for that man. Don’t forget to figure in drive time to and from the job, although if the guys went straight home (something you can’t prove) he should only charge you drive time to the job. Also, don’t forget there will be time loading materials at the shop and possibly discarding debris. Next, find out or figure out what materials were used, and get a cost from the owner. Let us know what that cost is, and we’ll tell you if it is fair or grossly marked-up. From there, since you don’t have a contract and aren’t even legally obligated to pay him, you should try to negotiate the final bill in good faith. If you can make a good argument why the bill is high, if he is an honest owner he should work with you.

Thanks again, gweedo.

The roof is fixed now, but it is a big house and sooner or later it’ll need more fix’n & I’ll give you a call.

Nice to know there are some trustworthy people.

Cerberus, that’s the stuff I’m looking for. Good stuff for me to do. Helps me know how to talk, and what to say, to the owner !!

No problem! That is part of what I do for a living. I usually don’t have to “beat up” on the contractors, but every now and then I’ll see an application for payment come across my desk that is out of line. When that happens, I look out for my clients interest by talking to the contractor to verify his claims. Sometimes the bills are justified, and sometimes the contractor makes mistakes or assumptions.

45 a man hour doesnt even coverthe labor and labor burden. Please dont give out bad advice.

I’m not giving out bad advice, but I have forgotten where I’m living compared to where others live. Here in Houston we have a lot of Hispanic labor that works cheap, and the savings are passed on to everyone else. Naturally, it all depends on where you live and what the going rates are where you live, which is why I told him to ask the contractor what he charges for each of his men. I believe he also stated he was paying his workers $10/ hour, and generally if you take the hourly rate and multiply it times 3.5, you get what the government deems fair for an hourly charge. Now, I happen to notice you are out of Illinois, so I suspect the rate to be higher. I also expect it to be a lot higher if you are union.

I have to agree with Aaron on this. 45 per man hour is very low. We are in this business to make money not do work probono. Example i did a 15 foot valley took me 3 hours charged 575.00. Thats 191 an hour. When repairs are being done they will always exceed the profits of a full new roof. Another 15 foot valley i sold on a 12/12 was 2500.00 took me 8 hours @ 312 an hour. Now i do not full agree with the price this guy is charging nor am im i comfortable with the no contract idea at all but please help me understand how you can make anymoney with 25 per man hour on repairs? See I know that I would only hire a a worker that is legal to work here in the US. And well any skilled guy i ever met on repairs wanted atleast 18 an hour. so im supposed to make 7 bucks an hour to cover advertizing, phones, gas, rent, insurance and so on. Please help me understand. I feel the price is slightly high by about 50 an hour but then again i do not do tile work, that is a specialized task up where i am at. This is not meant to start an arguement this is basically please elaberate upon how you can justify what you wrote down. Nothing more nothing less.

try 75 and hour to 95 plus materials. standard rate here . even in auto repair and stuff. $20 to expert plus 70% WC plus proffit and overhead.

I do agree 4,900 it sounds expensive.

The only way to argue is like cerberus said.

Can i ask was this going to be on a side cash thing ?