I'm hoping someone here knows something about billing norms for having house work done. Typically, I've gotten quotes for completing a job, and then paid for them doing that job. We recently had our NorCal house painted, and before it could be painted it needed to have some boards with dry rot removed, a new aluminum garage door, and a portion of the wide siding replaced. We live in a Victorian-style house in the Bay Area, which we bought about one year ago (don't ask what we paid; you'd never believe me).
So, the painter's go-to contractor was unavailable, and he found someone else. They had good reviews, and were impressive to talk to. However, they quoted us at $9-10K to have the exterior work done to get it ready to paint, because of the scope of the work and the dry rot. More than I hoped, but okay, that's fine.
The final bill came in at $15K. The invoice listed what they did (which was on the quote), and when questioned about the increase was told that "we bill only on labor hours and materials". He explained the nature of repair work is that you can't anticipate the job costs/effort, so billing is different than, say, putting in new kitchen sinks and cabinets. I asked why the invoice didn't then have "hours charged plus materials" if that's how cost was computed, and he said most people don't want to see that, so they just list what they did.
He did provide me with that info on a second invoice, listing hours and a blanket materials cost of ~$5K.
Are they required to give a more detailed "materials" cost, if that's what I'm being charged for? Does that seem right? There's no way for me to gauge if he's giving me an honest price.
Thanks for any help.