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Question DetailsAsked on 11/2/2016

My contractor completed a project for me a month ago but has not submitted a final invoice to me. Is this normal?

I have requested the invoice several times. Should I send him a check for the estimate amount?

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2 Answers



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


Count your blessings - usually the situation in questions here is the opposite - homeowner gets a final bill but the work is not done.

A month is not long (three would be) - especially if this was a complex job or he had subcontrators on the job who have to submit final billings - like on a new build or remodel, where he may be waiting for final billings from materials vendors or subs, or for his monthly invoice on materials supplier accounts (which commonly itemize each materials pickup and list them with a project code which the contractor gives the supplier to put on the invoice. Many contractors also spend one or two weekends a month catching up paperwork - including billings.

You say "estimate" - if the job was done under an "estimate" rather than a firm price then he has leeway on the pricing from that estimated amount (within reason and with justification of course). So in that case I would not pay till billed because that may not be the total amount, or your payment might end up being more than the actual charges and you might therefore forego some possible savings if he accepts that amount rather than what his final bill would have shown.

If the contract had a firm price and there were no scope changes you asked for or approved in the course of the project, then yes you could send him the final payment to total your payments to that contract amount. While it has dubious legal value, I would mark FINAL PAYMENT IN FULL on the back in the endorsement area - or if only payment on the job, PAYMENT IN FULL. Of course, if you do that, you miss the possibility that he wouldhave come back with a final invoice less than the contract amount - some contractors will do that if it turns out everything went real well and the job came in well under estimated cost. Others (probably most) will not because they figure other jobs will run over the estimated amounts so if he sticks to the contract amounts all around (assuming he tracks actual performance and costs and adjusts future estimates appropriately) it will all come out in the wash and he will come out $ wise where he should be in the long run - win on some, lose on others, but come out with a fair profit on the average. This philosophy is also used by some contractors so they don't have to ask for additional money on the jobs that overrun, or for minor change requests by the owners on various jobs.

My recommendation on requesting a final bill if you do that - do it in writing (eMail or snail mail, keeping a dated copy in your files) so you have proof you attempted to get him to send a final bill. Can be useful in cases where the contractor died or went bankrupt and his successor/executor starts throwing liens around on the jobs that were not closed out. Also forestalls any attempt by him to charge interest on the "late" payment.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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