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Question DetailsAsked on 12/12/2016

My handyman charged me a contractors fee I never agreed to,the work he arranged was 100% more than what he said it

He arranged for a roofing company to repair a very small roof on my house. He said it would be 2-3k. The bill was 10k! On top of this he charged me a 10% contractor's fee. I never agreed or was aware of an additional fee, particularly when the work was so much more than I anticipated. He is not a registered contractor with the state of MN. I paid the roofing contractor directly, but I feel I have no legal obligation to pay the contractor an additional 10% when he was failrly compensated on an hourly basis for the work he did.

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1 Answer


No way to tell from this end if he was not a very competent contractor (way underestimated the roofing cost) or decided he could milk this job, figured you were a soft touch (particularly if disabled or elderly or such), or is an out-and-out scammer.

Average cost for a normal reroof job, not just a spot repair (without replacing treated plywood sheathing, which can add around $3-5/SF commonly where needed) runs about $5-10/SF with asphalt shingles, depending on local area costs, type of shingles used, how complex or steep the roof is, etc - commonly in $5-7 range for normal shape and slope roof without more than 1-2 extra ridges or valleys or dormers or such. That should give you a ballpark on whether the $2-3K or $10K was more reasonable for your roof size. Other roofing types you can find typical ballpark costs in the Home > Roofing link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

10% markup on subcontractor charges is typical - sometimes prime contractors charge far more, up to 25-30%. The markup is for the time and effort to obtain the contractor and to monitor and direct his work, as a general contractor - which is what the handyman was acting as here, with the roofer as a subcontractor.

As for licensing - roofers have to be licensed in MN - remodeling contractors (which a Handyman would commonly fall under) has to be licensed if he provides services in more than one specialty area (see link below) and does not have a less than $15K/yr gross receipts exemption -

So - if he was supposed to be licensed and was not, you may have a claim against him on that basis - also possibly the roofer if you feel he overcharged and he was not licensed and insured and such. Since the handyman presumably did some other work for you also, that presumably was one "specialty trade" - then contracting for the roofing (even though he used a sub) would be another specialty trade, so he presumably had to be licensed as either a residential building contractor (authorized to do new building construction) or as a residential remodeler. HOWEVER, if your home is part of a multi-unit structure (condo, townhome, etc) with more than 4 units, then commercial licensing rules kick in.

You could talk to the licensing board (number at bottom of above link) about this and maybe get some guidance - otherwise an attorney (though pretty small bucks for an attorney to get involved). Unfortunately, this sounds like another case of not getting it in writing up front - so he could argue he was charging his nomal subcontractor markup - though you could also argue if you paid the sub directly that the roofer was working for you, not the handyman.

I would say the 10% fee should not be your first concern - the $2-3K estimate versus $10K bill should be, but since you already paid it to the roofer you are not in a good place to argue from at this point in time. You should have taken up the $2-3K versus $10K issue with the handyman at the time the $ difference was first mentioned or billed.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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