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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 04-20-2009
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Yard Estimates

Curious to get the take of those with more experience than I at this game. If a yard gives you an estimate for a job, is there ever a point at which exceeding the estimate becomes something where the yard should share the pain?

In my case, the estimate was for $x. The yard sent me a bill for a lot of stuff that was not covered by the estimate, but eyeballing the total bill it seems they are charging me somewhere between two and three times $x for the work in question. Let me say that I do not think they are padding their time and I am happy with the work they have done. I think their estimate was way below what it should have been, and on top of that they encountered some things they didn't expect. I'll reveal what $x is after some responses come back, if it seems like that is relevant.

Thx
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Old 04-20-2009
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its a pity it does not work like house work or even car work. the est is solid in house work, and car work they have to get permission to go over the est. at least in maryland
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Old 04-20-2009
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I guess I've been fortunate to deal with extremely detailed and honest boat yards (Southern Yachts and Port Isabel Ship Yard). But, most yards give you a very detailed, written estimate, i.e. $/ft for a bottom job + $ for upgrading the bottom paint - and I assume that's what you started off with. If they are charging you for any unauthorized work, go talk to them, with their estimate in hand and say: Here's what we agreed you would do and here's a check for that work. Now, let's talk about the off-estimate work you did and what's fair considering the fact that you didn't get approval before performing this work.
BTW, where do you sail?
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Old 04-20-2009
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Was it an estimate or a quote. A quote they have to honor or call you and have you authorize exceeding it... which may not be the case with an estimate.

It would also help if you said where you were located as some states have laws regarding this.
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Old 04-20-2009
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There was not a detailed estimate for the work in question. By way of context, this is in the middle of a major refit -- the total cost of which will significantly exceed the purchase price of the boat.

I had been given written estimates for prior work, and this was a specific thing that was orally discussed at the time I made the decision to go ahead. The work is being done in Massachusetts, but I'm not looking for any sort of legal remedy here. I'm a lawyer by trade, and don't want to go there in this instance. As I said, I'm happy with the work that has been done and I genuinely like the the guy who has been doing the work and runs the show.

John: I sail (or will) out of Port Washington, which is on Long Island in NY. Am I correct in guessing that you think there is a Texas connection?
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One more point of clarification: This is a job that once you start, there really is no turning back. So even had they called me to tell me that they had encountered more difficulty than expected, it would not have made a difference in the end. I have no choice but to have the job completed.
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When I had work done last year here in San Diego, I got a very detailed, line item quote for each thing I wanted done. I spoke with the Project Manager assigned to my boat each day, and he told me how things were going, and if we were on budget for each line item. I had it written in the quote and contract that any items that reached 90% of the estimated value, and were not done, and would go over, had to be approved by me. In the end, I came in under the estimate over all, but a few items went slightly over, but I was able to get a few extra items done using this approach. You need to cover yourself to make sure a 3x factor doesn't happen without you being aware it could get that bad.

As you mention, some items you had done, couldn't be quoted accurately until they got into the item, but still, they should have given you a best and worse case range.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdidriksen View Post
John: I sail (or will) out of Port Washington, which is on Long Island in NY. Am I correct in guessing that you think there is a Texas connection?
Best of luck and fair winds when she's ready to take you sailing. I wasn't sure, where you were, but everyone's welcome down here in Texas where boats stay in the water year around and winter is the best sailing weather - not so hot and the winds are stronger.
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Old 04-21-2009
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Just another point of information- Auto body shops that I've worked at generally exceed most of the estimates. We routinely adjusted every single part price to match the list price on the dealer invoice as soon as we received the parts. Additionally any hidden damage would be repaired at the insurance company's or owner's expense. The difference is that we would inform all parties involved before the additional repairs were started and get authorization. In Ca it is illegal to have an invoice that is anything less than 100% accurate down to every single part price and part number on every little tiny 25 cent clip. It was a double edged sword. We were prevented from leaving any gray areas at all, complete accountability, but it also created a situation where nearly every insurance company received a supplemental bill. We already had to note every detail of every repair, why not update the repair times as well and get paid for everything.
IMO you should have been notified of the additional repair costs in any case unless you had already said "I don't care how much it costs just get it done."
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