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What Would Oppo Do?

In 2018 we had a couple local guys build us a shed. They are semi-retired homebuilders, not into the whole custom home process anymore but they like building stuff. Because it can be hard to find competent builders for small projects, they are very busy - as busy as they want to be, that is.

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In the case of our shed, they did nice work, for what we asked - a 3-way divided structure for firewood on the outsides and yard stuff / detritus in the middle. However, they underestimated the load of firewood that I would actually try to stack in there, and there was some deformation of the structure and a bit of curvature that shouldn’t have been.

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They came and looked at it, did some good ponderin’ and thinkin’ and chin scratchin’ and decided they’d come in the spring (this was last fall) to build up the structure underneath it. No charge for labor, since they felt it was “on them” to build it for what I had specified in the first place. I’d gladly pay for the materials, so that was the arrangement.

They came back as promised, and spent several (3 or 4?) days here working hard and made significant modifications to the structure. (Side note, their “days” are usually 8-ish to 1 ish because they feel like it). To our six sono-tube concrete pilings they added EIGHT MORE for a total now of 14. They also put a double-thick LVL header down the middle, where there was nothing previously, and added some cross-bracing as well. I’m quite happy with the changes, and feel good about stacking nearly 3 cord of green wood on each end, which was the original intent.

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Illustration for article titled What Would Oppo Do?

Yesterday, we got a bill: $740. I don’t buy a ton of lumber but that just doesn’t seem like all that much, not to mention, of course, there’s no labor charge as discussed.

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The thing is, we know these guys well. The main guy had two daughters who were my sister’s age and my age, and we grew up together. My father has known him (and liked him) since long before we were born, and beyond all that, these guys are honest, reliable, competent, and (as a bonus) fun to work with. I want to do right by them, and I think what they did here was above and beyond - aside from, you know, kind of under-building it originally.

Here’s the actual tl/dr question: These guys did a ton of work for no labor charge, and I’d like to treat them right, so should I pay them some labor anyway? If so, what’s the right amount? I don’t actually know what their labor rate is, to be perfectly honest, and at $740 in materials I was thinking of just doubling that and paying them $1580 for their work. OR just say “thank you” (again) and pay them what they billed us, knowing we’ll work with them again; in fact, we’re waiting for an estimate for a screened porch that we hope to have built this fall.

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What would Oppo do?

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