I called a licensed contractor in Maryland to set up an appointment for an estimate. The next day the contractor came and determined the problem. The contract said could be fixed immediately.

I agreed and the contractor fixed the problem after 4 hours. Price was never discussed and no written contract or estimate was executed.

From a legal perspective, how much if any amount, do I need to pay?

This is a common situation but I could not find an answer searching the internet.

  • 1
    Unfortunately you may owe the entire bill, you agreed to the work. I don't think there is any court where you can say "well, I agreed to have them fix it, but he didn't tell me how much it is, so it's free".
    – Ron Beyer
    Feb 12, 2019 at 20:58
  • I'm surprised you did not negotiate the price first - but as the accepted answer says there are limits to what they can charge you anyways Feb 25, 2022 at 1:39

1 Answer 1


You need to pay a fair price. It's not easy to determine what that amount is, but the primary considerations from a legal perspective would be his hourly rate, how long it took, and what the materials costs were. The difficulty of the job might also be relevant. If you are charged $1,000 and other contractors would charge around $800 for that, the $1,000 charge is not shocking: if others charge $200, then (unless somebody is omitting material considerations in their bid, e.g. "that guy is not licensed; he uses below-code materials") you might have an argument that the charge is more than you would have agreed to.

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