Cost Estimates in a Contract for Services

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A contract for services is a contract by which a provider of services agrees to provide a service to a client in exchange for a payment.

Often, the provider of services estimates the cost before signing the contract with the client. However, an “estimate” is not a final price: it’s an honest evaluation of the approximate cost of the service to be provided.

Important! Additional rules apply to cost estimates in contracts for services with merchants for the repair of an appliance or for the repair of a car or motorcycle

A provider of services who has given an estimate cannot increase the total amount of the bill for no good reason. He has to justify any price increase and can only charge his client extra in two situations:

  • The client asks for more work than what was originally intended.
  • The provider faces extra work or expenses that could not be predicted when the contract was entered into.  In these situations, the provider of services must quickly inform the client of the reason for the increase.  The client is only responsible for the increased costs if the extra work or expenses could not have been predicted.

On the other hand, the client is entitled to a reduced cost if the actual cost of the work is lower at the end of the contract than what was provided in the estimate.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.