Can skilled laborers charge full labor rates for “drive time” to and from a job site?

A licensed/bonded plumber did work at my house on 2 separate occasions totaling no more than 2 hours maximum. His final invoice included an additional 3 hours of labor that were never performed on site. His explanation was that he included his employees “drive time” to and from our house, even though both times they were in the immediate area on other jobs, and total drive time to and from our house to his business location is far less than 1 hour even in traffic. I was not notified of “drive time” being included in the original estimate.

Asked on September 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A contractor may only charge drive time if the agreement (e.g. the estimate, which you agreed to in asking him to do the work pursuant to it) included compensation for drive time. If you did not agree to drive time in advance, he may not charge you for it. If he provided an estimate, he may only charge you those items on the estimate.

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