Evaluating a remodeling estimate is not easy, especially if you do not have remodeling experience. You don’t know what you don’t know.
This guide outlines the basic things to look for in a quality estiamte.
If you find this helpful you might also like 38 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Remodeling Contractor.
8 Questions To Ask When Evaluating An Estimate
1. How long is the estimate?
- A detailed estimate is going to be at least 3 – 5 pages long.
2. What is included in the total?
- It should be very clear what is included and what is not
- Some things to look for:
- Design services
- Material selection services
- installation labor
- installation materials
- project management
- Material Selections or Allowances
- Debris removal
3. How Accurate is it?
- It can be hard to assess labor costs but some quick googling should allow you to compare material costs.
4. What’s the next step?
- What is the process for getting to a fixed price proposal ?
- Is there a design and selections process?
- Any more home visits needed?
- Do they provide a fixed price proposal or do they do “Cost Plus” ?
- Most construction lawsuits invovle cost plus contracts
5. How long to create the fixed price proposal?
- How many design meetings to expect?
- How long to collect bids?
6. When can the project start?
- What is the lead time for materials?
- How accurate is the start date?
7. What is the payment schedule?
- Are they based on project milestone (work complete)
- Is there a final payment that is left until all work is done?
8. Is there a warranty?
- 1 year warranty is required by law
- 3 – 5 years is ideal
- What is included in the warranty?
What Should Be Included In A Remodeling Estimate:
Before we get to the 8 questions, let’s review what information should be in a quality remodeling estimate.
1. Summary Section
A paragraph or two at the very top that explains the scope of work in plan language and includes and special notes from the consult.
2. General Items Section
- Jobsite info, notes on set up and debris removal
- Note on permits and building code issues
- Notes on design work, material selecitons/allowances and plans
- Notes on project management
- Notes on timeline – time to design, plan, order materials and proposed start date
3. Labor Section (Scope of Work)
- Itemized list of labor by trade
- Shoudl include quantities (sq ft, linear feet, each)
- Should have notes about installation standards and materails to be used
4. List Installation Materials Included
- Rough materails like drywall, thinset, etc..
- In general any materiall that does not need to be selected by you should be included here.
5. List of Selections or Allowances
- Line item list including quatity and cost
- Examples of materials that fit the allowance amount (so you know they are realistic)
6. Cost summary
- Labor Cost Total
- Subcontracted labor total
- In house labor total
- Material Cost Total
- Rough material costs
- Shipping and Tax
- Project total