8 Questions To Ask When Evaluating A Remodeling Estimate

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
    • Appliances
    • installation labor
    • installation materials
    • project management
    • Material Selections or Allowances
    • Debris removal
    • Permits

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?
    Remodeling Estimate

    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
      • Selections
    • Shipping and Tax
    • Project total

    Let us know what you think

    If you found these checklists helpful or would like to see something added to them let us know!  You can contact us here.

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