Nailing down an appropriate budget is a significant step for any remodeling project. People care about making smart investments and good use of their resources – we get it.
So, how do you know if your contractor’s kitchen remodeling estimate is realistic? Good question! Here are some factors to consider:
Does a person or a computer produce your estimate?
Every remodel is different. Even if someone else has renovated your space in the past, no one has remodeled with your new project’s specific selections or finishes from before.
Many companies use estimating software that inputs square footage and spits out an estimate. These figures don’t take into account the intricacies for YOUR project such as style, layout, preferences, or preexisting conditions.
What is the history of overages or change orders from the company producing the estimate?
A lot of remodelers offer lower estimates to get the job, only to hit customers later with change order fees for items that should’ve been included in the original calculation.
For example, including a $4 per square foot allowance for flooring, when the customer requested a hand-scraped wood floor that starts at $12 per square foot. (These costs obviously don’t match up!)
At J. Carsten Remodeling, we always include reasonable allowances and plan contingencies to account for changes. Our typical client only adjusts the original contract price by 2-5% – mostly due to customer requested changes.
If you’re comparing estimates, do they include the same items?
This is the hardest part for customers to decipher alone. There are so many variables! Are you comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges?
For example, one company’s version of kitchen lighting can differ greatly from another’s. Does their definition of lighting include can lights in the ceiling, under cabinet lighting, puck lights in cabinets, accent lighting, island pendant lights?
Make sure your estimate provides the details you need to understand what’s included in their standard package!
Ask yourself, what is NOT included?
Below are the other items/areas that should be included in a typical kitchen remodel estimate:
- Permit: Actual cost or allowance for permits – state law requires the permit be pulled by the contractor
- Project Setup: Details about floor protection, dust protection, security and access to your home, and dumpster and toilet use
- Design and Selections: Nearly every remodeling project requires design work – additional design work and selection assistance should be part of the process
- Allowances: Cabinets, countertops, tile backsplash, flooring, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, appliances – are these budget allowances reasonable for your taste?
- Mechanicals: Moving a toe kick location or installing hood fan venting; rerouting a plumbing line due to the reconfiguration of the kitchen; re-wiring the kitchen for required code updates – these things can get pricey
In the end, an estimate is only as good as the company producing it. Do you trust the company? Do they demonstrate professional integrity?
If you’re not sure, then ask their previous customers! Make a trip to view their work or at least check it out online. Honestly, the only true way to know if your estimate is realistic is by doing a little good old-fashioned vetting and investigation work! You’ll thank yourself later.
Contact Jason at J. Carsten Remodeling if you’d like to discuss an estimate or get started on a new project. Jason will be there to assist you through the entire process.
Jason prides himself on honesty and integrity – always doing what is right for his clients. Read any of his past client reviews and you’ll see what we are referring to!