How to Estimate the Cost of a Remodel Project

Are you a new or budding contractor? Most contractors get their start by doing small projects for friends, families, and neighbors. 

Over time, more and more people start reaching out, thanks to the network effect. And before you know it, you are in business.

But as you start completing bigger projects and projects for strangers, you need to be a little more professional about how you plan and budget for a remodel project.

Many factors contribute to the remodel cost, and you need to know how to estimate these costs in your head, then generate detailed and accurate quotes to get clients to sign the dotted line and submit payment.

Keep reading to learn how to generate a project cost estimate for upcoming remodeling projects. 

Is an Architect or Engineer Needed for the Remodel Project?

The first step when planning a remodeling project and determining a remodel cost estimate is understanding who needs to be involved in the planning process.

If the project isn’t going to involve structural changes to the property, the addition of new walls or rooms, or other large-scale changes, you may be able to go it alone. For example, if the project is purely cosmetic, such as painting, laying new floors, or swapping out cabinets and the like, you won’t need to bring in other experts.

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However, if your client wants to remove walls, build a new bedroom, or otherwise perform major structural changes, you may need to consult an engineer or an architect.

Factors in consultation fees to your budget from the start. If an architect needs to draft plans to submit to the city, it will be a major expense. 

Gather a List of Materials

Next up, you’ll need to plan your list of materials. This gets easier the more projects you complete. But you’ll need to think through each aspect of your project from start to finish.

If you are laying new floors, you’ll obviously need the price per square foot of the flooring material. But you also might need to add underlayment, which is also purchased by the square foot.

Then, you’ll need to add baseboards along the walls once the flooring has been installed. To install the floors, you may need glue or nails. The baseboard will require nails as well, plus paint to finish them off.

Each aspect of your project has materials you might initially forget about but still cost you. So they should be a cost to the client. 

Measure the Dimensions

Once you’ve considered all the materials, ideally by the square foot, you’ll need to measure the dimensions of the rooms. Don’t trust your client to do this for you. They will often round the numbers, creating inaccurate measurements for you.

Calculate the total amount of materials needed and always factor in a little extra since there will likely be some mistakes. 

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Add in Subcontractor Rates

Are you going to hire subcontractors for any aspects of your remodeling project? If so, you also want to include their hourly rates in the quote.

When you work with the same subcontractors multiple times, you’ll become familiar with how fast they can get a job done. Having these relationships in place and utilizing them, again and again, can make your job as a contractor much easier than using new people for each project. 

Don’t Forget Tool Rentals

There are many projects where you’re going to need to buy or rent new tools. While you should purchase any frequently used tools yourself, there are times when the cost is simply prohibitive. 

For example, if you need to use a hardwood floor grinder, or a concrete grinder, or a commercial-grade paint sprayer, you could be looking at many thousands of dollars to purchase them.

Instead, you can rent them for half days, full days, or weeks at a time for a much more affordable rate. 

Factor in rental costs, and do your best to finish using them in the intended timeframe, so you don’t have to pay any late fees. And make sure to clean them off before bringing them back to avoid any damage or cleaning fees. 

Other Costs to Consider

There are plenty of other costs that can be easy to forget, as well. You’re going to drive around a lot, to the project site, to hardware stores, and so forth. You’ll be using up a lot of gas, so make sure you consider those costs.

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Also, don’t forget to pay yourself. This can be hard to do for new contractors, but you need to make a profit. Always factor in your fees to the project cost, whether you are doing the work yourself or subcontracting it. 

Use Software to Streamline the Process

Does it sound like a lot to manage? It is! That’s why smart contractors end up using remodeling estimating software. 

With these tools, built specifically for contractors, you can make the estimating and quoting process much easier, faster, and more accurate. That way, you can spend more time actually getting the project done and finding new projects than creating quotes.

Check out for an excellent option for both new and experienced contractors. 

You’ll be able to save hours on every quote that you generate. And your quotes are going to be more accurate than ever before, thanks to smart software that factors in every variable regarding remodeling projects. 

With faster and more accurate quotes, you’ll be able to win more projects than ever before and have many more satisfied clients. As a result, your business will grow, and you won’t be stuck creating new spreadsheets every day.

How Will You Grow Your Business?

Now that you know how to estimate the cost of a remodel project, it’s time to decide how to get the job done. Want to do it the old-fashioned way, saving money but losing time?

Or do you want to estimate jobs like a modern professional, with the software that streamlines the process for you? The choice is yours, but only one will help you build a successful business.

Looking for more information like this? Check out other articles on our blog today.

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