How to Estimate Labor for Remodeling Construction
Head into your remodeling project with an accurate budget
By Stevie Donald
Estimating remodeling costs required a lot of pencil and paper number-crunching and "guesstimating." There are more tools available now, including estimating software and annual job estimating cost directories, that allow contractors and homeowners to calculate and track job costs. How you calculate labor costs will depend in part on how much of the labor will be done by hourly employees, and how much by subcontractors.
- What You Need to Know
- Remember the carpenter's motto when you estimate costs: "Measure twice, cut once." Double-check all of the details and figures. In addition to detailed plans, you'll need a list of subs and their estimates, price lists for materials and a calculator or a construction software program to assist in determining labor costs. For large CAD programs, like AutoCad, add-ons are available that assist in figuring labor based upon the scope of the project.
Review the plans for the remodeling job and consult with your architect until you understand all the details and expectations for the project.
Break the project into stages, from excavating and rough framing through to floors and painting. Decide what you or your hourly employees will do, and which parts of the job you'll be subcontracting.
Review and choose job estimating software. Purchase a program that is customizable and allows you to track job expenses. Another useful estimating option is one of several annual cost directories, which should give you a fairly accurate estimate of different remodeling projects based on square footage, size of crew and geographic location.
Determine how many people you will have on the job, and what you will be paying them per hour.
Figure out, either from past experience or by referring to your estimating software or directory, how much time each phase of your project should take. Don't forget to figure set-up and clean-up, materials deliveries, overtime and production bonuses.
Get detailed, written estimates from all the subcontractors you plan to hire, making sure they know specifically which materials will be used on the job. Ask them to break their estimates down into labor and materials costs.
Customize the software cost database by inputting each line item cost based on your calculations and estimates supplied by your subcontractors. The program will walk you through the process until you have an estimate for your labor costs.
About the Author
Stevie Donald is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been a painting contractor since 1979.
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