Is there a ratio of how much things cost?

KateskitchenFebruary 6, 2013

Ok this guy just came over to give us an estimate on the kitchen, he's done work for us before, he was over a while ago and we talked about what we wanted done etc. So he gives us a breakdown of costs, Cabinets $5250, Granite Counter Top $2,000, total installed $13,850, so labor is $6,600, does that seem high, it did to me.

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Actually, it's incredibly low. So much so that I'd be highly suspicious. Average kitchen redo's in this country are around 40K these days. Of course, there are those that are over, and those that are under. 5K worth of cabinets is builder grade, and in laminate counter territory, not granite. Basic inexpensive Kenmore appliances and vinyl floors. That would be choosing materials and finishes that were appropriate to use together in a very modest starter home. And, if that's a good description of your home, then the product level is spot on, but the labor seems a tad high.

10-20% of the home's value is a good starting point for a kitchen remodel budget. If you were to buy a new car, that's about how much you'll spend on a kitchen redo if you are to put something in that isn't over spending or under spending for your location.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:13PM
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I just today got the re-revised contract for our kitchen (and small powder room). Our kitchen is about 12x12 plus a few feet down a hall.

It's hard to tell with so little information about what is included in the work. But that's not bad. At that price I'd have to assume your kitchen is no bigger than mine, and the cabinets are probably nice, but not great. Make sure you know what construction is used and what comes standard to avoid tons of up charges (for example, you may want soft close doors/drawers, or full extension drawers, or whatever else and by the time you add it up you would have been better off with better cabinets to start with).

I need 32 sf of granite if I remember right, and only the least expensive stone I priced was about $2k installed. Make sure you know what type of granite that includes, and check out the fabricator.

Labor seems ok, maybe even low, depends.

I can certainly understand the sticker shock. I was sick to my stomach all day the day I placed the cabinet order. I must be getting over it, the new contract on the table barely raised an eyebrow. I at least know I'm not paying markup on anything major, I'm supplying just about everything you can see (well, at least the stuff that is important).

Post some more details and I'm sure some of the experienced design folks can tell if it seems right.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Molly Phillips

Does the labor include demo of the existing kitchen? Any reworking of plumbing/electrical/gas lines?

Not sure if you didn't post details on purpose or if he didn't provide them, but if that's all he provided, you need to have more indepth conversations with him.

But, to answer your question, it depends on the size of the kitchen. That cabinet quote seems very low to me, though, unless you don't have many at all.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:41PM
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If you can do it for that, either you are fortunate or be aware.....seems low to me too. Mine was very conservative, but more than your quotes.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:15PM
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fixtures/plumbing/flooring/backsplash/paint/hardware/appliances not mentionned.YOUR cost will swell beyond his quote-for what he is providing it is probably fair and you are a repeat customer. Your total cost isn't calculated yet.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:41PM
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I think I've read that cabinets run about 30% of the cost of the remodel.

Your estimate is similar to mine for 10x9 kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I didn't think the counters and cabinets were high, I thought it was crazy for the labor to cost almost as much as cabinets/countertops. My kitchen has a crazy layout, he's going to rip out the faux brick wall and all cabinets and soffits, he's going to place the fridge where the wall oven cabinet is and do an L-shape in the fridge spot. I have those computer drawings but DH took them to work, so I can post those later. When I get the drawing I will put it all on photobucket with more shots of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:42AM
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I always ask how long the work is going to take. Not only does it give you some perspective on how much they are charging per hour but it usually gets them to really talk about the work and open up about how the overall project is going to go and were they think the problem areas are.

I have an older home so there is a lot more unlevelness, out of square and surprises behind the walls than in newer homes so the labor tends to be more.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:14AM
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My labour costs are about 1.5 times more than my cabinets. The cabinets were quite cheap compared to the labour. Overall, it's roughly:

1.0 Cabinets
.5 other stuff (drawer pulls, sinks, faucets, new frig (no other new appliances), etc).
1.5 Labour

I am in Canada, so can't compare, but that seems awfully cheap to me.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:27AM
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From my experience in construction (not just kitchens) labor is generally the same as the materials. So if just the material cost is $4000 then material and labor would be $8000.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:04AM
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I agree that total costs seem low, even the labor. Have you had other estimates? You probably should.

The other thing that is worrying me is layout. You have a small kitchen with some awkwardness - stove in the corner with little to no landing spot, laundry, reverse-L layout, dump spot next to fridge, soffits. Did your guy check to see what's in those soffits? Every little bit of storage is going to count here, so if I were you, I'd be looking at frameless cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. With luck, you really will be able to get rid of the soffits. Once you post the layout, I'm sure the layout gurus will have ideas about best use of space.

Biggest advice? Slow down and work through the planning stages until you're sure you've got what you want in a price range you can deal with. This kitchen poses some challenges that call for creative design.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:24AM
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I didn't even realize that labor (is that just installation?) would be quoted separately from the cabinets. To me that seems crazy high, but I'm obviously coming at this from a very different perspective, which is one in a small market and done by a custom cabinet maker who has done a lot of work for us and gets a lot of referrals from me, so I suspect he's giving me a good deal. After reading this I think he's giving me a great deal, because clearly I'm in the minority in thinking that labor charge seems high.

Of course I'm talking about just the cabinet part of a kitchen remodel and we'll have to do all the rest of the work (removing old cabinets, etc.) ourselves or pay someone else to do it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:29AM
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The labor seems high???! I don't think so.

Please share some of the details.

Do you expect the base cabinets to be level and solid?
Any flooring?
Any lighting changes or new lights?
Prep & paint?
Baseboard & trim?
Who's installing door hardware?
Who's overseeing the granite install?
Who's installing the sink?
....garbage disposer?
Undercabinet lighting?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:58AM
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If the labor is including all of that structural work plus installing the counter and cabinets, then it should be a lot more than the cost of the cabinets and counter, and the number you have is probably low unless you're in a part of the country with extremely low labor costs or are doing this job under the radar with an unlicensed contractor.

For comparison, we paid about what you're being quoted for just our cabinets, counter, and installation of those two for a smaller kitchen (30LF of higher end custom cabinets and 32 SF of stone counter, so you could probably cut that cost down with other less costly choices). *Then* we paid that much, again, in labor costs to do all of the demolition, electrical, plumbing, walls, and trim. (We're in a high-cost area, but I suspect the ratio holds most places.) Don't forget about costs of permits, upgrades for old plumbing or electrical, moving the electrical and HVAC systems that look to be in that brick wall you're taking out, buffer budget for any surprises you might find in the soffit or wall, etc.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:03PM
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I think a good rule of thumb is that the kitchen reonvation should be between 10-15% of the cost of the home. 1/3 of that price goes to cabinetry, 1/3 to installation, 1/3 counters, materials, appliances. So I would say his bid of being about the same cost as the cabinets isn't too far off, but he may be getting you a cheaper cabinet and then telling you an inflated cost--- always check out his materials yourself or provide your own materials and have him get you a seperate bid.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:14PM
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