Budget Woes

nehomeAugust 29, 2013

I had posted last January asking for input for a preliminary budget and thought I had a pretty good handle on it after feedback I received here. We are now getting cabinet quotes and construction bids and so far it is not looking good. The cabinets are Omega Dynasty and that quote was about what I expected. All costs quoted by the GC are noted with an asterisk. I've provided all detailed costs from the quote and labeled the remainder cost as "Labor". All came in as expected except for the "Labor" figure which is almost $20K more than I budgeted. I have noted below what I know this number to include. As comparison I had estimated 3K demo, 3K install, .7K window replacement, $1.2K millwork for a total of about $8K. Here is a description of the renovation - all appliances staying in the same location, no walls moved or widened, basically replacing what we have except layout includes an island rather than a peninsula but that shouldn't matter for construction costs. Maybe the wainscoting is the budget buster and I have asked for a cost breakout for that. Any thoughts of what I have underestimated? Venting for sure and wainscoting but could these account for $20K?

Cabinets incl Tax 18,063 25%
Counter 3,800 5%
Appliances 8,500 12%
Flooring * 3,600 5%
Plumbing * 1,500 2%
Electrical * 1,500 2%
Painting * 2,000 3%
Cab Hardware 300 0%
Backsplash 1,960 3%
Lighting Fixtures 1,000 1%
Labor * 28,725 40%
Demo&Cab Install
Sink window replacement
Wainscoting (approx 38 ft)
Vent micro
new bluboard where needed
repairing ceiling to move light fixtures

Total Cost 70,948 100%

I am getting another cabinet design and construction quote starting next week which means another 2-3 weeks to get another complete quote. I would like to get another construction quote for the Omega. Am I likely to find much price difference among the better GCs?

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My uninformed opinion is it doesn't sound like you're getting much at all for 40% of your budget. How big is your kitchen? I have little/no basis for comparison except my own remodel of a small kitchen (about 11x12) and here are the main things that about $14k*** for my contractor is getting me:

Demo down to studs and joists
Remove/bypass all current electric
Run 6 new circuits plus 240 for range
Basic plumbing (nothing moved, replace drain line)
Replace floor and tile (cost of tile extra)
Replace window (window cost extra)
Add short wall
Add external venting duct for range hood
Sheetrock/spackle/prime/paint (cost of paint extra)
Install cabs and appliances, UCL
Tile backsplash (does not incl cost of tile)

"General construction materials" included. My contractor is pretty much a one man operation but he's a legit company that's been around a while. My wife actually found him here on Gardenweb.

*** He probably has an opportunity to adjust his final bill a bit, in which case I'll edit as needed.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 7:55AM
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I think that labor sounds high too. Are you in an expensive area like New York? Our labor was about 12k. Our kitchen isnt that big--about 10 x 17.
That included demo, move dw, remove and repair drywall for soffit and remove and replace all the other old drywall, install new window, cabinets and appliances and floor, electrical updates including adding new plugs, under cabinet lights and install cans and pendants, open doorway to foyer and replace the sink plumbing (the things you find when the drywall is gone :(

We got 4 quotes for labor and they were all plus or minus 1-2 k. One came in about 5k and we were excited. Then he let slip that the last kitchen he did took 4 months. We didn't pick him.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 8:31AM
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Dynasty has a budget calculator on their site, and it suggests with a 71K budget that labor be around 25K and cabinets, 28K. Yeah, it's more guidelines than anything else, but it's pretty close in most things. Except the % they say to spend on appliances always seems low.

But, you are also doing things beyond a simple replacement, so there IS more labor and materials factored into that. 3K of labor over the "suggested" amount doesn't seem like too much for that additional work. If you took out the labor associated with the additional work, you're not that far off on labor. You're low on cabinets and counters though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Budget Calculator.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:43AM
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GD- I just plugged 71k into that calculator and got 25%, not 25k, for labor. As such the labor is 62% higher than the suggested $17,750.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:13AM
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GreenDesigns, thanks for sharing the budget calculator. Very helpful.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:23AM
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I am paying almost the same as you for comparable cabinets...17,500 for Schrock/Decora. So I though my labor quotes might be helpful to share?

My labor quotes varied wildly, from 6 to 8 to $17,000 here in western PA. This labor includes removal of old cabs and new cab install, UCL, running electric to island, adding prep sink and air-switches, backsplash install, island pendant install, molding install. Our layout remained substantially the same, so no major plumbing needed, although we are moving the MW and adding recirc chimney hood. We went with the $8,000 guy, btw. (Counters not incl, nor were floors or paint...I like to paint!)

Hope another datapoint is helpful to you!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:00AM
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I don't have final bills yet for my remodel (countertops aren't in yet), but based on bids and bills, my remodel of a 10' x 12' kitchen is about $32K - total. We demoed the old kitchen ourselves, didn't remove drywall (but had some repairs). I also did my own painting, and acted as GC. I live in North Dakota.

Big ticket items:
Custom-built cabinets + Cambria countertops + install $23K
Electrical (includes UCL) $2500
Flooring + install $1400
Drywall repair + vent range hood labor $750
Appliances (fridge, range, range hood): $2900
Sink/GD/faucet/parts $700
Total ~$29K

Small items not included above were things like drawer organizers, toe kick vent cover, knife drawer insert, paint, pulls, etc.

Cabinets included a Super Susan, soft close Blum hardware, lower drawers, 42" uppers, crown molding, extra shelves in some cabinets. I didn't price any other cabinets - this local cabinet maker has a fantastic reputation (he and his brother have been in business in our small city for 25 years), and I talked to several people for whom he has done work. I am completely satisfied.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:58AM
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I likewise had quotes ranging from $9.8k to $15k for my 13x10 kitchen. This was labor and basic materials, not the cabinets, or decorative fixtures (ie included the box or can but not the light itself) which included:
Removal of old cabinets, soffit, and 3 layers of flooring

Additional circuit and wiring for 7 new outlets, switches, undercab lighting, new ceiling lights; installation of fixtures

Moving gas line for repositioned stove

New window with trim (they provided all of this)

Closing up old stove hood vent and creating new one

Repair of walls and ceiling to paint ready (I had planned to do the old wallpaper removal myself but ended up paying the drywall guy an extra $100 to do it). Some walls were opened up to the studs, others needed skimming and sanding to cover evidence of previously removed tile work, relocated outlets, damage from removing paper etc.

New baseboards, new trim around existing window, and repair of doorways that had been cut for vinyl installation

Repositioning of drain pipe, addition of undersink shut off valves for water

Installation of new cabinets, sink, and disposal

Installation of new engineered wood flooring (I purchased)

I went with the $9800 guy.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:06PM
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Wow, nice to hear my kitchen priced about the same as similar sized kitchens here! DH probably won't care, but makes me feel like I was reasonable.

That sounds really high for labor, unless there is something you are unaware of. I'd ask which areas are driving up the price and maybe he has suggestions of where to save. Do you need to upgrade your electric panel to do this? That will account for a couple thousand.

My cabinet labor was seperate, but all together I think labor was close to $15k for work similar enough to ballpark. That was about 40%-ish of my budget, maybe a tad less.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:14PM
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This seems a high, and I would get more quotations. For a simpler project with no wall removals and no relocations, you might consider acting as your own GC. My KD had a list of recommended GCs but also had the option of going with separate contractors. It means more work and more risk, but big savings.

I'm trying to examine your breakdown and figure out what is covered by your labor quote. Does it include plans, permits, demo, cleanup, appliance install, and most important GC markup on the other items being managed? Depending on where you live, the GC markup can add 15 to 25% to the cost of the other items being managed.

My most expensive labor-related item was the electrical. Rewiring the entire kitchen and then putting up new drywall and matching existing texture in the entire space was much higher than I originally expected. In total, those two items were almost a third of my 18K labor bill (out of a roughly 70K kitchen). Edit to add -- and i had a wall taken down, utilities rerouted, a sink and water line moved, and a bunch of stuff you are not having done.

This post was edited by gooster on Fri, Aug 30, 13 at 15:28

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:53PM
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That is ridiculously high. $30,000 for not much at all. I would not trust him with anything from this point. Get some more estimates, more detailed if you can.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Sorry, I think I confused the % with the $$ on my screen.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:03PM
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We saved money by doing our own demo and hiring out each job to a specific contractor (no GC). Luckily DH can do plumbing and electric so we also saved money there. I realize not everyone is able to do this.

We hired out to:
1) cabinet company for build and install
2) drywall company to replace drywall and skim coat
3) flooring company to install hardwood

We did:
demo (cabinets, flooring and drywall)
electric (extensive- 9 ceiling cans and UCL)
plumbing (adjusting plumbing for deeper sink and move GD over)
vent install (cabinetmaker installed the liner in the cabinet)

Is the cost of each item for parts/supplies and then he adds labor on top of that? No way does paint cost $2000! Your backsplash cost looks high, too. I would definitely get more quotes.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Our 14 x 21 kitchen remodel will cost us about $23,000 for all labor except installing the cabs since the cabinet maker will be doing that and the countertops. That $23,000 includes no major moving of pipes, just adding an island . It includes demo to the studs, plumbing, electrical (canned lights, undercounter lights, new subpanel, outlets, etc), new windows/wall (windows were made smaller to accommodate banquette), moving some HVAC vents, venting hood to outside (quite a to-do due to cooktop's location), appliance install, paint, trim, floor and BS tiling, and cleanup. We will supply the tiles, pendants, chandy. I think you're being taken to the cleaners.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Also seems very high! We just got a quote for $7900 -- removing part of load bearing wall, removing soffits and doing all electrical and plumbing and some specialty stuff for kitchen AND two baths. Now, we do supply materials, but they do all labor, permits, etc.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:08PM
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This time 2 years ago we ordered Dynasty cabinets when they were having a sale and saved quite a bit....so check with your cabinet dealer when the next Dynasty sale is. We love our cabinets btw. Our initial budget for labor was around $13,000 for a galley and laundry room but went up because of "surprises." We kept the same footprint but took it down to the studs and needed additional electrical and plumbing.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Without knowing your kitchen dimensions, or where you live, and more specific details, my gut feeling, in comparison to what we just did in our house, and in reading other replies, is to think those amounts in your list should include the labor. I would definitely shop around a little more. For comparison and as an example, one of the first bids we received for cabinets ranged from $15K-$22K (depending on which style I went with)...I ended up going with custom cabinets by a local builder, that are far superior in construction and quality, for just around $12K, including the most professional and detailed installation I've ever seen. Getting additional quotes can be a huge money saver.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Thanks so much everyone for your numbers. I quickly found out that the quote included the cabinets and the hardware! Since I had obtained that separately through the KD it didn't even occur to me that it was included in the GC quote. I learned that "provide" means included in the price. We are back on track within my budget! (I posted here last week about my false alarm but forgot to hit submit after message preview.)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:03PM
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