You’ve planned and designed your remodeling project in your dreams, on paper, saved to your online portfolios and now it’s time to move ahead with the plans. Before your contractor comes to you with a project estimate, get educated about the expectations. You want to be prepared and decisive for this part of the project, just like you will be for the paint colors and other essential decisions. Usually estimates are provided free of charge. Contractors shouldn’t charge for estimates.

Here’s what a remodeling estimate should include:

Contact Information
This may seem like a silly thing to worry about, but not all contractors are reliable, and the easiest thing to do if that happens is to know where to find them. With our guaranteed process, commitment to and communication with our customers is paramount.

If contact information isn’t included in the estimate presented to you, ask for a business card that includes a physical address and not a post office box, and email address, and a phone number. Ask for the best way to reach your contractor and the best time of day to get a hold of them and how quickly they return messages.

Payment Schedule
Many contractors will ask for a down payment (around 10-20%, depending on the project). If you are asked to pay for the entire project up front, run away faster than Usain Bolt can do the 100 meter dash.

The Better Business Bureau says you should never pay full price upfront (and an honest contractor will never ask you to do that.) But you need to know what is expected for payment and when, either by calendar dates or based on different phases of your remodeling project.

Detailed Specifications
It is extremely important to make sure you and your contractor are in agreement on the scope of the project and that there is clarity on the materials being installed in your home. One of the best ways to help make sure the project is a success is to confirm, prior to the start of the remodel, that all involved are clear on expectations.

Is this bid a project estimate or fixed price?
Make sure to clarify if what you have in writing is a project estimate or a fixed and final price for the project. Given the 3.8 million results on Google for “my contractor went over budget,” too many contractors are not honoring their estimates (not us, if we go over we pay for it – not you, as long as there are no changes). Before the project begins, communicate with your contractor and get as many questions answered as possible, ensure you both are clear about what may change from the estimate, and what will happen if the project goes over budget.

Remodeling Project Summary and Plan  
Make sure the estimate includes a project summary or logistics plan. No matter the size of the remodeling project, it’s best to go in with a plan so work can be done efficiently. A written plan also gives you the chance to find holes in the project before anyone swings the first hammer.

The project summary is a map for how the contractor plans to attack the project and how they will solve problems they see ahead of time (for example, you want to knock down a wall but some HVAC ducts will have to be moved – how does the contractor plan to handle that and what materials will be used to create your dream kitchen?)

Moving Forward
Now that you know what to look for in a project estimate, you can start your project with confidence – especially with our on time, on budget guarantee!