“How to Buy Remodeling” Blog Series – Part Two
Why Can’t I See an Itemized Price Breakdown?
“Can you give me an itemized price for this project: materials and labor for cabinets, countertops, flooring? I want to make sure what is included in what I’m buying.” We get that question a lot when we’re talking to clients. And the answer is no. The explanation is this: when you buy a project, like a kitchen remodeling or a bathroom remodeling, you’re buying a compilation of several tasks that are integrated together. And together they make a package and the package is the price. If you asked me “how much is the drywall?”, the drywall is going to be more expensive then if you asked “how much is the drywall with a bath remodel?”. So line-iteming is just going to scare you about the individual prices, and it’s just not going to make any sense. For example, the drywall in the bathroom might be $600, and you can say “okay I’ll take the drywall”. Well if you only want the drywall, its $1,000. So asking for an individual price, while it might seem logical, does not make sense when you are buying a package. You’re getting 3 or 4 quotes and the total project price is what you’re looking for.
If you think about it in terms of buying a car, you never ask “how much is the axle?” or “how much is the steering wheel?” Imagine how much work it would take for them to figure that out. In the pricing department before it gets to the sales department, sure, they have figured out the price of everything and they put it together into the car and they add overhead and they add profit. And then they end up with a selling price that is on a sticker on the window. That car costs $30,000. Well where that $30,000 is allocated really doesn’t matter. How much of its profit? How much is material? How much is labor? Doesn’t really matter. So the only reason anyone would ever want any useful report showing itemized materials, labors, overheads, markups, profits, would be for some other reason other than to buy the package. You’re not buying just part of the package.
Now as a company selling remodeling projects, we’re glad to show you the breakdown, in general, of the cabinets, the countertops, the flooring, but we can’t give you material lists, and labor lists, as we are estimating these costs. It hasn’t been sold yet; we don’t even know the costs. Once the job is sold, we are going to purchase everything and find out what everything actually costs. We can’t go through and figure that out to the dollar on every quote. We only sell 4 out of 10 that we talk to, and we are talking to 30 or 40 people a week that want to know what their project costs. So we take an estimate of what it has cost in the past, add some mark up for overhead, and some mark up for profit, and that’s our estimate to the customer. So the kitchen is going to be, let’s say, $26,000. We don’t even know how much is labor and material! The company has provided to the salesperson a guideline to figure out what the price is going to be depending on certain factors. But to break it all down is just going to take hours and hours and there is no justification for the time it would take to do it. It also doesn’t make sense why someone would need that broken down. So, we don’t do it.