Remodeling and Labor Costs

I recently saw a series on Houzz that asked homeowners to discuss their kitchen renovations and to include pricing. I have long maintained that pricing for renovation projects depends upon the location where the project is done, as well as the cost of labor and materials in that area.

Case in point, a couple from Dallas, Texas had their kitchen renovated for $40,000.00. When they broke down the costs associated with the reported 3 months long project, the labor cost was $9,000.00. This cost included plumbing and electrical work. Assuming that the contractor worked 40 hours a week for 12 weeks, that contractor was paid $750.00 a week or $18.75 an hour.  Unfortunately, I do not know of any licensed skilled carpenters, plumbers or electricians in the DC Metro area that charge so little. After 20 years in the business, my experience has been that the average hourly wage for a licensed contractor in this area is between $40-$75.00 per hour. That is a far cry from $18.75 per hour. Also, permitting regulations in Maryland require that all plumbing and electrical work be completed by licensed plumbers and electricians, not general contractors. Plumbing and electrical costs can also add several thousand dollars to a project.

The cost of labor contributes significantly to the price of a renovation, and DC Metro homeowners who are inspired to renovate after reading these stories must learn to manage their expectations when it comes to pricing. Realize that in major metropolitan areas, everything costs more.