Understanding how to price home repairs and, most importantly, to do so accurately is a multi-factorial process and is something that often takes years of experience.
Considering the aspects of scope, costs of materials and labor, and project duration are fundamental in the pricing of home repairs.
The Basic Elements: How to Price Home Repairs
The key to estimating the price of any home repair is the ability to combine the three fundamental elements of construction cost estimating, which are project cost, size, and duration. (1)
All of these factors are interlinked and must be considered together in order to achieve an estimated cost. Another article discusses understanding the true cost of a home remodel, and elucidates some of the concepts presented here.
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The Scope of the Project
The first element of a project to consider when attempting to price home repairs is the size or scope. This comes down to three factors:
- What needs to be repaired?
- What is the cause of the damage?
- And what is the extent of the damage?
Consider, for example, an isolated incident of water damage to an interior wall: a plumbing leak that is caught immediately. Contrast this as opposed to an extended duration of water damage, such as an ongoing leak in a roof.
The problem area in each case can be different: very limited in scope, such replacing a portion of drywall, or to the other extreme, such as damaged rafters, wet insulation, rotting framing (or rusting steel framing), damage to electrical wiring, or mold, among a number of other things.
It is absolutely imperative to determine both the cause of and the extent of the damage in order to understand how to price home repairs. This often requires working knowledge of the structural aspects of the building and electrical, plumbing and HVAC layouts.
Cost: Material and Labor
Once the scope of the repair has been determined, the next step is to calculate the material and labor costs. This is done by determining the components necessary to perform the repair, and finding the cost of each, followed by considering labor time.
Consider the following points in determining how to price home repairs:
- What are the material components, the quantity, and the total cost?
- How much of the work can be accomplished through personal labor? (This depends on individual skill, tools and time.)
- What is the cost of any tool rentals or purchases?
- What is the cost of professional labor?
Any work that you perform for yourself is, of course, technically free labor. However, working alone or without professional experience or tools, though it may be cost-effective, is both labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Consider what you are capable of regarding skills, the tools available to you, and how much spare time you have.
Work that is performed by a professional can be considered in labor time. However, without previous knowledge of rates, this may be impossible to estimate for most homeowners.
Many companies, however, especially plumbing and electrical companies, are perfectly willing to disclose hourly rates and costs for specific projects, and contractors often offer free estimates.
For the contractor, project duration is related to daily (or even monthly) overhead costs. For the homeowner, the considerations are slightly different.
How long the project will take to complete a will, of course, vary greatly depending on the project and who is performing the work. Many people opt for professional services, not only for quality but for speed.
One major aspect to consider is how the repair is going to affect your normal routine. It could be necessary to, for example, during repairs in a kitchen, to eat at restaurants, or to even find other accommodations for the duration of the project.
For the homeowner who is considering how to price a home repair, this is an absolute cost-benefit aspect, especially regarding do-it-yourself projects. If a project is particularly disruptive, it should be determined how much these factors will indirectly affect the cost.
Pricing Home Repairs: The Total Sum
How to price home repairs, then, is to combine each of the cost-considerations discussed to achieve an estimated total for the price of a repair.
The material and labor costs are the direct estimates, while any indirect costs associated with the project length are an addition, specific to a homeowner and the circumstances of the project.
- This article was written by a professional who has worked in remodeling and the construction field for over seven years.