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Question DetailsAsked on 2/29/2012

How can I get contractors to breakdown the cost of materials versus labor cost. They insist on giving me one number!

I am trying to select tile, carpet, hardwood, floors, bath fixtures, etc. I have received estimates from 3 contractors, none of them want to give me a breakdown...for example-I don't know if I can choose a $3.00 sq ft. hardwood or a $10.00!

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Voted Best Answer

Most of us prefer to not give breakdowns based on past experiences. We have generally found when we give a breakdown the homeowner has picked apart the price and taken out an area where we might have some profit built in and only allowed us to perform the tasks where we had kept the profit low in order to get the job.
Now to answer you question another way. You should demand the contractor give you an "allowance" on each area where you will have choices which affect the price. Generally wall paint color will not affect the price whereas the floorcovering will definitely affect the cost.
The only way for us to figure a job is to use allowances in our estimating. Specifically these would be flooring of any type, ceramic tile, counter tops, bath fixtures, window and door trim, cabinet door and hardware, and lighting. Any contractor which will not give you these allowances is probably going to be difficult to work with over the long haul. Avoid them if possible.
As opposed to asking for a breakdown, ask for the specific allowances.

Answered 8 years ago by Jay Timmerman

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