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Question DetailsAsked on 4/16/2014

I am doing a dormer on my house and cost of the dormer is a little over $200K, what would be a fair payment scheduf

the payment schedule he has is demo(7%),shell frame (44%) rough plumbing(15%)Insulation and SR(15%)Roof&siding(9%)Ceramic Tile(2%)Door&trim(5%) Completion(3%)
He is definitely front loading the job
This job is suppose to tale 3 months
They will probably be done with framing in 2 weeks so the way he has payment schedule he will be paid 51% of the job in two weeks
Please help

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8 Answers


Yes it looks front loaded, as framing usually runs about 25% of a job - particularly looks light on the roof and siding it looks like unless this is truly a dormer with almost no roof and siding to do. Also - no electrical ? What is SR - I assume shower recess. Perhaps part of his frontloading is because he added it up and came up short percentges,, so put it in framing ? What about interior surfaces and painting, because I see no interior drywall/panelling or flooring or painting in the breakdown. ?

I am really missing something big here though - can you use the Answer This Question button to respond back with more info on your project, because you said it will be a little over $200K, unless that is a typo and you meant $20K. Even then that would be more in the range for multiple dormers, not one, unless by dormer you mean the full length of the roof. $200K can build you an entirely new 1600-2000SF house in many parts of the country, so there is something I am missing here. Do you really mean a dormer, or are you adding on an entirely new story or raising an uninhabited peaked roof attic into a full-height Cape Cod type living space, or what ? And what were the other bid totals, for comparison ?

As far as the breakdown of payments, if that is what the contract says that is what you pay - just be sure not to pay till each step is TOTALLY completed to minimize front-loading. Hopefully, he left himself 3 months to be on the safe side but will be done in 3-4 weeks at the rate he is going in which case the payment schedule is not too bad, as long as he progresses rapidly. Certainly a dormer, even with plumbing, would normally be a few weeks not a few months job.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


It does seem to be a bit front loaded as he will have 51% on finishing the shell and I hope you listed the order incorrectly as I think SR is sheetrock. I would hope he is doing the roofing before the insulation and sheetrock. At that point he has 81% of the money meaning he has about $40,000 for interior finishes. If you factor in that at this point he has had already ordered the tile, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures and such including the 3% at finish. I don't quite understand the 3% on finish as once the trim and tile work is done you are basically finished aside from punch work items. You made no mention of a deposit either, which as far as I know has to be at least $1 for a contract to be binding.

I would talk to him and have him explain why he broke up the payments this way, if you are putting in high end fixtures such as whirlpool tubs and expensive tiles that he has to special order it might be fair. You did not say if flooring was included in the rooms other than the bath and that would have to be ordered as well. I would also feel more comfortable if payments were due upon passing permit inspections for each phase including the final.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


I agree with LCD and DON , something just don't look quite right .

$ 200,000. will build an entire House , and you say the Dormer cost 200K.

Something sounds ODD . What size is this Dormer?

What is being installed inside it ?

The 3 month time frame indicates a rather lenghty process and NO allowance seems to be allocated for bad weather unless that is included in the 3 month span of time, again

we are not made aware of the size of the Dormer . We also dont know of the job site conditions , and whether or not this Dormer is being constructed on a single story

Home or 3 story Mansion with a slate roof .

The problem with trying to make comments about another contractors bids , is that HE has an advantage over any of US .HE Knows or supposedly knows what he is attempting to accomplish , where as WE , are but observers who view the matter through a rather limited view scope, and that scope is , what the writter descibes .Quite often the view we see is obscured , where you and HE are at the eye of the storm , so to speak ,and have a more considerable perspective and quite honestly , a truer view of the facts !

Please provide US , more information about this project , in order that we maybe able to respond to your question more intelligently . Tell us ,more particulars about what is being done . Tell us more about the sizes involved and the end purpose of this Dormer .Tell us what the plumbing and tiles pertains too. Give us information about your abreviations ?

In all honesty , we just need more information before we honestly pass any form of judgement or attempt to grant any advice

Answered 6 years ago by BentheBuilder


Sorry about not being very specfic-

Project is in CT ( maybe thats why everyone thinks price is high)

The project entails the following:

Full Dormer- we are ripping off 2nd floor that is presently on ( house is a expanded cape)

They are installing a new 2nd floor that will have the following:

(4) Bedrooms

(1) Study/playroom

(1) master Bath

(1) Regular bath

Flooring and painting is not included , walls will be done ready for paint

putting in 200 AMP Electrical

Full attic

Seperate stairs going from 1st floor floor into Study/playroom

Washer and Drier on 2nd floor

Oil to gas conversion with New heating system and new baseboards on 2nd floor

Front porch

tearing down screen room off of house ans making it enclosed room

This is a pretty big project - got prices from alot of contractors and they all gave a (3) month Time Frame for this project.

** to answer some of the questions we are not purchasing any fixtures or materials that are extavagent ( everything is middle of the road)

I really feel that job is front loaded because demolition and shell will be done within 2weeks and they will have 51% of the money and than im guessing another week to roof and side to the house. So they will have 60% of the job within 3 weeks of the job.

FYI I did not sign a contract as of yet and I think the Payment schedule should be as follows:

Demo = 7% 15K

Rough Shell Framing = 22% 45K

Roofing Siding Windows = 10% 22K

Rough Plumbing and electric = 17.8% 36K

Insulation and SheetRock = 17.3% 35K

Ceramic Tile = 3.9% 8K

Doors & Trim = 7.4% 15K

Completion = 12.7% $25K

Answered 6 years ago by dormer6971


OK - THAT makes a whole lot more sense - you are not adding a dormer, you are adding another whole story on your house, plus the sunroom close in, plus electrical and HVAC upgrade, extra stairway, etc - now the $200K range makes sense - particularly since you are putting in 5 rooms plus 2 baths, so your house will now be presumably about 1000-1250 SF per floor ?

Looking at it that way, and DUH to me - of course SR is sheetrock, I am just used to it being called rock or drywall not SR - then I would say to avoid getting his hackles up about the percentages, maybe mention that electrical and HVAC and windows and flooring and stairs and minor things like that are not in his percentages and it seems the framing is on the high side percentage wise, so maybe negotiate to add those items in, which will naturally bias toward the tail end a bit. I assumed the 3% completion was for punchlist items - but 5-10% is not unusual as final payment, so maybe negotiate up a bit on that.

I would have a serious talk about schedule - if framing will be done in 2 weeks, then that should mean dry-in complete in 3-4 weeks, so that leaves only utilties, insulation and drywall, and bathroom and flooring and doors and trim work - so even though schedule calls for 3 months, sounds to me like his ideal case is more like 6 weeks with the rest being contingency, which is reasonable and fair on a job like this. If that is the case, then I would be less worried about the percentages overall, because you are talking a pretty short timeframe.

One thing you could propose is an accelerated target but not contractural completion date schedule of say 2 months or 2-1/2 months, and for each item that does not meet its scheduled timeframe except for minor punchlist items (which item by item schedule would have to be laid out) on that schedule, than all unfinished items not meeting that schedule will be paid at only 90% pending completion of that class of work - so that way you are retaining 10% on any items not on schedule on a 2 or 2-1/2 month schedule, but he earns that 10% once a class of work is done rather than at full job completion, leaving the original 3% completion cleanup and punchlist reserve. So, if he is behind the accelerated schedule all along and is not punchlist ready till the wrapup, the end of job retention would be 10% of each item plus the 3% completion, and if all items meet the accelerated schedule the retention is only the 3% - an incentive to him and his subs.

I have used this scheme several times on remote sites or difficult access or weather jobs, with 10 or even 20% retention, and commonly 5-10% incentive bonus for meeting the overall accelerated schedule upon final job completion as well. I had one job in the several tens of millions involving both horizontal and structure construction where we convinced the owner to offer a 2%/month early completion incentive - the contractor ended up finishing over a year early by loading more and bigger equipment and chartering a barge and tug for early access and later worksite departure, and earned over 25% bonus over his bid price - and everyone went away happy. Not that you want to offer 25% bonus to him, but a 1/2% bonus for every week early completion might make him very incentivized. Of course, that could be matched with a specified penalty for late completion too, though that gets to be a sticky game if he finds some incentive to delay to work another job, and also limits your delay damages to that specified amount.

BTW - be sure you have the money available for when he finish each item, not only based on 3 months completion schedule.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Sorry but this doesn't add up at all. That is an insane amount of money for merely adding a 2nd floor on a Cape. I have lived in NY, NJ and now in PA, and have done major renovations including full gut and rebuild of an entire floor with high-end bathroom, kitchen and dining room.

- $35K for insulation and sheetrock?! Are you KIDDING ME? Sheetrock is $25-$50 a sheet hung and finished. Even superb spray foam insulation costs only $1 per inch per square foot. You only need 2" in the walls and 3.5" in the ceiling. So let's be generous and call that $5000. It's probably less. And that is done by a specialist that you would pay directly and eat an additional X% from a GC. Framing and plumbing/electric are probably at least DOUBLE what they should be.

This guy is planing on buying an island with YOUR MONEY. Please don't do it.

All that aside, it is very likely that you could just sell your place and buy one that is aligned to your needs - and do all that for a lot less. Generally, you will NEVER get a reasonable fraction of your money back for adding a floor to an existing house.

Good luck to you, but you should honestly re-think this whole thing.

Answered 6 years ago by Jefferson



I have got prices from 8 different contractors and most of the prices are in this range I got one that was 5% lower and allt he rest were in the 250K - 300K range I am adding on 1600 square feet to my house so i don't think the price is really that insane , I juts think the ppayment shcedule he gave me was definetly front loaded.

I understand what you are saying about just goingout and getting another house but I love my block. love my neighbors love my house and love my area and really want to stay where I am which is why I am choosing to do this. But I do appreciate your response thanks

Answered 6 years ago by dormer6971


Who are you using? I am looking to do the same type of job. I keep getting pricing from 250 - 285k. I am trying to be close to 200k or less.

Answered 5 years ago by Jglobal15

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