How to Estimate Labor for Remodeling Construction

Preparing a budget for your remodeling project is an important first step in creating an price-assessment plan.

Overlooking essential costs leads to unhappy customers and unnecessary headaches. By creating a breakdown of the project, you can estimate labor charges accurately.

Separate the project into stages. Construction happens in steps. In most remodeling jobs, there will be a demolition phase to remove the old structure, a preparation phase and the actual construction phase.

Create a list of each step in each phase. This is imperative in order to estimate the labor needed to complete each phase. For example, the demolition phase will include the removal of the old roof, disassembly of the existing structure and the termination of electrical and heating and air runs.

Sort labor hours by wage level. A skilled framer receives a higher wage than does a carpenter's helper although both may work on the project. Assign labor hours for each projected each step to the worker that will be performing that task.

Estimate the labor hours needed to complete each step in each phase. Remember to multiply by the number of workers needed to complete the steps. By this time, you will have a detailed list of each step and the projected time needed to complete each one.

Allow for unforeseen issues that may arise. This is the hardest part of estimating any remodeling project. If you pad your estimate too much, the customer may reject your bid. On the other hand, if you remove an attached garage and discover the interior walls of the home have extensive termite damage, you and the customer are in for a shock.

Consider non-building labor hours that will occur during the remodeling project. This is a substantial cause of underestimated labor costs. Sending a worker to pick up extra paint, wood or nails takes time. Add a reasonable number of hours for non-building needs.


  • Inspect the remodeling project site thoroughly in order to make an accurate estimate. Look for signs of electrical, structural or plumbing problems that will cause labor costs to rise.