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Published on Mar 20, 2024

When homeowners reach out to us about remodeling their kitchen, one of the first questions they ask is “howmuch does it cost?” If a contractor is willing to quote a dollar amount over the initial phone call, it is likely basedon the average kitchen remodel they complete. So, if your first call is to a high-end remodeling contractor, youmay want a chair nearby to recover from the price shock. A great reference for understanding the average cost inyour geographic area is the Cost vs Value sheet published each year by Remodeling Magazine.

For this article I’ll use a $100,000.00 budget to explain how to create your kitchen remodel plan.

Fees Outside the Contractor Budget

Let’s address what is not included in the budget allocated to the contractor. Architect & designer fees areseparate from the contractor’s estimated cost to complete a kitchen remodel. The contractor needs to see thestructural plans and know what materials the homeowner has selected in order to provide an accurate projectestimate. The contractor’s time to price materials and help the homeowner make final selections is billableseparate from the project estimate. The next big-ticket item often not included in the contractor’s estimate isappliances, typically purchased by the homeowner. There are many reasons for this which I will cover in a futureblog.

Non Material Expenses: 25%

When working with high dollar amounts, you always want to include sales tax in the budget. The average tax forthe greater Seattle area is ten percent. We also recommend including a contingency of 5% in the initial budget.This number can change as more project details become known. General Conditions items must also be factoredin. These include regulated items such as portable toilets and debris management, and project managementfees. Altogether, these factors generally account for 25% of the budget.

Mechanical Systems: 10-15%

Between the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems we find electrical is often the bigger expense becauseremodels usually require replacing or expanding kitchen outlets and lighting. Set aside 10-15% for mechanicalsystems. Increase this percentage if you plan on moving appliances to new locations or if you live in an olderhome that clearly needs updating.

Cabinets: 15-20%

There are many different cabinet brands and price ranges. Finding the right supplier can be critical to makingyour project work. Cabinets are a big focal point in your kitchen so make sure you select the right supplier foryour project. Your contractor can likely provide recommendations. Set aside 15-20% of your budget for cabinets.

Remaining Budget: 40-50%

We started with $100,000 and after accounting for general costs, we now have between $40,000 and $50,000.00remaining for other items. These include tile, flooring, paint, carpentry labor, and other materials. This remainingbudget gets used quickly. Remember, appliances are not part of the contractor budget, so they need to be addedinto your calculations. When you plan your kitchen remodel, make sure to budget for all the expenses includingthose outside the contractor’s project scope—the surest way to get the kitchen that’s right for you.

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