Am i paying too much

5 Replies


I just bought a house to flip, and below are the estimates I got for labor only. I got multiple estimates and some were even higher. This was the lowest estimate I got. It's a  900 sqft house. I measured the walls and ceilings and they are approx 3500sqft. 

Replace drywall -$5500

paint (3500sqft) -$2000

Replace 13 windows- $1500

Replace 6 doors - $900

Hardwood flooring (800sqft)- $2500

Install kitchen cabinet - $700

Replace trim - $800

There are other small things. These were the major repairs. Also if you know any good contractors in the st louis area please let me know. Thanks


responses below with some past numbers I've seen and paid for this stuff

Replace drywall -$5500 Post an ad and ask for $/sq ft.  You don't find a lot of them but shoot for closer to .45-.50/sq ft.  Note that this is for drywall square foot, not house square foot.  For that size house I'd want to be closer to $2500 total.

paint (3500sqft) -$2000 - this doesn't sound too far out of line here

Replace 13 windows- $1500 - I think you can find someone that will do this for closer to $50-$75/window.... Note if simple and you can put together a QC checklist, just make sure you find someone that has done your type of install before.

Replace 6 doors - $900 - this was certainly one that seems WAY too high.  I usually like to be at $25-45/door depending on what work needs to be done.  If it's a lot including re hinging and shaving down, that's where you're closer to 50/door.  This seems way high.

Hardwood flooring (800sqft)- $2500 - you'll do better with someone hourly.  It's hard to mess this stuff up.  Flooring a house shouldn't be more than 3-4 days worth of work... So do the math at 12-15 dollars/hour.

Install kitchen cabinet - $700 - this takes all of a half day to do.  Do it yourself or pay someone by the hour and you'll pay max 100 dollars

Replace trim - $800 - I'd shoot for closer to $600, however if they are ripping off existing and replacing, this may be in line.  You can always get cheaper but that doesn't mean someone will complete it and there won't be things they screw up.

In general,

rules of thumb i use to select someone include:

is there real knowledge there that only a select group know about? if so, be prepared to pay more

Some things work a lot better to just pay someone by the hour.  You need to just load them up with work.  Often to get the most value there you have to be at least willing to have materials and tools dropped off for them.  Around here there are countless people that have basic construction knowledge but aren't full contractors, if that makes sense.

Don't be afraid to just bring someone in and get them going and see what they accomplish, you'll do better money wise than the yahoos out there 

What are the risk/ramifications of having someone screw something up?  For the most part above, it's small.  The installing windows has the biggest risk factor that I see.

'you get what you pay for' is a disgrace.  It's so entirely not true that I feel like those that say it should be tarred and feathered.  Most of the people that say it are clueless or have a dog in the fight.

Is that with a general contractor or are you hiring carpenters/ handymen/ window installers directly??  I think Jim's pricing thoughts seemed reasonable but in my area there is a shortage of good workers so prices have been coming in high for everything I've been doing lately.  

Jim’s prices are almost identical to what I’m paying. .50/ sq ft of drywall is the highest I’ve paid and .50/ sq ft to paint.  If I can give the same crew both I get it for .80/ sq ft.  Depending on the window install methods I’d say 75/ window is more than fair. The doors I pay 75 each but that includes case trim around them.  As far as cabinet install that’s fair and so is the trim to be honest.  As far as Craigslist goes either set your price and work outline and see who answers or put an add for the type of work and see what bids come in.  Best of luck to you.

I think you can get them down on some stuff.  How much drywall are you replacing? I would just pay day rate for a couple guys from CL or home depot.  Find someone who knows what they are doing but pay them day rate.  That way you end up paying half or less for all of the above..